Susan Michelle's Compass
Roadtrips Of A Lifetime
By Susan Michelle
Nov 9, 2008 - 12:02:18 AM
LOS ANGELES—There’s no travel experience more quintessentially American than the road trip. Americans invented mass-market automobiles. America has more open roads and diverse geography than 99 percent of the world. And being able to take off on those highways at any given moment, head anywhere, do anything, represents true freedom—and nothing says America more than freedom.
But with a country so large, and so many roads going in so many directions, choosing where to go, and when, might seem overwhelming. That’s why I’ve made a list of once-in-a-lifetime, must-do road trips that every American should take before finally setting down their keys forever. Wherever you are in your life, there’s a road trip/rite-of-passage journey for you. Go now, while gas is cheap again!:
VEGAS, BABY: When you’re young and unattached, life’s about parties and friends—and no city combines the two better than “Vegas, Baby!” The quintessential Vegas experience requires everyone piling into the car and feeling the excitement build as you cross state borders in search of neon.
AUTUMN LEAVES: When you’ve found the potential love-of-your-life, a drive through Fall foliage is the ultimate romantic trip: New England. Michigan. Blue Ridge Parkway. Oregon’s Cascade Mountains. Anyplace that’s an easy, extended-weekend drive away; where everything’s a mosaic of red, orange, and yellow; and where the Bed and Breakfasts are as charming as your traveling companion.
PACIFIC COAST HIGHWAY: Once you have children, mucho scenery and activities keep them from getting bored in the backseat. California’s “PCH”/Highway 1 has both. No matter where you stop, the ocean is an omnipresent playground to entertain the kiddies. And the vistas from Redwood Country to “So Cal” make this twisting, coastal road one of the most beautiful drives in this hemisphere.
FOUR CORNERS STATES: Once your kids are older, a drive through the states comprising the “Four Corners” of the Southwest (Utah, Colorado, Arizona, and New Mexico) is not only stunning, but also educational. How could anyone not be awed by the history and grandeur of the Grand Canyon, the Rocky Mountains, Arches National Park, Santa Fe and the original, “Native” Americans?
MEMORY LANE: If your parents are getting up there in years, take them on a bonding road trip to the places they, or your ancestors, came from, tracing your family roots geographically. Relish in their memories as you visit your Mom’s old school, Grandpa Milkins’s first farm, and Great-Great Grandma Adeline’s gravesite, documenting it all for future generations.
SCHOOL TRIP: When it’s time for your child to hopefully pick a college, the best way to help them decide is by visiting each campus—that means road trip, hopefully cramming as many colleges into as short an amount of time as possible.
CROSS-COUNTRY: When you have nothing but time—e.g., you’re retired—load Fifi into an RV and head out on the biggest road trip of all: the one across America. However, whether you take Route 66 or an interstate superhighway, drive carefully! You don’t want your last road trip ending up on the highway to Heaven!
About the Author: A former Hollywood producer and now 2nd-generation travel professional, Susan Michelle travels the planet as the “face” of the fashion-forward Compass travel lifestyle brand.