I’ve had road trips in the USA on my mind recently. There is something supremely liberating about jumping in your car and facing an open road. Sometimes you know what’s ahead, most of the time you have a vague outline of what you’ll see (and end up seeing completely different things).
From the largest ball of twine to Wall Drug, to gem mining along the side of a highway, to battleground tours, Mystery Spots and monuments to American heroes– the roads in the US hold it all. At times, I feel like the open roads in America are the real libraries and museums of American history– the keepers of American pop culture, war histories and accurate indicators of the American economy.
I set off to build a page on ATC where I could house all the research on routes, hot spots and highlights for road tripping around the United States. In the end, I built a single page for this purpose, and will continue to expand the offerings across the US. Check out Best American Road Trips for the first two installments in what I hope will be an ongoing series of fun American road trips.
Some of the routes I’d like to research and write itineraries for include:
- The Biggest ______ in America! — A tour of all the strange highway attractions claiming world records
- The Best Trans-continental Drives
- Southwest USA with Cinema Guide — hey, I actually wrote this one!
- Where the hell is Wall Drug, and other things to see in South Dakota –Why North Dakota is Jealous of their southern neighbor.
- Mystery Spots Unraveled— a post that goes behind-the-scenes at highway mystery spots.
- The South-to-North Pacific Coast Drive— done, and done!
- The Best Festivals to Road Trip To in the USA — Mardi Gras to Stergis, and beyond.
- East Coast Battlegrounds Trip— How to hit all the top Civil War spots along the Atlantic.
- ATC Road Trip Routes — Hey, a trip we actually did already!
One of the things I love most about travel is the slow, ambulating way cars make their way across a terrain. They are stuck on a road (well, most of the time) and so the views are limited to the car’s track. But while this could be seen as a negative, in the US– the tracks were like the arteries that carried life Westward, to Manifest Destiny. When you hop on Route 66 you’re not just riving down some dusty road, you’re driving down history alley– towards the future (well technically, the past– they are the last to watch the sun set each day).
Europeans are always shocked when the visit the US for the first time. You know it’s huge, and yet when you get there you realize how large the continent really is, and how little you’ll likely have time to see. Tourists are shocked that you can’t walk to anything, and that’s true. Without a car, you’re stuck! That’s why cars are such a big part of American culture. Whether you drive a $2,000 beater or a $200,000 sports car, you share the same road, going to the same places, and feel the same liberating wind in your hair. The road does that to people– it equalized them and makes them all capillaries, on their way to other places but just enjoying the ride.
Stay tuned and check back often, because Best American Road Trips is going to grow into an awesome collection of US escapes that anyone, with any ride, will love.