Old 23rd January 2014, 21:35   #1
iomegajaz
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U.S.A. Road Trip!

ShyShy, Shy Jr and I are planning a road trip across the U.S. of A., heading west to east, and we'd like your input.

We're looking at arriving at LAX on 2014-09-15@06:30, flying from JFK (NY) back to LAX on 2014-10-04 (15:15 to 18:30) and then flying out from LAX on 2014-10-06@23:50.

I've booked a Chrysler 200 with Alamo, from LAX on 2014-09-15@11:30 to JFK on 2014-10-04@11:30, for ~$1212 including tax.

We have family in Texas (one hour north of Austin) with whom we will spend a few days. We also plan to hit Disney World and Universal Studios at Orlando (or Florida?). Apart from that, we'd like to catch up with as many forummers as possible. We've hung out with a number of Winamp and Pabook forummers "IRL" over the past decade, most of whom will give us glowing reviews as to our normalness and unscariness.

We're interested in hearing from anyone who knows us well enough to want to hang out with us for anything between an hour and a day (or three).

WHO WANTS IN?

On a related note, I'd be interested in hearing from anyone who has suggestions for the logistical side of things. The car booking I've made is entirely flexible and can even be fully cancelled up to 48 hrs before the rental start time. Depending on how things go at the bank today, the flight times may or may not be confirmed today. If not, they may change, but not by more than a day or two either side. We plan on staying in Motel 6 type places, broken up by sleepovers with family and friends along the way. That's about as much as we've figured out.

OH AND DON'T TELL SHY JR. – SHE DOESN'T KNOW YET!

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Old 24th January 2014, 05:10   #2
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Damnit, I talked to her before reading that last line. Shit.

j/k

Congratulations on making such a huge trip into a doable thing. My family and I have yet to do something like that, but the time will come, maybe once my little girl is past toddlerhood and can appreciate it a bit more. September and October are very heavy months for me with work at the school and coaching, but give me time to look at things more specifically before I answer on an IRL meeting (if you're even interested). I frequent a really nice place near the intersection of interstate 79 and 80 in Mercer, Pennsylvania, despite living in southern West Virginia. That could be an interesting visit toward the end of your travels.

When it comes to vehicles, comfort for long-distance (including back seat considering 3 people are traveling), cargo capacity since you'll all have luggage, and fuel economy would be your priorities. Safety is great for damn near anything these days, and rental companies use cars that are usually too new to worry about reliability. I’m amazed at the price you found for that car; just for shits and giggles I checked Hertz and found prices between $3,000 and $5,000 for the time period and distance you mentioned.



Book the flight from a different computer you shopped with. If the site sees you visiting a second (or third or whatever) time, they charge more, knowing you're more willing to buy, from what I have read on news articles (do a search for similar if interested):


http://www.budgettravel.com/blog/far...websites,9793/

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Old 24th January 2014, 05:37   #3
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Send me a PM if you'd like to visit upstate NY, although it sounds to be a bit out of your route! You're more than welcome.

JFK is fun if you've never been there - I'm from that area originally.

Above all, have a great time!

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Old 26th January 2014, 01:55   #4
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Congrats!

I'll see if I can't get you an insane discount on Disney that is given to FL residents. No promises as I think they check id's on FL discounted tickets at the gate.

However, I'll at least look into it for you.
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Old 26th January 2014, 16:58   #5
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Stay off of I-35 if possible. Traffic on it is horrible. I-35 is the highway that goes through Austin. Be safe driving. You'll take I-10 east? I'm in Phoenix now.

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Old 26th January 2014, 18:30   #6
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Only bother with WV if you can reserve tickets for the CASS Scenic Railroad during the fall.

http://www.cassrailroad.com/gallery/gallery.html

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Old 27th January 2014, 02:16   #7
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Originally Posted by fc*uk View Post
Congrats!

I'll see if I can't get you an insane discount on Disney that is given to FL residents. No promises as I think they check id's on FL discounted tickets at the gate.

