When we started the initial planning of our trip, two years ago (!), we bought a giant, laminated wall map and mounted it on a sheet of cardboard so we could plot our route with push pins. Unfortunately, we couldn't find a complete map of North America (or even US and Canada) so we ended up with a continental U.S map.
When we got the map, we were assuming we'd go to Alaska. After a few conversations with people who had done the drive (and especially one with Angie's grandfather, Bill, who said, "are you SURE you know how far that is??), we finally got on MapQuest to see what the big deal was. The big deal is that Austin to Anchorage is 4,000 miles, one way!
Banff, Canada became our northern-most destination in the west.
Anyway, back to the map. When we left town we needed a good bird's eye of the route, so we removed the pins, replaced them with sharpie dots, and rolled up the map to go with us. Along the way we marked our route in sharpie markers and this is what happened...
The West, in red ink.
I swear we were sober, at least while driving, but there's so much to see and only so many ways to get there and we even went back to see a couple of things we missed. What a crazy awesome mess. This was 15,000+ miles.
The Southeast/Florida leg in black ink and the Eastern leg in Purple.
Many more roads at our disposal and smaller mountains but still a crazy convoluted mess and another 15,000 miles!
Hey, but that's the point of an epic road trip. Go anywhere, anytime, and see everyone you can along the way! We're already trying to figure out how to fill in the gaps...
So, to sum it up, the map is going back on the wall and, besides our photos and memories, is one of only a few souvenirs we have from the trip...
and one of our most cherished.