It’s been a while since I’ve written about Cringely’s (NOT in Silicon Valley) Startup Tour, but that’s not because we weren’t working hard on the project.  In fact the effort of cutting 400+ companies down to 24, then setting-up a tour to visit them all, has been far harder than lazy-old-me ever expected it to be.  But here we are at last, ready to go.  My next post and many after will be from the Tour while this one will be about the Tour.

Look at our pimped-out RV! Not content to be incognito as we’re broken-down on the side of the road, we decided to at least evoke sympathy by leaning into the whole experience and wrapping the RV in a huge vinyl billboard.  This wrapping thing, while it took twice as long as I expected, was both fascinating and satisfying.  I wish I’d done this (the wrapping) a couple years ago, if only to cover the garish mid-90′s graphics that swarm over our old Winnebago.  It wasn’t inexpensive, but on a per-eyeball basis may be the cheapest advertising of all as we drive our 10,317 miles around America.

Our job this summer is to visit interesting tech startups, of course, but we’ll be doing more than that.  We’ll also be meeting with readers as we wander the country.  Look for an updated schedule here and also at http://startups.cringely.com to see when we’ll be near you.  Then come out to visit us in a WalMart parking lot or maybe at the local startup and Mrs. Cringely will let you enjoy her muffins.  The price of Mrs. Cringely’s muffins is a small unwrapped toy which my kids will be distributing at local hospitals and homeless shelters as we travel through.

There’s a lesson here (we hope) that not all kids get to ride around the country making TV shows.

An adventure like this one doesn’t happen without a lot of support.  It has needed the support of readers to nominate and vote for companies.  It has needed the Kauffman Foundation, which was there from the very beginning to help in every possible way.  More recently we’ve picked-up Research In Motion, makers of Blackberry mobile phones, as our single corporate sponsor.

This Startup Tour will be an all-Blackberry adventure.

We’ll be posting videos from the road starting next week, but first I have to gas-up the bus.