DREAMING OF THE ROAD A TRIP-PLANNING GUIDE FROM AMERICAN FAMILY INSURANCE
SO YOU’RE GOING ON A ROAD TRIP ...
Road trips are a quintessential part of the American Dream. They’re all about freedom – the freedom to travel where you want,
WHAT’S INSIDE? MEMORY
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Prepare Your Ride for the Road Secure the Home Front ‘Appy’ Trails! What Are You Packing?
when you want, on
Songs for the Road
your own terms and
Make a Game of It
with the people you care about.
Eating Smart on the Go
That’s why we’re
Steer Clear of Road Trip Potholes
supporting your pursuit of happiness on the open road with this free road trip travel guide. In it, you’ll find tips and resources to fulfill your road trip dreams in a fun, safe and
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Safety Tips for Your Road Trip A Drive Down Memory Lane All tips within this book are based on generally accepted best practices. Traffic laws vary by city, state and country.
American Family Insurance coverage is subject to terms
So what are you waiting for?
and conditions and varies by state. Your American Family
Your road trip dream is out
agent can help explain your individual coverage details.
there. Go get it. We’ll protect it.
American Family Insurance
PREPARE YOUR RIDE FOR THE ROAD
motorcycle or sub-compact, use these pre-trip tips to
Confirm your windshield wipers, lights and turn signals
Replace your air freshener! After a few days in the
Whether you’re traveling by motor home, sports car, ensure your ride serves you well.
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car, even with the sweetest
people, you could have some sour smells to cover up – especially if you’re traveling with pets. Program your destinations
are working properly. Check your air filter and all fluids (oil, coolant, transmission, power steering and windshield washer) replacing and replenishing as necessary. Ensure your tires have good treads and are properly inflated, and that the spare is easily accessible – along with a lug wrench and jack.
into your GPS before you leave, but be sure to have an up-to-date road map as well. Bonus Travel Tip: GPS devices are great for taking you from point A to where you want to be, but don’t let your navigational unit lead robbers to your house. Instead of storing your
Keep your proof of insurance in the glove compartment
home address in your GPS, use that of a nearby business
(and your title safely stored at home). Put your
or landmark. That way, if your device gets in the wrong
registration in your purse or wallet.
hands while you’re out of town, the location of your
If you’re planning an exceptionally long trip, know when
unoccupied dwelling remains a secret.
your next oil change is due. You may need to get one on the road. Load your cell phone with important emergency numbers – and make sure you have your charger.
WHAT ARE YOU PACKING?
Hint: A charger that plugs into
Have a first-aid kit handy for any
your car’s accessory port is
minor bumps or bruises that occur
great to have in case your phone
along the way. Be sure to stash it
batteries run low during the day.
in an easily accessible spot. What Are You Packing? >>
SECURE THE HOME FRONT home look lived-in while you’re away.
it might be, refrain from announcing your travel plans on Facebook or other social media. And,
Tell your local police when you’ll be gone. They may
Don’t advertise your temporarily empty house. Make your
As tempting as
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make an extra effort to drive by your house on patrol.
If you have a security alarm, leave the code (and your key) with someone you trust – and be sure to give that person’s contact information to the police and security alarm company. Inform your neighborhood watch program that you’ll be away.
wait until you return before posting pictures of your most memorable road trip moments. Stop your mail, newspaper and any other deliveries.
A DRIVE DOWN MEMORY LANE “My best road trip was when my daughter and I drove to and from Tennessee. I initially wasn’t sure how the nine
Have a friend or trusted neighbor check your house
hour (each way) trip would go, but in the end the driving
while you’re away.
was almost as fun as the actual stay. Filled with chatter, music and snack breaks, I wouldn’t change a thing.”
Put several lights on timers throughout your house. Hire someone to mow your lawn (or, if traveling in the
A Drive Down Memory Lane >>
winter, shovel your driveway and sidewalk). Ask a trusted neighbor to park their car in your driveway.
