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Santa Barbara, Ca

I'm a full-time rambler and contract designer with as many skill sets in my quiver as there are plane tickets in my passbook. I've worked in ornamental iron, jigsaw puzzle design, bookmaking, glass engraving, and a variety of other mediums. I'm currently living out of a backpack as I trek my way around the world.


The Great American Road Trip (part 2)

Zak Erving

The fog!

The fog!

Back in April, I highlighted a few different styles of road trip for those of us who love the open road. In an effort to continue celebrating our beloved mode of travel-by-auto, here are five additional evolutions of the modern road trip:


The Pilgrimage: Hopper and Fonda go searching for America in Easy Rider and never find it; the Little Miss Sunshine crew recovers what it lost long before. The road—in all its forms—has always had a spiritual component to it, and the ones who travel with their hearts and minds open are seldom hellbent on their geographic destination. It's the journey that matters most, because the road always has lessons to give.

Advantage: The road can teach us about god in ways books cannot.

Disadvantage: It can be difficult finding a companion who's as interested in spiritual growth as you.

Powwow Rally: This one is most effective with motorcyclists, but it works well for anyone between the post-college and the post-retirement crowd. As everyone goes their separate ways in life, we often see close friends move thousands of miles away. A reunion drive sees old friendships rekindled in a common city (normally equidistant from all participants) and then proceeding towards a planned destination.

Advantage: Reuniting with old friends…what's not to love?

Disadvantage: First and last legs have a tendency to be solo…but solo isn't necessarily a bad thing.

Candy Train: Gen-Y types like myself saw the appeal of Planes, Trains, and Automobiles even in our youth. When you don't have a car, there are still tons of options for travel…even if it means making friends with an overly-friendly, unfunny polka enthusiast. But the Candy Train trip affords you all the optimism of John Candy (and none of the pessimism of Steve Martin) as you make your way across the continent in vehicles that don't belong to you. Protocol for riding the Candy Train usually comes in the form of compensation for gas money, DJ responsibilities, and not complaining if you find yourself hunkered down in a moving van.

Advantage: Making new friends. Isn't that the whole point of travel, anyways?

Disadvantage: Just because you found a ride on Craigslist doesn't mean your host driver is an upstanding citizen…or sane, for that matter.

Taken somewhere in the Yukon, 2007. Notice that the passenger is leaning out of the window. That means that the driver is…taking the picture…

Taken somewhere in the Yukon, 2007. Notice that the passenger is leaning out of the window. That means that the driver is…taking the picture…

Buckshot Brigade: Similar to the Team Challenge, this one has a competitive streak to it. Participants agree on a Point A and a Point B, but the route to get from one to the other is completely at the discretion of each vehicle's occupants. Its name comes from the buckshot-like vectors the drivers make across the map as they scatter towards freeways or nondescript back-roads. Wagers are made for either rewarding the victor (like in Rat Race) or penalizing the last-place finisher.

Advantage: Adventure, competition, and everyone gets a different story at the end.

Disadvantage: "Different stories" can mean not-shared experiences.

Flight of the Bumblebee: Specify your start and finish points (the more terrain variety, the better), and then pick out a vehicle that is made for the opposite of that—usually a two-wheeled scooter less than 150cc's, but originality is always welcome. Photogenic friends of mine took their Vespas to Baja (not the same crew as the Baja $1,000), and the Adventurists are known for finding underpowered vehicles to make a trans-continental drive.

Advantage: What's not to love about riding a scooter?…

Disadvantage: …for thousands of miles amidst bugs, crazy weather, and heavy traffic?

What's your favorite style of road trip? Have you participated in anything like these before?