Monday, December 14, 2009

On The Road, Again : The Return of Travel Advice









I can't remember why I stopped posting up my correspondence with readers wanting some help with their road trip planning -- but here it comes again. I have about 6 months worth of messages to sift through, from late summer until yesterday, so I apologize in advance for the time delay and any informational overload.



Lonely Roads

Jamie

Hi! I am so excited to have run across your website!

I currently live in Sacramento CA and will be making a move to Arlington VA next month. I have decided to make a memorable road trip out of the move to take advantage of the opportunity to see the great US! I've never done a move this great before or really driven cross country. After looking at your site, I think "the lonliest road" is the most direct to where I want to end up. I like stopping to see quirky "random" places and really want to take in as much as possible in the time I have. I want to take 5-7 days to make the drive. Do you have any advice for my trip?

Thanks so much,

Shannon S



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Dear Shannon --

Thank you for writing in to Road Trip USA -- and sorry it took me so long to reply.

Your trip sounds very interesting. I used to live in Sacramento myself, and have followed that "Loneliest Road" route many times but still love it. US50 is definitely the best way to cross the country, especially if you want see some of what America has to offer.

If you only have 5-7 days, the main advice I'd offer is get up as early as possible, so you can drive during daylight hours. Not only do you get to see so much more this way, but I think it must be 100x safer than driving at night. Also, find a room before the sun goes down, while all the vacancy lights are still shining.

And if you do need to make up time (perhaps so you can enjoy the sights of Utah's Canyonlands or maybe tour a museum or three instead of simply driving all day, every day...) take advantage of the Interstates: I-80 across the Great Plains, maybe from Colorado to Illinois, can save 12 hours or more of mountain and rural driving, compared with US50.

And at the risk of doing a "hard sell", I'd like to suggest something else: check out my book! It's got even more ideas than what's on the website, and lots of pictures to entice you along the way. Please write me again when your plans start taking shape -- and in the meantime I hope you enjoy my website, and my book, and that you have a great trip and a great time in DC.

Happy Trails,


Jamie Jensen
------
Road Trip USA

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GREAT RIVER ROADS


Hello!

I found your great site through Google. You mentioned some road trip advice. Well, I could use some!

A friend and I are planning on taking a trip out to the midwest with our children. My kids are two boys (ages 7 & 4) and her two are girls (ages 7 & 5). We will be traveling from Vermont out through much of the Great Lakes, Chicago and on to Madison, WI.

From Madison our plan was to take at least part of the Great River Road down to St. Louis, then from St. Louis head up part of our old Route 66 and cut off sometime before Chicago to start heading back east and to friends in Ohio.

I'm hoping you might be able to offer some advice on the most scenic and/or interesting parts of both drives for the kids. We aren't looking for amusement parks or anything like that, but probably the more interesting of the historical sites (the Mark Twain cave sounded interesting) and/or the more quirky slices of Americana along the way. A good place to stop and swim is always welcome!

We don't have much up yet, but we will have a travel blog while we are on the road. Here's the start of it.

I truly appreciate any advice you can offer and will be happy to add a link to your site from my blog!

Thanks!

- Meghan



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Dear Meghan --

Thank you for writing in to Road Trip USA -- and sorry it took me so long to reply.

I've been following the first parts of your trip via your blog posts, and I'll try to help with the Great River Road and Route 66 sections to come. But before I do, let me say: you are very brave, all of you, to set off on such a great adventure. And I am very pleased to hear (read?) that you are having such a great time.

OK -- from Madison, your first stop has to be the House on the Rock, right? Unmissable (though in August thunderstorms, who knows?) I also really enjoy Frank Lloyd Wright's Taliesin at Spring Green, though touring 100-year-old cutting-edge architecture probably is not top of your boys' list of fun things to do. You never know unless you try, right?

