The Passage Across America Road Trip Series

Since returning from our circumnavigation, we’ve started several threads we’ve never finished. Christi’s new year resolution for 2012 is to finish up all the loose threads on the blog. Last month, we finished up a series on our recent trip to San Francisco in Kosmos. The next thread she is tackling is our Passage Across America on One Load of Fuel.

To give a quick refresher course: upon returning home from our circumnavigation in May 2009, we bought a diesel Jetta. Eric soon realized that we could carry enough fuel in the car to make it all the way across the country (San Diego to Maine, about 3,000 nautical miles — oddly enough, the same range as Kosmos!) without ever stopping at a gas station. So to celebrate the one year anniversary of the circumnavigation, in Spring 2010 we drove across the USA and back (with a small jaunt into Canada).

We put up several posts on the trip. Since we Continue reading The Passage Across America Road Trip Series

Remembering Joplin, Missouri

Note: This is Part 7 of the Passage Across America series. While it is out of chronological order (this was posted a year after the rest of the series), it is in the right geographical order. Read Part 6 here and Part 8 here.

Last year, we took a road trip across America in our diesel VW Jetta. The twist to our trip was that we drove from San Diego to Maine on one load of fuel (on the way back we stopped at gas stations). The theme was Americana; our goal was to never stay at or eat in chains, to only visit mom and pop places to see the “real America.” We posted pictures of most of our trip along the way; however, when we got home, we realized we’d lost the SD card with the pictures and we couldn’t post the last few days worth of photos.

Last month we went to France. When we got home, we found the missing SD card while we were unpacking our suitcase, tucked in a small interior pocket! We have been meaning to post the last of the photos from the road trip ever since, but life has gotten busy. The tragedy in Joplin has inspired us to make the time.

Joplin was one of the cities we visited along the way. We drove all around the town. Our impression of Joplin was that it was dying. It looked like it was once a vibrant city, but there clearly had been an exodus. Too many buildings were empty. Too many of those empty buildings were run down to the point that it was clear they’d been vacant for much longer than the current recession.

We stayed at a B&B run by the kindest people, Bill and Marge Meeker, both retired school teachers. They confirmed our suspicions. Joplin was originally a mining town established in 1873. It grew beyond mining, though, with many businesses, probably aided by the fact it was on the infamous Route 66.

The Meekers said when they opened their first B&B many years ago, they were booked solid every night, mostly with business travelers. But as jobs were exported, less visitors came to town, and the more local businesses died. We left there thinking that Joplin was living proof of why America should have more protectionist trade policies. Our heart goes out to those who live there and the horrible tragedy they faced.

On the evening of April 28, 2010, we had dinner at The Red Onion Cafe in downtown. Here are some photos of the downtown area. Notice how empty the streets are.

Continue reading Remembering Joplin, Missouri

We Haven’t Vanished

Sorry we have not been updating the blog lately. This post will fill you in on what we have been up to.

Sadly, we misplaced the SD card with the last of our road trip pictures, which is why we never finished the road trip posts. Yellowstone was AMAZING. From Yellowstone, we went to Jackson Hole, Wyoming, which is lovely, then to Las Vegas. One day we intend to put up a special post about Las Vegas casinos.

Eric and Christi are split about which “World’s Largest Gift Store” is biggest: Vegas or Missouri. The Missouri store is much larger in terms of square footage. It is filled with unique items, many of which are quite large (like full size stuffed bears and a car). The Vegas store is filled with cheap, tacky souvenirs imported from China. Most of the items are quite small, like key chains and playing cards. Eric says the Vegas store is bigger since they probably have more actual items for sale. Christi thinks the Missouri store is bigger because of the square footage and larger variety of merchandise.

Upon returning from the road trip, Eric was offered a new job. We took a week long trip to Alaska (on a cruise ship–gasp!) with our parents before he began his job. That is another series of posts we hope to put up someday, as well.

Eric’s new job has him working a lot of hours and he has little free time. Christi spent the summer working on a few “life projects” that had been neglected over the last three years. She also cleaned the boat from head to toe, including every secret compartment and under the floors. Now that those projects are done, she has gotten serious about book 2. She had hoped to have it done by the end of this month, but February is looking more realistic now.

Book 1 has been selling incredibly well–for a self-published book, at least. We continue to get great feedback on it. For those of you who have read it, we would appreciate it if you would rate it on Amazon or Lulu for us. Also, if anyone in the Southern California area wants Christi to do a presentation on our trip to a group, please let us know.

Joplin to Lake St. Louis

Thursday, April 29, 2010: Day 6, Joplin, Missouri to Lake St. Louis, Missouri
Via: I44

We are having a great time on the Passage Across America! Fuel consumption is on track so far, although we have gone a few more miles than expected. The car no longer looks as weighted down.

Bit of Eden Bed & Breakfast, Joplin, Missouri:

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Adding 2 containers of fuel before leaving the B&B:

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For more on our time in Joplin, along with many pictures, see the Remembering Joplin, Missouri post.

World’s Largest Gift Store with a giant candy store directly next door, Phillipsburg, Missouri (Las Vegas, Nevada also claims to have the world’s biggest gift store. Read the verdict here about which store is truly the biggest):

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World’s Largest Rocking Chair, Fanning Missouri: Continue reading Joplin to Lake St. Louis

Elk City to Joplin

Wednesday April 28, 2010: Day 5, Elk City, Oklahoma to Joplin, Missouri
Via: I40 and I44

We are pretty much half way. We have lots of interesting things to report, but as we mentioned before those longer stories are going to have to wait. For now here a sampling of pictures:

Fuel Added: 2 containers (we figured out it is easier if Christi holds the funnel while Eric pours)

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Elk City, Oklahoma:

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Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, American Banjo Museum (you almost can’t get more Americana than this): Continue reading Elk City to Joplin