Well, I’ve had a day to recover/reflect on our journey. As long as the trip was, it all seems to be over so quickly.

I guess the first question to ask was, “Was it worth it?”. Without hesitation, ABSOLUTELY! This roadtrip so far exceeded my expectations on many fronts. I must first pay homage to BMW for producing a car that can run with this magical combination of ride quality, finesse and POWER. I certainly bonded with my M5 in a way that surprised me.

The ride out was an adventure with an old friend with whom I’ve spent too little time over the years. I’m confident we’ll remedy that going forward. Ravindra was great fun, and we were able to keep each other entertained and sane through some of the duller stretches (no offense, IA, NE).

The roadtrip was a wonderful way to mentally transition from my McAfee life to my new one. There’s something very theraputic to me about long drives. Maybe it’s the variety, maybe it’s the clarity of thinking that comes from driving. I’m not sure, but I do know that each night on this trip, I felt great.

And when Helen arrived in San Francisco, the adventure began anew. We were going to see things and stay places that neither of us had ever been. After the trip, we joked about unvoiced concerns we both had initially about whether this trip would destroy our marriage! Stuck in a car for 8 days with your spouse can be a potentially dangerous situation. I’m happy to say that we both agreed it was just what we needed together. I didn’t have to drop Helen off at the nearest airport and continue the trip alone! Phew!

There really aren’t any regrets for me. A trip like this requires some compromises in routing. The US is a big country, and you just can’t see all of it in the time we planned. But what we did see was awe inspiring. I’ve long had an affection for the US, and for Americans. Having spent so much time working and living in the US has instilled a special bond. I could have taken more pictures I guess, but I can always say that. I’m just happy I got that reflection shot just west of Salt Lake City of the mountains as I was driving at 80MPH. (Thanks again for taking the wheel, Ravindra!)

Ok, let’s talk data now. I kept all my gas receipts, and had GPS logs to provide routing/position/altitude stats.

Total Trip Length: 10417km (6511m)
Highest Altitude: 11132ft asl (Rockies on I-70W)

States Visited: MI, IN, IL, IA, NE, CO, UT, NV, CA, AZ, NM, TX, OK, MO (14 states)

Fuel Consumed: 376 Gallons
Total Fuel Cost: $1379 US
Average Fuel Cost: $3.70 $/gallon
Cheapest Fuel: $3.079 $/gallon in Newton, IA
Most Expensive Fuel: $4.596 $/gallon Waterloo, Ont

Other Consumables:
Tires: 2 Continental ContiSportContact 2 255/40ZR19
Oil: 1.5L of Castrol 10W60 Synthetic
Subway Visits: 3 (2 out, 1 back)

Thanks to all who followed along with us on the blog. It was fun to document the adventures as close to when they happened as possible. I have lots of video footage to process, and I’ll figure out how to make the best footage (including our special episode of “COPS – Nebraska” featuring officer Jason John).

Finally, if you’re ever considering a trip like this, I recommend spending a reasonable amount of time plotting your route, and determining alternate routes/hotels. It doesn’t take alot of time, but knowing that you’re prepared for weather, traffic and any other surprise takes the stress out of the trip. And fill a gas can with fuel and secure it in the trunk of your car. We never needed it, but it was comforting to know that it was there if we did. And always try to keep the car filled with at least 1/4 tank. You won’t start squriming in your seat wondering if you’ll make it because a quarter tank will get you a pretty long way (unless you’re in P500 mode and shifting at 8000 RPM.

And bring an iPod. The fun two guys can have singing “Dancing Queen” through the mountains of Nevada cannot be overstated.