[ Beneath the Waves ]

Drive 2007 - Introduction

article by Ben Lincoln


I had covered a huge swath of the US during my first long drive in 2006, and it was enjoyable enough that I decided to make a similar attempt in 2007, but through a different set of states. I hadn't been to southern California since I was in elementary school, and I'd never been to the southwest (Arizona, New Mexico, and so on). I had also just gotten into multispectral photography, and wanted to capture a wide variety of pictures to test my equipment and methods and see what they'd reveal about such a varied set of environments. In addition, after my first drive, my sister Amelia gave me a book about destinations on Route 66[1] and I thought it would be fun to visit some of the southwestern end of that old highway.

Early on, I'd considered traveling into Texas and possibly Oklahoma. I decided that I wouldn't be able to visit the other states on my list and have enough days to see a significant part of Texas (which is mind-bogglingly large - about 800 miles wide via the interstates). With Texas reserved for a future trip, I also took Oklahoma off of the list because the most logical route from New Mexico to Oklahoma is through Texas.

Another option I considered early on and set aside for the time being was to visit central Nevada (specifically with the intent to see Great Basin National Park). Nevada is smaller than Texas, but this would have been a very lengthy detour from the rest of the loop I'd planned out.

My original route involved taking highway 101 down the entire length of the west coast, from Aberdeen, WA to San Diego, CA. As noted in the article for Day 2, I ended up bypassing the section of 101 in-between San Francisco and Los Angeles due to time constraints.

Two other destinations ended up on the cutting-room floor over the course of the drive itself. I had thought of stopping in San Francisco either on the way down (not possible due to the same time constraints as compelled me to switch from 101 to I5) or on the way back (when I was feeling like I couldn't properly appreciate any more places)[2]. In addition, I'd planned on stopping at Lassen Volcanic National Park in California on my way home, but again by the time I got to that point in the trip I felt that I wouldn't have been able to appreciate it fully, so I made a note to stop there on a future trip.

Here is the approximate route of the actual drive, which took 16 days:

The Full Route of My 2007 Drive
[ Full Trip Map ]
Full Trip Map

This map is based on a screenshot of Google Maps (©2009 Google) with my route overlayed in image-editing software to provide better highlighting. The route runs counter-clockwise.


Like my first drive, there were a number of destinations that had been "on my list" to visit for many years, and I used this as an opportunity to see as many of them as possible.

1. Route 66 no longer exists as an official highway, but the roadside attractions that sprung up around it live on.
2. I eventually visited San Francisco again in 2008 - a writeup should be coming soon.
[ Page Icon ]