However, I'll at least look into it for you.
Yeah, they do check IDs, and after researching $$$, we're just sticking to Universal Studios because someone is a huge Harry Potter fan girl.

Shy Jr just about lost her mind when we told her about the trip the other night
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Old 27th January 2014, 03:27   #8
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This is what we've got so far: https://maps.google.com/maps/ms?ie=U...a362b6d5866765

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Stay off of I-35 if possible. Traffic on it is horrible. I-35 is the highway that goes through Austin. Be safe driving. You'll take I-10 east? I'm in Phoenix now.
Looks like we'll be taking I-35 north from Temple to Dallas, then turn east on I-20. Taking the I-35 can't be helped.

Yes we'll take I-10 east from LA. We plan on meeting up with Daniel (Sandman2012) in Phoenix, if he'll have us, so we will definitely find time to meet you, too.

Quote:
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Congrats!

I'll see if I can't get you an insane discount on Disney that is given to FL residents. No promises as I think they check id's on FL discounted tickets at the gate.

However, I'll at least look into it for you.
Thanks! As ShyShy said, Shy Jr. is set on going to Harry Potter World, so we're going with Universal Studios rather than Disney. Thanks very much for the thought anyway. If you're keen to meet up, maybe grab a bite or a drink, we'd be keen for that to happen too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SSJ4 Gogitta View Post
Only bother with WV if you can reserve tickets for the CASS Scenic Railroad during the fall.

http://www.cassrailroad.com/gallery/gallery.html
Thanks for the link. We hadn't considered a steam train ride as part of our trip, but I will give it some thought. We're happy to bother with WV if it means we can meet you and Ted! Hopefully we can catch up with you in person - see my response to Ted below.

Quote:
Originally Posted by swingdjted View Post
Damnit, I talked to her before reading that last line. Shit.

j/k

Congratulations on making such a huge trip into a doable thing. My family and I have yet to do something like that, but the time will come, maybe once my little girl is past toddlerhood and can appreciate it a bit more. September and October are very heavy months for me with work at the school and coaching, but give me time to look at things more specifically before I answer on an IRL meeting (if you're even interested). I frequent a really nice place near the intersection of interstate 79 and 80 in Mercer, Pennsylvania, despite living in southern West Virginia. That could be an interesting visit toward the end of your travels.

When it comes to vehicles, comfort for long-distance (including back seat considering 3 people are traveling), cargo capacity since you'll all have luggage, and fuel economy would be your priorities. Safety is great for damn near anything these days, and rental companies use cars that are usually too new to worry about reliability. I’m amazed at the price you found for that car; just for shits and giggles I checked Hertz and found prices between $3,000 and $5,000 for the time period and distance you mentioned.



Book the flight from a different computer you shopped with. If the site sees you visiting a second (or third or whatever) time, they charge more, knowing you're more willing to buy, from what I have read on news articles (do a search for similar if interested):


http://www.budgettravel.com/blog/far...websites,9793/
It'd definitely be cool to meet you in person. The intersection you mention is probably not workable any more so than southern WV. Since you and SSJ4 are in the same region (though possibly hundreds of miles apart) then if we could meet up with you both at the same time, somewhere near Charlston (or a bit further south at "Beckley", if there's anything there...) that would be grrrreat!

We've just now switched the vehicle to a Ford Escape as it gets identical MPG to the 200, but with much more room. Difference in total price was $60. I know this overall price is insane. Here's the site I booked with: www.rentalcars.com They're based in the UK and act as agents for Alamo, National, Thrifty and Dollar. For some reason their one-way fees are MUCH less than if you shop direct with those providers (i.e. $500 instead of upwards of $1100).

Thanks for the advice re flight bookings; I still need to check the operators' own sites (as the prices I have came through a bricks-n-mortar travel agent).