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Smartphone and tablet applications can optimize your road trip and make it more enjoyable. Here are some app categories to consider. Navigation Apps: Look for features like live traffic
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With American Family’s Emergency Roadside Service [[[http://www.amfam.com/products/auto/auto-emergency-roadside-service.asp]]], all you need to do is call and we’ll With American Family’s Emergency Roadside Service, all you send help. Talk to an American Family agent today about need do is call and we’ll send help. Talk to an American Family thistoroad trip-protecting coverage.
NOT FOR LONG WITH THIS AUTO POLICY OPTION
agent today about this road trip-protecting coverage.
updates; hospital and pharmacy locations; and map-caching capability. Restaurant and Hotel Locators: Some cool food and lodging apps include reviews, pricing, coupons and discount info, as well as real-time room and
Have Fun, But Be Safe – Never use apps while driving.
Additionally, consider apps that lock your smartphone or
Gas and Service Station Finders: Good gas and
remove sensitive data in case your device ends up in the
service station apps detail pricing options,
Delegate these responsibilities to a passenger.
Navigation Apps: Magellan RoadMate
restroom availability (and cleanliness!) and user reviews.
USA, Google Maps, Garmin USA, Mapquest.* Restaurant and Hotel Locators:
Sites, Activities and
TripAdvisor, Meal Ticket, Hotel Tonight,
Event Listings: Get the most out of the
UrbanSpoon, MapsBuddy.* Gas and Service Stations Finders:
Gas Buddy, GasBook, Fuel Finder,
visiting with apps
offering rich and timely information about your surroundings.
Sites, Activities and Event Listings: Around Me, Roadside America, Goby, Budget Travel’s Ultimate Road Trips.*
*American Family Insurance does not endorse or assume responsibility for the use of any apps referenced here.
WHAT ARE YOU PACKING?
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Make your trip safe, comfortable and fun by storing the right cargo. Have a first-aid kit handy for any minor bumps or bruises that occur along the way. Be sure to stash it in an easily accessible spot. Always bring a container of sunscreen. It can keep you from getting burned when you stop for an impromptu picnic or hike. Wet wipes are great for cleaning sticky fingers and
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Keep a pair of sunglasses at arm’s reach –
especially if you’re in the driver’s seat. Avoid arguments over the temperature. Throw in an extra blanket or sweatshirt in case the AC gets cranked up too high. Keep over-the-counter medicines for headaches and upset stomachs readily accessible. Regional foods may look and taste great, but if you’re not used to them, they could have adverse effects on your system.
wiping away dirt blown up from dusty roads. Plastic grocery bags are a great way to consolidate garbage so it can be easily removed at every rest stop. They also work great for dirty laundry.
A DRIVE DOWN MEMORY LANE “I have many fond memories of the August vacations with my family, sleeping in a camper and cooking on a camp stove. Two of the best trips were with my dad to the Grand Canyon and Mount Rushmore. Lots of great memories, now that dad has passed away.” A Drive Down Memory Lane >>
SONGS FOR THE ROAD
No matter where you’re heading or what your musical tastes, the right tunes can set the pace for a great trip. Not sure what to add to your road trip playlist? These suggestions will get you started: Born to Run, Bruce Springsteen I Can’t Drive 55, Sammy Hagar While we love this tune, please operate your own wheels within the legally posted speed limit!
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Drive My Car, The Beatles Soak Up the Sun, Sheryl Crow Ridin’ the Storm Out, REO Speedwagon Mexico, Jimmy Buffett Truckin’, Grateful Dead I’ve Been Everywhere, Johnny Cash Life Is a Highway, Rascal Flatts Freeway of Love, Aretha Franklin ___________________________
Radar Love, Golden Earring East Bound and Down, Jerry Reed Low Rider, War
That’s right, fill in the blank. Music is a personal choice, so be sure to take along the tunes – or podcasts and audio books – that make you
Country Roads, John Denver
happy and relaxed. After all, this is your road trip.
