Crank the car for a winter road trip.
A cross-country journey through the United States is an activity that can be enjoyed at any time. We are fortunate enough to call the best, most beautiful, most prosperous, and most exciting place on the entire planet—from one ocean to the next—our home.
Having said that… each new season presents people who want to get in their car and go on a road trip with fresh opportunities and new obstacles to overcome. There are some locations that are not suitable for human habitation. For instance, I’ve heard that during the winter months, certain highways in Alaska are covered in ice for several months at a time. If you’re planning a winter road trip, Alaska might not be your first choice. Nevertheless, during the hunting season in the Great White North, a large number of hardy hunters travel to that region.
There are a number of other destinations worldwide in which you should be making travel preparations right now. This is the time of year when people who are bored and have nothing better to do (and really, who does have something better to do?) travel to places like the southern Atlantic seaboard of Florida. From Naples, Florida, all the way down to Brownsville, Texas, the Gulf Coast is breathtaking and welcoming. The coastal plains from one ocean to the next, from the Atlantic to the Pacific.
Don’t try to fix something that isn’t broken.
Every one of us has special places that we could go back to year after year, and I have some friends who never get sick of going to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park no matter how many times they go there. Others that I now spend a significant portion of each year in Big Bend National Park, which is located in Texas.
People have made new friends by traveling to RV parks or campgrounds on a yearly basis and spending time together. Some people even go so far as to purchase a home or timeshare in the location that they consider to be their “ideal.”
I have the ability to travel to the panhandle region of Florida on an annual basis.
It is necessary to find a location that you enjoy visiting and will never become uninterested in… If you find somewhere else like that, you should definitely check it out!
Make a new trip out of your favorite winter retreat.
A great number of retirees have go-to destinations, and they travel there year after year without fail. When it comes to winter road trips, we haven’t quite established that kind of routine yet. Although I am aware that there are some benefits to returning to the same location year after year, the way in which the road instills its allure in my mindset is not the same way that it does for other people.
We do make return visits to certain locations, but even on those trips, we change our itineraries so that we can experience something new.
Think about it in this way. How many distinct ways are there to travel a distance of one thousand miles to get to your destination when you go there on a regular basis? A more complex application of that straightforward concept is possible. From any point along that journey, you can make a turn of ninety degrees in any direction, and by simply increasing the distance by a few hundred miles, you can visit hundreds of locations that are new to you. Take a look at the various options on a map of the United States.
We aren’t particularly concerned about the weather when we travel to Pennsylvania. We make every effort to prevent getting caught in a winter blizzard, but since we have family in that area, we don’t want to go more than a year without seeing them.
When we go back, we will choose a location that is south of the Mason-Dixon line, and we will try to take as many side trips as we can, provided that we have enough time and money to do so. These so-called “side-trips” typically add no more than three hundred or four hundred miles to your total driving distance. If we had traveled to our destination using the most direct route possible, it would have taken us a total of 2,000 miles to reach our destination.
If you give the method described above a shot, you’ll be able to travel to places that, under normal circumstances, would require you to log significantly more miles and spend significantly more time on the road.
This is how we handled things quite a few years ago. We went to Indianapolis, Indiana, for the Southern Baptist Convention, which was held there. We made a U-turn to the west and drove to St. Louis, Missouri, rather than taking the most direct route home.
After spending a few days in St. Louis, we headed west across the state of Missouri and then turned south as we approached the Ozark Mountains in the state of Arkansas.
You might not think that these are very exciting options; however, if you look at the towns that are located along the route, you will find that approximately every 100 miles there is some interesting feature that you can experience. It could be a zoo, a museum, or even a memorial to a well-known figure; alternatively, it could be the town square in Mountain Home, Arkansas, where bluegrass musicians seem to magically appear and perform free concerts almost every day when the weather is nice.
The desert southwest has lots to offer.
A number of years ago, my family and I traveled all the way from Mississippi to California via the southern portion of Interstate 10. You will enter New Mexico and Arizona via this route after passing through El Paso, Texas. I-10 branches off into I-8 to the west of Tucson, which will take you all the way to San Diego in California.
As we drove through the far southwest corner of Arizona, I was astounded to see thousands of recreational vehicles parked in storage yards. Not only were there RVs parked everywhere, but there were also significantly more RV sales places than I had ever seen before.
Travelers increasingly choose to spend their winters in Southern Arizona as their destination of choice. People who spend their summers in the north put their recreational vehicles (RVs) into “mothballs” during the hottest months of the year and then retrieve them in the fall to resume their enjoyment of this incredibly dry and wonderfully warm climate.
Your plans may not be as ambitious as to warrant the purchase of a motor home, but regardless of what you have in mind, you will be able to find a wide variety of options that are suitable for taking winter road trips.
We hope that these suggestions will encourage you to emerge from hibernation during the cold weather. The winter months are perfect for logging a lot of miles and turning up the smile dial.