Sunday, May 28, 2006
I can hardly believe it.
After countless hours poring over travel books, websites and brochures, Oprah and Gayle’s Big Adventure —simply called “the road trip” in the hallways of Harpo, is about to begin.
For the last two months, my office has practically been converted into its own branch of AAA. The route has changed no fewer than 30 times—the big map on my wall has more pins in it than an acupuncturist convention. Each tiny hole tells the story of a great place to eat, an exciting event, or a meaningful e-mail from a fan of the show.
We agonized for weeks over the best way to get to NY from Santa Barbara. At one point we had decided to go as far north as the Dakotas, and as far south as Paris, Texas—for about six days we scoured every square inch of the old Route 66. My whole team can now recite from memory every kitschy corner of America—from the world’s largest ball of yarn in Minnesota, to “the Shoe House” in York, Pennsylvania. Their encyclopedic knowledge of festivals, fairs, restaurants and general attractions in each state is frankly a little freaky. "Geographical savants," I call them.
In the end, we choose a path that will take us through the heart of America, from the larger than life decadence of Las Vegas, Nevada, to the simplicity of an Amish family in the pastoral setting of Fredericksburg, Ohio.
It is a journey we are honored and excited to be making with Oprah.