Minding the Borderlands

Mark Koester (@markwkoester) on the art of travel and technology

Retour à l’America: 02 – "Road Trip" Route

It’s time for a good, ol’ American Road Trip. I haven’t back to the States in over a year. It’ll be a year and 6 months when I do finally make it back in June. And it’s about time I took a lay of the land. My country its of thee, sweet land of liberty. People. Language. Geography. And dreams.

Going back will be also kind of cross-cultural dialogue, because I’m bringing along a couple French friends with their own culture of spectral dreams and illusory realities on what America is. En bref, The French have a strange dislike of the United States while being obsessed by the American Dream.***| We’re all obsessed I think by our own, culturally version of the American Dream. We’re all going, the entire world, it would seem me, to find out about this dream place, this inland empire, we are all infatuated by.

The United States is the perhaps the greatest and most powerful cultural creator of expression in all of human history. Movies. Cowboys. Blockbuster Books. Superman. TV Series. Bugs Bunny. Superheros. Disney. X-Men. Tom Hanks. Tom Cruise…a seemingly endless supply of visual, musical and cultural expression about something somewhere.

In spite of the grandeur of the US’s cultural machine or perhaps because of it, the essence and the soul of the United States of America won’t quite ever be captured, it is truly too big for itself, but we’re look for it: America.

The Route

In the spirit of the Pony Express, we’re going West. Our starting point and point of return (if we get back!) is Omaha, Nebraska. We have one car and roughly 5 weeks.

The plan is to spend the Fourth of July in Omaha and then take off the 7th of July.

[![][2]][2]The first leg will be across Colorado and Utah ending in San Francisco, California. After that, we’ll head down to LA and San Diego and perhaps to Tijuana, Mexico. After that we’ll go to Las Vegas.

The second leg (we’ll pick up a friend or two in Las Vegas) will go through Arizona, specifically to the Grand Canyon and the natural parks in the area. Then we’ll head through New Mexico, and most likely stop over in El Paso.[![][3]][3]

The third leg, after that, will zigzag across Texas and maybe all the way to New Orleans. We’ll subsequently head northward through the Heartland and back to Omaha.

The trip I think will be divided between visiting some bigger cities and some smaller spots and state parks. At present, this is just the overall plan, which I’ve estimated at around 5500 miles or about 155 miles per day (or if you use a different measuring system, about 250 km per day). Sounds doable?

*| Les français détestent les États-Unis tout en étant obsédé par le rêve américain.