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The Ultimate USA road trip?
We did the road trip to remember and cherish
The ultimate USA road trip.
A recent computer generated map showing the ultimate USA road trip caught my eye and took me back to the one we did in 2009. It followed almost to a tee the same route. You do not have to be a computer boffin to work it out.
We started our trip around the USA in Oklahoma because that is where our friends in Woodward helped us with a vehicle – a 20 year old Ford Econoline. With only basic adjustments (a double bed with mattress on wood resting on the back seats) and a camping table, chairs, tent and a small camp cooker we set of on our 25 000 km journey through 35 states. It took us 6 months and we camped mainly In State Parks in the most beautiful places in the country. We also visited 6 National Parks and everywhere we went we wished we had more time. Walmart and the National Forestry Department occasionally provided us with a free night or two and that helped to keep our budget down.
Our journey started to the West Coast where the Avenue of Giants in Northern California provide us with one of the high lights of our trip (no pun intended). A stop on the way at the Arches National Park and Lake Tahoe needs also to be mentioned as did a couple of days in the Sierra Nevada Mountains with friends.
Northwards along the Oregon Coast we were enthralled by the beauty of the coastline with one beach and lookout point following another. We had to stop often to gaze in wonder or walk along the coast and miles of beaches. As avid birders our cameras kept us busy. Portland and the Columbus River introduced us to the journey of Clark and Lewis and we were often to cross their path. The Rose Garden in Portland was another highlight to be cherished and remembered.
On to the Olympic Forrest and Forks – every place brought new surprises and delights (We had not even heard about the Twilight Series until we arrived in Forks). The campground on the sparkling Hoy River and my first Steelhead Trout, the Olympic Forrest and the NW tip on the USA were some of the memories to be recorded in our minds and on our photographs.
The Fish Market and Coffee Shops in Seattle were some of the “must see” places in that beautiful part of the country. Then it was time to turn east as the changing of the leaves beckoned in New England as autumn approached. The Northern Plains, Yosemite, Williams Lake, the River of No Return and so we could go on and on. Eventually we arrived at Niagara and were amazed at the sheer power of this natural wonder as we took the lift down to the base. On to Arcadia National Park, to arrive just a few days after some visitors had been swept of the rocks by a freak wave/storm.
As we began our journey southwards we met the changing of the leaves in “one of the best years in recent time” one of the locals told us. As we travelled south the camp grounds were closing for the winter and so we hurried past Boston and New York to the south.
Down to Florida and on to the Everglades and Key West. A stop to watch the launching of the shuttle from Cape Canavoren on the way. Great birding and beautiful scenery. The west coast of Florida resulted in swimming with Manatees and rowing down the Suwannee River. Then on along the Gulf Coast to New Orleans and Galveston. More amazing birding and wonderful sunsets and sunrises. The river walk at San Antonio and a visit to Fort Worth and Dallas marked the final stages of our trip. Eventually back in Woodward Oklahoma to end an amazing six month road trip. This must rate as our ultimate journey around the USA. On previous visits we had seen the Grand Canyon, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Yellowstone and San Francisco. So those would have to be included in your trip.
Regrets: that we did not have more time at every place but then I guess we must not be greedy. Would we do it again? Yes! Yes! Yes! Saving up like crazy.
What did we learn? The people were amazing and helpful. Listen to the locals for advice. The USA is a great country to travel in and has an amazing variety of sights and activities to experience and enjoy. Amazing discoveries are made quite by accident along the way. Ben and Jerry's Ice cream factory, Hersey factory, and on and on.We had to give some such places a miss because of time restraints. We did not book accommodation and only once were turned away because a State Park campground was full. Try to arrive at State/National Parks early in order to find the best camping spots. They come on a first come basis. Some in Florida were rather expensive and so we simply moved on to find one more reasonable.
Occasionally we would book into a Motel for a treat and a couple of friends along the way put us up for a few nights giving us a break from possible cabin fever in our "motor home". We decided to give some events a miss and so need to return. We also realized that we need to do more travelling in our own country and so since then have visited the West Coast of South Africa during the amazing flower season in Namaqualand.
Advice: Plan your trip and go. We will only regret what we did not do in life and a road trip should be high on any ones bucket list!