More likely you'll be heading toward the Dells, Wisconsin's summer fun mecca. From there, I'd say head west to La Crosse and meet a real river: the Mississippi, your companion for the next few days if you follow the Great River Road as planned. La Crosse is the sort of place that makes road trips fun: it may not be an internationally famous destination, but if you are fond of all-American treats (like drive-in burgers & milk shakes -- I've got some good suggestions on my website), enjoy a walk down a quaint downtown Main Street, swim at Black River beach, or simply want to hop a riverboat and see the scenery, La Crosse is the place to be.

The drive south is leisurely, and the next stop I'd suggest is south of the border in exotic Iowa. Not the place you'd expect to find an ancient civilization, but there it is: Effigy Mounds National Monument, where 2500 acres of rolling woodlands surround the remains of a Native American city that stood there since 500 BC. (For a more contemporary connection, your boys might be interested to know that the "Ringling Brothers" of circus fame came from nearby McGregor, Iowa.)

Continuing south, you might like to visit the Dickeyville Grottos, which are unlike anything else you likely to see, and to get there you can cross the river on a tiny ferry, from Cassville. Either way, another transportation treat awaits you in Dubuque, the world's shortest, steepest railroad: Fenelon Place Elevator, a funicular railway that has been trundling up and down the hill since before any of us were born.

That should see you through a couple days on the road -- and there are more to come, re Mark Twain, St Louis, Route 66 and more, if you want. For now I'm pleased to hear you've been enjoying my website, and my book.

Please feel free to write me again, and in the meantime I'll follow your progress via your very nice blog.

Have fun, and Happy Trails,


Jamie Jensen
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Road Trip USA

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Michigan to California

Hi Jamie,
Its really nice to have found your blog. I am planning a road trip from West Bloomfield, MI to San Francisco, CA and your blog has very nice information.

Can I check the route and the overall plan with you for your comments and suggestions?

We will be 3 people travelling (me, my wife and my brother). Because of the time constraint we are only driving the one-way journey. So the plan is to rent a car for this and take flight on the way back.

The rough plan
>
> 1. Day 1: Leave on 08/28, Friday early afternoon around 1pm. Travel to and overnight stay in Iowa city.
>
> 2. Day 2 (08/29): Hit it the road again in the morning and travel all the way upto Chamberlain or Murdo, SD. Overnight stay.
>
> 3. Day 3 (08/30): Travel to Mount Rushmore and spend the day there. Overnight stay somewhere in Rapid City area.
>
> 4. Day 5 (08/31): Travel to YellowStone or somewhere close to it.
>
> 5. Day 6 & 7 (09/01 and 09/02): Spend 2 days in YellowStone. On the second day if possible stay overnight on the west side of the park.
>
> 6. Day 8 (09/03): Hit the road early in the morning and travel all the way to Reno, NV or closer to SF. This is the biggest driving day from the distance point of view.
>
> 7. Day 9 & 10 (09/04 and 09/05): Spend 2 days in SF. Travel to big Sur if possible.
>
> 8. Day 11 (09/06): Take a flight back to MI.
>
> Can you provide your valuable insights on the plan, itinerary, sights on the way, any other suggestions, etc?
>
> Thanks in advance,

> Anand
>

----


Dear Anand --

Thank you for writing in to Road Trip USA -- and sorry it took me so long to reply. From your message I think I still have a week before you set off, so I hope this reply gets back to you in time.

Your trip sounds very interesting, and sensibly plotted out to maximize fun on the road. The one long drive (Yellowstone to Reno) is the least eventful, for sightseeing etc, so that is a good day to make up time. If you have a chance, consider making the detour off I-80 to see Lake Tahoe, which is truly pretty, and easy to appreciate from the car. Yosemite, also on the way, is more time-consuming, but also worth seeing. (Maybe more so than your possible trip to see Big Sur, after SF?)

The one main thing I would suggest is that you make reservations asap for Yellowstone; the in-park accommodations are very popular, especially the magnificent Old Faithful Inn, which is unforgettable. If those are not available, I would suggest having one night before Yellowstone in the town of Cody (which also has a truly wonderful Wild West Museum), and a night afterwards in West Yellowstone Montana, which is a old-fashioned all-American town.

