My intention to post a travel blog every day while driving solo across America turned out a tad ambitious. Driving 300-500 miles each day was fine, but frequent stretch and sniff stops, minor diversions, and finding dog friendly wi-fi lodgings each evening left little time for coherent writing. Hotel room arrival involved finding enough electrical outlets to recharge computer, camera, phone, bluetooth headset, iPod, and me. Solo human and canine care had to be woven into the familiar digital workflow of downloading photos, checking email, backing everything up, and googling specific details for the next day’s itinerary. The route emerged from local maps, state travel guides, old magazine clippings, labyrinth location printouts, and brochures from the hotel lobby, plus online and on the ground research. It took a few days to refine unpacking and repacking the car each day. We were up, packed, and underway as early as possible every morning, which wasn’t as early as I would have liked. Most writers agree that the best time of day to write is upon waking, when consciousness floats out of dreamspace pulling a bargeload of incredibly imaginative ideas back into tangible reality. Most travelers agree that the best time to get on the road as soon as you’re awake, helped by a good breakfast and hot coffee, to get a clear, strong start on the day. Considering I’ll write right through to lunch once I get going, Merlin and I decided the road trip asserted priority. Even without morning journaling, we were often the last vehicle to leave the parking lot, by an embarrassing 9 am. Looking at the USA map on the third day, I began to get nervous about missing the wedding. My leisurely extra half week buffer began to look like a week too short. We had known it would get dark earlier as we approached winter, but we underestimated how dark and how early as we looked for lodgings in the late afternoon twilight, stopping far before our projected destination city each night. And we kept losing whole hours to silly time zones crossings. Zap. Plus, it snowed. So, although we may give away the ending by announcing that we survived and are now back home, (friends, applaud here) we remain driven to share our journey. Here follows postings of scribbled notes and snapshots, with fleeting observations and sudden insights from slick travel brochures and crooked photocopies about the most amazingly unbelievable local attractions. Thanks for riding along on Merlin’s Road Trip.