If you're looking for a travel resolution for 2016, here it is: get off the highway! *Side note: I also considered naming this post "How Make a 7-hour Drive Last 2 Days...On Purpose," but I decided that was just too long.
If you read my blog or know me at all, you probably know that neither Kyle nor I are scared of driving any amount of time to get to where we want to go. Whether it be a quick one hour drive to visit a winery in North Georgia for the day, a four hour drive for an overnight to visit friends, or a seven hour haul through Italy, from Milan to Rome (when in Europe, just add an hour to whatever your Apple Map tells you) after a full day of walking tours.
Recently, I decided to make the most of my normally seven hour drive from Atlanta, Georgia to Fincastle, Virginia to spend Christmas with my family. My mission was to take backroads for as much of the drive as possible and, yes, I wanted to do this on purpose! With a little bit of preparation, you too can master the art of the road trip. Here's how:
Step One: Research your route, but leave room for spontaneity.
I knew I wanted to spend a lot of time on the Blue Ridge Parkway so I visited their and found a handy guide that listed all the highlights through North Carolina and Virginia and planned my route accordingly. However, I happily jumped off interstates on onto anything labeled "Scenic Byway" whenever the opportunity presented itself. A fun tool for planning roadtrips is the Roadtrippers website and app. You can find all sorts of off the beaten path attractions along the way.
Step Two: Be prepared.
The only destination I absolutely had to make it to was my Bed and Breakfast I had booked. Personally, when traveling backroads alone, I'd rather have a plan in place for where I will be sleeping, but winging it always holds merit as well. I recently discovered Select Registry, a listing of quality B&B's and Inns when a roadside motel just won't do. Or, if camping is more your style, make sure you have all the essentials!
Step Three: Fuel Up.
In all ways possible. Have a full gas tank, you don't want to be the guy who ran out of gas on your super adventurous road trip, do you? Have plenty of snack and water. No one likes a hangry driver...hello road rage! And go ahead and fill your phone up with music, podcasts (can you say Serial marathon?) or Audio books in advance. The Cloud does not work if there is no cell service, people.
Step Four: Forget the ETA.
You never know what you will find to pass the time along the way. An outlet mall, the best [bbq] butts in Alabama, the world's largest man made Star (shout out to the Star City!), a place called Roadkill Cafe...the possibilities are endless!
Step Five: Enjoy the ride.
It's about the journey not the destination, right? Or if you're of the opposite mindset, then I say why not enjoy the ride?
What are your favorite roadtrips?