It is that time of year again when I hit the highway for a long, exhaustive yet thrilling journey through the zoological delights that the United States has to offer. This year's edition, if all goes well, will see me spend 26 days on the road and visit close to 80 different zoos. Rather than post my comprehensive itinerary (which I've spent an entire year tinkering with) I will just say that I'll rapidly make my way down from the Vancouver region of British Columbia, Canada, to the state of Texas. While half the trip will be in Texas (40 zoos), there will also be 4 zoos in each of these states (Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana), 6 zoos in each of these states (New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada) and a few stops on the way back home in these states (California, Oregon, Washington). Exciting times!! IZES (Independent Zoo Enthusiast Society) founder Tim Brown and I are still planning on publishing a comprehensive guide to American zoos and aquariums and at some point that will be released to zoo nerds everywhere in 2016. I won't be posting enormous reviews of the major collections but nevertheless I will be writing a lot on this blog and I'm looking forward to typing out mini-reviews. To be perfectly honest many of the establishments that I'll be visiting are very tiny anyway. On last summer's road trip the final word document tally was 46 pages of text as I truly enjoy writing and reporting back to my fellow zoo nerds across the globe. Many of you are aware of several of my past road trips, but a very brief recap looks something like this: 2014 - 65 zoos in 20 days http://www.zoochat.com/22/snowleopards-2014-road-trip-373143/ 2012 - 50 zoos in 50 days http://www.zoochat.com/22/snowleopards-2012-road-trip-278110/ 2011 - 24 zoos in 32 days http://www.zoochat.com/22/snowleopards-2011-road-trip-223080/ 2010 - 39 zoos in 46 days http://www.zoochat.com/22/snowleopards-2010-road-trip-160988/ 2008 - 30 zoos on this summer trip http://www.zoochat.com/22/snowleopards-epic-road-trip-20316/ FAQ: 1- When do I leave? Monday, July 13th. 2- When do I return? Friday, August 7th. (if all goes as planned) 3- Why so long? I had originally planned a 20 day trip, similar to last year, but my wife has travel plans with relatives and so I was able to extend my trip an extra week rather than come home to an empty house. 4- What is going to be the most difficult aspect of the journey? Missing my amazing wife and 4 kids!!! Up until last year we always travelled as a family but with little ones that can be close to impossible and a road trip of this magnitude (and in the 100 degree sweltering heat of the southern U.S. states) would never work. 5- How do I have the time to go on all of these summer road trips? My wife and I are both school teachers and so we have approximately 70 days off every single summer. It is a fantastic time to tour zoos as I always see the facilities in their summer glory, with many new exhibits recently opened. 6- How do I afford all of these trips? A four-letter word: DEBT.