Quote:
Originally Posted by k_rock923 View Post
Send me a PM if you'd like to visit upstate NY, although it sounds to be a bit out of your route! You're more than welcome.
PM sent. FYI we're not planning on heading much further north than Manhattan, but that's only because we don't know who or what is up there! If anyone's up that way and is keen to catch up in person, speak now...

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Old 27th January 2014, 05:16   #9
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Beckley has this; http://www.beckley.org/exhibition_coal_mine/

I travel through Charleston fairly frequently as I have a friend in St. Albans. Just came from his place 5 hours ago in fact. I'm not fond of driving through Charleston itself, though, and I've only been to Beckley once (for the exhibition mine).

I think Ted is something like 40 miles from me as the bird flies, but a 70+ mile, 2 hour drive.

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Old 27th January 2014, 08:44   #10
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Beckley has this; http://www.beckley.org/exhibition_coal_mine/

I travel through Charleston fairly frequently as I have a friend in St. Albans. Just came from his place 5 hours ago in fact. I'm not fond of driving through Charleston itself, though, and I've only been to Beckley once (for the exhibition mine).

I think Ted is something like 40 miles from me as the bird flies, but a 70+ mile, 2 hour drive.
What about Tamarack? http://www.tamarackwv.com

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Old 27th January 2014, 09:37   #11
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Old 27th January 2014, 09:45   #12
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Tamarack is fun to walk around but everything costs moon money.

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Old 27th January 2014, 23:44   #13
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Yay!
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Old 28th January 2014, 01:08   #14
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Yay!

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Tamarack is fun to walk around but everything costs moon money.
It's looking more and more likely that we will have enough time to hang out for a few hours, grab a bite to eat, maybe a bit of a walk around, and that's about it. So the venue really isn't too important, other than to be not-too-far from our main route (see the map).

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Old 28th January 2014, 03:47   #15
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The most important thing is that we'll be together again, like a real family!


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Old 28th January 2014, 05:57   #16
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Here's something. If you take a bit of a detour north when you leave Beckley, you can cross the New River Gorge Bridge. It used to be the longest steel arch bridge in the world, but is now the 4th, and is also the feature of the West Virginia state quarter.


Circled the location in blue.



Click to enbiggen both images.

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Old 28th January 2014, 12:46   #17
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I cross that bridge quite often. A lot of people BASE jump off of it as they close the bridge once a year for parachuters. It's a very high bridge; not so fun for vertigo people. There is a bit of site seeing there. A WV meeting would be easier for me than PA during the school year, so perhaps that could be a good thing. I have a lot of ways I can offer help if you (Jaz-Shy family or SSJ4) need it. I am willing to meet in Beckley, Charleston, and I would enjoy other places too.

Depending on where we meet, it'll likely be an adventure for me too, in a good way of course, as I've only lived in WV for about 2.5 years.

The Escape kicks the 200's ass in too many ways to list in my opinion. Nice upgrade.

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Old 28th January 2014, 18:29   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iomegajaz View Post
This is what we've got so far: https://maps.google.com/maps/ms?ie=U...a362b6d5866765



Looks like we'll be taking I-35 north from Temple to Dallas, then turn east on I-20. Taking the I-35 can't be helped.

Yes we'll take I-10 east from LA. We plan on meeting up with Daniel (Sandman2012) in Phoenix, if he'll have us, so we will definitely find time to meet you, too.
That sucks you're stuck with taking I-35. Though I can only speak for the Austin/San Antonio areas.

Sweetness on the Phoenix stop. It'll probably still be cooking when you're here. Lol

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Old 29th January 2014, 02:37   #19
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I have driven south on I-35 from DFW to Killeen (presumably via Temple, but I don't recall) and the traffic back then (in early 2007) was minimal... but then it was ~10:00 pm when we left DFW.

If the flight times and dates remain unchanged, we should be in Phoenix from mid-afternoon on the 15th until mid-morning on the 16th.

