Over the last 10.5 years, I have taken all of two weekends completely off from work. Just those two times that I did not work at all. No other vacations, just working hard in start-up mode well past the start-up phase. I do not have strong enough words to warn you off from doing that. It is extremely unhealthy for you, your family, and friends. Even if it is great for the company the reward, no matter how great, is still debatable versus the price you paid to get there. After years of “I can take a break in a few months” that turned into half a decade, I finally did take a vacation.
Since we’re still in the middle of a pandemic and the idea of flying somewhere is a big stresser right now, I opted to do something that was arguably less fun but more healthy for me. So I went on a three week cross-country drive starting in Denver and ending up back here after five thousand miles. It began with me leaving on Sunday, May 22 and returning on Friday, June 10, involving just over 90 hours of drive time.
One of the goals was to get me off of the computer for those three weeks, with little opportunity to use one even if I felt a desire to. While I took a laptop I ended up using it fairly little and not for work; mission accomplished. There were specific cities I wanted to visit based on friends or family there along with a few others that had points of interest. Since I tend to avoid the big touristy places the route was more centered around locations you’d find on Atlas Obscura, shops that tend not to make the top-ten on Yelp, and good antique malls. The map below shows the stores, attractions, restaurants, and hotels but the overlap in some cities makes it seem like a lot less places than it was:
Of course, I took the trip as an opportunity to verify that squirrels were still thriving around the country and I have to report that Illinois is seriously deficient despite assurances otherwise. While I loudly proclaimed “squirrel!” each time I saw one, I didn’t get many pictures since I was typically driving. However I was able to get a few pics along the way as proof-of-squirrel.
These weren’t the only non-human friends I encountered either! I got to visit a DC Bunny friend and a Missouri neighborhood cat decided to temporarily adopt me. The rest were adverse to selfies apparently.
Finally, this wouldn’t be a ‘jericho blog’ without some numbers. While I didn’t keep a spreadsheet as this was a vacation from computers, I did keep a clipboard and wrote down some numbers as I went!
- 5082 miles driven through 17 states (CO, KS, MO, IL, OH, PA, NY, NJ, DE, MD, VA, NC, SC, GA, AL, TN, AR) and Washington DC
- 18 gas stops totaling $1,235.88
- 18 tolls totaling $175.74 (PA first with $67.40 for a single toll, NJ second with $43.05, NY third with $20.34, OH fourth with $16.75, and VA least with $0.70)
- No accidents, 1 flat tire, 0 animal strikes, 0 speeding tickets (?!), >1 speeding infractions
- Over 217,326 steps taken, 4 days over 20k steps, 2,330 of which were across the Manhattan Bridge in New York. Despite trashing the diet, I somehow lost 0.8 pounds.
- 664 total pictures kept after first pass: 67 of food, 97 of animals
- 54 songs Shazam’d, 40 of which were new when I checked my playlist later
- Over 2,500 work related emails upon my return. 0 desire to look at any of them.
- Zero times I was asked for proof of COVID vaccination.
From here I will cover other parts of the trip in subsequent blogs that include the road, lodging, food, scenery, and more.
[7/5/2022 Update: I received a toll bill from NJ over a month after I left the state with an additional $13.70 charge. Updated totals.
8/12/2022 Update: I received a Toll By Plate charge from PA Turnpike for $67.40; entry date 5/27, posted 7/6, invoice date 7/29. Just lists “Entry: Pittsburgh Exit: Valley Forge”, so a single toll. Wow.]