How do you say ‘roadtrip’ in French ? Roadtrip with 2 french ‘r’… Roadtrips are American even if most of the countries in the world have cars and roads. On my way back from our second 2/3 weeks road trip, I could not help but share a few thoughts during our 16h train ride back from Florida (yes train... I ll do another article on that).
Let's dig a bit
It just makes sense logistic-wise
First of all, driving is cheap. Gas is cheap, like 3 times cheaper than in France, cars are comfortable with a lot of cup holders, highway are free (except in urban areas but there is most of the time a free option) and other options like train or plane are expensive and/or slow and/or will not take you anywhere but big cities.
Second, driving is freedom : you can go anywhere, you (and your kid) can take whatever you want, you get to decide your schedule.
Third, driving is simple. With the current mega set of travel apps, all of your bookings are easy to make and to handle. With a country organized with thousands of chain, it is simple to handle all shopping anywhere, you can find waterly coffee at $1 at our favorite gas station Wawa so that you can focus on finding local spots and shops to visit. With no borders to cross and only one language, you do not need to bother with any paperwork.
The beautiful and diverse American landscapes
The US landscapes and wildlife are as diverse, beautiful and impressive as French cheeses ;). Not joking, it is breath taking how beautiful the sky can get, how many types of landscapes you can cross while driving, how many climates you can get within a driving distance, how wild and remote some places are and how many protected species are observable in their natural habitat. Plus it is a delightful feeling to be on a straight infinite road with nothing around but you and your car wondering who were these crazy people thinking of building a road there. I would say that it is almost addicting. On the two extensive road-trips we have done, I could have continued for a few weeks more each time as there is always something nice to see close by. Plus it is easy to plan as areas and roads of interest are usually pretty well indicated. Just look on the internet about scenic roads, national and state parks or conservation areas to go beyond the highly advertised big attractions.
The other side of America
America is not only google and New York skyscraper. No news there. But by driving, you will get to see the face of rural America first hand. These isolated places where getting education, healthy food, health care and jobs are for the dreamers. The Indian areas where the time is different, where alcohol is prohibited and living conditions are unrealistic. These giant RV (Recreational Vehicle) centers in Arizona and Florida where northern state inhabitants emigrate to escape the hard winter weather. The already existing wall with Mexico where police patrol is constant and barbed wires are set between the road lanes. The extensive exploration of natural resources right next to preserved areas. The drought in California, Arizona and Florida where water reuse is definitely the only options.
So based on that
Check the car, pack your bag, take your smart phone and go, I am sure you will find great things on the way !
Our first road trip : Las Vegas / Route 66 / Grand Canyon South Rim / Monument Valley / Lake Powell and Antelope Canyon / Flagstaff / Sedona / San Diego
Second road trip : Asheville / Savannah / Jacksonville / Legoland / The Keys / Sanibel Island
Other nice trips : Shenandoah Valley, Outer Banks, Potomac River, Moab, Western VIrginia
A few tips : not more than 2h of driving on a regular day, 6h max per day (with a kid at least), plan to stay 2/3 nights at each spot, plan really early in the big national park and for holiday, take things to keep the kid busy (check pinterest), take a GPS as connection is not guaranteed everywhere...