Maps are spread across the countertop on the kitchen island. The computer screen is too small to see all the details. The first phase of the trip, from Sonoran Desert to Sierra Nevada is all set. The route locked in. The accommodations are falling into place. The question – then what happens?
There are two anchor dates on this trip. June 29, family plans require arrival in Port Townsend, Washington, and on July 8, it’s time to babysit the grandson in San Francisco. Now add into the mix that several Mondays and Thursdays that require tethering to Wi-Fi. That’s because from 4:30 in the morning until around noon it’s a regular writing day for Arizona Builder’s Exchange (AZBEX). The planning becomes tricky. At least four locations along the route have no public Internet access and two have no cell service. AZBEX won’t publish on July 4, so July 3 is a holiday. Working with the small team at the publication makes it challenging for days off, but the personal days are allowed. The target is to take one on June 26 and another on July 7.
0The places visited require landing at a location with Wi-Fi or mobile data service every Monday and Thursday. This means planning the trip with a map, travel guide, Wi-Fi hotspot list, and AT&T Mobility coverage map. Planning requires balancing the ability to connect to the Internet with the days AZBEX needs to be written. It’s quite the balancing act.
Even though it’s a road trip, the goal is to find 99 sites that speak of American the Beautiful between the Sonoran Desert in Arizona and the Hoh Forest, a rain forest, in Olympic National Park. Reporting the trip live through social media (Facebook.com/EricJayToll, Twitter @EricJayToll, and Instagram EricJayToll) require hitting mobile signals part of each day. Several areas have no Wi-Fi, but do have Internet access, but there are destinations with no technological connections available. That will be a joy in many ways.
Each step in getting ready—including thinking about how many days’ clothes to pack between laundry opportunities—are evolving this week. The goal is to lock in the trip by Thursday, ensure all accommodations are booked and that the packing list is in place.
“Roadtrip!” Nine days and counting.