Another thing: while Mount Rushmore is a definite must-see sight, you probably won't want to be there all day (an hour is probably enough). But there are lots of nice things to see and do in the great Black Hills area (such as the maniacal statue of Crazy Horse, currently being carved out of another nearby mountainside.)

Please feel free to write me again -- and in the meantime I hope you continue enjoy my website, and my book (which has tons more info and ideas and pictures than the website).

Happy Trails, and have a great trip,


Jamie Jensen
------
Road Trip USA

===========

Historic Road Trip

Hi Jamie --

I am trying to plan a couple of road trips (I'm from the UK) . Looking to purchase your book but need to know if it includes the southern route and can you tell me if this a classic route?? we would like to combine it with the Zephyr Rail Trip
last year we followed the Lewis & Clarke Trail by car and would enjoy another trip that has American History attached to it.


anita



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Dear Anita --

Thank you for writing in to Road Trip USA -- and yes, the Southern Pacific road trip is a true classic. It's also known as the Old Spanish Trail, and takes in all the great historic stuff across the Deep South and Wild West, inc Texas and Tombstone Arizona.

This Southern Pacific trip along old US-80 would make a great companion trip to the railroad California Zephyr (is this the one you are thinking of?..) You could add in a little bit of the Route 66 road trip along the way, to get to Chicago -- or follow the Pacific Coast road trip, and link up with the Zephyr near San Francisco. Endless possibilities, really!

Please write me again when your plans start taking shape -- and in the meantime I hope you enjoy my website, and my book (which has tons more info and ideas and pictures than what is "up" on the website).

Happy Trails,


Jamie Jensen

Road Trip USA

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Atlantic Coast Road Trip

hey jamie, I am taking a 5 day trip in late august from atlantic city, new jersey to tampa, florida. Im going to take the atlantic coast route i found on the website, but im not sure where i want to stop. I want to see some beach towns and some historic towns as well, so i was thinking i would stop in ocean city maryland, virginia beach, the outer banks nc, myrtle beach, charleston, savannah, and daytona beach. where do you think i should stop? what places should i avoid? what and where are cheap places to stay? what should i be sure to bring on a trip like this. i have never been to any of thesse places or in a car for this long before. im 19. i would appreciate any suggestions/advice. thanks -mike

===>>>

Hi Mike --

Thank you for writing in to Road Trip USA -- and sorry it took me so long to reply. Your trip sounds fun -- hope there's still time for me to help you have a good time.

you asked: >>"i was thinking i would stop in ocean city maryland, virginia beach, the outer banks nc, myrtle beach, charleston, savannah, and daytona beach. where do you think i should stop? what places should i avoid? what and where are cheap places to stay?"

Much depends on what you like -- for tacky seaside fun, Ocean City MD is hard to be, but for amazing wild scenery (and waves, and lighthouses...), there's no place on the East Coast better than Cape Hatteras.

The other places you mention, Charleston and Savannah in particular, are wonderful -- not so much for summer fun, but they are rich in architecture and history (and food!)

I also really like the Georgia coast -- it feels calmer than SC or FL, but it really special -- and the offshore islands (Sapelo, Cumberland...) are as close to "unique" and unspoilt as you're gonna find. Bring bug spray if you go, though.

One place you didn't mention that I really like is St Augustine, in north Florida -- it has nice beaches, fascinating history, and enough tacky tourism (the "real" Fountain of Youth, Alligator Farm, etc) to satisfy any road tripper.

In terms of places to avoid, I personally find Myrtle Beach to be way over-developed (and they tore down its one redeeming feature, a neat old amusement park, replaced by a shopping mall...). Daytona is also pretty tacky and grungy, but that's what people like you and me go there for...

:-)

Finally, almost anywhere along the coast, in the peak of summer, "cheap" places to sleep are as rare (if not extinct.) There are some campgrounds here and there, if you have a tent and sleeping bag, but otherwise accommodations will likely be your biggest expense -- esp in the prime beach resorts (I've had trouble finding motel rooms in Ocean City MD for under $125 a night...painful. If you go in December, on the other hand, prices are not such a problem!)

