If you had to take a road trip totally by car, what would be your ideal route?
When I was a kid, Dinah Shore sang “See the USA in your Chevrolet America is asking you to call Drive your Chevrolet through the USA America's the greatest land of all.”
I think that started my love affair with road trips. People who fly to their destination miss so much! There were four kids in my family, all shoved in the back seat of the black Ford Fairlane, windows rolled up while my parents chain smoked. They liked to drive at night so we would sleep – me in the back windshield, Karyn and Rusty on the seat, Bill in the floorboard. It’s a wonder we all survived!
As an adult, I’ve driven coast to coast, border to border.
I like road trips!
In August 1995, my college BFFs and I were in a kitchen in Key Largo and decided we should make a bucket list of all the trips we wanted to take together. An adult beverage or two (or was it three?) might have been involved.
We have distant locations like Costa Rica and the Dry Tortugas. We included Alaska, Hawaii, Ireland and Greece. We listed the mountains of North Carolina. We want to take the train from Calgary to Vancouver.
And we want to drive!
We have three road trips on our now crumpled sheet of paper: Route 66 Pacific Coast Highway, San Francisco to Los Angeles Great River Road, New Orleans to Memphis
I can see the three of us now: Luanne at the wheel, Suzy manning the radio, me singing at the top of my lungs. Frequent pit stops are a part of the itinerary!
Route 66 covers a lot of miles, from Chicago to the Santa Monica Pier in California. So much along the way, but I would most want to visit “Standing On a Corner” in Winslow, Arizona. Such a fine sight to see! I know you’re singing those words. You’re welcome.
When we first discussed the Pacific Coast Highway, we thought we’d meet in Los Angeles and drive to San Francisco, but that’s backwards. If you begin the trip in San Francisco, then the entire drive will be along the water with no traffic in between. Maybe we should go north to the Muir Woods, the Redwoods, Point Reyes National Park before heading south across the Golden Gate Bridge. I lived in Monterey once upon a time, would love to go back to Monterey (I could spend hours in the aquarium and Cannery Row) to Carmel, to wade in the water at Big Sur, to Hearst Castle, before stopping in LA. It’s only 500 miles – could be done in a day – but we’ll take a very long weekend.
Our other road trip is the Mississippi River Road, New Orleans to Memphis. I love history. I love architecture. What a dream trip for me, Basin Street to Beale Street! I can’t wait to visit the 7 River Road Plantations and while they’re all within a 70 mile stretch of highway, that will take at least a day. Maybe two. As we go further north, it’s all about the history as we make our way to Natchez and Vicksburg. On the other side of the river is the Arkansas delta, perfect for bird-watching and since Suzy is all about the birds, I’m sure we’ll spend some time there, and I’m sure there’s shopping along the way for Luanne.
It really is the perfect trip.