By Gennadiy Kofman

I have been thinking about a road trip to the South for about 5 years now. I really wanted to see how different America could be in different parts. Movies like Forest Gump made it even more intriguing. However, every time I wanted to go, there has been complications like not enough time, people, or money. When I lost my job at the end of April, I thought, what better chance than now. No work made me free from my time. I got my vacation paid out (plus the unemployment checks), which made me free from money. All I needed where people. Originally, I planned to drive all the way to New York through the South and then on the East coast and head back through the north and the Midwest. Just like hiking, I like loops instead of there and back. Plus alot more to see that way. The person that I found to go with was Vlad. He was visiting here from Russia for about a month. However, it turned out that there was one complication. His uncle (who is also one of my best friends) was getting married and that we only had about 2 and a half weeks for the trip. Originally, I planned a 3 week trip, however, there were some long distance driving between a few cities, so I wanted to go without really caring when we get back. The complication made me go back to my outline and another look at my map. I saw a shortcut that we could take that would cut the time by about a week. We were to go as far as Atlanta and then head up north to St. Louis through Nashville. After the plan was agreed upon, I started doing my preparations. Doing things spontaneously has it's advantages and disadvantages. The advantage is that everything is flexible. You are not bound to one plan that one must follow, rather we could adapt to the trip as we go on. The disadvantages however is not knowing where your going to sleep for the night. Will there be hotels available? Will they be expensive on such a short notice? To plug in that hole, I went to Costco to pick a few supplies. I bought a tent that we could use to sleep at some camp site if we couldn't find a motel or if we wanted to save some money. In addition, I decided to document the trip and for that, I needed a good camera. In that Costco, there were only 2 choices and I bought the Canon Rebel Xsi for $900 with the intent that I was going to return it (along with the tent) after the trip. The camera came with a carrying bag and 2 lenses: wide range and long range. In addition, I also bought two 4GB SD Cards. For trip information, I took a trip to my local AAA office. There, an employee drew my trip on a map for me and got me a map for every state and every city that I was planning to be at. I came out of there carrying 3 bags of maps and tour guides. The maps were for back up just in case our GPS would flake out, or my iphone won't get a signal, or even to plan a detour if we needed one. With those things, we were ready to be on our way. After a short discussion, we decided to leave really early to beat the LA traffic and to be on our way as soon as possible. The trip starts Monday morning, and after packing everything, I didn't have a lot of time to sleep. And when I finally did go to sleep, I couldn't sleep very well as the excitement of the trip kept me up. And so it starts...

Head on to Day 1