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My 6 week, 6,600+ Mile Road Trip

Forums: General Discussion
Created on: 06/27/11 11:44 PM Views: 1853 Replies: 14
Monday, June 27, 2011 at 11:44 PM

Frequent Help Forum visitors will know I hang around here a lot. I like the company, like the Admins, like the service we get here; and I like to help when I can.

I'm going to be scarce here for about six weeks. No doubt some will cheer, some will boo.

My 50th Class Reunion is the primary reason for a six week, 6,600+ American Road Trip. We'll be "boxing" the compass, starting off from Phoenix Wednesday morning at 6 AM heading North towards Lehi UT, our first overnight.

The "We" is my 26 year old college kid son and me. It's the longest time we will have spent together in a vehicle. We're both hoping we'll still be talking to one another when we get back about Aug 6.

I've got the tech gear packed -- netbook, 1 GB HD*, iPhone acting as a tether providing WiFi to an iPad2 and the netbook. Lots of inverters and plug in USB cables to keep the gear charged up and operating inside the Prius.

I plan to post and share photos from along the route. If you're on Facebook, Friend me (and send me a message so I know you're one of the "good people" from the CC Forums.) You can find me on Facebook at

The Facebook page will have a map of the planned route. Who knows? I may be passing through your home town. Maybe we could have a cup.

I will drop in on this thread periodically to update you on my class reunion -- the one I've been working on for almost 2 years now. We're expecting 310 -- still room for 40 more. From what I've learned here from other Admins, there will be enough late-comers to fill the spaces available. However many come, it will be the largest gathering of our class since graduation day June 15, 1961. Very Happy

Don't send me Private Email here, please use

If you're one of the CC people I've been working with as the Reunion Web Coach, I will be available by email and by phone. I won't answer the phone while driving; so leave me a message, tell me how stressed you are and I'll either stop at the next exit or wait until the next meal break to return your call. Wink

Our beautiful cat Pokie (short for Pocahantus) has a sitter looking after her and our home while we're gone. Embarassed

Best to all,

John Chidester

* Jack the asterisk was for you. I decided to forgo the direct connection to the desktop and just take the hard drive with me. What was I thinking? Rolling EyesRolling Eyes

Edited 06/27/11 11:49 PM
Tuesday, June 28, 2011 at 12:02 AM - Response #1

Thanks for the update. How wonderful to have the special time with your son.
Have a safe and wonderful trip,filled with special memories and moments to last a lifetime!
Take care and Enjoy the Journey as well as the destination!
May your Reunion be the Best one yet!
Have FUN!!!Cool

Tuesday, June 28, 2011 at 12:22 AM - Response #2

John, you sound like High Tech on the Road. It sounds too good for this "Road Trip" and I do hope that everything goes well for the Reunion. Like you I am 3000 miles from my 50th Reunion coming up in Oct 2011. I give you all the credit for driving to avoid the Airports. If I tried to drive my wife would never get into the car to drive from Palo Alto, Ca to Pittsburgh, Pa.
The cat will be fine. Enjoy the trip.
Take Care

Tuesday, June 28, 2011 at 12:38 AM - Response #3

That sounds like a terrific trip. I enjoy trips with my son. We get along great. I have to behave, otherwise he won't help me on tech setup questionsExclamation

Taking the HD is for sure a great idea. Did you bring spare batteries for the Prius ... hehehe.

I'm near Seattle, WA ( a bit North East of). Pretty much anytime. If I'm boating, that would be fun by taking a ferry to the marinas I hang out in (just like in the movie - Double Jeopardy ) and you can compare to Port Huron. That's tad out of your way, but it's a terrific scenic drive if you come up the east side of the state via I-90 (NOT I-5). If you like to take pictures, the road a bit further North is even nicer - US 2.

Our Reunion is August 19. Registrations really picked up again in the last 2 weeks. Our class is pretty small, so 100 will be the most that have ever attended. I like to think it's because of the CC websiteWink

Looks like weather is going to be terrific for a bit.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011 at 9:47 AM - Response #4

Enjoy your trip John, when you get into our area be perpared for road constution (I94/Black River) but traffic is moving very well. Hope you have as much fun as we did last year. I put in a order for good weather for you guys. Enjoy the blue.


Tuesday, June 28, 2011 at 2:44 PM - Response #5

John, Have a safe, wonderful trip! I will be needing you soon as I am working on reunion for Sept. 2012. I hope I won't be a pest. Enjoy the trip and your son. Bonita

Tuesday, June 28, 2011 at 4:01 PM - Response #6

In High School, I did pretty good on math. But I must be losing it now. My "6 Week..." trip is more like "5 Weeks..."

Should get better gas mileage then, right? (That's a joke.)

