lost, for a little while

the lazy bum’s guide to road trip 2011
July 27, 2011, 9:21 pm
Filed under: memories


The Complete Setlist

  1. Detroit, MI
  2. Cleveland, OH
  3. Forestville, NY
  4. Syracuse, NY
  5. Hancock, NH
  6. Boston, MA
  7. East Lyme, CT
  8. Philadelphia, PA
  9. Cologne, NJ
  10. Washington, DC
  11. Charleston, SC
  12. Savannah, GA
  13. Brunswick, GA
  14. Miami, FL
  15. Bonita Springs, FL
  16. Sarasota, FL
  17. Mobile, AL
  18. New Orleans, LA
  19. Beaumont, TX
  20. Austin, TX
  21. Carlsbad Caverns National Park, NM
  22. Roswell, NM
  23. Santa Fe, NM
  24. Telluride, CO
  25. Moab, UT (Arches National Park, Canyonlands National Park)
  26. Bryce Canyon National Park, UT
  27. Zion National Park, UT
  28. Kanab, UT
  29. Grand Canyon National Park (North Rim & South Rim), AZ
  30. Las Vegas, NV
  31. Joshua Tree National Park, CA
  32. San Diego, CA
  33. San Clemente, CA
  34. Los Angeles, CA
  35. Monterey, CA
  36. San Francisco, CA
  37. Muir Woods National Monument, CA
  38. The side of the road at various places in coastal California
  39. Crater Lake National Park, OR (for about an hour)
  40. Salem, OR
  41. Portland, OR
  42. Olympia, WA
  43. Seattle, WA
  44. Spokane, WA
  45. Glacier National Park, MT
  46. Bozeman, MT
  47. Yellowstone National Park, MT/WY
  48. Jackson, WY (Grand Tetons National Park)
  49. Side of the road somewhere in Casper, WY
  50. Wind Cave National Park, SD
  51. Mount Rushmore National Monument, SD
  52. Badlands National Park, SD
  53. Wall, SD
  54. A rest stop somewhere in eastern South Dakota
  55. Minneapolis, MN
  56. Milwaukee, WI
  57. Chicago, IL


Road Trip By Numbers

127: days on the road
$4,132.27: total decrease in my bank account from day 1 to day 127
$32.54: approximate decline in savings per day
$4.29: most expensive gas price, per gallon, purchased (middle of nowhere, Texas)
$3.32: cheapest gas price, per gallon, purchased (Wyoming)
17,000+: miles traveled (I didn’t keep track–can you believe it?? Oy.)
3: hostels stayed in
13: national parks visited
35: states driven through
6: time zone switches
1: turkeys wrestled
1,749: pictures taken
4: oil changes for the Blueberry
0: percent sales tax in Montana! What?!
44: friends and relatives ambushed during the trip
2: brewery tours attended
3: shots of kava consumed
57: post cards collected
2: sunrises watched
3: bears seen in the wild (from a safe distance)
14: museums visited
5: hotel continental breakfasts crashed
6: times I stayed with total strangers
15: nights spent in my car
2: other female solo travelers met
1: near-death experience
0: car troubles had


The Best…

  1. Sandwich: Three-way tie between the Duck Club in Charleston, the shrimp po’ boy in New Orleans, and the pork jibarito in Chicago
  2. Hotel/Hostel: Hostel in the Forest
  3. Tourist trap: the Cabazon Dinosaurs
  4. Museum: Three-way tie between the Mütter Museum, the World Erotic Art Museum, and the Experience Music Project & Science-Fiction Museum
  5. National Park: Glacier National Park
  6. Cave: Carlsbad Caverns
  7. People: New Orleans, Louisiana
  8. Continental Breakfast: Holiday Inn Express
  9. Pie: Houston’s in Kanab, Utah
  10. Accent: The ladies from Minnesota I met while at Bryce Canyon
  11. Billboard/sign: “Thanks, 2011 Logging Convention — it was off the chain!” in Hill City, South Dakota
  12. Bartender: Tie between Landon, at Ted’s Montana Grill in Bozeman, Montana; and Strawberry, at the Mystic Water Kava Bar in Hollywood, Florida
  13. Local Cuisine: Santa Fe, New Mexico
  14. Drink deals: Miami, Florida (free sangria) and Chicago, Illinois ($1 beers)
  15. Brewery Tour: Sam Adams’ in Boston, Massachusetts
  16. Nightlife: Austin, Texas
  17. Drive: Highway 1 in California
  18. Hike: Hidden Canyon Trail in Zion National Park
  19. Small Town: Telluride, Colorado
  20. Big (to me) City: Tie between Boston and D.C.

