Peter Hardy, a math professor at the University of Maine at Farmington, will share his family’s road trip to 48 states in 48 days during a talk Thursday evening at the university. Standing at the Grand Canyon are, from left, Hardy’s mother-in-law, Wei Ling of China; his children, Alex and Cassidy; his wife, Meng Hardy; and Hardy.

FARMINGTON — Mathematics professor Peter Hardy will talk about his family’s summer trip to the lower 48 states at 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 5, in Lincoln Auditorium in the University of Maine at Farmington Roberts Learning Center.

Hardy, a member of the university faculty, his wife, Meng, a Mt. Blue High School teacher, and their family drove about 13,000 miles in 48 days. The talk will include “scenic images, basis statistics and some rudimentary mathematics that we encountered on the way,” he said. He also plans to read some poems he penned from each state and finish with a song he wrote.

His wife, children Alex, 13, and Cassidy, 10, and his mother-in-law, Wei Ling of China, started out in a minivan with 200,000 miles on it. Hardy said he wanted to share their experience before Wei Ling returns to China on Saturday.

The couple had been thinking about a family cross-country trip for a few years, so he started planning in it January, using his math skills to plot the average miles per day to cover the route in 48 days.

“That is just how a mathmetician’s brain thinks,” he said.

They left in June after schools closed.

In some states, such as Florida, they only drove a short distance before crossing into the next. They took a photo by a welcome sign of each state and collected an artifact from each.

They spent about a third of the trip camping, a third staying with friends and family and a third in a motel.

Without a definite camping plan for the July 4 weekend, they ended up staying at the Narrow Gauge Railroad Inn in Antonito, Colorado. Their room number was 207, Maine’s area code.  

“We knew we were in the right place,” he said.

While his children appreciated the cities, especially New Orleans and Las Vegas, Hardy said he liked the diversity and natural beauty such as giant sequoia trees. His wife especially liked the numerous park areas in Utah, he said.

He said the people they met were most gracious as they encountered vehicle issues such as a broken back window, a flat tire and a brake replacement before they hit the Rocky Mountains.

When the 48 days ended, Hardy said, everyone wanted to figure out a way to extend the trip.

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