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Update: 3 Friends Drive Through 48 States In 106 Hours May 9, 2008

Filed under: Miscellaneous News — gervmaine @ 3:36 pm
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On Monday, three friends left Vermont on a quest to drive through all 48 contiguous states in the U.S. in under 120 hours.

It was all in an effort to break an old Guinness record. Guinness no longer recognizes cross-country speed races officially, but that didn’t stop Joshua Keeler, Joey Stocking and Adam Gatherum from packing up a 2005 Toyota Scion and trying.

On Thursday afternoon they completed their goal and obliterated the unofficial record when 106 hours and 43 minutes after they left Vermont, they reached the Four Corners where New Mexico, Colorado, Arizona and Utah meet.

The three guys in their early 20s documented their progress along the way on their Web site, greatamericanroadtrip.us , with pictures, progress updates and blogs. They also used a global positioning system to help document and prove that they had in fact touched all 48 states.
“Well, we made it. And we decimated our goal. We covered 48 states in 7,008 miles and did it in 106 hours and 43 minutes,” the three wrote on their blog after reaching the Four Corners. “We couldn’t be happier!! We have seen so much and had an amazing time. The three of us would like to thank all of you who have been along for the ride.”

Not long after they started the trip, their Web site started to get them attention from all over the country and soon from all over the world. The three friends from Utah found themselves doing a lot of media phone interviews from the road.

“We did not expect at all the kind of stuff that’s going on,” said James Keeler, Joshua’s father. “It’s news in Europe, South America, Asia, even Australia.”

They also received a lot of e-mails and comments on their site from people who were tracking their progress and cheering them on.

“We’ve gotten lots of comments and e-mails and things from people who we have inspired them to go and take their trip before it’s too late, or before things happen that will go and make it impossible,” said Keeler. “We’re really pleased with that kind of response and happy we’re helping people to go and live out their dreams, too.”

The idea for the trip originated 15 years ago with the elder Keeler, who planned on trying to break the Guinness record with two of his friends.

“I did it all using paper maps, which means I had to calculate every mile between every town and city in the country by hand,” said James. “It took me six months working on the maps every day.”

Just before he was getting ready to leave on the trip, James’ mother died and as a result the trip never happened. He also said he has had blood clots in his lungs several times and it prevents him from being able to sit for more than a few hours at a time, which made the trip no longer possible.

Then, last September, Joshua came to him with an idea.

“He came to me back in September and said, ‘Dad, do you still have all the maps?’” recalled James. “He grew up with it, starting at age nine, and saw me planning it and he came to me in September and said, ‘We’re going to do the trip.’”

Using his father’s maps and research, Keeler, Stocking and Gatherum chose a route that took them down the East Coast and then looped through the South. From there they zigzagged through the Midwest, cut across the Pacific Northwest, and then looped through California and Nevada before reaching the Four Corners.

The trip took them to many places they had never seen before and many places they said they would like to come back to.

“We’ve seen quite a bit,” said Keeler. “Personally, I really liked going through Maine and the New England area. It seemed like a neat place and there would be a lot to see out there. And that’s someplace that I think I would really like to go back.”

Their trip and Web site seems to have inspired many other people to undertake their own cross-country trips.

“My whole office has been following your adventure, wishing we were young and free and able to do it ourselves,” said one comment on their blog from someone who identified themselves as Greg. “It’s been fun to watch. I think lots of us have talked and dreamed about doing something like your trip, and it’s been great to see someone do more than talk and dream about it.”

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3 Men Trying To Drive 48 US States In 120 Hours May 7, 2008

Filed under: Miscellaneous News — gervmaine @ 8:59 am
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Like Phileas Fogg, three friends from Utah are on a quest to undertake a trip that has never been done before.

 

But instead of traveling around the world in 80 days in a hot air balloon, Joshua Keeler, Joey Stocking and Adam Gatherum are trying to drive through all 48 states of the continental United States in less than 120 hours.

 

As of Tuesday afternoon, the three guys in their early 20s were somewhere in the Midwest after having left Maine Sunday morning. From New England, they headed down the East Coast and then circled back up through the South.

The three aren’t necessarily driving completely through every state, but they are at least driving through part of each state, and if successful they plan to end up Friday at the Four Corners, where New Mexico, Colorado, Arizona and Utah meet.

 

Driving a 2005 Toyota Scion and using a global positioning system to document that they did in fact touch every state, they plan to make the 7,500-mile journey in an estimated five days, seven hours and 15 minutes.

 

That would break an old Guinness time record for driving though every state in the continental United States. Guinness no longer keeps record of or recognizes cross-country speed records in the interest of public safety, but that hasn’t stopped the three men from Utah from trying.

 

“We would really love to (break the record),” said Keeler via a phone interview as the three were traveling through Wisconsin and heading for Iowa. “We’ve got a really good shot at it, and we’re really hoping for that. But when it’s all said and done, even if it didn’t happen, to have gone through all of the states and everything will be really incredible.”

 

They have also been documenting their trip on their Web site, greatamericanroadtrip.us, with pictures, progress updates and blogs.

 

Their Web site has brought them international attention and they have been fielding interview requests from places as far away as Europe and South America.

 

“We had no idea,” said Keeler. “We set out on this and we thought this would be a fun way to spend a week and do something cool and hit all the states, which I think is something that we’re finding out that a lot of people would like to do or have done.”

 

From the Midwest, they plan on heading to the Pacific Northwest before turning south and traveling through Nevada and California before turning again and ending up at the Four Corners.

 

Keeler said that so far they seem to be ahead of schedule.

 

“We didn’t really have an exact schedule. We had some places that we needed to be and some estimates, but we seem to be ahead of schedule right now and cruising along,” said Keeler. “We’re pretty happy with the progress that we’re making.”

 

Keeler said the idea for the trip came from his father, James, who planned the trip 15 years ago with two other friends in an attempt to break the Guinness record.

 

But James said his mother died right before the trip was to start and as a result it never happened. But James said he is very pleased to see his son now tackling the trip.

 

“I am so thrilled that my son has taken the flag and run with it,” said James, who has been tracking their progress and helping them field interview requests.

 

From the road, Keeler said the Scion has been holding up and hasn’t experienced any trouble yet. He also said he bought the car because he thought it would be ideal for the trip.

 

“When we decided we were going to do this, I set out to buy a car that I knew would be good for this trip,” said Keeler. “After looking around, it came down to the Scion. It’s roomy for its size, and it’s got a lot of leg room so we can stretch out. It gets good gas mileage, and it’s got all the space we need. So it was just a real practicable road trip vehicle.”

 

The trip has taken them to many places they have never seen, and some that they will like to see again.

 

“Interstate 10, coming across the bottom of Louisiana, there’s a big section of that that’s going though the swamps for who knows how long above the water,” said Keeler. “That was really incredible. We were really impressed with that road and kind of decided we need to learn a little more about that when we get back. “