On the Road Again, Willie Nelson California Dreamin’, The Mamas and the Papas Take the Long Way Home, Supertramp Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes, Jimmy Buffett
WHAT ARE YOU PACKING? Wet wipes are great for cleaning sticky fingers and wiping away dirt blown up from dusty roads.
Born To Be Wild, Steppenwolf
What Are You Packing? >>
MAKE A GAME OF IT
A road trip’s allure includes the constantly changing scenery. But if the view starts to get monotonous for young riders, keep them entertained with these good old-fashioned road trip games. License Plates by State (a team activity): See if you can spot license plates from every state as well as regions outside the U.S. Be sure to write them down so you don’t lose track.
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I Spy: Have one person call out something
interesting they see (e.g., “I spy a handlebar mustache.”). The first passenger to spot the item wins the round. Alphabet Game (a group activity): Beginning with “A” and working through the alphabet, find items beginning with each letter. If you finish a round quickly, start over – but don’t repeat any of the words you’ve already used! Road Sign Bingo: Make, download or purchase bingo cards with images of objects commonly – or perhaps rarely – found along the road. The first person to spot every item on their card wins.
¡ADIOS, ESTADOS UNIDOS! (GOOD-BYE, UNITED STATES) If Mexico is your road trip destination, make sure you’re covered when driving south of the U.S. border. An American Family agent can help you obtain Mexico Auto Insurance. Who Am I? One player picks a person (real or fictional) while the others take turns asking yesor-no questions to determine the mystery being’s identity. Whichever player’s question results in the correct answer (e.g., “Is it George Washington?”)
Pulling a boat across the border? We can help you get Mexico Boat Insurance, too! American Family Mutual Insurance Company, American Standard Insurance Company of Ohio, American Standard Insurance Company of Wisconsin - 6000 American Pkwy. Madison WI 53783
gets to pick the next character.
EATING SMART ON THE GO
healthy options in your car.
Assorted fruit and prewashed carrots, celery or snap
Part of the road trip experience is finding unique spots to
If you like to crunch and munch while you travel, keep
Trail mix is nutritious and kids love it.
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ME O H O
enjoy a meal. It’s a perfect way to absorb local culture and
create great memories. Ask the locals for dining recommendations. Check websites devoted specifically to road trip dining and regional eats.
peas typically stay fresh in coolers. Freeze water bottles to keep your cooler cool. After they’ve thawed, you’ll have refreshingly chilled drinks to quench your thirst. Crackers and peanut butter are great energy boosters that are filling, too. Bring paper towels, wipes and grocery bags for handling spills and garbage.
WHAT ARE YOU PACKING? Be adventurous – try dishes that aren’t available back
Keep over-the-counter medicines for headaches and upset
stomachs readily accessible.
Don’t order large portions. Lighter, balanced meals
Regional foods may look and
are better for you, and can help you avoid becoming
taste great, but if you’re not used
drowsy behind the wheel.
to them, they could have adverse
To save money, split your order with a traveling
effects on your system.
What Are You Packing? >>
STEER CLEAR OF ROAD TRIP POTHOLES
When you stay focused on the highway and all it holds, you
Watch for deer, rodents, birds and other creatures on
SAFETY TIPS FOR YOUR ROAD TRIP MEMORY
The great American road trip is an adventure to treasure. keep the good times – and your wheels – rolling.
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While you’re soaking up the local atmosphere, don’t lose sight of personal safety. If you carry cash, don’t keep it all in one place. Split it into several small amounts “hidden” in different pieces of luggage.
road trips of their own. Let aggressive
Use a credit or debit card to avoid carrying lots of cash.
drivers pass. Road
If you pay the balance in full, you may avoid interest
rage is an uninvited
guest on any road trip. Feeling drowsy? Don’t drive! Perhaps your traveling companion can take the wheel. Or, better yet, pull over and
If you take prescription medications, be sure to bring enough for the duration of your vacation. If leaving your car unattended – like at a hotel or when going for a walk through town – conceal any contents that might tempt a thief. Never leave children or pets unattended in a car. In the
discover an area attraction – maybe even one that
summer, the inside of a vehicle can reach dangerous
temperatures in a matter of minutes.
