Thursday, June 27: T Minus 3 Days

Just a brief post, as we’re in the last mad throes of shopping and packing.  Aytan and I stopped by AAA Travel today and got a huge pile of tour books and maps for our trip — free to AAA members — complementing the ones we’ve already purchased and borrowed from friends.

And just as important, yesterday I finished ripping the last of the 50 or so CDs that will accompany us on our journey (see “The Soundtrack”), combining my favorite tracks from my favorite albums to maximize the amount of music on each blank CD.  Why not just bring my original CDs, you ask?  Because a CD-R (recordable CD) holds 80 minutes of music, whereas most recorded albums are typically between 40 and 60 minutes.  So I can fit nearly two pre-recorded CDs worth of music on a single CD-R.  Fewer CDs means less weight, which should have a HUGE impact on our gas mileage (as if).

But Ben, you ask, why not just bring your iPod?  Well, I am bringing my iPod, which I plan to hook up to a small portable battery-powered speaker for use in motel rooms and, if desired, when camping.  But I’m a music snob, and since we’ll be listening to music mostly in the car, I want to listen to my music uncompressed.  (FYI, an average pre-recorded CD is about 700MB, whereas an album ripped into or purchased from iTunes is typically only about 70MB when using the standard compression rate, so you’re talking some serious compression — and therefore loss of audio quality.)

More than you ever wanted to know… but that’s what’s on my mind tonight.

Sunday, June 23: T minus 1 week

One week until our departure date, and today we obtained some important gear at REI — a 40-liter daypack and a North Face rain jacket for Aytan (I’m not into the name brands, but it was a nice jacket — and on sale!).  We already have most of the other gear, so all that remains are a few odds and ends — nothing that we couldn’t pick up along the way if needed.

And a few days ago I purchased tickets for the first planned stop on our itinerary: Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater masterpiece near Mill Run, PA.


I hope it’s every bit as amazing as I expect it to be.