Traveling the Open Road



I was stuck for a blog subject for this week so I asked the gang who hang out over at Kathi Daley Books group page for suggestions and I received several very good ones. One of the questions had to do with my favorite vacation. At first I wasn’t really sure, and to be honest I can’t say that I have a single favorite vacation, but I think that if I had to choose it would be the long road trips that my husband and I used to take. We didn’t travel a lot when our kids were living at home but after they moved out we decided we wanted to begin to see the world. The question was, where to start? After a bit of discussion, we decided to visit all 50 states plus all the National Parks before traveling overseas. This was a decision I have not regretted once.


We decided it would be best to take long road trips using different routes each time. This was back before you had everything you needed on your phone so I went down to the automobile association and got a bunch of maps and a bunch of those books with lodging properties listed. Every spring and every fall we took 4 – 5 weeks and headed in a different direction. We never made reservations since we weren’t sure what we wanted to see, how long we wanted to spend in each location, and what the weather would be, so we just picked a direction each morning and drove until we got tired and then we’d start looking for a motel. I had a map of the United States and each time we passed into a state we had never visited I colored in the state. We took a photo of the sign for each National Park we visited as well.


It took a decade of traveling different backroads across America, but eventually we did manage to visit all 50 states and we’ve visited all the National Parks except for a few in Alaska that are so remote you have to charter a private plane to get to. Unfortunately we did most of this traveling before digital cameras, so while I have a ton of photos, they will need to be scanned into the computer before I can share them. I’ll do that one day though and do a follow up blog about my favorite spots along the way.


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Comment below and tell me about your favorite vacation in order to be entered to win a $15 Amazon gift card.


45 thoughts on “Traveling the Open Road

  1. I have not had a vacation since 1997. But, looking back that was my favorite one. My oldest daughter loves pandas. My middle daughter loved animals in general. My son was too young to care. Raising my children as a single mom there was not a lot of money. My stepdad(now in heaven from cancer<3) gave me a credit card that had a 10K credit line. He told me to take the kids somewhere. I packed them up and took them to Washington DC to the National Zoo to see the pandas. We were gone for 5 days and had a blast. My daughter took 11 rolls of pictures just on the pandas(that was before digital). I can never replace the memories of that trip when my stepdad provided me with 5 days of no worries and my children had something to talk about in school. P.S. I was very frugal and only spent under 2K. 🙂

  2. Candace knight says:

    I haven’t been many places. I loved Germany, but I was very young. When I was older I went to the beach twice. I loved it both times. I also went to Pittsburgh, I did not like it. Lol.

  3. Debby Drust says:

    Our family loves to travel. Most of our vacations with the children have been in Europe because of our work. We try to use public transportation as much as possible for the adventure. We have traveled by plane, train, bus, boat, car, bike, and donkey. Great memories!

  4. Kimberly Yates says:

    Ill never forget the trip I took to California. There were rolling hills of green mixed with heavy fog. It was like a dreamland. I had never seen anything like it. I loved Fresno, San Fran and Velijo(spelling). I dont know that I will ever be able to get back to CA, but Ill always have the memories.

  5. Debbie S says:

    Like you, I can’t say that I have a favorite, hubby won’t fly and I can’t say that I’m crazy about it myself. Some of the best vacations have been our road trips. Up through New England, to out West, down across Texas, they are all so beautiful in their unique way. We have done more talking and laughing in those trips, we still laugh about a Stop sign in the middle of a cornfield, and being nervous driving through a herd of bison, all wonderful memories.

  6. Robin L. Coxon says:

    My favorite vacation was our family’s trip to Buffalo, New York. We are a baseball family and enjoy traveling to various minor league team’s homes. It was the 4th of July weekend and the Buffalo Bison’s were celebrating at home. They had the Buffalo Philharmonic come at the end of the game and fireworks. During the game they had not only the mascots going through the park but also clowns and other ways of entertaining the fans. Being Buffalo isn’t that far from Niagara Falls we also enjoyed seeing and sharing one of America’s greatest gifts from Mother Nature. It was also the place my husband and I had our honeymoon.

  7. sallycootie says:

    It was a trip we took to Iceland when my son and his family were stationed there with the Navy. What a surprisingly beautiful and amazing place. Volcanic rock, hot springs, rich green hills, an iceberg . . . loved it.