Let me know what you get up to -- and hope this helps point you toward some fun. Drive safe, and in future I hope you enjoy my website, and especially my book. In fact, if you can wait till spring / summer 2010 I'lll have a "new" Road Trip mini-book out, covering all of the Atlantic Coast from NYC down to Key West!

Happy Trails,


Jamie Jensen

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Midwest, Mid-Summer -- Springfield MO to Santa Fe NM

Dear Mr. Road Trip --

My husband and I have decided to take a road trip to from Springfield, MO to CO, in early August. We plan to be gone only 7 days (this could be negotiable). We are in our early 50's with no younger children, and will be making the trip in our personal vehicle. What route would you recommend, and what are the MUST SEE'S for a trip such as this. Additionally, we have heard that we can return via a southern route which could include Santa Fe.. what are your thoughts and advice?

Thanks,
Barb


===>>>

Dear Barb --

Thank you for writing in to Road Trip USA -- and sorry it took me so long to reply. I hope I catch your before you head off, or if you're on the road I hope I'm not too late to help with your travel plans.

Your trip sounds very interesting -- you say Springfield MO to Colorado in 7 days, and I assume you're making this a round trip (it's not a one-way, is it?) .

From Springfield the obvious Road Trip route west would be Route 66, which crosses some of its best stretches in nearby Oklahoma -- I really like the Will Rogers country east of Tulsa, where the old road is still the main way to go. (And where Vinita's fantastic Will Rogers Rodeo kicks off around Aug 25th!)

If you wanted to take Route 66 all the way to Santa Fe (or maybe use this as your return route...), it is easy to veer north into the lovely parts of SW Colorado -- the San Juan and Sangre de Christo Mountains on the NM/CO border are some of the wildest and prettiest parts of the whole USA.

Another great drive in this region is the famous Million Dollar Highway, which runs north from Durango and Silverton, over some of the highest passes in the country. All safe and easy to drive, but spectacular to see.

Another favorite place of mine in Colorado is the town of Manitou Springs, at the base of iconic Pike's Peak. From here you can head back east to Springfield -- via US50, which follows in the path of the historic Santa Fe Trail.

This Road Trip route works equally well going counterclockwise -- Springfield MO to Kansas City then west on US50 (my Loneliest Road chapter, in Road Trip USA) to Colorado, then back east via Santa Fe and Route 66.

Please write me again if there's still time for me to help -- and once again accept my apologies for my slow response. I hope you've enjoyed my website, and that you get a chance to look at my book.

Happy Trails,


Jamie Jensen
------
Road Trip USA

====

60th Birthday in a '57 Chevy Bel-Air



Hello Jamie,

Just cruising thru the internet for inspiration and found your magic site.
Mary and I live in England and have enjoyed several US 'mini - tours' over the years. Boston to Maryland the long way round, Harper's Ferry to Asheville on Appalachians, Atlanta and Nashville via The Carolinas and the Outer Banks and cross country by the side roads to Niagara.

However, next year is Mary's 60th and we're both keen to go the whole hog and to plan for a 10/12 week round trip of The USA. We (whimsically) thought of getting a Harley for the job, then thought better of it. We have now bought a Chevy 57 Bel Air! The car is in excellent condition and is being primed as we speak for a trial trip up to New Brunswick.

I wonder if we could prevail upon you to take up your offer of a suggested route plan for us. It is no doubt a daunting challenge and we would understand if your valuable time was spoken for. To assist in your deliberations, I shall outline a few basic parameters and wish-lists for our journey.

Return journey must be within our legal stay period of three months.
Interstate and 'big' roads to be avoided.
The Chevy has got to go to the levee !!
We must see Charleston, Savannah, New Orleans, parts of New Mexico, Texas, Arizona, Colorado, N.California, Yosemite, Grand Canyon, Oregon, Washington State, Montana, Yellowstone, Mount Rushmore, Kansas, Missouri. Phew!!

