The fictional road trip takes forty-one days, beginning in Kingman, Arizona, where Nick and Celia meet for the first time. The breathtakingly beautiful hitchhiker who’s planning to walk all the way to New Jersey if she has to, no matter how long it takes, gets a ride with Nick, the clean-cut seventeen-year old who makes off with his parents’ car in hopes a spontaneous road trip adventure will give his boring life some meaning. He’s got nothing to lose and a hopeless crush, so he begs his way to making Celia his passenger by uttering the smoothest line of his young life: “This could be the best two thousand miles of our lives.”
Celia’s in charge of the map, even though she hasn’t a clue how to navigate, and Nick, who knows darn well they are going the wrong way more often than not, figures the longer it takes them to get to their destination, the more time he has to win Celia’s heart. They travel for weeks, going in zigzags, making countless pit stops along the way, sometimes to scheme and steal gas money, other times to take in the sights.
This map shows their inefficient route, the roads and places where their story unfolds. The blue dot over Bakersfield, California, represents Nick’s hometown, two thousand eight hundred and seventy-six miles away from the place Celia so desperately wants to get home to. They’re from completely different environments, living worlds apart, but when you spend forty-one days in the car with someone, experiencing the highest of highs and the lowest of lows together, it has a way of making maps and miles meaningless.