Driving the Lower 48 States in 124 Hours

Photo - Getty Images / Map - Mike Rogalski
Photo - Getty Images / Map - Mike Rogalski / Photo - Getty Images / Map - Mike Rogalski

In 2012, Stephen Von Worley published The Fifty, Swiftly, a Google Maps driving route that covers the continental U.S. in a 6,813 mile drive. The route starts in Maine and ends in Montana, passing through every other state (aside from Alaska and Hawaii, of course) as quickly as he could figure.

Von Worley calculated that the trip would take 124 hours if the vehicle averaged 55mph, and fresh drivers were swapped in continuously. (He proposes a modified box truck filled with provisions to make the attempt.) Although, as far as we know, this feat has not actually been attempted, the route is public and it's just waiting to happen. To celebrate Von Worley's route, we made this animated GIF map showing his route. This takes 114 seconds to complete—that's just under 4,000 times faster than real time.

Note: Von Worley mentions an option that would complete the trip, incorporating the two non-contiguous states. He writes:

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.

Now all I need is a box truck, scores of hours, extra drivers, and food. Or, as the Blues Brothers put it:

Elwood: It's 106 miles to Chicago, we got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it's dark...and we're wearing sunglasses. Jake: Hit it.