10 Long Road Trips

Deserted long roadAh, the great American road trip.  Lots of fun has been poked at them but I have to confess that I love them.  My wife and I have been doing them all our lives, even when we were young and money was very tight.  Anything can happen and does but that makes for great stories years later.

So, let’s throw out some ideas to get you thinking…

Cross Country and Back

Just pull out an atlas (you have your Rand McNally atlas, right?) and pick a spot you always wanted to visit.  That can mean all the way across the country or just a few hundred miles.  Then start researching and planning and just go!


Did you know that you can drive to Alaska and that people do it every day?  This is one I definitely haven’t tried yet but may someday.  You need a good vehicle and you’ll put an insane number of miles on it but you’ll be talking about it forever.

Pacific Northwest

The Pacific Northwest is another destination I haven’t tried yet but can’t wait to try.  The area is beautiful with incredible national parks and scenery.  And the whole world wants to move to Portland and I want to see why for myself!

Florida Keys

Everybody raves about the Keys and it is supposed to be a great road trip.  Just watch out for hurricanes!

Up the west coast

This one is supposed to be incredible and you could do the whole thing or just a portion.  California really is like a whole country and the variety of possible stops and activities is endless

Giant Circle around outline of US

Anybody can drive across the country, right?  Well how about tracing the outline of the United States?  This is one for people with a lot of time obviously but I can picture a whole blog devoted to this adventure.

Yellowstone and surrounds

This is what people think of when they mention national parks.  The place really is unbelievable. Wildlife, incredible scenery, hot springs and geysers, there is something for everybody.  This one is somewhat crowded in prime season and takes a little planning for accommodations but it is worth the effort.  Having been there a few times my suggestion is to make a point to get 100 yards off the road.  The crowds disappear and you really begin to appreciate the park.


We love the Southwest.  Wide open spaces, more great scenery, nice people.  The climate varies greatly with the altitude.  Last year we left blistering heat near Tucson and climbed into the mountains a few hours later to a snowstorm.  To me the desert is beautiful, but the mountains can be green and lush.  Give it a try!


Texas is another one of those states that can be its own country.  The place is huge and diverse.  While I’ve been through the state a few times the state can support numerous road trips on its own.  Do your research, and go for it…

Sante Fe and North

This is one of my favorites and I know “and North” is kind of vague.  Sante Fe is a great little city.  It is easy to visit and easily walk-able.  There is a huge downtown historic square dating back hundreds of years.  This place was active before the Pilgrims even landed!  If you like art the place is heaven, with hundreds of galleries and the world famous Canyon Road, which houses some of the most exclusive galleries in the US.  You can stroll along and see all kinds of art, even if you don’t have a spare $100,000 to bring home a souvenir.   The “and North” can take you up to Taos (another artist mecca,) or into Colorado, or even west into the Four Corners area (Look it up!)

Hopefully this list has got your wanderlust working overtime.  Go for it and let me know how it goes!

Camping Trips – A Great Way to Travel


Image courtesy of think4photop / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I’ve always camped

It seems that people that camp have always camped. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t camp. When I was growing up I don’t think I knew there was another way to travel besides camping. Who ever heard of hotels and motels except in emergencies! Now that I am a little older we have electric air mattresses that are more comfortable than my bed at home. And sometimes we forgo the tent completely for a rustic cabin, but we still camp.

Break the paradigm – Give camping a try

Even though many people are introduced to camping at a young age it doesn’t mean you can’t give camping a try a little later in life. Let’s be clear what I am suggesting here. Some people think of camping as backpacking into the wilderness with no modern conveniences. I’m not talking that (although there is nothing wrong with that once you have some experience.) I am suggesting modern camping in a developed campground with hot showers and real toilets!

One suggestion I can make if you are just starting out is to try the KOA (Kampgrounds of America) chain. KOA is a franchised chain with fairly strict standards. While some locations are better than others, I have been using KOA for over 30 years and usually have a good experience. Most importantly, the facilities are modern and very clean. If you don’t want to pitch a tent most locations now have cabins you can rent fairly reasonably. This is really appreciated if you hit a few nights of rainy weather or are tired from long distance traveling.

The best camping sites

While the KOA’s are pretty uniformly comfortable, and in fairly good locations, some of the prettiest campsites are right in the state and national parks. However, sometimes the facilities in the public parks are not quite as nice and can vary greatly between locations. Some might offer only a tent site, a nearby water source, and a pit toilet. But the scenery can be simply amazing. This is common in many of the national forests. I remember a site like this Wyoming. Not much in the way of facilities, but it featured a beautiful site right along a white water creek that looked like a postcard. I have found that is sometimes the trade-off – you trade a little less in beautiful surroundings for more in the way of modern facilities.

Watch the weather

Watch the weather forecast for your first camping trip. It is hard to stay positive when you are facing three days of rain in a tent. It may be disappointing, but it might pay to put off that first trip for a few days.

Camp off season – just a little off season

We’ve had good luck with camping just a little off season. You avoid the crowds, prices are lower, and you have the attractions more to yourself. I am not talking winter camping here, leave that to the rugged professionals. I am talking a few weeks before most schools let out, or in the early fall.

Car Camping checklist – packing is half the fun

I can’t over emphasize how important it is the make a list. Although many of the modern campgrounds have little stores its not unusual to find you forgot something at the most inconvenient time. Things like can openers, salt and pillows are hard to find in the woods! I think I’ll make a suggested camping list a subject for a future post.

Don’t travel too far and know when to take a break

I have learned the hard way to not travel too far each day when relying on camping. Setting up a tent and campsite is work, and hard to do after 10 hours of driving. So it pays to end your driving early or plan on doing your camping in stretches of two or more days at each location so things aren’t so rushed, and you have time to enjoy yourself. Don’t be afraid to take a break once in a while on a road trip and stay in a comfortable hotel to recharge your batteries.

Hopefully I have given you something to think about if you have never tried camping or encouraged you to try it again if it has been a while since you went off on your camping road trip.

Until next time…