Le Voyage Extraordinaire!

Great literature is stacked with tales of quests, journeys, pilgrimages and voyages. From “Jason & the Argonauts” to “The Canterbury Tales” to “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” to “Around the World in Eighty Days” to “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” to “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas,” these stories are, boiled down to their essence, about the same thing: Road Trip!

Characters are taken out of their familiar surroundings and given a purpose — destroy the One Ring; find the Golden Fleece; use the Force, Luke! They get a few lessons about their fellow man, and they also learn a thing or two about themselves. Sometimes they return to their homelands victorious; sometimes, they hold hands and drive off a cliff, destroying a sweet, classic convertible along the way. …

Jules Verne called his stories — such as “Journey to the Center of the Earth,” “From the Earth to the Moon” and “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea — his Voyages extraordinaires. They were often voyages, to be certain, involving both flights of fancy and actual travel. They were, of course, extraordinary, as they explored — and sometimes left — the boundaries of scientific possibility. He also touched on history, philosophy, social customs and more.

Gage and I are embarking on our own Extraordinary Voyage. Starting in mid-August, we will criss-cross the United States searching for the intersection of science and spirituality. Gage is going on sabbatical from his duties as pastor of Congregational United Church of Christ in Ogden, Utah. His project includes seeking out progressive churches that are doing social justice work addressing homelessness, hunger and poverty, as well as LGBT issues.

I will continue to work as an editor for Space.com and LiveScience.com. Everything is online, so it does not matter where I do the work. I also plan to write about places we visit.

Oh, the places we’ll go!

We are trying to keep our itinerary open-ended, with limited deadline destinations. Among our first stops will be Yellowstone National Park and Devils Tower National Monument, two places where science and the spiritual meet, for sure.

After that, we cross South Dakota and dip down into Nebraska and Kansas to see family. Then we start meandering generally northeast toward New England, just in time to see fall foliage, we hope.

As autumn sets in, we will head south down the Eastern Seaboard to Virginia and then swing west and southwest to eventually get to Texas for Thanksgiving.

The home stretch will take us across Texas and New Mexico to the Four Corners and then up through Colorado and Utah to reach Ogden by Dec. 3.

That’s a journey of 10,000 miles, taking 188 days, or 17 weeks, or 3 3/4 months. We’ll be blogging along the way, posting updates on Facebook and pics on Instagram.

Come along with us!

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