A Dave, A Volvo, A Duck and 48  States

WesTrek '99*

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In 1999, David Backman (formerly known to all as Wes, hence "WesTrek"), embarked upon a trip that was to cover at least visiting each of the 48 lower contiguous states. Traveling with his faithful S70 Volvo Inga, and his friend NOT Duck (actually DOT, twin of NOT), Dave left the safety of the family home in Barrington, Rhode Island on May 27, 1999. For the next four and a half month, he traversed our great country, visiting friends and introducing the Duck to many of the wonders that the United States has to offer, racking up 25,000 miles on the way.  Below is a map of his travels and links to pages that were designed to highlight his trip and stops in the states.


The Travels

May * June * July * August * September * October

May - the Journey Begins

Barrington, RI - leaving the stately homestead of the Backmans
(Richie, Sammi and Sasha) on May, 27, 1999.  Mile 0
May 27, 1999
New York City and his cousin Melissa Backman May 27
Washington DC: Dinner, drinks & pool with Jael McHenry May 28
Washington DC: Catholic Law School graduation for Christine Lee May 29
State College, PA for the wedding of Amy Lilien and Glenn Harper
accompanied by Lauren Hollander. Wore a tux.
May 30
Rochester, NY with Lise Hamilton, accompanied by Bob. May 31
June - Middle of the Country and 5,000 miles reached
Rochester: hung out. Sneezed at the cat June 1
Niagara Falls and then Toronto, Canada, eh (NOT, one of the 48 states)
Still with that Bob guy.
June 2
Toronto: Drop Bob at the airport. Goth clubbing with newly-met friend
Laura Brown
June 3
Detroit, Michigan - back in the USA, then on to Oberlin College, Ohio June 4
Oberlin College, Ohio with Bill Stackman and Family. Visit Cedar Point
Amusement Park
June 5
Cleveland, Ohio and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame June 6
Columbus, Ohio to visit Becky Schoenberg June 7

Louisville, Kentucky visiting Kathryn Tillett and Fort Knox

June 8
Mammoth Cave National Park and then Nashville, Tennessee,
including the Grand Ole Opry
June 9
Walking in Memphis, Tennessee, through Graceland and the
National Civil Rights Museum
June 10-11
Stopping in Cape Girardeau, Missouri to visit Jim Settle June 11
St. Louis to visit Christy Casado, listen to zydeco, and visit a lesbian
pool hall, a blues club and the Arch at night
June 11-13
Gateway Arch, St. Louis, MO, riverboat casino and explore downtown June 14
Daniel Boone's house; Mark Twain in  Hannibal, MO June 15
St. Louis Science Museum, live outdoor music in the Botanical Gardens June 16
Springfield, IL to visit Abe Lincoln sites; stayed with Lt. Carrie Adelson,
in Rock Island Arsenal, IL
June 17
Quad Cities, including the John Deere Pavilion to witness the history of tractors June 18
Davenport, IA, Gary, IN and then to Chicago to stay with the Murphys June 19
Chicago, IL museums, art, comedy and cows June 20
Appleton, WI to the Harry Houdini museum June 21
House on the Rock, Spring Green WI.; Frank Lloyd Wright's Taliesin June 22-23
Wisconsin Dells, saw Mir and arrived in St. Paul, Minnesota June 24
St. Paul, MN, visited the governor's office and the Mall of America June 25
The Green Giant in Blue Earth, MN and Spamtown in Austin, MN June 26
Des Moines, IA and the Bridges of Madison County June 27
Independence, MO; the world's largest ball of twine and the
center of the United States in Lebanon, KS
June 28-29
La Crosse, KS and the Barbed Wire Museum, with a dip to Beaver, OK for
the hell of it
June 30

