Ever dreamt of taking a trip cross-country? There's so much to see out there in this beautiful land of ours, and I'd recommend everyone get out there and see as many of the 50 states as possible (if not all of them). Before I started working as a writer, I was a touring musician, which gave me a lot of opportunities to see different parts of the country. One thing I can tell you from experience though: a good road trip requires planning.
Apparently, Randal Olson agrees with me. Randal is an accomplished researcher with a dual PhD in Computer Science and Ecology, Evolutionary Biology, and Behavior (EEBB). He used his background in data analysis and processing to create a mathematical equation that mapped out the perfect cross-country road trip. It allows travelers to hit all 48 continental states in the shortest amount of time.
He mapped the trip using the following rules: all 48 continental states must be included, stops are at designated National sites (parks, landmarks, statues, etc.), and the car must stay within United States borders at all times. According to Randal, "the result was an epic itinerary with a mix of inner city exploration, must-see historical sites, and beautiful natural landscapes. All that was left was to figure out the path that would minimize our time spent driving and maximize our time spent enjoying the landmarks."
After crunching all the numbers, Olson came up with the route mapped out below. With clear roads and good weather, it'd take about 224 hours (a little over 9 days) to drive the whole thing. You can start the trip at any point and work your way from there. To make an actual trip out of this where you actually get to relax and see stuff would probably take about 2-3 months.
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