2021: Year Of The Road-Trip

“Afoot and lighthearted, I take to the open road. Healthy, free the world before me. The long brown path before me leading wherever I choose.” (Walt Whitman, Song of the Open Road.

Are you ready to resume travel again as the Corona pandemic threat in our country fades into a semblance of normalcy? Yes, the CDC has finally given Americans the go-ahead to take off their masks and not be overly mindful of social distancing if they’ve been fully vaccinated form the Corona virus. Of course, long distancing cruising and airline travel remains an uncertain proposition for now, given current restrictions in place for crossing international borders. So why not instead take to the highways and explore your own country by way of a road trip endeavor this summer? As I often reiterate in my blog, you don’t necessarily have to venture far from home to experience the benefits of travel. So I like to think that as you pick places to visit either close by or afar from your home, you can fill in the spaces between these destination dots with lesser known sites of new interest to visit along the way. I would then particularly recommend using “Atlas Obscura” or “Trip Advisor” as online reference sources to find unusual sites to to visit according to your interests at the time.

Without hesitation then, Ruth and I will take off on a shorter road trip adventure in the U.S., further east than usual, in early July. Feeling less threatened now to visit crowded places because of these recent pandemic rulings, this trip will take place with a more of an urban, big city feel. This latest vacation for Ruth and I through the Deep South, Midwest, and Mid- Atlantic coast region has been more efficiently planned as a result of my participation in a “Virtual Travel & Adventure Show” digital event this past week. Focusing on my desired theme of “slower travel” through road tripping this year, I obtained a better “feel” at this conference for contemporary trends in driving vacations. I particularly enjoyed listening to veteran road trippers reveal their time tested, travel tips during several webinair topic sessions. I similarly savored those live “ Zoom” chats with various U.S. state experts to clarify in Q&A style, some personal matters of concern.

A few general learnings “ stood out” most to me during these conference sessions:

(1) Be cognizant of time constraints by managing shorter drives each day to free up more time to visit lesser known places along the away.
(2) Be mindful of current COVID alerts in each state you visit that might vary from CDC easing of mask and social distancing guidelines nationwide.
(3) Take more time to read relevant literature that disseminates useful road trip topics like American Road Magazine.
(4) Take what you need in road trip trip packing but become more mindful of vehicle space limitations dictated by how much stuff you acquire along the way.
(5) Road trip drives are not the time to impress others with how impressively you look. So dress comfortably for “those long, hot days you likely will likely experience during the summer.

During the “Virtual Travel & Adventure Show, I also gained road trip knowledge during the featured speaker presentation at the Main Exhibit Hall that evening. For I listened with interest  as world renowned author Patricia Schultz, highlighted various American road trip itinerary options to consider from the latest American version of her book, “1,000 Places To See Before You Die.”

One particular route description during Patricia’s speech definitely “caught my eye.”, as described briefly below. Imagine taking your time to drive the 1,500 miles distance south along the eastern portion of our country from the New England to Florida. Gaze wondrously at a serene lake or mountain setting as you cross over a 19th century covered bridge in Vermont or New Hampshire. Find a more relaxing alternative to the urban frenzy of Manhattan Island and head into the quiet remoteness of New York’s Catskills or Adirondack Mountains. Take a slow paced buggy ride in Pennsylvania Dutch country to obtain an intimate glimpse of Amish culture. Be daring in the Smoky Mountains of North Carolina and try horseback riding along a shady trail. Walk amidst amazing Magnolia gardens and plantations in historic Charleston, South Carolina and Savannah, Georgia and feel what life was like in antebellum times prior to the Civil War. Pamper your body and sip a cool drink in sun tan stillness at your favorite beachside spot in South Florida or the Florida Keys. In your mind, you might even already be there in one of these inviting places!

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