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I cross that bridge quite often. A lot of people BASE jump off of it as they close the bridge once a year for parachuters. It's a very high bridge; not so fun for vertigo people. There is a bit of site seeing there. A WV meeting would be easier for me than PA during the school year, so perhaps that could be a good thing. I have a lot of ways I can offer help if you (Jaz-Shy family or SSJ4) need it. I am willing to meet in Beckley, Charleston, and I would enjoy other places too.

Depending on where we meet, it'll likely be an adventure for me too, in a good way of course, as I've only lived in WV for about 2.5 years.
Interesting.

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The Escape kicks the 200's ass in too many ways to list in my opinion. Nice upgrade.



I've noted on the map a potential detour via Baton Rouge, LA which would add ~56km to the trip distance. We would divert from the I-20 at Shreveport, LA and rejoin the I-10 at Mobile, AL. We would stay overnight in either Jackson, MI or Baton Rouge. My question is: Is this a worthwhile detour?

Also, a question for fc*uk: Diverting from I-10 east of Tallahassee and going down to Tampa on SRs 19, 27 and 98 looks like it would be quicker and hopefully more coastal/scenic than staying on I-10 and coming down I-75. What do you think?

Also also: Suggested zoom level for the Google map is such that the scale on the bottom-left corner reads "200 mi" and "200 km". This zoom level fits the map on a 1366-wide screen and puts the accommodation date markers in the right spots. Clicking on the big blue "?" pops up my notes for the trip. :geek:

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Old 29th January 2014, 03:02   #20
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I have a place in eastern panhandle WV (Hampshire County). Y'all could come and hang out on your road trip. But it's probably too far of a drive for the southern WV folks.
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Old 29th January 2014, 05:06   #21
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That sounds great. We'll definitely add Hampshire county to the mix and see what we can come up with.

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Old 29th January 2014, 05:23   #22
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http://greenbrierupgrade.tcgdevbox.c...ker-Tours.aspx

Always wanted to check that out. Forgive the silly narration.


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Old 30th January 2014, 09:55   #23
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That does look pretty interesting.

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Old 2nd February 2014, 16:12   #24
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Jaz: September might be a busy time for me depending upon what is going on. At this point in time, I'm really not too sure. I have a feeling that I am going to get shipped off to Cary, NC around that time. It would be nice to be able to meet up for sure. However, I will have to let you know about that.

As far as your route in FL… I am not too sure about those smaller roads (SR 19, 27, and 98). FL is pretty back woods around that area, so there might not be much around or you might have to deal with some massive hillbillies when you stop. Also, traffic through Tampa can be a nightmare depending upon the time that you are making your way through.

Be forewarned, traffic around Orlando is going to suck no matter the direction of your approach.

As for your stop around MS… My vote is for Baton Rouge. Baton Rouge would be a worthwhile detour. I caution against Jackson, MS… MS is a very strange state (read between the lines on this one).

Unfortunately, I did check ShyShy's comments about tickets with people more familiar with Disney… there does not appear to be a way to pass off my discount to you and your family
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Old 5th February 2014, 01:22   #25
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If we go through southern WV then Cary, NC is a ways off route... Keep us posted.

There's apparently family in Tampa so we'll go there for a night before spending two nights right near Universal Studios. Thanks for checking about Disney tickets; discounts being unavailable supports our choice to go with Universal instead (Happy Potter world yay...)

Thanks for the tip re Jackson, MS. I've actually heard of Baton Rouge, which is something I can't say for Jackson.

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Old 10th February 2014, 01:40   #26
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We're in a holding pattern at the moment, awaiting action from the bank vis-á-vis a new card which will provide free travel insurance for any tickets purchased with said card, thereby saving us ~$500. Once that's done we'll settle on start and finish dates, which will provide us greater certainty when it comes to settling on dates and times to meet up with y'all.


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Old 10th February 2014, 02:02   #27
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You certainly have a lucky family. I hope all goes well as planned.

