IMAGE: Greg Cayea and Heather Thompson dominate the United States by car. (Image courtesy Greg Cayea)
Some might think it impossible and darn near insane to drive the wide expanse of this country. These two people have done it, broke a record in the process and proved that the journey can be absolutely amazing.
We had the pleasure of speaking with Greg Cayea, writer or ScrambledGregs.com and “No Direction Home,” as well as his girlfriend and fellow road tripper Heather Thompson. Both are currently en route to shattering the Guinness World Record for the longest journey by car in a single journey.
To be a bit more specific, the couple has already surpassed the previous record and then some. We spoke to the two who met on Valentine’s Day 2014 at the 108-day mark of their current journey. As of this writing, the two have meandered past 33,000 miles across this great nation of ours.
When we spoke to Cayea and Thompson they were enjoying one of their rare brief respites. Cayea laid out some of the various rules one has to follow when trying to break a world record — some of which mandate they, “can’t rest for longer than 13 days; we have to film two minutes of every hour that we’re driving; we have to take photos of national landmarks.”
Such is life when you are chasing a dream.
The impetus of the trip was as sudden as some of the journey’s improvised stops. Cayea states that he and Heather had been on a break for close to a year when they rekindled the romance and began a long-distance relationship. Plans were set for Heather to join him from Los Angeles in Philadelphia when inspiration came via Tony Robbins.
Cayea was doing a Robbins-fueled writing exercise before the monumental road trip to the east coast when he put down that he wanted to one day break a world record. Well, today is always as good as “one day,” and so he put the wheels in motion to break the road trip milestone.
This meant getting in touch with Guinness and working out rigmarole such as the starting point, in this case close to Heather’s parents in Tempe, Arizona, and finalizing a plan of attack or itinerary.
PHOTO: Heather and Greg are all smiles at Bryce Canyon. (Photo courtesy Greg Cayea)
As Cayea relayed to TravelPulse, you do have a great deal of flexibility when it comes to the map as long as you stick to the rules, and so the two were off on what has been an arduous, amazing, captivating, eye-opening experience.
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While the record has been broken, there are some things that need to take place before the two are crowned renowned road trippers.
First, they have to actually conclude the mad dash across the nation. Once they finally call the trip a job well done, they will submit their voluminous evidence to officials who will have to sort through it all. According to Thompson, this could take one to two months.
For now, we have to let great advice, tweets and images suffice, and the two certainly have a treasure trove of suggestions to offer.
When asked what their favorite city was, Cayea and Thompson launched into a shout-out session that should please many who want suggestions of where to head to on their own respective road trips. Cayea begins by saying, “The whole area of Idaho, where the Snake River runs through, is probably one of the most interesting parts of the country that I’ve seen. The Black Hills in South Dakota are pretty damn cool.”
Here is just a sampling of other recommendations: Ashland, Oregon; Seaside, Oregon; Jackson Hole, Wyoming; Sun Valley, Wyoming; Boulder, Colorado; Coeur d'Alene, Idaho; Twin falls, Idaho; Bemidji, Minnesota.
There is even a soft spot for Alpine, Texas, which Cayea states is a, “really weird town, but I loved it.”
As for Thompson, she would go back to some of this country’s most gorgeous locales: “I’ve really enjoyed the National Parks. I can’t wait to go back. When we went to Glacier National Park it was kind of a rainy cloudy day, which was cool, but the water looks amazing when the sun’s out. So we didn’t really get that part of it, so I’m excited to go back there.”
PHOTO: The journey continues at Crater Lake. (Photo courtesy Greg Cayea)
If you were wondering how the relationship is doing, Cayea explains: “It started off a little rocky, but then we just out our systems in place. I thought it was going to be real difficult, because I’ve taken a lot of road trips with a lot of people – but we haven’t had any problems at all. It’s just gotten easier and easier.”
It seems when you are forced into a car for miles on end you learn to just deal with issues that arise and move on figuratively and literally.
As for things gleaned in an always-moving car, Thompson exclaims, “Our country is huge.”
Cayea relays, “there is as much of a culture shock going from El Paso, Texas, to Bemidji, Minnesota, or even from L.A. to New York as there was when I went from New York to Buenos Aires.”
Thankfully, the expert road trippers have some advice for the rest of us, namely get a podcast or few to put on for your own trip, and make sure there is a cooler packed with food for along the way.
The two also encouraged those planning a similar trip to invest in a National Park pass as well as a GPS.
The phone is great for the city but Cayea exclaimed that even having Verizon wasn’t enough to find any service in a large swath of this country. Most importantly, Cayea says, “don’t pass the memories by.” Sure, you are driving, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t stop at each and every part of the trip that you feel can be archived for generations with a quick photo.
The best part of a road trip is precisely the marathon aspect. You get to sit and savor a city for all of its good and bad qualities.
After speaking with Cayea and Thompson, we have an itch to log a few hundred miles of our own.