Here’s the perfect U.S. road trip


What a strange way to spend your time; I don’t imagine any two people would pick the same 50 landmarks, so it’s kind of his personal itinerary.


Picking on other peoples creations and how they spend -their- time, over what you admit is taste?

Yes. Yes man, it is deeply weird, and pretty deeply not cool, too.

What have you made today? other than comments demeaning a project?

I don’t imagine any two people would be trying to visit 50 landmarks in 48 states in the absolute bare minimum trip, either (9.33 days of straight driving doesn’t give much time to see the sights).

But, if they were, those people could probably come to pretty close agreement on what are “major” landmarks…

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I mean to visit all 3,143 counties (and county equivalents) in these United States before I pass on beyond this mortal coil (I’m at about 1200). I love this sort of thing.


You’re right, I am a bad person. I’ll be making pizza later - want some?


I once travelled with a friend from Gran Canaria to Southern Germany. He was a country/territory collector, and didn’t particularly care for such mortal considerations as decent food and seeing the sights. From Las Palmas we flew to El-Aaiun in Western Sahara, then took two buses to Tetouan in Northern Morocco. After a day trip in Ceuta, we spent the night in Gibraltar before travelling up to Barcelona. That night we went on to Monaco via Southern France, then stopped off in Milan and the Vatican City. We were nearing our target, so we stopped off in San Marino and Austria before taking the train to our target city. The total cost was about 1000 USD for both of us, and it took 7 days (partly because we took night buses every second night to avoid hotel costs). There are cheaper ways to travel, but we paid our own way without hitchhiking or couchsurfing.


It might be interesting to have an easy-to-use piece of software which would take either a set of points or a set of interests, and provide a minimal highway route to visit all of them. Maybe such software already exists? Several applications will give routes, but they’re not minimal.

I love how he left LA out of both maps :smile:

No Yosemite, even going as far as to drive around it from Vegas to SF?


That’s great! The only fairly unique country-collecting adventure I’ve had is I took the tour of the DMZ after a business trip to Seoul, the part at Panmunjon where you can go the first 15’ feet into North Korea. Since my wife always (proudly) claims East Germany, and that country went out of business, I’m happy to claim my 4 or 5 minutes in the DPRK.

And Miami. Why would any traveler want to visit South Beach or Hollywood? Aversion to bikinis?

Finding the minimal solution is a classic topic in computer science: the “traveling salesman problem”. It is “NP-hard”, meaning it cannot be solved in a reasonable amount of time. There is no faster approach than to compute the length of each of the possible routes, of which there are 3 times 10 to the 64th power (50 factorial).

Skipping Glacier national park and Northern Idaho in order to go see Salt lake city and Boise is a mistake I would not make :slight_smile: I suspect based on the routing that the person who made this has never been to the Inland Northwest.

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What the Waldo link wanted to be: The Fastest Way to Find Waldo

I was actually being serious - I don’t particularly care for Los Angeles, so I wouldn’t recommend it on a nationwide road trip myself either.

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I’m not sure I’d like the bikinis one might see in Hollywood either…

Why do all these websites project this as some “PERFECT” road trip? Is every website admin/owner a compsci major? What I mean is: I get it, the guy mapped a large number of landmarks (and now cities), and has a solution that maximizes states visited with what is likely one of the most efficient routings for the list of destinations. I’ll also admit I’ve got a somewhat demented vision of what “perfect” may mean when applied to travel (I enjoy somewhat out of the way routings and obscure destinations), but I’m sure a lot of people could make a more interesting and enjoyable routing. Even the creator doesn’t use the word perfect except to describe the solution to the problem he built. Did anyone read the parameters they used?
“The trip must make at least one stop in all 48 states in the contiguous U.S.
The trip would only make stops at National Natural Landmarks, National Historic Sites, National Parks, or National Monuments.
The trip must be taken by car and never leave the U.S.
With those objectives in mind, Tracy compiled a list of 50 major U.S. landmarks — one in each state excluding Alaska/Hawaii and including D.C., and two in California.”

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Not all that impressed.

First, a critique of the map itself: It would be nice to mention exactly what the landmark is. “Mount Rushmore” or “Cape Canaveral” deliver slightly more accurate search results than “Woodward Ave” or “Mason Ave”.

That said, while it does a laudable job of showing the fastest route to cover all the lower 48, that’s kind of all it does.

  1. Skips A LOT of great stuff. I understand wanting to trim it down to 50 points, but it passes RIGHT BY Nubble Lighthouse in Maine- The most photographed lighthouse in the country- Literally a 6 mile detour. Also, how do you visit Graceland, but skip right over Beale St? Or go to Washington DC and skip over the Lincoln and Washington monuments and =gasp= The Smithsonian? They’re almost across the street.

  2. It’s all highways. All the best stuff is off the highway. For example: Along the entirety of the US East coast, you have 3 major roads that run parallel: I95 (the highway), US Route 1 (the downtown/commercial road), and Route 1A (the scenic route which usually traces the coastline). If you stick to 95, you’ll see traffic and a couple nice mountains in the distance, but you’ll miss the beaches, the tourist stops, the scenery, the small towns, and all the best food and lodging.

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So, basically you have never been TO any of those places…you’ve merely raced THROUGH them.

IMO, spending $1,000 in one place or $500 in each of two places would have been money better spent.

I hope you’ve had a chance to go back and really experience at least a few of those places!