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Los Angeles, CA -- This fall, travel writers Mary Herczog (Frommer's, Dummies) and Rick Garman (Vegas4Visitors.com) will be celebrating the 20th anniversary of their friendship by taking to the open road once again for the fourth annual "Plucky Survivors See America."
"Red, White, and Plucky" is the name of this year's adventure as Mary and Rick offer a thematic toast to America by traveling more than 1,800 miles through the cradle of the nation, beginning and ending the trip in Washington DC. There, they'll see the Lincoln Memorial and climb the Washington Monument plus make a stop at the International Spy Museum; in Maryland they'll pay homage to the late, great Divine and perhaps get a tattoo; in Pennsylvania they'll ring the Liberty Bell, visit Amish country, and hit a garlic festival, a hamburger festival, and a chocolate factory all in one day; they'll rock out in Ohio; and they'll probably wind up gorging themselves on Virginia ham.
Once again, Mary and Rick will be uploading daily updates and posting pictures from the road for PluckySurvivors.com, allowing readers to travel with them as cyberspace passengers. From the first packing meltdown to the final Cow score, ratings for barbeque and meditations on fame and fate, readers are involved in every step of the PSSA odyssey. Visitors to the site can subscribe to a free RSS feed to get alerts on services like My Yahoo! when updates have been posted or sign up to receive e-mail alerts.
In 2006 the first Plucky Survivors road trip covered more than 2,300 miles in 10 days across the southern part of the United States including Louisiana, Arkansas, Tennessee, Alabama, and Mississippi. From the halls of Graceland to the Britney Spears Museum, from the Bonnie & Clyde death site to the place where four little girls were killed by a racist's bomb in 1963, from giant statues of Christ to crumbling statues of dinosaurs, from the library of a president to the library of a woman who wouldn't sit at the back of a bus, and, of course, the spiritual impetus for the trip, the Biggest Ball of Twine, Mary and Rick saw parts of the country that delighted them in ways both big and small, opening their eyes to the people, passions, and pastimes that make us uniquely American. Along the way, they ate a lot of barbeque and not enough pie.
In 2007, Mary and Rick embarked on “The Midwest Express,” covering more than 2,500 miles across Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. Another eclectic itinerary included Hog Fest 2007, billed as the biggest outdoor pork barbecue in the world; the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library; the Hobo Museum; the Spam Museum; the Negro League Baseball Museum; the Museum of Funeral Customs; and the biggest ball of popcorn because they have decided every PSSA trip needs to have a stop to see the biggest ball of something. There was more barbeque consumption, more donuts and, of course, a rematch of the PSSA official road game, Cow.
They returned to the south in 2008 for "The Plucky Shall Rise Again," traveling 2,400 miles through Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Kentucky, and Tennesse. Oh, and then there was the part where they drove to West Virginia for a hot dog. But mostly they stayed in those other states where they visited the scene of a murder in Savannah; took a horse drawn carriage through Charleston; dreamed big at Churchill Downs; acted as judges in the South Carolina Barbecue Championships; got spicy at The Salt and Pepper Shaker Museum; played a few holes at the bible themed mini-golf course; and saw the World's Largest Bats (baseball and vampire). They couldn't find a World's Largest Ball of something but thematically, bats aren't too far off.
Mary and Rick’s road trip series started as a lark when he was staring down the barrel of his 40th birthday and they both needed something to distract themselves from ongoing serious health issues. Mary has been dealing with breast cancer on and off for the last decade (currently on) and Rick is facing two potentially life-threatening illnesses (because he’s competitive that way) but both view their conditions more as inconveniences than matters of central concern. There is too much to see and too much to eat and too make jokes to make. Hence the at once self deprecating and self-revealing moniker Plucky Survivors.
"Plucky Survivors See America 4: Red, White, and Plucky" starts September 2, 2009.
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