Drive Around US (April to June, 2000)

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    Prologue

    When I was a visiting scholar in Stanford University, I happened to buy a cool laminated US highway map, on which you can see all over the US at a glance. This was the beginning of this journey. After that, I was haunted by the temptation of driving around the US. This ghost had been always in my mind, urging me to do so, as strong as the time when I decided to take a flight lesson. One night, I made a rough 1 month-plan. When I saw the plan which was reasonable enough to carry out, my desire of drifting around the US got stronger and stronger.

    The first chance came in November 1999, when I decided to leave my company. But, just on the day of start, I got two E-mails which deterred my journey, one was very positive to me, no way not to welcome, but the other was unhappy happening. These two things blocked my way and I had to give up that time. After taking care of the positive event, and clearing the negative one, I got the second chance. It was on April 10th, 2000. The original plan was in the beginning of winter, so I decided to drive north to the Seattle, turn east to Boston, drive down to Key West, and traveling around middle, back to San Francisco. This time, however, is spring. So I changed my plan - driving south first and taking a counter clockwise round of the US. It seemed to me that the FLOW of my fortune had suggested me not to make a journey in winter but to put it off to the best season. At last, I got a chance to try my spirit. Everything is guided by the FLOW of my fortune.

    I would like to thank to all my supporters, my wife Kumi, my daughter Maya, my mother and father, for letting me do this journey. Also special thanks to Sophia, who had kept my Jeep for about three months during my preparation period, Thorsten and Tonia, who provided many stays at his house and many stuffs for this web page, So Miyake and Masumi Miyake for cheering me up, Hitoshi Morioka for useful information about air tickets, and all other friends for visible or invisible supports.

    Here, you can enjoy the journey with me.

  • April 10th (Monday) --Back to California!--
  • April 11th (Tuesday) --Start my journey at Stanford--
  • April 12th (Wednesday) --My future is here--
  • April 13th (Thursday) --Los Angeles--
  • April 14th (Friday) --Death Valley and Las Vegas--
  • April 15th (Saturday) --Hoover Dam to Grand Canyon--
  • April 16th (Sunday) --Grand Canyon, from South Rim and Sky--
  • April 17th (Monday) --Grand Canyon, walking down the rim--
  • April 18th (Tuesday) --Grand Canyon, walking back from the bottom--
  • April 19th (Wednesday) --Williams to Phoenix--
  • April 20th (Thursday) --Fly back to Maya--
  • 1st Break --A brief introduction of my Jeep--
  • April 24th (Monday) --Resume my journey at Phoenix--
  • April 25th (Tuesday) --The Monument Valley--
  • April 26th (Wednesday) --Monument Valley, Four Corners and Arches NP--
  • April 27th (Thursday) --Drive along the Colorado River to the Rocky Mountain--
  • April 28th (Friday) --Skiing in Colorado--
  • April 29th (Saturday) --My Jeep broken and Kansas--
  • April 30th (Sunday) --Car stopped again in Kansas--
  • May 1st (Monday) --Restart from Denver--
  • May 2nd (Tuesday) --Kansas City, St Louis and Memphis--
  • May 3rd (Wednesday) --Jazz, Jazz, Jazz, at New Orleans--
  • May 4th (Thursday) --New Orleans to Tallahassee, FL--
  • May 5th (Friday) --Fort Myers, southern Florida--
  • May 6th (Saturday) --The Everglades National Park, FL--
  • May 7th (Sunday) --Key West--
  • May 8th (Monday) --The Kennedy Space Center--
  • May 9th (Tuesday) --Good bye Florida, hello Charleston--
  • May 10th (Wednesday) --Charleston to Raleigh--
  • May 11th (Thursday) --The Blue Ridge Parkway and the Shenandoah NP--
  • May 12th (Friday) --The Washington D.C.--
  • May 13th (Saturday) --Philadelphia and New York--
  • May 14th (Sunday) --Fly back to my family for a short break--
  • 2nd Break --Something about bed and food--
  • May 17th (Wednesday) --Resume and run away from New York--
  • May 18th (Thursday) --The Niagara Falls--
  • May 19th (Friday) --The Niagara Falls to Detroit through Canada--
  • May 20th (Saturday) --The Ford Museum and the Lake Michigan--
  • May 21st (Sunday) --A funky city, Chicago--
  • May 22nd (Monday) --Milwaukee and Eau Claire--
  • May 23rd (Tuesday) --The twin cities, St. Paul and Minneapolis--
  • May 24th (Wednesday) --Mitchell to North Platte--
  • May 25th (Thursday) --Back to Flagler--
  • May 26th (Friday) --Resurrection--
  • May 27th (Saturday) --Black Hills, South Dakota--
  • May 28th (Sunday) --Mount Rushmore, the Devil's Tower and Montana--
  • May 29th (Monday) --Beartooth pass to the Yellowstone NP--
  • May 30th (Tuesday) --Geysers, hot springs in the Yellowstone NP--
  • May 31th (Wednesday) --The Grand Teton NP to Salt Lake City--
  • June 1st (Thursday) --Salt Lake City, the Great Salt Lake and the salt desert--
  • June 2nd (Friday) --Twin Falls to Yakima--
  • June 3rd (Saturday) --The Mount Rainier National Park--
  • June 4th (Sunday) --Seattle, a city of great optimism--
  • June 5th (Monday) --The Boeing tour and The Olympic National Park--
  • June 6th (Tuesday) --Driving along 101 down to Newport, OR--
  • June 7th (Wednesday) --Coming back to California--
  • June 8th (Thursday) --Bad news and interruption at SFO--
  • Interruption --Welcome Signs at State Line-- (beware of 35 JPEG files)
  • June 27th (Tuesday) --Completed at Stanford!!--
  • Epilogue

    Many things happened during this journey. Some were good and some were bad. But I believe that all happenings were great experiences. One of the most impressive things was the breakdown of my Jeep. Without this trouble, I couldn't have met kind people in Flagler, CO and Colby, KS. I had experienced many many things including calling AAA for towing, calling a stranger on a phone, hitchhiking, asking for a special arrangement at the National Rental Car desk and struggling with Citibank. I believe that this kind of precious experience can't be bought for any amount of money.

    I guess many people want to ask me where was the best place. It's rather hard to say one place like "Rome" as I didn't have any love affair on the way. But as you can guess, I love large and dry country like Arizona, South Dakota, Montana, Wyoming, etc. Of course I enjoyed skiing in Colorado. On the other hand, I was so much tired of big, dirty cities except for Chicago. You can easily guess where I don't like, if you read the report. As for the artificial stuff, I was so much moved to see Kennedy Space Center, Ford Museum, Museum of Flight, and Boeing factory. These are also very good experiences as an engineer.

    When I say, "I am driving all around US alone" on the way, I was sometimes asked why I was doing such a thing. I tired to explain it, like "It's a great experience to drive around US by myself," or "it's my way of life," or "It's a kind of training (Syugyo in Japanese) in my life." But I always tried to make them understood in vain. Now I know that those who ask this kind of silly question can never ever understand the joy of adventure, importance of experience, and ephemerality of life. And I think I am a kind of happiest guy in the world because my wife, parents and friends never asked this question.


      If you have some comments, corrections, encouragement, ovations, etc, please E-mail me at
      tadao(a)azurescript.com

    Last modified December 19, 2003

    Copyright (C) Tadao Hashimoto