This is the third in a series of posts that will document Architizer blogger Lindsay Rule aka “Archispotter”as she makes her way across the country without cash or any planned means of transport. Find out more about the Architizer-Audi Urban Future Initiative collaborative project here. See the previous post here.
10:00 AM. It’s Saturday morning, and I’m standing in front of the ‘Bean’ at Millennium Park in Chicago. It’s been an eventful three or so days, to say the least, and I’m only now figuring out how I got here. I’m sure they’ll be plenty to report from the Windy City, but that’s for a later post (keep your eyes peeled). For now, though, here’s how I traveled over 1,000 miles on no money or planned transport in just 3 days. Continue.
When I last left you, I had just arrived in New York, fresh off a (well-spent) $15-ride–$85 left in the emergency fund—on the Bolt Bus. I spent most of the 4-hour trip searching for transport out of New York, scouring Craiglist, Ridejoy, Facebook, and even Twitter for any leads. After my bad luck leaving Boston, I caught a break in the form of photographer Cameron Browne. A fellow Ridesharer and traveler, Cameron had recently traveled from Portland to Boston to document the “People of America“–a photo project featuring amicable Americans at home, work, or play–and was now (slowly) making his way back home. He offered me a ride from New York as far as Chicago, and after meeting Thursday morning, we set off together in my new friend’s endearing 1981 Volkswagen Rabbit–or “Pete” as he’s known to his friends.
8:25 AM, July 26. From New York, we set out at on I-80 towards West. Through a somewhat complicated set of relations (the father of one of Cameron’s college friends), we knew we had a place to stay that night in Ohio, over 8 hours and some 525 miles from New York. This seemingly interminable distance before us turns out to be about the average buffer between cities (500 miles) in the United States; this vast black hole of highway could accommodate some 10 cities of the future, hyper-connected kind—such as the “BosWash” city-region proposed by Höweler & Yoon—that would be spaced only 50 miles apart.
Still, we figured we’d detour at some point and decided on Pittsburg, located nearly 375 miles southwest from Manhattan. We were well on our way before we were stalled by an East-bound storm and were forced to pull over at a rest stop. We mulled over what we should do—either wait out the storm, pass through Pittsburg, then make for Ohio and our host’s home at a (very) late hour OR head straight to Ohio and rest up for the next couple of days of driving. We opted for the latter, and arrived at night at Port Clinton.
Some 30 hours into the challenge, 600 miles crossed, 3 modes of transport, and 1 new friend, I felt for the first time that the trip was really underway, that I was really doing this.
The small town of Port Clinton curves along a southwestern swell of Lake Erie, which is where we spent most of Friday. One of the things about Rideshare(s) is that you are beholden to the time schedule of whomever is giving you a ride. In this case, I spent two nights in Ohio, not a bad thing as it would turn out.
We set out with our host and three of his friends at 8:20 AM, the five of us–four firemen, one photographer, and an architect-to-be–crossing the lake on a water taxi under the morning sun. We boarded a fishing boat with our host and fished for several hours, make a couple of big catches, before heading back home to cook them for dinner. There may have been some water skiing too…
We stayed that night, then left the next morning for Chicago, the first big milestone of the trip. We drove 6.5 hours before crossing the city line (around 2:45 PM), after a pancake breakfast in South Bend, Indiana and ogling over classic cars in Rolling Prairie.
I left Cameron at Millennium Park, with the offhand chance that we’d meet again in Portland. But one question remains: Where will I sleep tonight?