Saturday, January 17, 2015

An Accidental Dare

It Started As An Accidental Dare From My Husband.

I've been wanting to travel around the US for some time now, it has probably been two years since I first thought about it seriously.  But the costs involved in hotels, gas, or renting a small motorhome or camper just made it impossible.  Not to mention time from work and from teaching.  It just wasn't going to work.  Until Bob said, "You can do it, if it doesn't cost anything."

Bob doesn't remember saying that (based upon the expressions I get when I mention the Accidental Dare.)  I don't know, maybe I dreamed it.  It's possible these days. 

Ten days ago, on January 7th, I posted THIS on Facebook:
          "I've been wanting to take a trip around the US visiting friends and family along the way for quite a while now - probably a couple of years. Bob said I can if it doesn't cost anything. LOL I was trying to figure out a way to do that and realized that I have Facebook friends in probably every state. This is totally in the "What if..." stage at the moment, but what do you think? Would you let me camp out on your couch for a night as I came through town? LOL I know a good portion of my 1600+ friends in real life, but a lot of you I've never met. I'm trying to figure out a Social Media Experiment here - what if I could get around the US just by the goodwill of people I know online? Am I crazy to try this? I think it would be a fun blog!!"

I got a much larger response than I'd hoped for, so I started going through my friends list on Facebook.  I found that it's pretty difficult to just READ through my Friends list.  It changes each time I go to the list and it's not in any order, nor can it be sorted into any useful configuration.  So, I did a search for A's.  Only about 20 people showed up.  Ummm. That can't be right!  So I did a search for Aa, then Ab, etc.  Occasionally, I'd have to search for four letters in order to get down to less than 20 people, and I still missed a few people.  After a few days of working on this, I thought I had a pretty definitive alphabetical list of people and where they lived.  I knew people in 47 states and 26 other countries!!  I sorted that into states, then I mapped those cities onto a blank US map.

I took the state lists and rated each person #1 through #5.
1.  People who offered to have to me stay or I don't need to ask.
2.  People I feel comfortable asking.
3.  People I might ask if needed.
4.  Public figures, single men or others I will never ask if I can stay.
5.  Ignore.

Then I took my #1s and #2s, marked them on the US map and last night I finished creating a route than went through every state, visiting everyone on my list.

During this time, friends had asked me about paying for gas and food and if that counted in my "no cost" rule.  I thought I would ask a car dealership to loan me an electric car for the trip, but after searching for Electric car charging stations throughout the US, and knowing my route, that's not feasible. (Which made me sad, since I really wanted to drive a Tesla!)  I made a list of all electric cars and all electric-gas hybrids to see which types might work best for this trip. 

I came up with the following cars, based solely on a few articles:

Cadillac ELR
Chevy Volt
Ford C-MAX Energi
Ford Fusion Energi
and the new Audi A3 E-Tron

the Toyota RAV4 EV would have been terrific, too, but it's been discontinued.

My son Eric suggested that I talk to rental car agencies instead of dealerships, which is a terrific idea since they are nation-wide instead of local and would be more likely to loan me a car in exchange for free publicity for a few months.  And today, my friend Francine Speaker asked if I had spoken to any company like Subway for free food?  No!  I hadn't even thought about it!  I think I'll contact Cracker Barrel, since I would happily eat there every day for several months.

Since this is looking more likely to happen, I decided that I'd better start a blog and get everyone up to speed on how this started.  Now you know the HOW, next time I'll talk about the WHY.

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