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CNET Road Trip 2013: Geek culture in America's heartland

Ride with CNET's Daniel Terdiman as he explores some of the best geek-oriented spots throughout Illinois, Ohio, Michigan, Missouri, Indiana, Wisconsin, and Nebraska.

The world-famous Gateway Arch, in St. Louis, is one of the featured Road Trip 2013 stops. Gateway Arch

After seven years and tens of thousands of miles, I've had the rare opportunity to explore much of the best of the United States (and some of Europe) during my annual CNET Road Trip.

Since 2006, I've explored the most interesting destinations for technology, the military, architecture, aviation, and much more, in the Pacific Northwest, the Southwest, the Southeast, the Rocky Mountain region, the Northeast, Western Europe, and the West Coast. But that means that the U.S. Midwest has (so far) been ignored.

Until now.

Starting Monday, I'll be on Road Trip 2013, and will be hitting the highways and back roads of Illinois, Ohio, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, Indiana, and Wisconsin in search of great stories and photographs. And you're invited to come along for the ride.

For the next month, I'll be posting stories and photo galleries nearly every day -- along with my daily Picture of the Day challenge -- showcasing a wide variety of the region's best.

From the iconic Gateway Arch in St. Louis to a group of great Frank Lloyd Wright buildings to the manufacturing plant where Abrams tanks are made for the U.S. Army, I'll be there, bringing you the behind-the-scenes story.

Though I want to keep a few surprises in my back pocket, you should expect to see things such as how Lionel's toy trains are maintained and a deep dive into the history of the U.S. Air Force. I'll be on hand to document how technology is used at the Brickyard 400, how the country's largest train yard operates, and even how Goodyear runs its blimp operations.

Road Trip 2013 will be checking on how technology is used in a major NASCAR race like the Brickyard 400. Shawn Gritzmacher

Want to know the real history of the Wright Brothers? I'll fill you in. Want to know why the world's first nuclear reactor was built at the University of Chicago? Stay tuned. And are you interested in what went on at Frank Lloyd Wright's famous Taliesin architecture school? Then this is the place to be.

In previous years, I've headed out loaded down with a wide range of tech gear to test out. This time around, I decided not to go that route. Still, I'll be putting a couple of gadget through their paces -- Mophie's Juice Pack Air for iPhone 5 and Jawbone's Up, a system that I hope will inspire me to stay active and healthy while I'm on the road.

Jawbone's Up system James Martin/CNET

Along the way, I may put out a call for ideas for additional places to visit, as I have many times in the past. I love to reward such help, and if I end up using one of your ideas, I'll be happy to send a little token of my appreciation your way.

Though all my stories and photographs will be featured here on CNET, you can also track my progress on Facebook, and on both Twitter and Tout.

And if you spot me out there on Interstate 80, or the Lincoln Highway, or taking photographs of the so-called Chicago Bean, say hi.