Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Kentucky to Las Vegas -- woman on a road trip

Hi Jamie,

I'm planning a road trip coming up real soon, I hope!

The trip will include myself, (a 50 yr.young, quite capable woman,) and my jack russell, Jonijojo. We will be traveling in my very dependable, Toyota Matrix!! I'll be traveling from Irvine, Ky. to N. Las Vegas where my best girlfriend lives. I would love to travel along rt.66 perhaps or the Loneliest road for a time,,,, which would you recommend? I'm assuming there's motels along the both, (who take little dogs,) too??? I'm taking her with me because she is a wonderful road buddy, goes everywhere with me and also is great company. Another question for you, (a little off the beaten path if you will,) is that I haven't told my husband yet that I'm taking this trip. He hates road trips and because of that I wouldn't want him to go with me, just not sure how to tell him. I used to drive around the U.S. a lot when I was younger and at this time in my life I really need this experience.

I absolutely love driving and am a good driver and I feel I have good instincts about people as far as being safe. Bottom line is I Need This Trip!!! So, any advice you could offer me would be greatly appreciated!




Dear Rover --

Thank you for writing in to Road Trip USA, and I hope I can help you plan a great adventure.

I'll get to offering some travel advice soon enough, but wanted to say that, being a husband myself, I think it would be good to share your plans with him sooner rather than later, so it doesn't come "out of the blue" and seem so much like a crazy plan. And let me say I fully understand the urge to do this trip on your own -- especially if you are drawn to the Loneliest Road; traveling solo really does open you up to a greater variety of experiences than going as a couple or with friends.

(Solo with dog still counts as solo in my book! does jonijojo like to go for long drives? in my experience, small dogs are welcome at most motels -- so I don't think that will be an issue)

These solo travel experiences are not necessarily better or worse, but they definitely different. I do most of my travels on my own, and some with family and friends, and doing so helps me be aware of the "charms" or each mode. As in most things, balance is crucial -- and I sort of expect your husband may want to know where you and are and what you are getting up to, even if he is not along for the ride...)

OK -- onto the trip itself. Kentucky is one of the states I always want to get to know better -- I have enjoyed visits to Louisville, and driven the Bluegrass Parkway, but confess I have never done it justice. Some day...

For your route west, I highly recommend the US50 stretch across southern Indiana (Vincennes in particular is a fascinating place -- esp if you like US history. I like it just because it lets me say and write "Wabash.") Take US50 as far west at St Louis, and join RT66 there for a great cruise across the Ozarks and down across Oklahoma (which has perhaps the longest stretches of driveable "old road")

West from Oklahoma, much of old Route 66 is little more than freeway frontage road, which means you follow I-40 and take as many "turnoffs" onto town and city streets as you want. In the wide open expanses of New Mexico and Arizona, you'll probably be grateful for the modern freeway -- the older route was a very hard slog. If you have the incliantion, I strongly recommend the loop north to Santa Fe, which is surrounded my 100s of miles of high desert beauty (this is where Georgia O'Keeffe did most of her painting.)

One last main sight on your way west is the Grand Canyon, and nearby Sedona Arizona -- and if you wanted a very pretty route to get you to Las Vegas, I'd suggest looping north via Zion National Park and the sublime scenery of southern Utah.

Once you've met your friend and recovered from the first leg of this big trip, then you'll be ready to hit the "Loneliest Road" proper, which runs across the deserts of northern Nevada -- back where you started on US50 , but a _long long way_ from the green green grass of home.

OK, there are some thoughts -- I hope you are able to make this trip, and that it does what you need it to do.

Let me know what you're thinking, and tell me how it turns out.

Happy Trails,

Jamie Jensen
Road Trip USA

** Road Trip USA: Route 66 ** new edition


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