We have not yet decided which period to travel and would appreciate your suggestion. The Chevy is currently being fitted with air-con, so not as crucial as it could have been.

We do hope that you will find time to make some suggestions for our trip, and would like to contact you periodically as new thoughts arise !

With many thanks and kindest regards,

James & Mary


===>>>

Dear James & Mary --

Thank you for writing in to Road Trip USA -- and sorry it took me so long to reply.

Your trip sounds very interesting -- as does your bi-national life! I am a (Northern) Californian married to a (West) Yorkshire lass, and we have managed to spend at least a month every year down in deepest Cornwall England, so I think I share your appreciation of beautiful places. (Ditto the '57 Chevy Bel-Air -- a friend's Dad has been restoring one forever, and it is indeed a thing of beauty, comfort & joy!) .

About your trip: Charleston, Savannah, New Orleans -- all great. How about Memphis (and Elvis's Graceland!) -- the drive up the Mississippi River, across the Delta, is really truly unforgettable (esp if you "dig" the Delta Blues). Even if blues music is not so much your thing, there are plenty of levees for your Chevy (and none have run dry...quite the opposite, most of the time.)

Re parts of New Mexico, Texas, Arizona, Colorado -- sounds like there's a Route 66 cruise in your future. The trouble is, Texas is HUGE -- more than 1000 miles across via US80 or US83, though the RT 66 section is mercifully short, traversing from Oklahoma (great state!) via Amarillo's sculptural Cadillac Ranch to the scenic Four Corners "Native American " lands of New Mexico and Arizona (and southwest Colorado, where you can explore the magical ancient cliff palaces of Mesa Verde et al).

From the Four Corners desert Southwest area around the Grand Canyon, you can cut across via Las Vegas (ideal place to cruise in the Chevy!) and Death Valley to N. California & Yosemite, then cruise up the coast to Oregon, Washington State (the area around Seattle is absolutely splendid), before heading back east via Montana, Yellowstone, Mount Rushmore, Kansas , Missouri (are you sure about KS & MO? -- they're nice enough, but for this sort of all-American tour I would take Chicago and Detroit any day!)

As for an "ideal" time for such an odyssey, for the best weather I'd say September, even October, though Spring is nice (lots of wildflowers, not so hot...) in the Deserts, and early summer gets the best waterfalls in Yosemite and Glacier National Parks.

Choices, choices -- anyway, sounds like you've got a great trip ahead of you. :-)

Please write me again when your plans start taking shape -- and in the meantime I hope you enjoy my website, I hope the Chevy behaves, and I also hope you get your hands on my book, which has tons more info and ideas and pictures, and will make the prospect of extended road wanderings even more appetizing than the web can do.

Happy Trails,


Jamie Jensen
------
Road Trip USA


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Mid-Atlantic Autumn

Dear Jamie,
My husband & I are plannig a roadtrip holiday in the USA with another couple end of Sept/ start of Oct 2009.
I was in the States on honeymoon last Sept and we did an amazing roadtrip in New England which we loved. We are from Dublin, Ireland. We will be hiring a car from DC.
I stumbled across your website this year while trying to plan something a little more ambitious which hasn't been as easy.
We have 10 days to play with, we are starting our vacation by spending 3/4 nights in Washington DC, then we wish to travel for approx 10 nights and
we definately want to take in Charlston, South Carolina and Savannah Georgia for say 2 nights each before heading back to DC.
We would also love to go back via the mountains, ( I am unsure of the difference between the blue ridge and smoky mountains). We would really like o stay a night or so in the mountains but would not be too keen on camping.
I think it might be an amalgamation of your routes 6 & 5?
I was hoping you could give advice on a good loop, we enjoy scenery, history and would like to see some civil war heritage and some Plantation heritage.
We have a midrange budget and would like to stay in B&B/ Historic Inns rather than motels.
On the route at some stage my friends would like to play a round or 2 of golf.
I have read the helpful information on your website and feel we would like more authentic towns / stops on the coast as oppossed to places like Myrtle Beach which I feel would be too commercial.
In New England we loved towns like Camden and Bar Harbour.
So the States I guess we are interested in are North & South Carolina, Georgia, and back via Virginia.
We are unfamiliar with these states and are finding the amount of information on the internet overwhelming.
Any help would be greatfully received,
Many thanks

