Happy Tuesday Loves! You know what that means… New Year. New travel series! We’re starting this year off with an American classic.
The Road Trip.
One of the greatest freedoms we have in America is the ability to drive from sea to shining sea. The only thing you need? A drivers license and a car to get you there. Why do American’s love road trips so much? It’s literally built in our DNA. Our parent’s parent’s in the 1950s started the trend, hopping in a car and leaving their small towns in the review mirror to explore our beautiful country, answering to no one but the vast open road.
Whether you’re packed in a suburban without air conditioning with your entire family (my dad’s favorite road trip story), sandwiched in the back seat with your very best friends, or sitting shotgun with the love of your life, road trips are a rite of summer. (Because who wants to road trip on icy winter roads?) Besides, every American knows that getting there is half the fun.
When I was small, we almost always flew to our final destinations. But when I got a little bit older, my dad decided it was time to head on our first road trip from Michigan to Disney World in Orlando. This is no short drive. (20 hours and 8 minutes to be exact… without stopping.) And guess what? I loved every freakin’ minute of it. I loved being up in the middle of the night talking with my dad and watching city after city fly by. I loved stopping in small towns along the way to stretch our legs and shop with my mom. And I really loved being able to come home and tell all my friends and family about all the places I had been on my way to Disney.
So, it was no surprise that when I graduated college and got to pick our next vacation destination that I chose a place we could road trip to. My dad was SO excited when I chose Jackson, WY because he knew he could take my mom, Trev and I on the exact same road trip he went on when he was small. (You know how I mentioned that Bronco with no air conditioning earlier? Yeah. Him, my aunt, uncle and grand parents drove all the way to Wyoming from Michigan in that.) And yes, Jackson Hole was an AMAZING trip (you can read all about it here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here) but getting there really was half the fun!
There are SO many things to love about road trips.
You can listen to cheesy music, unapologetically. Road Trip play lists are the best in the world to make. Think “On The Road Again” by Willie Nelson, the theme song from Vacation and “Born in the USA” by Bruce Springsteen. AND you get to sing at the top of your lungs because it’s 100% normal to do on a road trip.
You learn a lot about the people you are with. With nothing else to do but enjoy each other’s company, you talk. A lot. Some of the best conversations happen on road trips.
You get to bring a snack bag, and you will be everyone’s favorite passenger. Yup. It may not be socially acceptable to walk around with a bag of treats in your day to day life, but on the road, snacking is the norm. And road trip snacks are the best. And when you run out, you get to stop at the gas station and pick out everything you know you shouldn’t be eating but it’s okay because you’re on vacation so you double up on Twix bars and bugles. (Or is that just me?)
You’ll find a surprise around every corner. Literally. Maybe you’ll see a sign for The World’s Largest Chicken Wing (that’s in Florida) or maybe you’ll see an insanely beautiful lookout. The beauty of the road trip is that you can stop as many times along the way as you wish.
You’ll make memories that last a lifetime. I still think about the time my cousin LJ drank coffee the ENTIRE drive on our way to Senior Spring Break in Myrtle Beach. Every time we stopped he’d buy the biggest coffee they had and an energy drink. We spent the entire trip on walkie talkies talking between our car and theirs, laughing hysterically. Road trips lend themselves to amazingly fun, moments that will become sweet, wonderful memories that you’ll have forever.
The open road lends itself to adventure. And I’m always up for an adventure.
While I have yet to take the classic American road trip along Route 66 (don’t worry, it’s on my bucket list!) I’ve gone on some pretty amazing road trips in my life. However, my favorite was for sure from Michigan to Wyoming.
We stopped at some “corny” places (lookin’ at you Corn Palace), historical places (oh hey Mt. Rushmore!) classic road side attractions (where my Wall Drug lovers at?) and amazing natural phenomena (two words… The Badlands.)
I’m so excited to share each of these destinations with you the next couple weeks! Next Travel Tuesday I’m sharing the first part of our road trip, from Michigan to The Badlands.
I’m off to drop my hubby at the airport (boo) and head Up North. I’m not looking forward to the drive (the weather isn’t the greatest today) but what’s waiting for me on the other side is beyond worth it. Can you say Big Al’s and my family?!
PS… Wanting a little bit more on road trips? Check out my road trip essentials post!