Keep an eye on the gas gauge. Running out of gas
When driving long distances, stop every few hours to
in unfamiliar territory is not the type of adventure you
stand up, walk around and stretch your legs. It’s good
for your mind and body alike.
Enlist a co-navigator to control the GPS, radio and any other technology that would take your eyes off the road, even momentarily.
WHAT ARE YOU PACKING? Keep a pair of sunglasses at arm’s reach – especially if you’re in the driver’s seat. What Are You Packing? >>
A DRIVE DOWN MEMORY LANE
We asked for your favorite memories and received an the entire stretch of Route 66! Here are just some of the submissions that came our way. ‘Hippopalooza’ Celebrates Sisterhood Twice a year, Tisa and her sister drive more than a thousand miles to visit their aunt in Florida. Because her sister’s favorite animal is the hippopotamus, they’ve named their biannual adventure Hippopalooza. They even take along a mascot – a stuffed hippo named Jessica. “We’ve tried flying,” says Tisa, “but we always go back to driving because we relish the time we spend together on the road.”
Connecting in the Country
Road trips are as unique as those who pursue them. abundance of fun and fulfilling tales – enough to cover
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“One bright spring day, I took my mother, stricken with Alzheimer’s, on a ride in the country. As the scenery rolled by, she turned and smiled at me and, for that brief moment, I had her back again. She has passed, but the memory will be with me always.” Last Day of School, First Day of Adventure Jessica’s favorite road trip occurred during her childhood. Instead of taking the bus home, she and her sister were picked up by their parents on the last day of school. On the way home, the family car abruptly turned onto the highway, and the girls’ parents announced the family was embarking on a fun-filled trip to Branson, Mo. “They already had packed our bags and snacks,” says Jessica. “It was a great surprise!” Lasting Memory of Mom and Dad “I packed up my mom and dad and drove them to Gulf
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Shores after dad had a massive stroke. It was their last trip together. I’ve got pictures of them on the beach holding hands. Best memory ever!” Life Is the Ultimate Road Trip As a single father, John made a point of taking his two daughters on road trips, including one that was especially memorable. On the way home to Colorado from Texas, they spontaneously pulled over, studied a road atlas, and resolved to take an entirely different route – one that was continued on page 21
indirect, yet full of surprises. They saw SeaWorld, visited
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and had an amazing trip all by myself!” Kim exclaims. Best
trinket shops, and cruised along scenic stretches near the
Rio Grande. But the best part was an impromptu nighttime stop to gaze upward at the Milky Way. “The thing that my kids and I remember the most after all these years is the opportunity we had to just talk about ‘stuff’ out there in the dark, quiet night where even the faintest crackle of
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of all, she got to do whatever she wanted, from visiting
shops that looked interesting to her, to taking in the scenic architecture unique to Santa Fe. “It was beautiful,” she says. D.C. Dream Fulfilled
civilization through the AM radio couldn’t reach us,” John
“My favorite road trip memory was being one of the family
recalls. “Life is the ultimate road trip. Make each moment of
members that got to take my mother on her lifelong dream
it one to remember.”
[trip] to Washington, D.C. We lost our mother this past year to
Alzheimer’s, but she got to see
“Coming from Pennsylvania, it was very wet when I observed three nuns on the side of road with a flat tire. I stopped to help and while I was changing their flat tire, my children were playing in the grass and found a hundred dollar bill, and offered it to the nuns.”
her dream before she died.” Road Trip as a Rite of Passage Frivolity definitely was in the air when Jason, his wife and some
$1,000 in Six Weeks
friends began a road trip from
“When I was 11 years old my mother took my sister and
London, England, and headed
me on a road trip across the Eastern U.S. We left home
south. “When we arrived at
with $1,000 and a plan to travel until the money ran out.
