April 20, 2000 - Chicago, IL: Final departure preparations
Everything is packed and ready to go. It's about time.....I'm ready to get on with it. I have the usual pre-big trip butterflies, I will lie awake longer than usual tonight before falling asleep. The reality of what I'm about to do hasn't really sunk in yet, but it never does until I'm on my way.

The computer / cell phone / email equation seems to be working after much tweaking and experimentation. Mechanically the van is as sound as it has been since I've owned it. The open road awaits.

I mapped the general route I intend to take on a map using Risk men, the little plastic guys that come with the game. This route will act as the general guideline. Detours will be taken often and at a moment's notice to see specific people or places along the way. I'll go East from Chicago through Northern Indiana, Ohio, into Pennsylvania looping back Southwest through Southern Pennsylvania into West Virginia, Ohio, Indiana, through Southern Illinois to St. Louis where I will meet up with Route 66. Route 66 will take me through Missouri, Oklahoma, the Texas Panhandle, New Mexico, Arizona, to Los Angeles. From L.A. The plan is to take the Pacific coast highway North, maybe all the way to Vancouver...but at least as far as Seattle. My brother will meet me in Seattle, we'll head to Colorado together. From Colorado it will be through back East to Chicago.

Mapping out the route.

Everything ready to be loaded into the Westy.
the vehicle