Underground : USA

The Roadtrip

It started in the town of Epping, Maine on Tuesday June 16th 2009, but I had left Charleston five days earlier on the Thursday to drive up to the start point. I stopped in Washington D.C. and Boston on the way up and then camped in Bar Harbour, Maine on the Monday night before - and then started my trip properly on the Tuesday morning.

Underground USA Logo


For the next eleven weeks I then drove from coast-to-coast going via all 48 mainland states. I blogged most days as I went (in fact, my blogging prior to the trip had dropped to about once a week, and then whilst on the trip it went up to five or six times a week). I took photos - over 3,000 of them in end end, and sent 1,200 tweets as well on my twitter feed. I also made sixteen videos (twenty-two in total, four pre-trip and two post-trip) about the road trip as well.

I visited places in America that shared the same names as places on the London tube map. e.g. White City in Kansas, which served as my route around the country. I got to California on Thursday August 27th, where I rested for a few days before driving back to Charleston, getting home on Sunday 11th September - having spent almost three months on the road.


The Route

I plotted the route that I took on a Google Map as I went. In the end, there was so much data plotted (including towns visited, gas stops made, and other points of interest) that I hit the limit of how much meta data you can have in a Google Map, and I had to split it into two. The Google Maps are still 'live' and online to this day. The first one is here (mainly the east side of the USA), and here is the second one (the rest of the trip) is here, but this shot here gives you an overview of the whole route taken - starting in Maine in the top right heading from east to west and finishing in California.

Route Map


Full Length Documentary / DVD

When I got home, It took me a while but I edited up all the footage and cut it down into a feature length documentary, it's 65 minutes long and you can watch it on Youtube here.

It's also available to have as a physical copy in the form of a DVD.


Book CoverThe Book

The whole trip is written up as non-fiction travel literature and published via Lulu.com and you can buy it here.

It became quickly apparent on the trip that the most important thing for me was the tweets that I sent on the way round as you got a real 'feel 'for the trip, rather than wait for blog posts, photos or videos to appear - that just reading the twitter feed gave you an instant feel as to what was going on.

I always knew I'd want to write up my adventures into a book afterwards, and when people usually take a travel trip they make notes which they can refer back to afterwards. I didn't have to - because the twitter feed is in effect my note taking of the whole trip, and by reading them back I'm able to recall exactly where I was and what I was doing.

If you get the book, there's a mention at the end of some bonus chapters which you can only download here on my website - and you can! They're here in PDF format to download, and should only really be read once you've read the main book!


The Photobook

I published a photobook via Blurb on the 3rd June 2010. I sat down and went thought the 3000+ photos that I'd taken and took the best ones, adjusted the levels and contrast of all the photos nicely and published it online.

Get your copy of it at the Blurb.com site here.

(Fourth edition, created October 2010 with errors corrected and new photos on the 'Route 66' section!)





Imaginary Subway Map

I created a subway-style map of all the places that I visited, and how they might be linked together is the USA had a subway/train system that did indeed connect across the country. I've put in some major towns and attractions too just to give it a little more sense. (Click on the image for the full sized version!)

USA Subway map

American Roadtrip

Underground : USA was an eleven week road trip that I went on during the summer of 2009.

Having lived in America (in South Carolina) for three years, I knew it was time to come home, but didn't want to just get on a plane and fly back. I wanted to go out in style!

So using my world-record breaking exploits on the London Underground as my motivation, I found the names of 48 places (one for each state) in America which shared the same name as a place on the London Tube Map, and travelled round to them all.

Photo Galleries

General / All Photos
Route 66
Abandoned Automobile America