The Fifty, Swiftly

How Fast Could You Visit All 50 States?

by Stephen Von Worley on August 7, 2012

Ah yes, the end of summer, and with only a month ’til school starts, the heat begins the segue to Autumn chill, and all of your coworkers return from their big vacations, it’s time to answer that burning question:

How fast could you visit all 50 states?

My inspiration? Blog Twelve Mile Circle’s article on the most state-tudinous 24-hour road trips, which I’ve tweaked and expanded into this all-encompassing route across America:

A very short route that touches each of the Lower 48 states.

A very short route that touches each of the Lower 48 states.

Altogether, that’s a pleasant 6,813 mile drive, starting at South Berwick, Maine and ending in Taft, Montana, and passing, if ever so briefly, through each of the remaining Lower 48 states and the District of Columbia.

Box Truck

A lovely box truck.

Up for it? First, score a used box truck on Craigslist. Next, cut some windows through the sides, bolt in a bed and a fridge, and wire for sound. Then, with promises of one helluva rolling party, recruit a team of like-minded comrades. Now, tank full and fridge stocked, you’re ready to cover some asphalt.

Average 55 mph with stops, swap in fresh drivers as necessary, and you’ll traverse every member of the contiguous U.S. in just under 124 hours.

To complete the fifty, you’ll need to bag Alaska and Hawaii. Curb the truck at Spokane and fly a three-legged loop to Honolulu, Anchorage, and back, which adds about 36 hours, including layovers, for a total travel time of:

Just under one week: 160 hours, or 3.2 hours per state.

That’d be an awesome achievement, and about as fast as us little people can do it.

However, if you’re that someone special, like Mitt Romney – who can bounce to the Caymans on a whim and wouldn’t be caught dead in the back of a box truck – the modern miracle of corporate jet travel opens a frontier far beyond the highway-addled imagination of the unwashed masses.

Romney's Learjet

Romney don't need no stinkin' box truck.

You see, Mittens doesn’t need to arrive two hours before his scheduled flight. With a chortle, he glides past the cattle queue at the airport Rent A Wreck. And, this morning, his secretary wired orders to the Bain Capital logistics hit squad: “optimize Big Willard’s next trip for speed.”

Now, she confirms, all the resources are in place: two Learjet 45s, working in tandem – one for the current hop, and the other to fly ahead and be ready for the next – and a limousine pre-positioned at each of his twenty airstrip stops, to whisk him to neighboring states in fully-stocked (if unquaffable) minibar style.

Romney’s route mirrors the proles’, except that flyovers replace the mind-numbing intrastate parts. Cruising at 460 knots, his pilots deftly retire the 6200 air miles in just 11.7 hours, and at fifteen over the speed limit, his drivers navigate the 440 road miles in 6.3 hours. Add ten minutes per takeoff and landing, and 14 hours for the chartered Alaska-Hawaii Boeing 737, for a total of:

39 hours, or 47 minutes per state.

“Not bad for new money,” booms a charismatic voice from on high. Hey, that’s Mr. Executive Privilege, Barack Obama.

F22 Raptor

Obama on supercruise.

Our Commander-In-Chief reminds us that he can clear the airspace with a wag of his finger. Then, outfitted with the appropriate military hardware – a pair of souped-up fighters and a squadron of Apaches – he can buzz the same route more than twice as fast. The exact details are classified, but the jet can sustain Mach 1.6 and the helicopter 150 knots, so if we add five minutes to touch down and fully enjoy each state, it’ll take a total of:

18 hours, or 21 minutes per state.

Every member of the union in a single day, with six hours to spare! And, going into November, Obama can toss off a sonic boom or two – oops! – to shatter a few windows and show those pesky Red States who’s boss.

It’s good to be King on vacation.

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