Below, you can see the facts and the full Itinerary of the road trip, including all ten amazing “chapters.”
The Exploring College Ministry Road Trip
start date August 16, 2007
end date August 20, 2008
181 college campuses explored
The full Campus List (with my quick lasting impression of each of the 181 campuses)
44 states visited (plus the District of Columbia; Ontario, Canada; and Chihuahua, Mexico)
The Full State List (with first impressions)
165 weekend church services total
The Full Church List (all weekend church visits, plus other church explorations)
Preface: How it all began
(itinerary of the trip’s beginnings and original drive to Chicagoland)
SEMESTER ONE: JUST GETTING STARTED
The first semester was the start of a school year and the start of my adventure! I spent a good bit of time in three major regions, exploring some amazing ministries and campuses while also learning the ropes of long-term road-tripping. The amazing people and ministries I encountered helped provide answers, questions, theories, and methods that would be useful throughout the year.
Chapter One: New Student Orientations
8-18 through 8-28 at 5 Chicago-area Christian colleges, seeing how those guys prep students for their new collegiate existence. And prepping myself for a yearlong collegiate existence on the road.
Chapter Two: Chicagoland Explored
8-29ish through 10-1 exploring collegiate ministry all over the Chicago area. It’s a big area. With lots of traffic.
Interchapter: Chicago to Boston (by way of Atlanta)
10-1 through 10-12 on a crazy route to Catalyst Conference, Va. Tech, and other explorations – all in less than two weeks!
Chapter Three: Boston area
10-12 through 11-12 exploring college ministry in Boston and more of New England. Particularly nice was being able to leave my car behind and take the train. Until it got broken into (the car, not the train). Still… an amazing city!
Chapter Four: Southern Blitz
11-12 through 12-16, heading back to the South. First a conference, then stops in Birmingham, Baton Rouge, Brandon, and towns that don’t begin with “B,” too. Capped off with a quick flight to a collegiate leaders’ conference and Tobey Maguire movie shoot. Really.
Mid-December through mid-January at home for a very purposeful Winter Break, resting and re-tooling for the semester to come. Oh, and I got the flu!
SEMESTER TWO: JUST GETTING CRAZY
In Semester Two, I got to apply all I’d learned the first semester while exploring more and more ministries and colleges. This portion of the trip truly found me South, North, West, and East (in that order), and these were the most packed chapters of the road trip – with dozens of explorations each month.
Chapter Five: California
1-24-08 through 3-12-08: an amazing 6-week exploration from San Diego to the tip-top of this amazing state, including plenty of time in L.A.
Chapter Six: Pacific Northwest
3-12 through 4-8: putting around Portland, seeing Seattle, on the go in Idaho, then (surprisingly) back to both Seattle and Portland. It was so complicated, this itinerary had to be color-coded…
Interchapter: The TRECC
4-8 through 4-16: a Terribly Random Excursion Cross-Country (from Portland, OR, to Wake Forest, NC), with all the college ministry explorations that could fit. This all included a unique Blog Event, in which I covered each crazy day along the way.
Chapter Seven: The NC Triangle
4-16 to 5-1: Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill – is there a more “college-y” place to be? I may have only had two weeks, but by now I had learned to really pack in the explorations…
SUMMERTIME: STRATEGIC STRIKES
Though the school year was ending, the road trip didn’t. Summer provided the chance to explore specific ministries, schools, and regions I hadn’t seen so far. Meanwhile, the thoughts, theories, and experiences of the earlier chapters provided great things to ponder, new questions to explore, and numerous ideas to discuss throughout these random summer months.
Chapter Eight: Summer I in the Midwest
5-1 to 6-11: Summer started; things got crazy. Some campus time toward the end of Ohio State’s Spring Quarter, and otherwise zig-zagging all over America. Or at least its Midwestern region.
Chapter Nine: Summer II in D.C. and the Southeast
6-12 to 7-8: Temperatures went through the roof, and naturally I headed to the South. Regardless, I got to explore some major areas I haven’t explored yet: the nation’s capital, the long state of Florida, and Atlanta… with a couple of great conferences thrown in there, too.
Chapter Ten: Summer III and the Westward Finale
7-9 to 8-20-2008: With 6 weeks to finish the road trip, the exploring continued hard and fast. I ultimately headed back west, spending time in several great areas from Kentucky to Arizona. Hills… corn… plains… mountains… desert… monsoons… And I crossed the finish line back in Texas on August 20th, 370 days after this trip began!