Summer Trip Plans: No Route Is the Best Route

I spent 8 months planning my trip last summer. This year, not so much. This time around, I went the opposite route… I had a few destinations in mind and those are, with only a few exceptions, the only waypoints I put in the GPS. I’ve done this partly because the last half of my trip needs to be very flexible in the event I need to call the trip early on account of work. The only real objective for my routing is to stay off 4-lanes as much as possible.

Departing on Sunday, 2 June, here’s where I’m heading:

Stage 1
NY > ONT, CAN > MI > IN > Pekin, IL (920 miles)
Spending a couple of days with relatives in Pekin. Especially looking forward to seeing Grandma! I plan on camping 2 nights along the way, although I don’t know where.

Stage 2
IL > Bourbon, MO (369 miles)
Spending a few days camping with 47 of my rowdiest friends along the Meramec River. G’bye, liver.

Those are the only 2 stages set in stone. At any time after this, I run the sad (yet fortunate) risk of needing to head on home for work.

Stage 3
MO > IL > KY > TN > Lewisville, NC (967 miles)
Hitting Deals Gap and the Blue Ridge Parkway prior to arriving at a friend’s place, whom I have not seen in far, far too long. Again, I plan on camping 2 nights along the way, but have no idea where.

Stage 4
NC > VA > Hyattsville, MD (491 miles)
Spending a couple nights with my cousin and (finally!) meeting his wife. I can’t believe I haven’t seen him in over 20 years! Taking the Blue Ridge Parkway and Skyline Drive, and hoping to find a campground somewhere along the way.

Stage 4.5
Hyattsville, MD > Crownsville, MD (33 miles)
A quick run to another friend’s place. I’ll probably end up wandering around Crownsville for a few hours since it’s so close and they’ll be at work. Supposedly, however, there will be beverages waiting for me on the back deck.

Stage 5

MD > PA > Rochester, NY (home) (418 miles)
I’ll likely make it in a single day, as this is a trek I’ve made a few times now. Depending on time, I may make a detour up to my uncle’s place in the Adirondacks, but I’m playing that by ear.

All told, it’s about 3200 miles. It’ll be interesting to see how much wandering I actually do once I’m on the road. The days I went off-route last summer were some of the most enjoyable exploring days of the 6200 mile journey.

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