The Driving on the Edge Tour
There came a time in my life when major changes were the rule rather than the exception—I had turned 50, retired from my job with the State of Alaska, my house was sold, and it was time to move on. As a way to shake off the dust of the old life and make way for the new I decided that a serious trip was called for. Eventually I decided that a drive around the edge of the USA would be an admirable goal. I knew from my electronics and programming experience that boundary conditions are the most interesting and surmised that it might be true in other areas.
Thus it came about that I drove out of Alaska in my beloved 1991 Mazda Miata carrying a laptop computer, digital camera, and GPS navigation hardware and software to guide me. Winter was fast approaching and there was no time to spare if I was going to make it down the Alaska Highway safely in my highly unsuitable car. My original intent was to drive from Alaska and then "on the edge" of the lower 48 states from northwest to southwest to southeast to northeast, always staying as close to the perimeter as humanly (and automotively) feasible. I failed to complete my quest due to lack of time and Florida-induced emotional fatigue but still found it one of the more interesting chapters in my life.
Along the way I kept a daily journal and sent it off every evening (or at least every evening when I could manage to get onto the Internet) by e-mail to a list of friends and acquaintances around the country and world and illustrated the story with digital snapshots. What follows is a compilation of those original e-mail messages with minor spelling and grammatical corrections. It is 99.9% as-sent.
I sent out this e-mail message to everyone a week before the trip began: There is snow on the mountains that surround the Anchorage bowl and the leaves have mostly dropped after the week-long Alaskan Autumn. It gets down to freezing most every night. The waterfowl at my neighborhood lake seem anxious to head south. I agree with them completely...
I failed to complete the 1997 trip but I did finally go back and finish it in 2003 driving the same 1991 Miata. The trip continues in "On Edge Redux".