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Taking The Great American Road Trip, Google-Style

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Taking The Great American Road Trip, Google-Style

Digital Life

Taking The Great American Road Trip, Google-Style

Taking The Great American Road Trip, Google-Style

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/111921898/111931421" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Horowitz and Baldes have screenshots for vacation photos. Marc Horowitz and Pete Baldes/Flickr.com hide caption

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Marc Horowitz and Pete Baldes/Flickr.com

Horowitz and Baldes have screenshots for vacation photos.

Marc Horowitz and Pete Baldes/Flickr.com

Jump In The Backseat

Join Horowitz and Baldes on their drive across America.

Marc Horowitz and Pete Baldes wanted to embark on the timeless American tradition of a cross-country road trip, but these days even the cheapest ways of traveling have become a bit of a luxury. That's not stopping these two from seeing the country, even though they're not leaving home to do it.

Horowitz and Baldes are riding the roads through Google Maps' street view feature, virtually moving east while stopping to check out spots en route. They both "left" Horowitz's home in Los Angeles on Aug. 13 — where Horowitz is spending the trip — and will be "arriving" Sunday at Baldes' house in Richmond, Va. — where Baldes is encamped.

"We've ridden roller coasters, we took a tour of the Hoover Dam underneath, we saw the electrical rooms, we went on a helicopter ride in the Grand Canyon," Baldes says.

"And a mule ride," Horowitz adds.

At one point they "camped" at the Grand Canyon and went stargazing, coming up with new constellations throughout the night.

Thanks to YouTube, Flickr and other online sources, the pair has been able to virtually explore their entire trip. And they've picked up quite a few hitchhikers. The chat room accompanying their live stream has attracted about 30 people who suggest places to stop and see along the way.

"We stopped at the Petrified Forest, and I've actually been there in real life," Horowitz says. "We stopped virtually, and I learned more and had a better time."

"You actually can see more this way than maybe you could if you were really there," Baldes says.

The two friends have enjoyed their trip so far and are even planning more virtual trips. A real road trip, however, doesn't have the same appeal.

"I don't know about in real life," Horowitz jokes. "Pete smells."