  8. Missy Cook VanHoose says:

    My favorite vacation(s) were when I was younger. We would travel from Kentucky to Florida every year. All five of us. My parents and my brothers. We always had the best time stopping and seeing things in the different states we drove through. Once in Florida we would spend two weeks just sight seeing relaxing. My husband and I haven’t taken our kids on many trips since they are little still but I get excited when we talk about taking them places. Seeing things we saw as kids.

  9. Robyn K says:

    Thank you for sharing your experiences with us. My favorite trip I took was when my friend and I went to Minnesota one summer to watch The Twins play a few of their home games. We also traveled to Milwaukee to watch The Twins play The Brewers in Wisconsin.

  10. Linda Kleback says:

    My husband and I won a trip in Hawaii many years ago, It was the honeymoon we had never had. We had the best time. I will never forget how beautiful Hawaii smelled with all of the flowers there.

  11. Sandy Hemsher says:

    The best vacation was when I was about 24 and took a trip around Lake Michigan with my parents. It gave us a chance to reconnect as a family and we saw things I never realized we lived near. We took the time for side trips and discovered places we returned many times too. We lived in Chicago and headed out North. My highlights of the trip were Door County Wisconsin with wineries, bakeries, and beach, Frankenmuth Michigan, the Christmas capitol with BONNERS and tons of German food, and Paw Paw Lake with wineries, restaurants, boutiques, and most memorable Mackinac Island. Somewhere in Time was filmed there and I loved it. You must visit FORT MACKINAC. We always stayed in a hotel near the fort. I am now 67 and am so glad we took that trip.I worked for TWA and we went many places but that little road trip was one of my favorites………….

  12. Linda May says:

    My favorite vacation was when my Husband & I took a Circle Lighthouse Tour, we started in Wisconsin, went up to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan & then came down, It was a thrill to go into lighthouses & see how the lightkeepers live & how the lights work. I will always be thankful for that trip, because my husband & I has such fun, my Husband passed away 3 months ago from Cancer, even though I miss him terribly I will always have these great memories, Thanks for your generosity.

  13. Sharon Frank says:

    My favorite vacation was with my best friend. We started out by going through the Chesapeake Bay bridge and tunnel, then to Virginia Beach, on to Williamsburg, VA, then to Washington DC. We lived in PA at the time, and made lots of short trips to Gettysburg, Land of Little Horses, Lancaster (Amish country) and Hershey park.

  14. Peggy Hyndman says:

    I haven’t been on a vacation in a long time. My favorite vacation was a trip to Hawaii with my oldest daughter and oldest granddaughter. It was a great bonding experience and we saw so many wonderful things. A few of the things we did were snorkeling, flew over the volcanos and waterfalls in a helicopter, visited a rain forest Black Beach, and Pearl Harbor. It was an awesome experience.

  15. Laura Milburn says:

    When were yoingery parents would always pick a place to go and we would go camping. I was the youngest so I’m not sure where we went but I remember some of the camping places. We stopped at one camp ground and us kids made friends. We would go out at night and catch frogs, just for fun. One year we went to Assateague Island to see the wild horses. They were so pretty. So many places I can’t pick one. It might be the time I won a trip to Disney and a cruise to the Bahamas to meet my childhood TV crush. All I know is, we had a good time. We still love to go camping.

  16. John Presler says:

    My wife and I love traveling the back roads – that is how you really get to see America. I especially like some of the old Burma Shave signs along the roads.

    One of my favorite areas is central Colorado where you have The Royal Gorge, The Cave of the Winds, Garden of the Gods, Manitou Cliff Dwellings, and Pikes Peak all within a relatively close area. I remember walking across the Royal Gorge Bridge in 1964 and taking the Incline Railway to the bottom of the gorge. Unfortunately, the Incline Railway is no longer functional. It went down into the gorge at a 45 degree angle – You stood up in the cars, there were no seats. What an experience.

    Enjoy your travels, we do!!

  17. Daniele K says:

    When I was about 12 years old my parents took me all along the east coast (really, the South too), stopping seemingly everywhere between Texas and New York. We spent the most time in D.C.

  18. Alisha Collins says:

    My favorite vacation would probably be the first time my husband and I took a vacation together, just us. We have always loved the mountains so we went to Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge Tennessee and just took our time and enjoyed everything we wanted to do.
    We’ve been married 19 years and have gone to the mountains almost yearly and sometimes twice a year. We’ve been to the beach literally twice and both times with someone else so I’m trying to talk him into a trip there just ourselves, but most definitely during off season like we do the mountains.

