About “Project 49”

I’ve long had a desire to drive across the U.S.  Many people do this (e.g., to change schools or jobs), but it’s something that I have yet to do myself.  Before this trip, from my home in California I had driven throughout the western states (as far as Colorado).  I had also driven through parts of Texas, the Midwest, and the Southeast – but only after having flown there first.

So I decided it was time to see more of the U.S. by road, by driving across the country and back.  However, to make things interesting, I’ve added a couple of twists:

  1. During my trip, I’ll visit each of the 48 contiguous United States (i.e., excluding Alaska and Hawaii), plus the District of Columbia – thus the name “Project 49“.  (Many states I’ll visit only briefly – sometimes just for a few hours; others I’ll spend more time in.)
  2. During my trip, I will not visit the same name-brand eatery (or supermarket) more than once.

The second rule may prove to be difficult – I can’t visit more than one McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Subway, Starbucks etc. (worst of all, only one In-n-Out).  The U.S. is becoming increasingly homogenized, with these large chain ‘restaurants’ spread throughout the country.  In many places – especially along the interstate highways – these large chains are almost the only option available.  This rule will force me to explore some of the local cafes and restaurants along the way, and, I hope, expose me to more local cuisine.

Here are a couple of websites that I’ve found useful when planning this trip:

Unfortunately, with gas (petrol) prices near record highs, this is not the greatest time to be embarking upon a trip like this. But if I decided to wait until the Middle East was free of strife, then I could find myself waiting a very long time.

Because I’ll be making this trip in the Spring, I’ll be driving in a counter-clockwise loop: Starting with the southern states, and ending with the northern states.  That way, I’ll be more likely to avoid extreme heat (in the South) or extreme cold (in the North).  Nonetheless, some surprises are sure to await me.  Follow me as I update my trip on this blog!

Ross Finlayson

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