Buster travels to Mackinac island, Bo's favorite vacation spot. But when he gets there, he thinks the place is more like a ghost town as the entire island and all facilities including the Grand Hotel are empty. He soon discovers that is actually because it is winter and most of the facilities are closed. Buster soon meets Lou Clark, which the school he and his group attends is very small. Buster, Lou, and Scott make a movie about the War of 1812.
Buster realizes that Damon and Bateria, his favorite players on the Elwood Grebes, have been traded. He decides to scout the Dominican Republic for a new talent. Buster manages to get Los Viajeros to develop a music album of merengue. He also, unexpectedly, comes across a player from the Grebes.
Los Viajeros go to Fort Leonard and are provided with a "Coin of Excellence". Carlos gives the coin to Buster, but he looses it. Buster discovers a note that mysteriously appeared in his pocket, which makes him believe that the coin was stolen. After meeting Erin, Buster heads out into the desert and eventually discovers what happened to the coin and he gets a reward of his own for his work.
Mr. Ratburn wants the class to write to their pen pals in Encinitas and Buster travels there to meet up with Kyle, his own pen pal. After participating in a beach cleanup, he travels to Tijuana and meets another set of pen pals.
A news story is being sponsored by a TV station for a contest and Mr. Ratburn gives it a chance for the students to take extra credit. Buster has traveled to Alabama and wants to do a story about auto-racing, but it is off-season and no one is racing at Talladega speedway. He goes to the Alabama School for the Blind and he soon discovers that a journalist does not need to manufacture news but keep his senses open.
Buster makes a second visit to Louisiana after hearing about the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. Along with other Elwood City friends and families, he brings food and clothing to help out the survivors. Buster's family and Arthur's family watch his video postcard of his previous Louisiana trip and they learn about what had happened to them during Katrina and how their lives have changed.