I’m planning a trip to the Midwest for late April. I enjoy the planning part almost as much as the trip itself. And I’ll credit my father with that joy – he loved to plan a trip for the family and also to follow any trip his children took. Me too. My brother could tell stories about the lists and plans Dad would make before their hunting trips. Very humorous to the rest of us!
So I spend evenings looking through the maps for Colorado, Nebraska, Minnesota, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas. No interstates if at all possible. Always back roads. I love reading an atlas – better than a menu or any catalog. And at this stage of planning, I just enjoy it, let any destination, any route be possible. It’s like looking at seed catalogs in December. I’ll be practical later.
And then I check the internet to find which small towns might have something special to see. For the world’s largest attractions I visited http://www.wlra.us/. And for US roadside attractions I was happily lost in http://www.roadsideamerica.com/. I’m sure there are dozens more to get distracted by. This research can be very time consuming. And they can make a short direct trip into a long convoluted one. Well worth it!
There was a time in my life – as recently as 5 years ago – when I focused on the end point of the trip. I would drive the 11 hours to San Diego and then be exhausted for the next day. I finally realized I could enjoy the trip over two days and arrive rested. In fact on my last trip I took 3 days each way, stopped whenever something was interesting, followed old Route 66 segments, talked with folks and took a lot of photographs. Best trip ever!
So this upcoming trip is about 1200-1400 miles depending on which route I choose. And I want to take about 5 days to get there. Two hundred and fifty miles a day is still a lot of driving. And this is slower driving, not 75 mph on the freeways. But now it won’t be one chunk of driving. I’ll stop often. And it will take all day to do those miles. Delicious.
What are your favorite roadside attractions? Do you know of one that you haven’t seen that you would really like to visit?