FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
Q: Did you go with anybody else?
A: No. “He travels the fastest who travels alone” – Kipling. Besides, we’d end up killing each other on a trip like this.
Q: Did you bring a radar detector?
A: Yes, I did. I “bought” it at Fry’s, the Silicon Valley electronics store that has a great selection, great prices, a great return policy, and then infuriates their customers in every other way possible. After the trip, I returned it.
Q: What about that speeding ticket?
A: It was in Hell’s Canyon in Idaho. The road had narrowed in the canyon, and the speed limit had dropped from 65 to 55. I didn’t see the sign, and was still going 75 when he got me fair and square with radar coming from the other direction. My radar detector went off, but not fast enough.
Q: Wasn’t it boring, just driving all day?
A: Not at all. I like driving, and I especially like seeing the country. I’d been working at a very stressful job with a Silicon Valley startup and really appreciated having eight days to just think and stare at the scenery. I also listened to a lot of Country & Western music on the radio and heard Trisha Yearwood sing “There Goes My Baby” at least thirty times, which was fine by me.
Q: Didn’t you have trouble staying awake?
A: Not very much. I have a theory that says sleep is when you mentally process all the stuff you didn’t have time to process during the day. But since I was just driving and looking at the scenery, I didn’t have that much to process while I slept. I got by just fine on five hours a night, which is about three hours less than I normally need. Also, I tend to be very aware of how tired I am, and have no problem pulling over in a rest area or exit and napping.
Q: Did you contact the Guinness Book of World Records?
A: No. First of all, I didn’t get “proof” of visiting every state. That wasn’t my goal. Some people want to be rich and famous. I definitely don’t want to be famous. This is the first write-up I’ve done about the trip, and I completed the trip more than two years ago. The goal was to prove to myself that somebody really could visit all fifty states in a week’s vacation. And I met my goal.
Q: How much did this trip cost?
A: The rental car total was $565.33 (or $0.06 / mile!) and I spent about $450.00 on gasoline. The hotels probably totaled $400. The MRE’s (Meals, Ready To Eat, or “three lies for the price of one”, as they say) were about $130.00. I probably spent $150.00 on other meals, etc. Equipment (maps, batteries, etc.) was probably only $50, and I probably would have purchased the GPS receiver anyway (every Boy Scout needs one). The United Airlines ticket to Hawaii and back was $544.00. The Alaska Airlines ticket to Ketchikan and back was $466.00. The total was thus about $2,750, or about $55 per state.
Q: Did you take a lot of pictures?
A: Only mental pictures. I’ve never been much in to the photography thing. I was trying to buy a new Kodak digital camera just before the trip, to see if I could snap a picture of every state’s “Welcome to…” sign. But I didn’t get it in time. Again, I was looking for a fun adventure, not “proof”.
Q: Any later repercussions from the rental car company?
A: None, although I don’t think I’ve rented from that particular chain since the trip.
Q: Is this the record for the fastest visiting of all fifty states, or for visiting the most states in one day (12) or driving the most miles in one day (1,517)?
A: I have no idea. I’ve done some Internet searching and haven’t heard of anyone doing anything similar. The purpose of my trip was not to set a record for fastest visiting of all 50 states, but just to see if it could be done in a week’s vacation and on a reasonable budget. The trip could be speeded up dramatically by driving from Maine to the west coast, and then catching the plane flights to Hawaii and Alaska, and speeded up further with more plane flights in the lower 48 states. If anyone has heard of anyone doing anything noteworthy, please contact me. Also, see my "21 States in One Day" trip.