Nick Barbknecht of Indianapolis is on a cross country trip with a goal of visiting all of the lower 48 states in 30 days.
But there’s also a serious purpose behind the adventure that began six days ago.
“I am in Kalispell, Montana, just south of Glacier National Park,” said Barbknecht via Skype from his car Friday morning.
He started the day with hopes to finish in Oregon, driving cross country following a route developed by a Michigan State researcher, the most efficient way to visit 48 states.
“The fort I went to in North Dakota I will never go back to,” he said, “but I’m positive I will go back to Glacier National Park.
He’s seeing the sights with stops so far in Des Moines and Minneapolis, he really enjoyed the Badlands of South Dakota.
But what he really hopes is to find is his birth father.
“I’ve got a bunch of details about him,” said Barbknecht. “I know who he is, born in Southern California, so I’m going to see if I can find him there from a couple of addresses a private investigator put together for me.”
In the process, the onetime foster child hopes to raise money for an orphanage in Zimbabwe.
He has a gofundme page (http://www.GoFundMe.com/usaroadtrip) where he’s requesting donations to help pay for the trip. Leftovers go to the orphanage.
He doesn’t know what the odds of success are in fundraising or finding his father.
“Not certain I’ll find him,” he said. “I’m not certain the addresses are current enough. If I don’t, this will be the best trip I’ve ever had. If I do, it’ll be an even better trip.”
In the meantime, he sharing his experience on social media and on his website (www.parksrecreation.in/) when he can find wi-fi.
“I’ve gotten the bulk of the bad driving behind me already,” he said, “and then the eastern states will be shorter bursts, but 8 hours a day on average isn’t that bad.”
And there will be no driving on the day set aside to find out where he came from.