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Old 10th February 2014, 08:40   #28
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Old 11th February 2014, 01:16   #29
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You certainly have a lucky family. I hope all goes well as planned.
We are lucky, on the whole.

My take on the whole holidays issue is that I would rather travel now, while the three of us are young (but Shy Jr's old enough to appreciate it) as opposed to saving up for decades and then travelling when we're old and tired. We travel, incur expenses, then pay off said expenses, and go again. In this case, I'm using mortgage equity to cover the trip and then will have a plan to reimburse the full amount back into the mortgage... then we'll go somewhere else in another couple of years.

We're by no means well-off. Any lower-middle income family could do what we do. It just takes some planning, and occasional guts to
Just Do It™.

e: ALT+0160 is word filtered? Lame.

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Old 11th February 2014, 03:06   #30
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My take on the whole holidays issue is that I would rather travel now, while the three of us are young (but Shy Jr's old enough to appreciate it) as opposed to saving up for decades and then travelling when we're old and tired. We travel, incur expenses, then pay off said expenses, and go again. In this case, I'm using mortgage equity to cover the trip and then will have a plan to reimburse the full amount back into the mortgage... then we'll go somewhere else in another couple of years.
That's kind of like our Europe trip this last summer.
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Old 11th February 2014, 05:45   #31
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first stop will be Denny's

then Wendy's... Taco Hell... Ohhh... and Sonic...
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Old 11th February 2014, 06:57   #32
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Old 11th February 2014, 11:16   #33
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Cool

And I can't wait to hit Texas for some BBQ and Tex Mex. Aussies have no idea about real BBQ.
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Old 12th February 2014, 02:31   #34
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first stop will be Denny's

then Wendy's... Taco Hell... Ohhh... and Sonic...
I work at a Taco Hell... Lol You ain't kidding. haha

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Old 12th February 2014, 20:49   #35
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Toxic Hell!!

My wife still likes that place, and I am embarrassed to admit, if there's any leftovers, I eat and enjoy. I try to avoid it, but really, there's not much reason to avoid it.

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Old 12th February 2014, 23:34   #36
iomegajaz
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I fucking love Denny's.

In the months following our relocation from the States to Australia, I envisioned that when we went back to visit, we would CERTAINLY hit WA state to catch up and reminisce with old work friends up that way.

Over time, that urge has diminished, due to losing contact with ALL of those folks as I don't use facebook and have only recently taken up twitter. They all had my email address, but after the initial flurry of "we'll miss you" exchanges, there's been almost complete radio silence for the past few years.

One bloke – back then a line cook and now head chef at a fancy Tacoma restaurant – shot me an email out of the blue a few months ago. We were close back in the day, but it turned out he was just checking to see if I was still alive, and had no interest in re-establishing even semi-regular contact. That was a sad realisation for me.

So bugger WA state, we'll get our pot from CO instead. Any suggestions for meth? If the TV series Justified is to be believed, KY may be a good option for that.

"My heart hates uggos." –J.D.
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Old 5th March 2014, 11:35   #37
iomegajaz
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Update time.

We've moved the trip forward. We arrive in LA on August 31, fly from NYC to LA on September 18, and fly out from LA on September 20. Hopefully everyone can adjust accordingly.

The map has been updated with the new dates. Basically every stop has moved forward by about two weeks.

We've also crossed out Baton Rouge, LA, and replaced it with a route through Little Rock, Memphis and Birmingham.

"My heart hates uggos." –J.D.
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Old 7th March 2014, 04:51   #38
Psythik
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Damn, sucks that I currently don't have a car nor a permanent home ATM. I really wanted to meet up with you guys in Phoenix...

This is a sig of some nature.
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Old 24th March 2014, 01:32   #39
SSJ4 Gogitta
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From the Smithsonian; Arial America: West Virginia.

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Old 25th March 2014, 16:20   #40
ms_nitrogen
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This may be a bit of a flash of the past, but I (ie the mother fucking seraphim) still lives in los angeles.
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