The original concept of the PNR came to me while I was standing the Reactor Technician watch aboard the Submersible Death Trap. And as I stood that watch again over the last week and a half, it occurred to me to shorten the length, eliminating some of the geographical extremes. At first, I had trouble coming up with a "loop" of sorts. I had planned my way out to southern California, but didn't see how to get back via a different route. That quandary was solved with an important realization - that if I'm heading to the West Coast, I have to at least go to Portland and visit my half-brother. Once that was resolved, finishing it off wasn't hard. Once Memphis returned to port and I could look at my atlas, I was able to set the route.
What's different about this trip from the original plan?
- Length. The trip has been cut from nine and a half weeks to about five. I haven't fixed the exact length yet; that depends on where I want to spend some non-travel days.
- Direction of travel. I've planned a clockwise loop, in contrast to both the original PNR and 1999's Great Alaska Adventure. Instead of heading west and then north, I'll roll southwest to San Diego, up along the coast to Seattle, and then back east through Big Sky Country and the Upper Midwest.
- Deletions. Three major portions are out. One is the leg up to Alaska. The original finale in New England has also been scrapped. But the largest deletion (about three weeks' worth) is the southern swing; everything from Las Vegas pretty much through New York City falls by the wayside.
- Additions. The middle latitudes of the continental United States now come into play. I'll be getting to Cincinnati for the first time, and then it's on to Louisville, St. Louis, Kansas City, and Denver, before rejoining the original trip's route. Those last four are cities through which we passed in '99, but really didn't stop to visit.
- Flexibility in positioning. With the trip lasting just over a month, there's much more wiggle room in when it'll go down. There also must be coordination with my mom and brother; the first leg of the trip is to southern Ohio to visit friends of our family. I intend that to be a joint trip, with me continuing on to Cincinnati afterward.
The map: 2009 Post-Navy Roadtrip, revised and contracted