Road Trip Report 1

July 14 marks day 6 of the Great Lakes Road Trip 2009 for Vinny and me.  We’ve traveled through New York and New Jersey (mostly just to get out of both), through Pennsylvania with stops along the way, stayed a while in Ohio, and now we are in Michigan. It is the perfect time of year for these states, in terms of the climate.

We are generally without internet, so no pictures for now, but I’ll share some highlights and updates of our road trip stipulations.

On the no-interstate factor? As we had planned, we took the interstates to get out of New York and New Jersey, since we’d never get out otherwise.  We cannot imagine taking 25A all the way from Suffolk County to the Cross Island Parkway – we’d still be there. But once we got to our destination in Pennsylvania, we have stuck to our no interstate policy. This led us to a very long detour off Route 6 in Pennsylvania, and a less than impressive Route 20 through Ohio into Cleveland. However, so many interesting sites and beautiful towns have made up for the hassle of the highways. We’re learning that there are definitely times for the interstate and times for the highways and byways. That however deserves more consideration.

On the no-chains factor? So far so good, except for groceries and gas, which cannot be avoided. We have some really good meals at locally owned places, including a particularly good breakfast at Bobby’s Kitchen in Monroe, Michigan.

On the $100 day budget? Well, of course, it’s easy if we’re staying with family or friends who give us a place to stay and send us with coffee and lunch for the road. That was day 1. The other days, so far, we’ve been sticking to our budget average. Some days cost more than others depending on how far we drive or what attractions we visit. Some days cost much less than $100, some cost a bit more.  We’re camping throughout the trip and we only eat out one meal per day, which is our trick to a tight budget. If you love campfires and marshmallows, camping is the way to go.

Highlights along the way: Route 6 in PA, Geneva-on-the-lake in Ohio, Rock-n-Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, East Harbor State Park in Ohio, and the Ford Rogue Factory Tour in Dearborn Michigan. We’ve seen gorgeous towns and some interesting sites – pictures to come once we get to a campground that has some internet.

Great Lakes Road Trip 2009

Today,* Thursday July 9, 2009, begins “Great Lakes Road Trip 2009!”

Vinny and I have mapped a route from Long Island, New York through the Midwest, the Great Lakes region, and back (with some undetermined points along the way). In the spirit of historic preservation, Independent America, scenic routes, blue highways, byways, good road trip stories, visiting new places, and a budget we have come up with a few standard rules we’ll abide by along our travels.

As you can probably guess, the standards we have set for ourselves are: 1) no chain hotels or restaurants; 2) as little interstate mileage as possible; and the biggest one 3) do our best to stick to a budget of $100 per day for everything – food, gas, lodging, activities, etc.

Stipulations: Gas is not included in the no chains rule. Any other things like grocery stores will have to be decided as we go. If you have suggestions, write them below.

The purpose is to show that it is possible have a great time without taking the interstate, staying in chain motels, eating at chain restaurants, and visiting typical modern tourist destinations.  The American road trip, independent style, is still possible as just two travelers. We don’t have a film crew or sponsors or anything else. It’s just an experiment. So, whether you are soon-to-be graduate student, a preservationist, an adventure seeker, or you are just on a budget, hopefully Preservation in Pink can offer a bit of inspiration and possible guidance.

Can we do it? I’ll let you know.  For the next 2 – 2.5 weeks or approximately 4,000 miles, I’ll be posting all road trip related blogs. They might be about our struggles to find only mom & pop establishments (or maybe the ease of it!), our stops along the way, lodging, historic sites, interesting photographs, or anything else road trip & preservation related. Posts will not necessarily be five days per week, but at least three days. And at the end, I’ll be sure to have a summary and results of the travel experiment.

First stop: Pennsylvania!

*We left Long Island at 5:30am.


Quotes to travel by:

For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move.” – Robert Louis Stevenson

One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.” – Henry Miller


Side note: Be sure to read Lauren McMillan’s final Adventures in the Field post tomorrow, Friday July 10.