Folkestone’s docks, we threw
Six weeks later we returned with a priceless education and
caution to the wind and hopped
memories to last a lifetime.”
on a ferry to France,” Jason
You Can Go Your Own Way
says. “We got lost, laughed, had lunch – moules frites in the Pays
Kim’s decision to make a solo road trip to Santa Fe, N.M.,
Conquis.” It was memorable
turned out to be a memorable, rewarding adventure. “I met
in other ways, too. “We also
a lot of kind, interesting people, ate a lot of delicious foods,
announced to our friends who we were traveling with that continued on page 23
we were pregnant with our first child and wanted them to
be godparents. Good times.”
Jeff and his friends consumed energy drinks, devoured
Nebraska, we found the America we were looking for. One
Meeting the ‘Mayor’ of Terlingua On a spring break road trip from Iowa to southern Texas,
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bucolic small town after another greeted us with fresh pie
and characters. Ten days, many memories.” Life as a ‘Road Scholar’ By the time Renee was 12, she had traveled coast to coast
homemade tamales and logged seemingly countless
with her family, first in a station wagon, then in a used RV.
miles. But a true high point was meeting Clay Henry, Sr.,
Each road trip proved to be a rich learning experience. On
a high-ranking official of Terlingua, Texas, population 58.
a trip to the East Coast, she read the entire “Little House
“There he was, standing on a shelf with a beer bottle in
on the Prairie” series. Nestled in the family’s RV on a trip
his mouth,” recounts Jeff, describing a pose Henry had
out West, she took in the scenery while spending quality
assumed for years and years. You
time with her family. “We watched the West roll by while
see, Clay Henry was not a human.
playing endless hours of ‘Life’ and ‘Monopoly,’” Renee
He was a stuffed, beer-guzzling goat,
recalls. “It’s hard to say where I learned more – on the way
once voted mayor of the small town.
to each spot, or once we arrived.”
Modern Day Explorers
The Peak of Adventure
“Two years ago I rode on a
“In July 2012, my wife of 32 years and I took a three-week
motorcycle trip for the ages. We
driving trip from Kansas to Alaska and back. We saw
followed the Lewis and Clark Trail
mountains (including Denali) for each of the 21 days. What
from St. Louis to Oregon. We
a gorgeous 8,000-mile trip. Next time we do it, we plan to
traveled 7,000 miles in 22 days and
take six weeks.”
took in both historic and scenic sites in 12 different states.” Fulfillment in the Nation’s Center
Big Horn Cattle Roundup “We were driving in the Big Horn Mountains after a fall snowstorm. The scenery was breathtaking, but the memory
“Recently, my family purchased
is of seeing an old fashioned cattle roundup with cowboys
a vintage Airstream travel trailer
herding cattle on horseback. That is a piece of Americana
and headed west for adventure. In
you don’t see every day.” continued on page 25
The Last Road Trip Together
For a number of years, Therese enjoyed backpacking
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though, the two decided to embark on a less strenuous their journey east, they stopped in scenic Mackinac Island and encountered a band of friendly bikers who persuaded them to visit Traverse City, Mich., on their way back home
Around the Nation in 80 Days
vacations in Wyoming with her fiancé, Danny. In time, but equally fun vacation: a road trip to Niagara Falls. On
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“Visiting 26 states, driving 10,000 miles in 80 days – America the beautiful she truly is. From the Gulf Coast to the Great Lakes, our beautiful national parks, the Badlands, western prairie and grand mountain ranges, and, most importantly, the American people.” Delectable Drive-In Dining
to Wisconsin. When Therese and Danny reached their
When Amy was growing up, every
destination, they took full advantage of everything Niagara
summer vacation included a trip “down
Falls had to offer, including helicopter rides and the famous
home” to visit relatives in southern
whirlpool jet tours. “It was unforgettable!” says Therese.
Illinois. Being from Chicago, this was a
“After leaving Niagara Falls we headed to Traverse City
great adventure for her and her siblings.
and got there just in time for their HUGE parade …. I was
“Every trip included a stop at the ‘Dog
very thankful to those bikers for recommending this side
‘n Suds’ drive-in where they clipped a
trip.” Sadly, it was the last trip Therese took with Danny
tray loaded with burgers and root beers to the car window,”
before he passed away.
