Masochist's road trip
Hi there . . . I am about to embark on a month long road trip with my . . . (drumroll) grandparents. My family is shooting a documentary on their last hurrah, so to speak. Anyway, we're starting in Phoenix, skirting the southern states, heading up to New England and then ending in Chicago (where I live). Any suggestions for sights / activities that are not too touristy? I'm looking for things that are bizarre or pretty or unusual or show local character. Any ideas welcome. My grandparents are very funny, game people so it doesn't necessarily have to be a tour of every war memorial on the right coast. Thanks in advance!
In the memories of my own grandparents, I respond to your query.
The first thing to keep in mind is the age of your passengers, and even though they might be "game" or "spry", many hours of driving can take a toll on the back and knees. I'd plan on shorter driving days, which will be more than possible in the month that you're traveling. The reason I bring it up is that even one longer-than-usual day of driving might cause discomfort for the subsequent parts of the trip. Do alot of planning in that sense.
As far as things to do...it really depends on what kinds of things are of most interest to your grandparents. Would they want to sight-see around cities more or visit scenic areas more? Try to plan out a good balance of both.
Here are some suggestions for you...
Phoenix is an amazing place to start a road-trip from. I would first head north on I-17 and meet up with I-40 East. Your first day can include a drive through Petrified National Forest which pretty much sits right next to I-40 in NE Arizona. From there, try to make your way towards Albuquerque (Gallup, NM is a good motel town)
If you play your cards right, you can have lunch the next day in Albuquerque and dinner in Santa Fe. Santa Fe is an absolute must! Beautiful city, beautiful architecture, and beautiful people! Very good food and some "grandparent-friendly" night spots too! Consider a short driving day and stopping there for the night.
(Santa Fe is sixty miles from Albuquerque, north on I-25)
If you want to stay in the south, backtrack the sixty miles and hook back up with I-40. Another idea would be to continue up I-25 North, towards Colorado Springs and Denver. You can visit the Coors Brewery in Golden, CO and Rocky Mountain National Park on the same day!
I've given you a good start, and I'd be happy to answer any other questions you might have. My best advice is to use an interactive map like the one on mapblast.com (which in turn uses MSN's technology) and to figure out distances from stop to stop. If your trip is for one month, you will have time to criss-cross a little too! Don't feel confined by directions!
Good luck and safe driving.
I would suggest poking around on this website. There are many books and other websites recommended that would be good to explore in order to find places to visit. One of my favorites is Roadside America with quirky stops like the largest ball of twine, etc.. Other books of interest might be those that direct you to factory tours, gravesites of famous people, etc.
I hope you and your grandparents have a terrific time! What a wonderful way to enjoy each other and get to know each other better. It will surely give you some wonderful memories to treasure.
You might want to video some of the trip for a way to share it with future generations.