I’m sitting here on another gray and cold winter day in the Hinterlands, trying very hard not to plan our upcoming road trip. Or, better said, trying not to overplan. I have a tendency to do that.
Wife and I, sometimes accompanied by one or both Sons have experienced some excellent adventures by car. They were vacations, with a definite terminal date because I had to return to the job du jour. So these trips were planned pretty tightly, with flights, car reservations and hotels booked long in advance. It turned out I have a knack for planning these things, but linear scheduling leaves little wiggle room. The plan needs to be executed by the numbers, or it falls apart.
This time we’re approaching it differently. We plan to leave somewhere around the end of this month or early February, and will head in a southerly direction to start. We have no lodging arrangements booked, and only a rough idea of the course of travel. Hotels will be determined “day of”- there are quite a few handy apps that support this approach. When we’re getting close to a city or place where we want to spend more than a single night, I’m thinking those accommodations will be arranged a few days before arrival. The goal is to keep everything as fluid and flexible as possible.
The end date of our travels is unclear. We want to see a lot on this ride, so it could last a couple of months. If I had to place a “must be home” deadline, it would be mid-April, as that’s when the seedlings need to be started for this year’s garden. Interestingly enough, that’s also when winter honestly starts to recede up here, and signs of spring begin to appear. Whether or not the snow will all be gone is an unknown. Right now we have very little on the ground.
Another of our other guidelines for this journey include staying off the interstate highways as much as possible. Once we’re south of New York, I’m hoping not to use them, focusing upon traveling the old roads and turnpikes that first connected this country. It’s going to make for a slower trip, but that’s fine. We’ll see more, and what’s the hurry?
Right now the general route of travel will start driving along the southern border of Pennsylvania, then crossing into Ohio, where we’ll follow along the Ohio River, perhaps as far as the Mississippi. Then south and west again, crossing into Arkansas and on into Texas. Perhaps a few days in Dallas/ Fort Worth, then down to San Antonio, checking out Waco along the way. Eventually I want to land at Big Bend National Park, hiking the trails and dodging the rattlesnakes. 😆
From there we’ll head up towards El Paso, though for obvious reasons may avoid the city this time through. We do want to check out some of the West Texas towns along the way such as Terlingua and Marfa.
Then into New Mexico and Arizona, staying in the southern tier of both states. There are tons of places we want to see here, including many National Parks and Monuments. Having reached the magical age, the next America The Beautiful Pass I buy will be good for the rest of my life- it’ll expire when I do!
We may spend some time in Tucson, and definitely at least a couple days in Phoenix before heading northwards to the final destination on the outbound leg of the journey, Death Valley in California. I’m told that February and March are the best months to visit there, and have always wanted to see it.
It’ll then be time to start working our way east again, turning north for home at the last minute. We’ve not given this leg a whole lot of thought other than maybe following the old Route 66 back where possible? We saw some of that road a few years ago- it was fun.
That’s the extent of the planning for this one. We’ll load up the Jeep with a couple weeks worth of clothes, some hiking and outdoor equipment, a cooler or two of provisions and some emergency gear, and then head thataway. I was toying with the idea of picking up a GoPro and taking some video of the travels, but decided against it. There are way too many people doing that stuff already. I’ll stay old school and write down words, adding a few photographs and the occasional amateur video taken with the smartphone.
I’m hoping to write and post during the trip, and am curious to see how that works out. More to follow soon, and thanks for stopping by!