America is criss-crossed by thousands of miles of highways and byways, but only a select few roads can bring you from one coast to another. In late December, I discovered that one such road begins in my adopted home of Boston. Starting in Kenmore Square and ending in the small town of Newport, Oregon, US Route 20 traverses the entire continental U.S. After conducting further research and taking a peek at my bank account, I came to a decision: I would take a month out of my upcoming summer and travel across the country on this historic road with an old high school buddy. And along the way I would chronicle my journey.
That last bit is not just for my own gratification: I am an aspiring writer and newly minted graduate of Boston University. Having received my degree a few weeks ago, I must now venture out into the post-college world devoid of deans and dining halls.
In some senses I partook in a typical college life. I drank. I slept in late. I filled blue books with now long-forgotten information. And, of course, I reflected on what my life would look like after graduation. Until my eureka moment, all of this thinking garnered only two, admittedly vague notions: I want to travel and I want to write. These empty assertions then developed into the above concrete plan of action, as I spent my last college semester plotting out my course and working out logistics and steeling myself for nights spent in cheap motels.
Today, at last, the preparation ends and I begin my journey. I’ll be in Boston in time to see tonight’s Red Sox game. Friday will be devoted to sight seeing and dinner with old college friends, and on Saturday I’ll pull out of Beantown onto US Route 20. I’ll then travel over 3,000 miles, finally arriving at the Pacific on July 4th. A quick stop in Portland will follow, then a four day rush down the West Coast. San Diego will serve as my final destination – there I’ll return the rental car and hop a plane back to New Jersey.
However, this blog will be dedicated to the days spent along Route 20. Indeed, I’ll be covering all that transpires within 20 posts, hence the page’s title. With so much ground to cover (literally) these posts will cover a wide range of topics. There will be plenty for history buffs: talk about the road itself, differences between the route and interstate systems, and historic sites seen along the way. Nature lovers will also find their fill – Route 20 passes right through Yellowstone National Park. And those interested in America’s culture and society will be served an overflowing plate and possibly even seconds: reflections on conversations had with locals and fellow travelers; impressions on regional differences; comparisons of small towns and major cities; and the search to rise above preconceptions and discover what kind of place America really is.
With that said, I hope you decide to come along for the ride – together, let’s see where Route 20 will take us!
P.S. There will also be pictures.