Jessi gets to visit Oakley, NJ right off the bat, and spends most of the visit thinking Mallory is racist because she seems uncomfortable when visiting the Ramsey grandparents. Jessi's grandma points out that Mallory seems tense because she wants to make a good impression. Later, Jessi visits Dalton, Mississippi, where her ancestors were supposedly slaves. It's an eye opening experience for her, and she even meets a woman who might be a distant relative.
Mallory wants to visit Chincoteague and Assateague Islands to see the ponies that Marguerite Henry descirbed in her books. She's a little sad at how touristy everything is, but actually seeing the wild ponies kind of makes up for it. She and everyone else in the RV also spend the entire trip dodging and annoying know-it-all named Liz Hoyer.
Claudia gets to visit the Art Institute in Chicago. She also pisses off Stacey by accidentally picking up her private journal, and buys a Georgia O'Keeffe sketch near the Wall Drug Store in South Dakota.
Abby the Elvis fan chooses Memphis/Graceland. That part of the trip is fun, but she not too excited to learn that Elizabeth's place of choice is the Grand Canyon. Abby's dad loved the Grand Canyon, and the family had been planning a trip there just before he died. Abby doesn't particularly want to be reminded of that, so she's not looking forward to being there. It turns out to be a really nice experience for her, and makes her feel a little closer to her dad.
Mary Anne chooses to visit Maynard, Iowa, so she can see her grandmother again. Verna won't let them drive all the way to Iowa, and meets them at the Mall of America in Bloomington, MN instead.
Jeff wants to go rock climbing, so he chooses Yellowstone National Park. When he finds out that there IS no rock climbing in Yellowstone, he talks his dad into going to Grand Tetons National Park instead.
Dawn wants to visit a ghost town, but they still haven't come across one by the time they get to Idaho. Then, she sees a brochure for a place called Buzzard Gulch which looks like exactly what she's been wanting. It turns out to be a cheesy theme park, and Dawn is embarrased at first. Everyone has a really good time, though. I would, too. :)
Karen wants to go to Four Corners so she can stand in four states at once and wave to Stoneybrook.
Stacey chooses Seattle because she's awesome. :) Just kidding; Ethan is staying there and she wants to see him again. She's a little nervous, since the only time they were together was her visit to New York when she was in the process of breaking up with Robert. Things go very well, and they kiss at the top of the Space Needle.
Kristy wants to visit as many Major League ballparks as possible. She hits quite a few of them along the way, and drags everyone else to a bunch of games. At a Giants game in San Francisco, Kristy spots her dad on the big screen during the seventh inning stretch. She's not sure she wants to see him, but her friends talk her into it. They have an awkward chat, and just as Patrick is about to introduce the girls to the women he's with, Kristy bails.
The Schafer RV runs out of gas in the Badlands, and the Brewer RV gets rear-ended, gets stuck in a tornado in Oklahoma, and makes a side trip to visit Zuni country, but everyone makes it to Palo city safe and sound.
Thoughts and Things
- How in the world did Watson get his RV home? Was he able to pick it up back East and drop it at another office of the same company in CA? Also, did he pay everyone's airfare home from CA?
- I'm a Seattle native, and I can tell that Peter Lerangis has never been here. There's absolutely NO WAY that Jack Schafer would have been able to park an RV big enough for all those people on the streets of downtown near Westlake Mall. I'm not even sure that would be legal! Also, that awkward kiss picture on page 184; if they're still on top of the Space Needle, there should be a much higher fence than the one drawn. It's there to keep people from jumping off. At least, I THINK there's still a higher fence there. It's been awhile since I've seen pictures, and believe it or not, I've never actually been to the top. :)
- Andrew Brewer is eager to see a baby panda that's supposed to be born at the San Diego Zoo right when they arrive. I don't know how that zoo operates, but generally, baby animals aren't put on display right away.
- The Abby/Grand Canyon stuff is actually very touching. That combined with Stacey's WWII plot from the next Super Special makes me forgive Lerangis for describing what Bart Taylor tastes like when he's being kissed. :)
- Look at the picture on pages 22-23. Why in the world is Karen so tall? David Michael is tiny compared to her, and I thought he was supposed to be a little older. Also, why is Dawn drawn with shoulder-length hair through the whole book? There was definitely no mention made of her getting a haircut.
- I heard not too long ago that Four Corners isn't technically in the traditional place that everyone thought it was. I wonder what Karen would have thought of that?