Amy says. “It was awesome!”
Keep It Short and Sweet
Moseying in the Lone Star State
Sometimes, short road trips on less-traveled routes are
One day, Dorothy’s husband called and asked her to book
the best way to see America. Just ask Britt, who recently
a flight to “somewhere warm.” Taking advantage of a one-
avoided traveling on the interstate from Madison to River
day sale on inexpensive flights, she arranged a trip to
Falls, Wis., choosing state and county highways instead.
Houston, where they rented a car and began a memorable
As a result, she discovered affordable antique stores,
road trip on back roads through small towns toward
historic hotels with great food and live music, creameries
Galveston. They visited cafés, antique shops and, best of
offering lip-smacking cheeses, and other attractions.
all, “sale barns” where livestock and agriculture products
“We finally arrived – six hours later – in time for dinner
are sold. “Sale barns are like the old-time general stores, in
with friends,” says Britt. “It was an easy but entertaining
that everyone stops and stares at the newcomer,” Dorothy
explains. “Then, once you get introduced, everyone talks continued on page 27
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to you.” There were some haunting moments, too: she and
Custer National Battlefield, Yellowstone National Park and
her husband also saw areas ravaged by Hurricane Ike,
which made the entire trip unforgettable. Spontaneous Fun on the Road For Travis and his wife, the best plan is no plan when it comes to road trips. “No agenda – we simply go and stop,
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Glacier National Park. I did all the driving and my dad kept
a journal of everything he saw, which I never knew until after his passing years later.” Building Friendship Mile by Mile Back in 2010, Karyn and three coworkers took a road trip
eat and sleep when we
across Washington state to explore wine country. “It was a
want,” he says. On one
long but gorgeous and fun drive, as we took turns blasting
of their journeys, they
‘girly’ music and keeping a quote book of all the funny
started from Portland,
comments we made,” she says. The threesome created
Ore., and “hopscotched”
“wine passports” that were signed by each winery owner,
south through the Sierra
as a clever keepsake from the trip. They even brought
a cutout picture of their boss, so he could be in a few
Their journey took them
pictures along the way. “It was such a fantastic, memorable
to Crater Lake National
trip; it strengthened our friendship even more,” Karyn says.
Park, Mount Shasta, Lake Tahoe, Yosemite National
VIP Treatment at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Park, Mammoth Lakes
Paulette has had a few memorable trips, but the one that
and other breathtakingly
really stands out is when she went to the White House. As
scenic spots. “A couple of
the owner of a chimney sweeping business, her husband
my favorite memories were
was among a group of chimney sweeps invited to clean
watching the sunset from atop a 3,000-foot cliff at Yosemite
chimneys at the White House when President Clinton was
on Glacier Point, and rowing in complete solitude on one of
in office. A couple years later, Paulette, her husband and
the alpine lakes in a vintage wooden boat,” recalls Travis.
their three daughters returned, and received a private tour
“It was a great trip!”
of the Oval Office, stood in the Rose Garden, and viewed
Discovering the Lost Chronicles “I took my mom and dad out to see Mount Rushmore,
the south lawn from the Truman Balcony. “We also got to see other areas that the public is not allowed to view,” says Paulette. “It was a great experience for all of us.” continued on page 29
Friends and Family on Two Wheels
“My favorite road trip memory consisted of a six-week-long
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friend, then to Savannah, Ga., to see the house I lived in granddaughter.”
No Need for Gift Wrap
cross-country motorcycle trip to Florida to see a retired 40 years ago, and then to Charleston, S.C., to visit my
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“I surprised my parents by driving over 1,000 miles to show up at their 60th anniversary party. I was out of work, so I slept in rest areas along the way. I had a great time, no problems. That road trip was my anniversary present to them.”
Born to Be Wild – and Free!