  19. Valerie Rogers says:

    One of my favorite vacations was right after my first divorce. My girls were little and it was our first vacation just the 3 of us. We went to the west side of Michigan, found a motel on the water and stayed for a few days. It was a lot of fun!

  20. Silva Presler says:

    My favorite vacation is the one we took in which we drove primarily the back roads and old highways from Oklahoma to Oregon to California and then back again using a different route. We got to see the old Burma Shave signs at the side of the road, saw some beautiful country and very helpful people. We drove through the Oregon and northern California Redwoods on the back roads. Driving back roads, we could get out and actually touch the trees if we wanted. We and even walked up to an inactive volcano flue in New Mexico. Everywhere around it you could see the old lava flows, they have trees growing through them now, but they are awesome and really make you feel small and insignificant. I look forward to taking another trip like this.

  21. Nina says:

    I have not been able to travel the USA but had wanted. So now the only way I can is by internet or cell phone and enjoy all the pictures of places others have been.

  22. Kathleen Costa says:

    Although I have been to several wonderful places in the US highlighting events in our history from New Mexico to Idaho, Hawaii to Florida, New England down to Virginia, but my favorite vacation was traveling aboard to Egypt (14 days) then France (10 days). I checked off dozens of things on my ‘bucket’ list from Alexandria to Cairo to Abu Simbel, Tut’s tomb to the Temple of Karnak to the Great Pyramid of Giza, from sailing on the Nile to exploring a spice market to braving the crowds at Khan el-Khalili market, eating kabobs to falafel to Hawawshi washed down with Turkish coffee in a hookah cafe and cinnamon tea from a street vendor. Then there was Paris, castles, and cafes. What a marvelous vacation!

  23. Sabrina Norris says:

    The 5 weeks my ex and spent doing the same thing. We had a 5th wheel camper and spent the bulk of the time in the southwest and northwest. Stopped anywhere that looked interesting and loads of national parks . My favorite being Death Valley and the Salton Sea.

  24. peggy clayton says:

    Oh goodness it would have to be when i was in my foster home and there were 5 of us and my new foster mother who had a gambling problem. Well my dad had weekends off from Channel 4 in San Fran so we went for a ride to Reno . We all packed in a truck a stepside and all of us kids rode in the back. What an experience well there are rain spirts in Reno and traveling to so a rain cloud came over and just drenched us not once but 5 times. We were pulling a very very small trailer their thoughts were the 2 of them would stay in the trailer she was used to being rich and well when she came to us she realized what poor was. She was not one for foster children as on her prior trips she rode in a Mercedes up and they stopped at 1 or 2 restaurants and also they stayed at the hotel and not in a trailer. So as we got 1./2 way there a few of us got car sick really car sick or something sick that was terrible wet and his way to keep us good was throw a dry sleeping bag to us then lay in it. Well we should of had a dry something the whole time. Then we get farther and i have to go and they pull over hand me a cottage cheese container and tells me to go to the trailer and pee in the carton at that time they were made out of wax. Well my pee was hot and guess what it melted the carton and went all over the floor my dad yelled so loud the coyatoes heard them. Then we got there and they gambled for 3 days while we sat and sat and sat and the food we had to wait for them and they made us a sandwich for every meal. No money and nothing to eat it was the most memorable trip and i won’t tell you what happened on the way home We got a flat right over vthe bridge i couldn’t wait to get back to Kings mountain!

  25. Marsha C says:

    I have always wanted to do a road trip like you! My favorite vacation would have to be the one we took in July 2016 (we won’t count the travel time either way!). We went to Daytona Beach. My son graduates in May from college and we felt we needed to go one more time as a family. We drove the coast and explored the shops downtown. Drove over to Cassadaga, Fl. and walked around the shops. (No psychic readings). We even did a one day at Disney, the only day we set the alarm. We tried different foods, fried alligator tastes like chicken! Will we have another family vacation, who knows! I just know this one was a blast.

  26. Sally says:

    Wow, I want to visit all 50 states one day too! Like you, it’s hard to come up with my one favorite vacation, But the most recent vacation I took was to Jordan. There I visited the Dead Sea, Petra, and went over the boarder and visited Jerusalem. I can say it was once in a lifetime type of trip. Thanks for the chance to win. I look forward to hearing about more trips you’ve taken. I want to color in a map of the states I’ve visited too.