July - 10,000 miles and the Pacific is reached

Liberal, KS and OZ mania, then up Pike's Peak and onto Denver, CO to see Zim July 1
Denver, CO and environs; visit by Steph Oestreich; went to Cherry Creek Arts
Festival and saw fireworks
July 2-5
Boulder and such with Zim July 6
Exploring Colorado, including Royal Gorge with Rebecca Brosnan from Amherst July 7
Unpacked Gamelan instruments, killed Balinese cockroach, rode on back of
a motorcycle for the first time
July 8
Rocky Mountain National Park; Continental Divide; southeastern Wyoming and the
Oregon Trail. Stayed with Tom Hall
July 9-10
Chimney Rock, Carhenge & Agate Fossil Beds National Park in Nebraska
plus 5 avian suicides by Volvo grill
July 11
Mount Rushmore, Crazy Horse, Custer State Park, Badlands, Wind Cave by
candlelight and Wall Drug in South Dakota
July 13-14
Devil's Tower and the Geographical Center of the 50 United States July 12
Corn Palace; Stampede Rodeo; Lawrence Welk's birthplace, Pierre, ND July 15-16
10,000 mile mark; Pompey's Pillar; Little Big Horn; Yellowstone and Old Faithful July 17-19
Butte, MT; Craters of the Moon National Park; world's first nuclear power plant July 20
Utah: Temple Square, Mormon Tabernacle, 1st legal beer during a movie
(Buckaroo Banzai), Golden Spike
July 21-22
Boise ID with new friend Alice Rentz July 23-25
Columbia River, Stonehenge War Memorial, Maryhill Museum July 25
Last day of second month; reached Pacific Ocean July 26
Seattle, WA with hosts Loryn, Charles & Samantha Paxton. Seattle Underground
Space Needle, Duck Tour (quack), Microsoft. Dinner & Burning Man film with
Heather Ralph
July 26-29
Qi Gong celebration, Rogue Brewery, Crater Lake July 30-31

August - Along the Pacific and 15,000 miles reached

San Francisco adventure begins, Brunch with host Nancy and friends
Stephanie Eckhaus and Colleen Sanford
August 1
Chinatown, Lombard Street, Ghiradelli Square, Dinner in North Beach with friend
Jen Bonardi & roommate Laura Stern.
August 2
The Mission, Metreon & Where the Wild Things Are with Nancy August 3
Cartoon Art Museum, Anchor Brewery tour with SF visiting Marc Elzweig, & host
brewmaster Mark Carpenter, SF Tufts Alliance "Loud Hour"
August 4
Dinner with Jen Bonardi, evening improv music performance by "024c" -- Marc
Elzweig & friends
August 5
The Stinking Rose, The Haight with Marc Elzweig, Laura & Stephanie Stern &
Lynn Goldman
August 6
Visited Berkley, saw Blair Witch, explored campus & Telegraph Avenue August 7
Oakland A's game -- NOT meets Stomper the elephant mascot, dinner with SF-
visiting Erin Cox in Chinatown
August 8
Laundry; dinner with Tufts friends Jen Trask & Kristina Gutschow August 9
Redwood City & Palo Alto with old Tufts friends Kris & Marc Garrigus August 10
Fisherman's Wharf and sea lions, Alcatraz tour with hooky-playing Nancy,
Golden Gate Bridge
August 11
Tactile Dome adventures (pitch-black crawl-through alternate-sense space) &
Exploratorium, Palace of Fine Arts
August 12
Redwood forest, Napa Valley, Petrified Forest, SF rush hour August 13
Eighth Annual Rubber Ducky Derby, met mascot Mr. Waddles August 14
Pinnacles National Park, Pacific Ocean August 15
Hearst Castle, Pacific Coastal Highway, Santa Barbara August 16
La Brea Fossil Pits, Mann's Chinese Theater, Walk of Fame, Hollywood & Vine,
"Hollywood" sign
August 17
Universal Studios, Warner Brothers Tour August 18
Saw Lorne Michaels get star on Walk of Fame & met Chris Kattan and Molly
Shannon of SNL; attended taping of Politically Incorrect, waved at by Craig
August 19
Hit 15,000 mile mark in Carson, CA, UC San Diego campus, "Old Town" San Diego
with Charlene Ellsworth, San Juan Capistrano
August 20
Rolls Royce festival with Boston friends Traci Craig and David Green, nightlife in 
August 21
San Diego Wild Animal Park, drinks with Nancy (in from  SF), Yale Goldis &
Mayer Danzig
August 22
World's tallest thermometer (107 degrees), Las Vegas at night, Treasure Island pirate
show (the Dread Pirate Daveley), Star Trek: The Experience
August 23
Went to the feeding trough (a.k.a. the lunch buffet), saw volcano explode (or was it
a Mirage?), NOT won money on a duck-themed slot machine, saw Cirque du Soleil,
propositioned by a prostitute (not accepted, by either Dave or NOT)
August 25
Hoover Dam, London Bridge (Lake Havasu City, AZ) August 26
Route 66 in Kingman, AZ, Phoenix, dust storm, Tuscon, Biosphere 2, Montezuma
, Grand Canyon, Painted Desert, Four Corners
August 27-29
Visit from Mom. Explored Albuquerque, Los Alamos, Santa Fe, Taos Pueblo August 30-
September 1

