The Year in Review – 2022.

When it comes to road trip adventures, 2022 was quite the year! From an amazing, 4,000-mile road trip across the eastern half of the United States, to a special drive through Shenandoah National Park to commemorate a major milestone, to numerous trips to the Adirondacks and the Jersey shore, to a winter exploration of New England, the year was filled with adventure. As 2022 ends and 2023 begins, I thought it would be fun to once again take inventory of where this blog has been, before setting our sights on future destinations.

As I have done in years past, first we will count down the top ten posts from the year, as chosen by which posts were the most viewed by our readers. Then, we’ll turn our attention to a quick status check of the two vehicles in our fleet, before looking toward some fun updates in the future.

Let’s begin.

The Top Ten Posts of 2022

10. The Fast and the Furious

1989 Honda Prelude 4WS coupe, in black.
After a fun weekend down the shore, I returned to central New Jersey in time to attend Pandafest 2022, an import tuner car show near Princeton, NJ.

9. The Great American Road Trip, Part III

Mountains within Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Over the summer, my wife and I took an epic drive through the eastern half of the United States. The third leg of the journey took us from New Orleans, up through the Appalachian Mountains, and back home.

8. A Wash, A Walk, and A Wedding

Waves crashing against jetty.
Cleaning and detailing cars, taking a post-breakfast stroll through Asbury Park, and visiting Lancaster, PA to attend a wedding…. it was an action-packed weekend!

7. Destination: New England

Portland Head Light on a clear, sunny day.
A 1,100+ mile tour of all six states of New England, including views of scenic lighthouses, a stroll through a working maple syrup farm, and lots of great food.

6. The Sky’s The Limit

2012 Honda Accord coupe, parked atop Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park.
An amazing road trip to Virginia, where my 2012 Honda Accord coupe rolled 200,000 miles on Skyline Drive, high atop Shenandoah National Park.

5. The Midwest Grand Tour

Two bald eagles sitting in a tree.
Our yearly journey to the Midwest took us to see the world’s largest sunfish, the world’s largest six pack, the world’s largest boot, and a pair of pretty awesome eagles.

4. ACCORDing To Us

Four Honda Accords lined up in gravel parking lot.
A weekend meetup with three good friends who are all Honda Accord owners, we explored Philadelphia and southern New Jersey, toured a classic car museum, hung out with some corpses (!), ate great food, and nerded out on all things Honda.

3. The Great American Road Trip, Part I

Japanese temple, with lanterns, in House on the Rock.
The first leg of our summer road trip took us from New Jersey to Wisconsin. The highlight was definitely a stop at The House on the Rock (pictured), but equally fantastic were our visits to a national park on the dunes surrounding Lake Michigan, a stroll through an arboretum, and dinner beside a Great Lake.

2. Hidden Art

Modern art sculpture of art set atop pillars in wooded clearing.
A weekend visit to Cape May included an unplanned stop at a modern art museum tucked away in the woods near the Jersey shore.
  1. The Seals of Sandy Hook
Harbor seals sitting on rocks.
The most popular post of 2022 was also the most popular post ever published on The Open Road Ahead… our time spent with the seals of Sandy Hook National Recreation Area.

Garage Updates

2012 Honda Accord coupe parked in gravel lot.
2022 saw my 2012 Honda Accord coupe cross the 200,000 mile mark. It now sits at 208,000 miles, and remains the best car I’ve ever owned.

Beside all the amazing adventures and life changes, 2022 saw another important accomplishment: my 2012 Honda Accord crossed the 200,000 mile mark. Despite the temptation of Honda releasing a new Civic Si and Acura bringing back the Integra, my Accord coupe maintains a rock-solid hold on its place in my garage. It remains the best car purchase I have ever made – reliable, fun to drive, comfortable, and affordable to maintain. Screenshot from Excel spreadsheet of car maintenance costs.

The maintenance costs for my Accord ran to over $4,000 this past year, which might seem high. To be fair, however, $2,000 of that was routine maintenance – oil changes, brakes, spark plugs, and various other fluids and service. After 200,000 miles of service, though, the alternator and VTEC spool valve both gave up the ghost this year, adding to the repair costs. According to AAA, average maintenance costs for cars in the United States run to 8.9 cents per mile. My Accord is currently sitting at 8.4 cents per mile for maintenance. Given that my car is paid off and doesn’t require any pricy monthly check sent to the bank for a loan payment, I’d say it’s doing just fine.

2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee parked in front of Blue Mountain Lake.
Grace, my wife’s 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee, saw her fair share of adventures in 2022.

Our Jeep Grand Cherokee remains a fantastic purchase. Its all wheel drive system tackles snowy roads and muddy mountain paths with aplomb. Its positively cavernous storage capacity easily swallows all of our cargo during our road trip adventures. And it still cleans up nicely for its mandatory glamour shoots.

Screenshot of Excel spreadsheet for Jeep Grand Cherokee.

What seemed like a pretty affordable year took a curveball high and inside when the check engine light illuminated in early December – a misfire was traced to a bad coil pack. With a lengthy trip to the Midwest planned for the Christmas holiday, we opted to replace all six coil packs and spark plugs proactively, essentially doubling the maintenance costs for the Jeep. Given how dependable the Jeep has been over the past five years of ownership, we had no problem forking out the money to keep it on the road.

Blog Updates

All-time stats views 26,130 visitors 10,083 posts 239 comments 1,163

Almost seven years ago when I began this blog, I had no expectations that it would be anything more than an experiment in sharing my road trip adventures. Maybe I’d become bored after a few months, and either walk away from online writing, or delete the blog entirely. Instead, it has become a valued hobby, as through 239 posts I have shared stories of my travels. In 2022, the blog reached over 10,000 unique visitors, and the blog has been viewed over 26,000 times! To my readers, thank you for continuing to stop by and read through the tales of my time on the road. Your continued interest motivates me to blog year after year. As long as you keep reading, I’ll keep the road trip stories coming.

‘Til next time.

4 thoughts on “The Year in Review – 2022.

  1. If anything had to top the post of our mega-fun weekend together, I’m glad it was a bunch of cute seals. We’ll have another opportunity this year to try to top your list.

    I wish I would have tracked my maintenance and repair costs like you have. That would’ve been interesting to look at my cost per mile driven.

    Liked by 1 person

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