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The Best “Lower 48” Road Trip

by J Paul Webber

Visit all the State Capitols in the Lower 48 States – in one amazing road trip.

Hitting the open road and driving into the sunset is a romantic notion, but most of us need a little planning before such a road trip.

Do you go north? Do you go south? Do you take a week? Do you take a month? What are the best stops to make? And there are a million more questions to be asked.

Randy Olson, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Pennsylvania, mapped out a super efficient — and super ambitious — way to see the contiguous United States. He devised his cross country road trip, combining algorithms and Google Maps, so he could visit the lower 48 state’s Capitol Buildings.

“For this road trip, there is one goal: for me to take a picture at as many U.S. state capitols as possible,” Olson wrote on his blog. “We will travel only by car, so that rules out Alaska (too far away) and Hawaii (requires a plane flight) and leaves us with the 48 contiguous states (excluding Washington D.C.).”

“Whenever possible, we will avoid routes that require us to travel through foreign countries, as entering/leaving the country requires a passport and border control tends to slow things down.”

To start, Mr Olson found the “true” distance between all of the capitols by car, and then the shortest route by road between every capitol, amounting to 2,256 directions. He did a lot more math though before determining his final itinerary.

The algorithm he devised “reached an optimized solution that makes a complete trip to all of the U.S. state capitols in only 13,310 miles (21,420 km) of driving,” he wrote. That came out to visiting those 48 U.S. state capitols in 8.5 days.

“The best part is that this road trip is designed so that you can start anywhere on the route,” he noted. “As long as you follow the route from wherever you start, you will hit every state capitol in the 48 contiguous U.S. states.”

So to help you with planning the ultimate spring/summer road adventure – here is the Google Maps for the little more than one week road trip: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5].

“The world is a book and those who do not travel get to read only one page – go discover new sights and add more pages in your book of life.” Happy Road Tripping!   @wbbrjp / Phone  213 387-4345 / 3407 W 6th Street, Los Angeles CA

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