Outdoor Adventures / Road Trips

Life in the Slow Lane: 37 States in 48 Days

Life in the slow lane: 37 states in 48 days

I’m not good with numbers. But this is what I do know…

I’ve been home for a little over 2 weeks.

I just downloaded 2 memory cards containing 2,655 pictures.

I just transferred 114 pictures from my phone to my computer.

I managed to tick off 37 states in 48 days on The CSA Cookbook Road Trip.

That’s 76 percent of the continental US, seen from at least 80 percent back roads, farm roads, ferry routes, state scenic byways, National Scenic Byways, All-American Roads, and National Parkways.

That’s quite a feat considering the speed limit on most of these smaller roads is no more than 45 mph.

It was slow. And wonderful. And if you’re going to complete a loop around the country, it’s the best way to experience the incredible diversity of landscapes and cultures in the grand old US of A.

From the Natchez Trace Parkway in Mississippi to the Amish Buggy Byway in Minnesota, Will and I discovered more about this country than we ever thought we would, simply by veering off major interstates when we had the opportunity.

Taking the scenic route (sometimes by accident… and also known as getting lost, in a good way) also allowed us to document every single stateline crossing, rain or shine, upon entry or upon exit.

We found welcome signs at visitors’ centers. In the middle of medians. On the sides of highways. Big or small, we managed to find signs in places where we could safely pull over in all 37 states.

The trickiest sign to find was New Jersey, which seemed to be surrounded on all sides by major waterways. We crossed countless bridges and even took the turnpike, all to no avail.

We finally took the “scenic route” on Route 9W along the Hudson River and found a small “Welcome to New Jersey” sign near the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory.

We parked (probably illegally) in the dirt off Ludlow Lane. The security guard was whistling at us as we ran across the street in pouring rain and snapped a picture of not only New Jersey’s sign, but New York’s as well. Before he could approach our car, we peeled out, giggling like teenagers.

This double-teaming of signs happened at a few borders, actually, like Maryland/Pennsylvania and Oregon/California.

It was especially fun to drive through all the tiny states along the eastern seaboard and breezily check off 5 states in a day!

The coldest stateline crossing was Colorado into New Mexico. It was 40ยฐF in late May, foggy and drizzly, and we drove through the stormiest spring the region had seen in 20 years.

The hottest (or should I say stickiest) stateline crossing was across the country in Washington, DC, just 10 days later.

The 90ยฐF heat wave and 1,000 percent humidity were so intense, I think I lost 10 pounds in sweat while bikesharing in DC (which was all for the better, since I’d gained as much during our “biscuit tour” through the south!).

Of all the signs we stopped at, I loved the messages on Utah and Nebraska the most.

I thought Rhode Island really knew how to wow its visitors with a sign we couldn’t miss, and Colorado could have been a little more colorful (I’m not talking about the weather).

I expected Nevada to be flashier (after all, we were crossing into Reno) and Wisconsin’s rustic wooden sign was beautiful and befitting.

I couldn’t get Alabama and Georgia out of my head, but hands down, my absolute favorite sign of all 37 signs was Virginia (and you’ll see why).

We missed the Nevada sign at the start of our trip, since we drove in to Las Vegas at night, but found another one in Lake Tahoe as we started making our way home on Day 47.

It felt auspicious to begin and end the book tour at both borders of my original home state, Nevada, and my home state for the last 13 years, California.

And though I say 37 states, technically it’s 35 US states, 1 US federal district, and 1 Canadian province. Our detour through Ontario (to visit Niagara Falls) still counts as a state, right? I’m going with it.

Here they are in order of appearance, starting with Nevada and circling counterclockwise to California. Thanks, America, for a once-in-a-lifetime trip. (And to Kia for sponsoring my book tour!)

For round two (some day… and hopefully it will involve an RV), I think we need to zigzag through all the middle states and then up to Maine!

Which one is your favorite? Or, give a shout-out to your home state!

