Earlier this week we told you about how you could go to Europe on the cheap because the dollar is 30 percent stronger against the Euro in just the past year alone. The dollar is also quickly approaching par against the Euro. If flying off to Europe isn’t your thing, maybe a long and winding road trip hitting all 48 states in the continental USA is?
Is This The Ultimate Road Trip Across The USA?
The Washington Post posted a story about how a “data tinkerer” named Randy Olson who created an algorithm to compute the optimal American road trip. Randy Olson is also responsible for creating algorithms that solve Where’s Waldo books.
According to the Washington Post:
Olson set out to find the quickest driving route that would stop at a national natural landmark, national historic site, national park or national monument in all of the lower 48 states. He also included Washington, D.C. and added another stop in California to get to a total of 50 stops.
Calculating the fastest way to drive between all 50 landmarks – 2,500 individual routes – could theoretically take forever by hand, but Olson used the same genetic algorithm he used to find a search pattern for Where’s Waldo. This algorithm starts with a handful of solutions, takes the best one, and then compares that to other solutions until it can’t find a better one. The result is the route you see above, which includes stops at the Grand Canyon, the Alamo, Mount Vernon, Graceland, the White House, the Statue of Liberty, and much more. You can start in any state and follow the path in either direction.
If you didn’t sleep, stop or hit traffic, Olson calculates that this would take roughly 9.33 days of driving.
While I’m not sure that driving thru the continental US and visiting dozens of landmarks is my dream trip, the creator of the route also came up with a second map showing a driving route that hits popular cities in each of the lower 48 states. That map can be found here.