Next week, I take off for a week-long vacation. But I’m not the type of person who likes to stop working while I’m away — I need a purpose for a vacation. Luckily, I found one that will also cost me very little: I’m driving a car home to Toronto from Phoenix for a retired couple who spend the winter months sunning themselves in the southwest desert.
This type of excursion is typically known as a “driveaway” program: travellers have someone drive the vehicle south in the fall and back north in the spring. The car owner pays for your flight and cover the expense of gas (and sometimes accommodations). It’s a great adventure for people who don’t mind sitting behind a wheel for ten hours a day, but not so great if you pay attention to your carbon footprint. I’ve taken the step of having Spacing’s office neighbour, Carbon Zero, offset my trip. This trip will produces approximately 1.6 tonnes of greenhouse gases (GHG) according to their emissions calculator. Offsetting will only cost me $38. But to put the amount of emissions from this trip into perspective, my output equals about one-fifth of the average Canadian’s carbon footprint. I have a smaller emissions output than the average Canadian for a variety of reasons, so this trip may equal half of my normal yearly damage.
Putting my green-washing guilt aside, what I’m interested in hearing from Spacing Toronto readers is which route should I take home (leave a comment if you wish). I have three distinct options, detailed in the maps below, and I encourage each of you to vote for a particular route (see the poll below the maps). Feel free to tell me about things I can see or should check out in the cities I can potentially pass through. I’m specifically interested in public transit systems, cycling infrastructure, waterfront development, pedestrianized areas, and streetscape design. I plan to blog about the cities I visit during the trip, so your suggestions could find its way into a post.
(click on maps to see larger versions)
Route 1: Cutting across the northern parts of the US South.
Cities to pass through: Albuquerque NM, Oklahoma City OK, Little Rock AK, Memphis TN, Nashville TN, Louisville KY, Cincinnati OH, Detroit MI.
Route 2: Going on a diagonal across the Heartland.
Cities to pass through: Albuquerque NM, Oklahoma City OK, Tulsa OK, St. Louis MO, Gary IN, Detroit MI.
Route 3: Going north along the eastern edge of the Rocky Mountains and across the mid-west.
Cities to pass through: Albuquerque NM, Colorado Spring CO, Denver CO, Cheyenne WY, Omaha NE, Des Moines IO, Davenport IO/Moline IL, Gary IN, Detroit MI.
photo by Daniel James