Togetherness is a Rented RV
Kathy and her husband have loved every mile of their
“We rented an RV to take the
motorcycle vacations. “We jump on the bike and decide
family cross country to see the
to head east, west, north or south and then just take turns
Badlands, Yellowstone and the
deciding right or left,” Kathy explains. “For us it’s the ride
Tetons, and to drive over Bear
and not the destination.”
Tooth Pass. The kids loved it. I loved spending the time with them
Travels with Bambi
and experiencing the openness
When Liz and her husband embark on road trips, they always go in style with their 19-foot Airstream “Bambi” travel trailer, in which they’ve logged more 35,000 miles.
together.” Beholding the Majesty of ‘Carhenge’
“We’ve actually had people follow us and stop and talk
On a road trip to Nebraska to visit a friend, Bill discovered
about the trailer, and tell us how they remember either
a somewhat bizarre attraction along the way: “Carhenge.”
seeing one like it, or how they actually camped in one as
As the name suggests, “Carhenge” is an artistic depiction
a kid,” she says. Whenever they see American Family’s
of the famed British prehistoric monument, except it is
television ad depicting a father and son pursuing their
constructed of old cars spray-painted gray to somewhat
dream of visiting all of America’s national parks in their
resemble the actual Stonehenge in Wiltshire, England. “It’s
Airstream, she and her husband always exclaim, “That’s
one of those things you must see to believe, and it’s just as
us!” Liz and her husband are on a quest to visit every
silly in person as it is in photographs,” says Bill. “If you’re
national park, too.
near Alliance, Neb., give it a look. It’s one of those things that make America interesting.” continued on page 31
Getting It Right the Second Time
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wonderful experiences and plan to continue this travel for
The first time that Nina and a friend went on a road trip
from Madison, Wis., to Phoenix, Ariz., they made the journey in two days. Aside from seeing some quirky sights along the way, such as a giraffe sticking its head out of a small shed, they didn’t really get the full “road trip” experience. The following year, however, Nina flew back down to Phoenix for a visit, and ended up taking an unforgettable road trip. Highlights included remarkable scenery in Sedona, Ariz., a whitewater rafting trip to a winery, a visit to the Grand Canyon, and a weekend stay in Las Vegas. “Now, that is a road trip worth taking!” says Nina.
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some years to come.”
Making Music in Memphis “In 1981, our family traveled to Atlanta, Ga., to visit my sister. While driving through Memphis, Tenn., my sister stuck her trumpet out the window of our car and played a song, fulfilling her dream of playing in Memphis. A car next to us clapped and honked for her!” Lost and Found “My most special memory was a road trip to the UP of Michigan following my divorce. I got lost on the back roads after enjoying Silver Mountain, and by finding my way back
Top Down, Thumbs Up
I realized through faith that I am strong enough and I am
Every summer Orvin and his wife strike out on a twoweek road trip in their convertible, always with the top down (weather permitting) and wearing baseball caps. They have a general idea of where they’re headed, but make no reservations or firm plans. Instead, they use an iPad and travel websites for guidance. “Our goal is to stay off the interstates as much as possible, visit small towns, stop at roadside stands, avoid chain restaurants and see America!” Orvin explains. “We have had many
going to make it.” What’s ‘Bugging’ Mom? Back in the 1970s, Melinda’s parents took the family on a journey around the country – quite literally – from their home in Oregon out to the East Coast, down through the South and then northward back to Oregon. “My favorite memory of the road trip, though, stemmed from my father’s sense of humor and my mother’s fear of ... well, everything,” Melinda recalls. Specifically, an encounter with a large tarantula left a lasting impression on Melinda’s poor mom. Adding insult to injury, a dragonfly flew through the window and struck Melinda’s mother in the head while she was asleep, causing her to shriek in terror. “To this day, I continued on page 33
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cannot plan a long trip without wondering who will scream
attraction/trap we never got to see when taking similar trips
about every little thing, or where we will end up that was
unplanned, but worth the detour.”
Motorcycle Matrimony “Celebrating our 50th wedding anniversary, we did a
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as kids,” she says. “And yes, we dug Wall Drug.”