Ellen


===>>>

Dear Ellen --

Thank you for writing in to Road Trip USA -- a loop trip along the Atlantic coast and back up along the Appalachian Trail will be a blast, and late Sept / early Oct is just about the best time of year to be out there. (So long as you are lucky to avoid any hurricanes!) The "fall color" of the mountains is justly famous, and the coastal areas are usually still warm but without all the summer crowds -- good timing.

Both routes offer an abundance of characterful inns (in the USA, B&Bs are definitely upscale and much more comfortable than their UK/Irish equivalents -- I list a few in my book, and towns like Charleston and Savannah have some of the nicest inns in the country, along with an abundance of Civil War sights.)

Accommodations in the mountains are also very nice -- there are some rustic lodges in the National Parks (Smokey Mountains and Shenandoah), and many more along the Blue Ridge Parkway, which is a fantastic part of the trip.

If you really only want one night in the mountains, I'd suggest aiming for Asheville, North Carolina, which has a lot of charm and offers very easy access to glorious mountain scenery -- there are also some very nice hotels and restaurants (and golf courses!). And if you find you have more time, the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia has some nice towns (like Lexington), and abundant Civil War heritage.

Please write me again when your plans start taking shape -- and in the meantime I hope you enjoy my website, and my book (which has a lot of info and ideas and photos which don't appear on the website).

Happy Trails,


Jamie Jensen
------
Road Trip USA (the Book!)


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Honeymoon Road Trip--Yellowstone + Niagara Falls

Jamie,

First-let me say I love your website, your interactive map is very cool and informative. My fiance and I spent some time last year on Route 66 in Arizona, and absolutely loved it. Now we are planning on taking our honeymoon the last week of September. We will be flying out to Jackson Hole, WY and spending a couple days there. We are planning on taking the Oregon Trail Route back east (we live in S. eastern Massachusetts) definitely want to spend some time in Yellowstone and Niagara, do you have any interesting or offbeat sights for us to see along the way. We really love retro-feeling/kitschy places. Please help!

Thanks,

Kate


===>>>

Dear Kate --

Thank you for your nice note, and for taking the time to write in to Road Trip USA.

Your honeymoon road trip sounds fantastic -- the Grand Tetons / Yellowstone region is full of amazing scenery, and well provided with old-time Americana. (Long live Jackson Hole's "Million Dollar Cowboy Bar", while West Yellowstone has another photogenic collection of old motels and a great Main Street!). Heading east, you can shop for his 'n' hers cowboy gear at Lou Taubert's in the heart of Casper (very near a great old movie theater and some slightly unloved 1920s/30s shopfronts.) How's that for retro-kitsch?

One stop I strongly recommend across the Great Plains stretch of US20 is northwest Nebraska, with lots of real history and one essential piece of kitsch car culture art: Carhenge, outside the town of Alliance. The Black Hills to the north hold Mt Rushmore, that even more gigantic Crazy Horse, and lots of mountain scenery. And Wall Drug is not too far away (on I-90, which may work as way to save time crossing the Midwest.)

Iowa is another long flat stretch, with some pretty near Lincoln Highway-era buildings along old US30, and just west of the Mississippi River is another odd attraction: the Field of Dreams, where that surreal Kevin Costner film was "lensed" as they say in Variety et al. The same small Iowa town, Dyersville, also holds a very intriguing basilica -- full of Catholic kitsch, if you are so inclined. Dyersville also used to have a great toy tractor (and mini-muscle car) museum, too, but I think the spirit of the place faded when the factory moved to Mexico.