Wednesday, June 29, 2011 at 12:53 AM - Response #7

Have a grand time, John! I just got back from a 4000 mile road trip with my 31 year old son. We are still speaking! I will admit I had to bite my tongue a few times; however, it was our first and probably our last travel time together and we took pics of everything!

Enjoy, stay safe, and cherish...M:O)

Thursday, June 30, 2011 at 8:48 PM - Response #8

First Day - From Phoenix to a little town named Beaver in Utah. Stopped only at the Glen Canyon Dam. Chris drove about half the time.

Day Two - From Beaver UT to Rexburg ID. First time I've ever been in Idaho; one more state and my bucket will be full. Stopped to have lunch with Kyle -- but he and his wife ate at one place and my son and I ate at another. IOW, we didn't make the connection in time. Stopped to explore the Utah state capitol building and toured the grounds of the Mormon Tabernacle.

Tomorrow - Yellowstone National Park.

Thursday, June 30, 2011 at 9:04 PM - Response #9

Sorry we didn't connect. I guess you got off to a late start because I was expecting you in Lehi last night, so I figured I had missed you until I got the private message this morning.

Friday, July 1, 2011 at 10:05 PM - Response #10

Missing CC people seems to be in my itinerary on this trip.

The last minute plan to hook up with Kyle should have been arranged a few days before. My bad.

I got an email from Brad today and I he told me he and his family were at Yellowstone Park -- as were my son and I. How strange is that?

I was kind of hoping I could meet Kyle in person -- something that the Bradster has never done!!! Rolling Eyes

Day 3 has moved us through Yellowstone Park -- hit the mandatory highlights and moved on the Lander WY.

Replanning the next few days this evening.

Edited 07/01/11 10:09 PM
Tuesday, July 5, 2011 at 9:56 PM - Response #11

Among the goals of this trip is to visit as many state capitals as we can. I want to photograph each of the State Capitol building inside and out as I'm able.

Got Utah, Wyoming in the first few days. On July 4 I stopped at the SD Capitol in Pierre. A woman was coming out of the building and I asked if it was open. She said I should go around to the back of the building. I did -- there was a sign-in book. No security screening. No one at the door. I spent about 45 minutes inside taking photos and never saw another person!

Today I visited the Iowa State Capitol. Went though security screening (very friendly; no pat downs) Embarassed

I asked if the Governor was in and was directed to one of his staff people. Told them of my project and asked if I could take a photo of the Governor in his office. A few minutes later, Governor Brandstad came out, we shook and talked about my project and about other Governors I've known from the past.

Nice guy, took his photo and moved on to take pictures inside and out. He was wearing a suit; I'm wearing a T-shirt, shorts and a photographer's vest. Not a proud moment for me.

We might hit a dozen capitol buildings on this trip. Next up will be Michigan on Friday.

Saturday, July 9, 2011 at 10:55 PM - Response #12

Arrived in Port Huron late last night. Excitement is building. Several people signed up for events in the last 2 days. One week from tonight is our big event.

We put together a 48 page class directory. One of my class members sold over $900 in ads -- most at $15 each. (The local chamber bought the back cover for $100; we sold the two inside covers for $75 each; those three were in color.)

Advertisers also got a free two-sided 11x17" color poster welcoming the class of 1961.

We'll use the extra income to mail the directory to those who didn't attend.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011 at 12:02 PM - Response #13

MORE info on the Directory idea:

I picked up this idea from the Help Forums several months ago.

We put together a 48 page 'directory' of the class with whatever contact information we had for them (mail, email, phone, etc.) We included pages listing the deceased and missing members, said 'thanks' to the Reunion Team and included 38 business card size ads @ $15 each. We sold the back cover to the local Chamber of Commerce @ $100, the two inside covers in color for $75 each. Each advertiser will get a business card size ad on a special page of our website.

The class member who handled the sales knew of the businesses in the area because she had sold advertising before. Each business got a two-sided four color 11x17" poster "Welcome Class of 1961".

The $820 raised through advertising more than paid for the printing cost of 475 directories, the posters ($1.50 each) and the cost of mailing the directories to those class members who are not attending the reunion. She said of all the calls she made, she only had one business turn her down.

We pointed out in our 'pitch' that 66% of the 477 living members still live within 20 miles of our original home town and that as "seniors", we were a great market for the kinds of products or services they offered. Most ads were sold to restaurants, bars, salons, etc.

We had 25 signs left over and we're selling those for $10 each including a business card size ad on our online 'directory' at or CC website. That makes the total raised over $1,000.

I'll post some photos of the directory in the next few days.

Edited 07/12/11 12:09 PM
Thursday, July 14, 2011 at 10:35 AM - Response #14

The class president and I were on the local radio station this morning talking about our class, our reunion plans and how the home town has changed in 50 years.

You can listen to a 15 minute podcast of our conversation from our home page. CLICK HERE

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