Nevada stateline
Arizona stateline
Utah stateline
Colorado stateline
New Mexico stateline
Texas stateline
Louisiana stateline
Mississippi stateline
Alabama stateline
Georgia stateline
Tennessee stateline
North Carolina stateline
Virginia stateline
Washington, DC stateline
Maryland stateline
Pennsylvania stateline
New Jersey stateline
New York stateline
Connecticut stateline
Rhode Island stateline
Massachusetts stateline
Vermont stateline
Ontario, Canada stateline
Michigan stateline
Indiana stateline
Illinois stateline
Wisconsin stateline
Iowa stateline
Minnesota stateline
Nebraska stateline
South Dakota stateline
Wyoming stateline
Montana stateline
Idaho stateline
Washington stateline
Oregon stateline
California stateline
Linda Ly About Author

I'm a plant lover, passionate road-tripper, and cookbook author whose expert advice and bestselling books have been featured in TIME, Outside, HGTV, and Food & Wine. The No-Waste Vegetable Cookbook is my latest book. Garden Betty is where I write about modern homesteading, farm-to-table cooking, and outdoor adventuring โ€” all that encompass a life well-lived outdoors. After all, the secret to a good life is... Read more ยป

54 Comments

  • Avatar
    Aimee Levens
    July 21, 2015 at 11:03 am

    Yay Oregon! Great photo series. When I was a kid we did a Griswold-ian type road trip cross country and my demand was a sticker from every state ๐Ÿ™‚

    Reply
    • Linda Ly
      Linda Ly
      July 21, 2015 at 3:20 pm

      I’m a sticker collector too! My thing is getting stickers from special places that I’ve surfed. ๐Ÿ™‚ And recently I’ve started collecting Christmas ornaments from national parks and other destinations I want to remember (on this trip, I found cute ones at Niagara, Yellowstone, and Olympic National Park). It makes me really look forward to the holidays when I can put up my tree and be reminded of all the adventures I’ve had in years past.

      Reply
  • Avatar
    Malia Sturgeon
    July 21, 2015 at 8:40 am

    I love them all!! I’ve always wanted to own a camper with the US map on the back that you add little state shaped stickers for each state you visited. This reminds me of that but way cooler!

    Reply
    • Linda Ly
      Linda Ly
      July 21, 2015 at 3:21 pm

      I just want a camper, period. ๐Ÿ˜‰ I had camper envy on the road, for sure.

      Reply
  • Avatar
    susan beaty
    July 21, 2015 at 8:25 am

    Like minnesotas, then colorado, north carolina. Glad you had a safe and wonderful trip. Lucky to be able to do something like that.

    Reply
    • Linda Ly
      Linda Ly
      July 21, 2015 at 3:29 pm

      Thank you Susan! I’d been dreaming of a trip like this ever since I was a kid, so 20 years later… I’m so thankful I had the opportunity to do it with my husband. ๐Ÿ™‚ Opportunities like this come because of people like you who support my blog. I truly appreciate it!

      Reply
  • Avatar
    Cary Bradley
    July 21, 2015 at 6:42 am

    So much fun to see the winding of your trip through welcome signs! So sorry we missed you in CT/RI. Your waggle through Pawcatuck (that gorgeous bridge in Pawcatuck,CT/Westerly,RI was 20 minutes from either house!) was heartbreakingly close. Glad you are safely home. Thanks for taking us with you! Curious how your chose your route. Know book stores drove most, but wonder which choices took you out of your way, and why. ??? ๐Ÿ™‚

    Reply
    • Linda Ly
      Linda Ly
      July 21, 2015 at 6:16 pm

      On my tour stops, I decided to do half in population centers (Portland, Chicago, NYC) and the other half in small towns (Mattapoisett, Spring Green, Waterbury). With the small towns, the venues actually reached out to me first. I liked what they stood for and I was interested in visiting their communities, so it made for a surprisingly fabulous drive to places I might not have found on a map.

      Reply
      • Avatar
        Cary Bradley
        July 22, 2015 at 2:47 am

        So cool that they reached out to you. I should have expected that. You introduced me to some lovely small homesteady shops and I will look more closely at them. Had no idea there was ubercool just up the road in Providence, RI. You do rock!

        Reply
        • Linda Ly
          Linda Ly
          August 5, 2015 at 8:07 pm

          If you stop into cluck! at some point, please tell Drake (the owner) I said hello! She is the sweetest lady.

          Reply
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