East of the Mississippi, Galena is a very neat little town, and for 1920s architecture Rockford IL is also worth alook (it was also the home of pop band Cheap Trick, if that means anything to you!)

Chicago, Detroit, Cleveland and other urban Great Lakes places are packed with too many things for me to choose from, but if you have time they are all very rewarding places to explore. A couple of less-famous stops along the way are the college town of Oberlin (nice central square) and the old Mormon Temple in Kirtland. And just before you hit the PA border, Conneat OH has a great roadside cafe: the mostly outdoor, summer only White Turkey Drive In, serving up turkey sandwiches and root beer floats (though I think they close for the season in early Sept...)

New York State has some great stretches. Needless to say, Niagara Falls is one of those must-see places, but most of the fun, and the best views too, are on the Canadian side, so bring your passport! I love Buffalo but accept that it is something of an acquired taste, but Skaneatles in the Finger lakes area is a very pretty place, as is Cooperstown. Albany, and neighboring Troy across the Hudson, are both packed with characterful diners and other travel essentials.

Closer to home, you probably know all about the Mohawk Trail (Route 2 from the Berkshires) but if you haven't shopped for rubber tomahawks there amongst all the characterful old towns and villages, have a look -- just keep an eye peeled for a 20' tall "Big Indian", right around Shelburne Falls (which is itself well worth a visit.)

Well, there are a few days worth of fun, retro-feeling/kitschy places things to see. Hope you have a great trip (and a nice life together...)

Congratulations & Happy Trails,


Jamie Jensen
------
Road Trip USA the Book

===>>>

Much more to come -- for now, travel safely and keep in touch!

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2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

In response to "Honeymoon Road Trip--Yellowstone + Niagara Falls" where Dyersville Iowa was spoke of -

I'd like to point out a correction. There still is a museum in Dyersville called the National Farm Toy Museum, and is the #1 Farm Toy experience in the world! With multiple floors of farm toys, Ertl assembly line displays, history of local farm toy manufacturing process, farm and agricultural history and even a life-size John Deere tractor! Dyersville is the Farm Toy Capital of the world with three major Farm Toy manufacture's originating in Dyersville including Ertl, Scale Models and Spec Cast. It is true some of the manufacturing has traveled overseas, but you can still find Farm Toys made in Dyersville today. Over 30,000 people travel to Dyersville to participate in the two National Farm Toy Shows held annually in June and November.

Dyersville is also the home of the Field of Dreams Movie Site where the 1989 Oscar nominated motion picture was filmed. The famous farm and ball diamond are still operational today and in perfect condition. The Field of Dreams is open daily April-November and is free to the public, bring your bat, ball and glove and hit one into the corn!

Also found in Dyersville is the Basilica of St Francis Xavier, one of 53 Basilica's in the Nation and the only Basilica located outside of a metropolitan area. Decorated ornately in pure gold, silver, granite and marble, with hand carved sculptures and woodwork dating back to the 19th century, the Basilica of St. Francis is one of America's finest displays of Gothic architecture.

There's a lot more to see and do in Dyersville including visiting a wood carving museum, historical house and doll museum with over 2,000 dolls as well as shopping at local shops and three farm toy outlets, and it's all only 25 minutes West of Dubuque! For information contact the Dyersville Area Chamber of Commerce at 563.875.2311 or email at dyersvillechamber@dyersville.org.

8:35 AM  
Blogger Jamie Jensen said...

HI THERE DYERSVILLE --

Road Trip USA includes everything you mention -- the Field of Dreams, the National Farm Toy Museum, and the basilica. All I was saying in my note about the "spirit of the place" is that the toy factories moving overseas was a shame for those of us who love watching things get made (and I assume it was sad for the workers as well).

But I am glad you included all the Dyersville details, and am glad you have checked out Road Trip USA. I really like Dyersville, and the ride from there down to the Mississippi River, and hope our readers have fun when they come to your town.

-- Jamie

10:05 AM  

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