Favorite Drives in America

As summer creeps up, Americans will shell out some serious cash to jet-set to far-off lands for vacation.

But traveling doesn’t have to be expensive, or across the seas. With a nation full of hidden gems, you’re only an RV toad trip away from breathtaking scenery.

Route 66 © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Route 66 © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The click of the seat belt, the hum of the motor and maybe some classic road trip songs playing in the background.

Yep, it’s road trip time and there’s nothing better than jumping in the RV and heading out for what is sure to be an epic adventure. But where to go? And what to do?

Route 66

The Mother Road. Route 66. Main Street of America. Will Rogers Highway. The quintessential American Road Trip!

The mention of Route 66 to most baby-boomers conjures up images of George Maharis and Martin Milner cruising along in their early Corvette roadster in the television series of the same name.

While reminiscing, you have the popular rhythm and blues standard (Get Your Kicks on) Route 66 echoing through your mind. Composed in 1946 by songwriter Bobby Troup, this hit song was followed by the Route 66 TV drama in the early ’60s.

Blue Ridge Parkway © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Blue Ridge Parkway © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Blue Ridge Parkway

This route is a nature-lover’s dream. The 469 miles of scenic road run through Virginia and North Carolina, from Shenandoah National Park to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Containing four distinct districts, the route is comprised of ridges, plateaus, highlands, and Mt. Pisgah. For road trippers in pursuit of hiking, biking, and even saving money by camping, Blue Ridge Parkway is an ideal route.

Hovenweep National Monument along The Trail of the Ancients © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Trail of the Ancients

The Trail of the Ancients circles through the ancient Puebloan (Anasazi) Country of southeastern Utah, providing opportunity to view scenic landscapes, archaeological, cultural, and historic sites, as well as Natural Bridges and Hovenweep (also in Colorado) national monuments, Monument Valley, Edge of the Cedars State Park, and Manti La Sal National Forest. It’s a land filled with 250-million-year-old rock formations, mysterious Anasazi ruins, and remnants of long-ago Mormon pioneer families, all but undiscovered by crowds of tourists.

An extension of this route continues into Colorado to Mesa Verde National Park, Canyons of the Ancients National Monument, and Ute Mountain Tribal Park.

Catalina Highway © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Catalina Highway © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Catalina Highway

The Catalina Highway (also called the Mount Lemmon Highway) enters the Santa Catalina Mountains just 20 miles northeast of Tucson. Named for botanist Sarah Plummer Lemmon, you’re going to have a lot more fun than she did in 1881 when she made the first ascent by horse and on foot.

A little over halfway down, at the apex of the biggest switchback, do yourself a favor and pull off at Windy Point Vista. There’s a scenic overlook that gives a great view of the descending road and a great photo op. Take it in.

Creole Nature Trail © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Creole Nature Trail © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Creole Nature Trail

Water—seemingly everywhere—is a big part of the Creole Nature Trail experience. Part of America’s Byway’s system, this All-American Road is known for its distinct waters, pristine blue skies, and plenty of wildlife and bird watching.

This is the Louisiana Outback.

Gold Rush Trail

Amador City on the Gold Rush Trail © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Amador City on the Gold Rush Trail © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The discovery of gold in 1848 changed the course of California’s and the nation’s history. This event led to a mass movement of people and was the spark that ignited a spectacular growth of the West during the decades to follow.

These 49ers established hundreds of instant mining towns along the western foothills of the Sierra Nevada. Most mining camps were nothing more than temporary encampments established where a section of a river was panned or sluiced until the gold ran out.

Many of these historic and picturesque towns still exist, linked by California Highway 49, the Gold Rush Trail.

Worth Pondering…

It’s not just a drive.

It’s an experience.

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