September - The Southern Swing and 20,000 miles

National Radio Astronomy Observatory VLA (Very Large Array), Trinity site,
Alamogordo, New Mexico
September 3
National Atomic Museum September 2
Roswell, NM, Cadillac ranch & Big Texas Steak Ranch in Amarillo September 4
Clinton, O.K. - Route 66 Museum, world champion hog caller September 5
Riverwalk and the Alamo in San Antonio September 6
Austin, Texas visiting friends Lynn Goldman and Erica Coffin September 7-8
Houston - Johnson Space Center, New Orleans September 9
Rosh Hashanah with friend Sara Hanig...New Orleans style. September 10-11
New Orleans - Bourbon Street, ghost tour September 12-14
Biloxi blues, USS Alabama, McGuire's in Pensacola, FL September 15
Statue dedicated to boll weevil, reached JJ's in Atlanta September 16
General introduction to Atlanta...including traffic September 17
World of Coca-Cola with JJ, dinner with friend Jill Hollander (no relation to Lauren,
above and below)
September 18
Yom Kippur with friend Lauren Hollander (See May 30) September 19-20
CNN tour, Stone Mountain, Centennial Olympic Park, Emory University, flat tire
for Inga
September 21-23
Drive with JJ to Greensboro, NC September 24
Wedding of Anadri Chisolm (former co-worker) and Terry Noel September 25
Left Greensboro back to Atlanta with JJ, saw giant peach, dinner with Lauren
September 26
Augusta, GA, Columbia, SC, South of the Border September 27-28
Roanoke Island (Lost Colony), Wright Brothers (Kitty Hawk), Duck, NC, Dismal
Swamp Canal
, attacked by mosquitoes
September 29
Monticello, "Cooter" from The Dukes of Hazzard, Harper's Ferry, WV September 30

October - Journey's end at 25,000 miles

Gaithersburg, MD, "Old Town" Alexandria with Anna Rappaport, Kennedy Center  
with host Heidi Marchetti
October 1-2
Arlington National Cemetery, Iwo Jima, Cumberland Falls October 3
Declaration of Independence and Constitution with Christine Lee, Dinner with Jael 
October 4
White House, caught sight of Buddy the First Dog October 5
Driving with Christine Lee to Roadside America, Crayola factory October 6
Dinner in NYC with John Voloudakis and Melissa Backman October 7
Today Show, met Katie Couric, Statue of Liberty, stayed with Christine's family in 
Stamford, CT
October 8
Uncle Sam in Troy, NY, National Bottle Museum, leaf peeping October 9
Ferry across Lake Champlain, Magic Hat Brewery, Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream Factory,
floating bridge
October 10
Mary Meyer Corporation to meet NOT's makers, America's Stonehenge, Bangor,
October 11
Wesley, ME, 2nd largest whirlpool on earth, Eastport, ME (easternmost US city),
Acadia National Park
October 12
Bar Harbor, Desert of Maine, L.L. Bean, surprise dinner at John Harvard's with
Kat, Bob, Kris, Chris, Doug, Mike and Jeff, return to 145 Franklin Street in Arlington
Total Miles: 24,925.6 miles.
October 13

Page Updated June 1, 2006