ok, here's the final breakdown.
The Epic Road Trip
the recap, summary, final thoughts, whatever
*vehicle: 1993 Ford Explorer, Eddie Bauer Edition, maroon.
*persons: two. until we picked up a hitchhiker (Amy) just north of Houston. then we were 3. :-)
*Stuffed pandas: one.
*luggage: one Very Large suitcase. One smaller suitcase. Two duffel bags. One garment bag. One backpack. One laptop computer. One blanket, one pillow, one large towel, one hand towel, one washcloth. One large cooler. One bag full of snack food. Two food items as overflow from the bag.
*Snacks: Two cases of water, two and a half cases of coke/dr. pepper (total throughout the trip--we restocked in houston). Guacamole-flavored chips. trail mix. pop tarts. corn pops. fruit loops. wheat thins. pudding.
*Total days: 12
*Total driving days: 9
*Total distance: 4,794.1 miles
*Total gas: 227.791 gallons. 15 fill-ups.
*Average gas mileage: 21.046 miles per gallon. with the air conditioning on, in hills and mountains and plains and valleys...
*Highest price paid for fuel: $2.09.9
*Lowest price paid for fuel: $1.39.9
*Total amount spent on fuel: $341.12
*States: 10. Washington, Oregon, California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia.
*Friend's/Family's houses: 3
*Major sights seen: lots. including but not limited to: Grand Canyon, the Petrified Forest and Painted Desert, The Very Large Array (of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory), Roswell New Mexico's UFO museum, The Continental Divide, Carlsbad Caverns, The Alamo, Avery Island--the Tabasco place, New Orleans' French Quarter.
*Total National Parks visited: 3
*Total State Parks rejected upon arrival due to unreasonable cost and unknowledgeable rangers: 1
*Total private parks rejected upon arrival due to unreasonable cost, bad timing, or the cheesy factor: 4
*Towns rejected as places to stay due to scariness, dirtiness, or extra time in the day where we could clearly keep driving: 3
*amount of driving done by mom: All.
*amount of driving done by me: none.
*hills and mountains seen: tons.
*grass: lots. only two national grasslands though.
*trees: not many until Louisiana/Mississippi and especially Alabama/Georgia. Too many then.
*total time spent driving through unpopulated areas with boring scenery...or with occasional small towns consisting of five houses, a "store", and a sign with no indication of population: probably about 50 hours, at least. maybe more.
*cactus: well, lots of different varieties, but no saguaro, unfortunately. I've been denied the opportunity to get my picture taken next to a saguaro cactus, standing with my arms turned up (bent at the elbows) imitating the cactus. So far, anyway.
*tumbleweed: one that I saw. I slept some of the time though.
*CD's played: 52 without repeating. nearly 70 total.
*wildlife seen (alive): 4 deer in one place (nowhere near a sign telling us to watch out for deer). lots of prairie dogs, on route 66 in arizona. snake on the road (might have been dead though, we don't know.) some squirrels. two california condors. some buzzards. a couple of snowy egrets. about half a million bats. literally.
*wildlife seen (dead): deer, in Carlsbad, NM. dog. lots and lots of roadkill of various kinds, including raccoon.
*wildlife not seen though we were warned about it by roadsigns, making me very disappointed when we never saw one: elk, bear, deer, alligator.
*total time spent in the car: hours upon hours. at least 72 hours, probably more.
*longest driving day: 11 hours.
*longest sight-seeing day(s): Grand Canyon/Painted Desert/Petrified Forest, and Carlsbad Caverns. (days 5 and 7, respectively)
*Total amusement parks visited: two six flags. soon to add one (tomorrow!) though it might not really count, but mom IS still here, after all.
*time zones crossed: three.
*mountain ranges: two. plus the texas hill country.
*swamp lands crossed: one. Louisiana.
*net effect: a VERY sore behind, bonding time with mom, a nice tan, lots of great sights of the US seen, a car in Atlanta so i'm no longer stranded on the CTS campus at the mercy of my classmates.
*total money spent: TONS and tons and tons. approximately $1,000, I think. just my estimate: mom might have a more accurate guess.
*the trip itself: priceless.