Saturday, October 28, 2017

The New Road Home

You may recall that my original plan was to return to the PNW from PA via US60 and US93.

I scuttled that plan in favor of picking up the three bucket list roads I've just driven: Skyline Drive, Blue Ridge Parkway and Natchez Trace Parkway. That has put me way down south in the land of cotton -- in Natchez, MS -- pondering a new road home.

I considered driving the Great River Road north along the Mississippi river, but have decided against it. First, it's a road that deserves a longer timeframe than I'm willing to give it right now, to really appreciate the history, heritage, etc., that it has to offer. Second, my research indicates that it is much better driven North to South, following the expansion of the mighty river. Third, driving it now would put me in upper Minnesota going into winter, and leave me a long westward route home along the high line. Doesn't sound good.

I could just bolt home along interstates, but there isn't a great diagonal route and I've driven them all many times before. So, I've decided to try a compromise. Starting tomorrow, I'm going to take an express, interstate route west -- getting the vast expanse of Texas behind me as fast as possible -- and turn north in Arizona. That gives me the option of driving US93 -- my original plan -- if the weather is good, or continuing on interstates going north if the weather is bad.

This map shows the path I have in mind. The waypoints are arbitrary -- just to get Google Maps to follow the route I want rather than automatically draw an interstate route -- not necessarily points of interest or importance:

Unlike the Great River Road, there is not much on the US93 route, so it'll still be a pretty quick trip home with some nice scenery along the way. If I make it to the northern terminus at the Canadian border in western Montana, I'll head west on US2 across the Idaho panhandle and Washington. If I bail out anywhere along the way, it'll involve the usual suspects: I-84, I-90, etc.

In theory, I think this is a good compromise plan and I'm happy with it. If successful, I will simply have swapped out US60 in favor of three other great roads and an express interstate transfer. If it doesn't go well, I'll still get home by mid-November after a pretty epic 2+ month road trip... Stay tuned!

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