Good Tunes, Good Friends, Good Times With adventure in their hearts and “awesome music” on the car stereo, Wendy and her best friend experienced the best
motorcycle cross-country ride from Arizona east to Virginia
road trip ever when they cruised to Las Vegas in a Honda
and back home, a total of about 6,000 miles! No mishaps,
Civic CRX. “We visited
and loads of fun for us 70-plus grandparents!”
Luxor, saw the Hoover Dam, stayed at Circus
Quality Quick Trips
Circus and climbed
“My favorite road trip was going to the grocery store with
mountains,” says Wendy,
my grandson to pick out what he wanted to bake. Today we
adding that going up
will be going again, making chocolate chip peanut butter
was much easier than
brownie cookies! Memories forever!”
getting back down. On the way home, the two
Reliving a Great Ride
19-year-olds ran out of
“As a young kid, I was fortunate to accompany my
money, and ended up
grandfather on a pair of motorcycle trips to the West Coast.
scrounging enough loose coins in the car to share a double
When I was a young adult I bought my first motorcycle and
cheeseburger meal. It was one of the best times of her life.
we retraced our trip from all those years before. It was the best road trip of my life.”
34 in 50 “Our trip of a lifetime – 10,700 miles in April through May of
Follow Your Nose
2013 – went through 34 states in 50 days, from Oregon to
It was “way back” in 1998, before GPS navigational
Texas, then over to Florida, up the East Coast to Boston,
devices became virtually ubiquitous, that Sandra and a
then Highway 20 all the way to the Oregon. It is a beautiful
friend threw a dart at a map on a wall, and resolved to
drive in that general direction. “We wound up in South Dakota, and along the way we stopped at every tourist continued on page 35
Do Your Own Thing Several years ago, Victoria rented a car, purchased her
ME O H O
Madison, Wis., to Seattle, solo. Along the way, she grottos, three carousels, the world’s shortest and steepest scenic railroad, the world’s largest Cheeto, and Roslyn, Wash., the town where the TV show “Northern Exposure”
Taking a Living History Tour
first cell phone in case of emergencies and drove from experienced unique, beautiful and even bizarre sites: two
GE A P T NEX
“Instead of handing my granddaughter my written memoirs, I drove her there instead – visiting my childhood home, schools, church and a lighthouse on Lake Michigan. Hearing stories from two 93-year-old aunts made the trip a joyous chapter written together!” Life Imitating Art Imitating Life
was filmed. “It was six days of me, the open road, lots of
After more than a year of careful planning, Jon, his wife
CDs and Gnarl the Gnome, who stood in for me in photos,”
and their daughter headed off to Prescott, Ariz., and then
she notes. “It was my all-time favorite road trip.”
traveled to the west end of the Grand Canyon, where they
The Road Is Filled with a Range of Emotions
would hike down to the breathtakingly beautiful Havasu Canyon. On the way, they travelled on old Route 66,
“We decided to take a break from work. My wife, two sons
passing through several small, nostalgic towns, including
and I drove from Missouri to the West Coast. We camped,
one named Seligman in Arizona. “We were surprised
hiked, biked, laughed, got angry, made up, and learned to
to learn this little town was the inspiration for Radiator
love and forgive each other.”
Springs, the town the Disney movie ‘Cars’ was based on,”
Summer Vacation ‘Pin the Tail’ Style
says Jon. “My 11-year old daughter was thrilled.” While they spent only a couple of hours there, it will always be a
“Grandpa would pull out a road map, close his eyes, point
memory Jon and his family cherish, largely because it was
to a spot, and that’s where our journey would be that
summer. Always a fun trip! We never knew what to expect.” Making Good on His Word “Not long ago my dad and I took a trip to Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, where we hiked to what’s known as Bull Pasture. Upon reaching the peak, he told
Your road trip dream is out there. Go get it. We’ll protect it. American Family Insurance
me that after I was born he came here and in a guest book at the top, wrote that one day he’d bring me.”
Road trips are a quintessential part of the American Dream. They’re all about freedom – the freedom to travel where you want, when you want...