Right or left? Decide as you go. Who hasn’t dreamed of hitting the road with a wad of cash and unlimited time, making no plans, just going with the flow, turning when you feel like turning, stopping when you feel like stopping? I think it would be amazing to experience once in your life.
To make the most of it, you’d have to avoid interstates and stick to the “side” roads. The key is to keep an eye out for scenic routes as well as interesting stops and stop often. Another way to find the best stops and routes is to talk to the locals. My Dad was forever stopping in at a sporting goods store and asking where to go to spot the most wildlife. Because of this, I’ve seen some huge mule deer, majestic elk, and the elusive wild burro. They can also tell you the best local food joints and what to get there. If you’ve taken a road trip like this, I’d love to hear about it, feel free to email me!
If the no destination, decide as you go trip isn’t specifically the one you’re taking, then the opposite rules apply, you want to pre- plan and do your research. If you’re going to take the time off and invest the money into making memories make sure you know what, when and where. Besides checking reviews for your destination and hotels/ rentals as well as the desired attractions along the way, know what is open and when. Knowing if a section of the national park you plan to visit is closed due to weather, natural disaster or repair/ roadwork is going to make a big difference in the success of your trip. If you’ve got places you want to see along the way, you’ll need to know their hours and if they are closed some days of the week. It would be such a disappointment if you arrive at your desired attraction and found only a ‘CLOSED’ sign. It reminds me of the old Chevy Chase movie, “National Lampoon’s Vacation” where the family sets out Wally World only to find it closed for business when they arrive. Don’t be a Clark…
Many national parks have closures because of weather conditions. Snow removal in some of the mountainous regions can be a real problem and you may find some of the roads closed even in the middle of July. These are things you should definitely know about before heading out. Many museums and attractions have strange operating hours and it would be a major disappointment to have one of these as the scheduled stop for the day only to find it closed. This is especially true for small towns. Often, Mondays or a random day of the week is their day off so that they can operate through the whole weekend. This is just something to keep in mind as you’re planning.
If you’re a foodie and there are certain places you plan to visit, it doesn’t take much time to make sure of the hours and days of operation. It would be a complete shame to miss an ultimate meal because of poor planning.
For summer road trips check your route for road closures and possible delays. You don’t want your trip ruined because you’re stuck sitting on the highway or hours behind because you needed to change your route last minute.
In the end, if you aren’t going for the coin toss, end up wherever you end up adventure, it’s best to do your research and plan ahead to make sure you get the most out of your road trip.
Start planning today, the road is calling…