The Worst…

  1. Hotel/Hostel: The Motel 6 in Charleston, South Carolina
  2. National Park: Joshua Tree National Park
  3. Tourists: Tie between those at the Grand Canyon and those at Yellowstone
  4. Museum: The Chicago Museum of Science and Industry (Runners-up: Philadelphia’s National Constitution Center and D.C.’s National Museum of the American Indian. They didn’t win because at least I didn’t have to pay for them.)
  5. Traffic: Los Angeles, California
  6. Dinner: Spaghetti Bolognese from the Thunderbird Lodge in Carmel, Utah
  7. Accent: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  8. Tourist Trap: Wall Drug, South Dakota
  9. Parking Regulations: San Diego, California
  10. Continental Breakfast: Days Inn
  11. Hike: Double O Arch Trail, Arches National Park
  12. Weather: Milwaukee, Wisconsin & Chicago, Illinois (blame the heatwave)
  13. Car-“Camping” Experience: White’s City, New Mexico
  14. Roadkill Problem: miles of flattened armadillos from Northern Florida to Louisiana
  15. Destination Letdown: Savannah, Georgia
  16. Place to Run Out of Gas: West Texas
  17. Interview Disappointment: Author Mary Roach (canceled)
  18. City to Visit on a Budget: Los Angeles, California
  19. Small Town: Roswell, New Mexico
  20. Big (to me) City: Las Vegas, Nevada

final destination: home
July 25, 2011, 8:52 pm
Filed under: trips


Ain’t no place like it.

storyteller q&a: wynne delacoma
July 25, 2011, 8:51 pm
Filed under: advice

Wynne Delacoma is an adjunct lecturer at Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism, where she teaches arts reporting and writing. Before 2006, she was a full-time staff critic for the Chicago Sun-Times, where she covered classical music, dance, and the opera.

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destination: chicago
July 24, 2011, 7:59 am
Filed under: trips

"Land of Really Tall Buildings"

As I said goodbye to my friend Eric in Milwaukee, he gave me a tight hug and told me to have fun in Chicago. When I pulled away to walk to my car, I could see a large splotch of beige makeup on his black tee shirt, a profile silhouette which was suspiciously Lisa-shaped. My face was literally melting off.

This did not bode well.

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interlude: milwaukee
July 22, 2011, 8:14 pm
Filed under: trips

On the Miller Brewery Tour

My beloved Midwest was conspiring against me.

In Minneapolis–where everyone told me it was best to experience the city by walking around and seeing the parks and lakes–it rained practically every day I was there. And any of the museums that I planned to use as my emergency back-up activities were closed because a little thing called the government was shut down.

(They miraculously fixed that the last day I was in town.)

When I arrived in Milwaukee, the heat wave that would last all week was just getting started. There would be absolutely no wandering–just precise movement to get me from one place of air-conditioned bliss (Eric’s house) to another (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2).

But you know what never lets you down in a time of crisis, of government shut down, of ridiculous, disgusting, sticky heat?


Just my luck, Milwaukee had plenty of it.

interlude: minneapolis
July 20, 2011, 12:15 pm
Filed under: rant, trips

Target Stadium in Minneapolis

“Okay, so tomorrow’s Wednesday…”

“Tomorrow is Thursday,” Craig reminded me, for the fourth time that day.

I looked up from where I was sprawled out on his couch, watching reruns of Prison Break on my laptop.



And it was right about then that I realized I had finally entered full-on bum territory. Sure, I had changed out of my sweatpants (at around 1:30 in the afternoon), and yeah, it was raining outside, so it wasn’t really my fault that most of my plans for the day had fallen through, but…

“So, what did you do today?” Craig asked, as he put down his briefcase and undid the top few buttons of his shirt.


Looked at jobs to apply for, didn’t apply for any, went to the Mall of America for an hour, came home, took a nap.

Bum, bum bum bum. BUMMMMMM.

Maybe it’s not such a bad thing that this trip is almost over. See, even without a job, apartment, income, or boyfriend, a life of travel and leisure is pretty awesome. There’s really nothing to motivate me to change that. But once you take away the travel and leisure part?

I predict a lot of personal productivity in my near future.

interlude: south dakota
July 14, 2011, 11:54 am
Filed under: rant

The billboards for this started in WYOMING.

South Dakota is pretty much one giant tourist trap—endless miles of billboards that advertise knock-off caves, mystery spots, and every outlet, depot, or watering hole you could think of. It’s kind of fitting, though, because as the end of this road trip is swiftly approaching (only three states to go), I’m feeling pretty trapped.

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