  27. I love history and every year I took my sons were younger (thru high school) on historical vacations. I did a lot of pre-planning and if possible we stayed in an historical Bed & Breakfast. We especially loved vacations where we were able to see an outdoor play. We saw plays in Texas; South Dakota, North Carolina, Kentucky (several in this my home state) and in some of the other Southern States. We took driving vacations; flying then renting cars and/or signing up for historical tours once we reached our destination. I always bought books about the area we were visiting and not once did either of my sons ever need to visit a library when an assignment called for writing an historical essay. They both learned to love American history as much as I did and still do.

  28. Rita Day says:

    My favorite vacation was back in 1975, my hubby and I flew to upstate New York. It was my first time to fly and it was so beautiful, I loved being up in the air and seeing all the beautiful clouds that seemed as if you could reach out and touch them. When we landed we visited with relatives in the cities of Lockport, Gasport and Alcott. We also went to Niagara Falls on both the US side and the Canadian side. It’s beautiful country up there.

  29. Debra Woloson says:

    I believe it was years ago before I got married & had kids. Met a girlfriend in California & we went up & down the coast in Orange County. We ate & drank our way through and had a blast.

  30. kittsklosetdollclothes says:

    I think my favorite vacation had to be when we stayed at a bed and breakfast in Charleston, SC. We had heard all the local ghost stories and well not being a ghostie believer (maybe friendly ones I could handle if they are real lol) I think possibly one little ghostie girl wanted to make a believer of me when she pounced on my daughter’s bed then mine. I have no other explanation for this so my fun explanation is “it’s Sarah the little girl who used to occupy this room” as told in the story of the old house. Funny because my daughter’s name is Sarah so maybe old time Sarah wanted to come say hi to us because of that. We asked around town and there had been no tremors or sand shifting, nothing. I was reading on the main bed, my hubby was sacked out on the sofa over in a little corner of the room and my daughter was in her little nook of the room. So yeah, it’s a fun and entertaining story. If it was Sarah, who knows! We decided we would write it up in the guest book at the John Rutledge house. This was many owners ago so who knows if they even still have that guest book but it was a really fun year. We loved walking around Charleston and getting pictures of all the awesome old mansions.

  31. Kim Templeton says:

    My favorite vacation I have taken was to Charleston SC. This was several years ago a friend and I went for a weekend and we had a wonderful time.

  32. My favorite vacation was probably a road trip to Crosshill, Ontario Canada over a Christmas vacation. Our family went to visit treasured friends. While there we went to see Niagara Falls (which were partially frozen)! We, also, drove through Amish country and visited several Amish markets and homes. The highlight of that trip was getting snowed in! While we were there one of the worst blizzards hit. Snow was so deep the kids made a tunnel to the end of their back yard and included an igloo. The main highway back to the U.S. was closed for two days so our stay was extended a bit. Imagine calling your boss to say, “I won’t be back to work for several days as we are snowed in Ontario and can’t return until the highway is reopened to vehicles.” Quite memorable.

  33. What a great travel idea and what an adventure for you two! I love the pictures you were able to post and by the way, every time I see that hammock photo at the top it just takes me away, so thank you!! My favorite vacation was at Cape San Blas Beach in Florida! Some of the most beautiful beaches you’ll ever see and lots of activities to do from an island sanctuary, The St Joseph State Park, deep sea fishing, horseback rides to going shelling. My husband and I go back when we can, but the secret is out now and this little hideaway as grown big time! Our time there will always be special to me because the beach was little known and it was our first vacation just the two of us ever!

  34. Wendy Elder says:

    My favorite vacation was the first year we went to Nags Head. We shared a house with my husbands family, 11 of us at the time. We had a pool that the kids had a blast in. We walked the beach every evening after supper. On the last day we asked my boys to retrieve the garbage cans out by the street. On their way back they found a green tree frog. I have that picture and whenever I look at it it reminds me of that trip.

  35. My favorite vacation was when my sister and I took a cruise on the Delta Queen on the Mississippi River. We left from New Orleans and went up the River and visited some of the Antebellum cities and homes and Civil War battlefields. It was a really relaxing and fun trip.

  36. My fondest memories of the family packing up each summer and Dad would drive for awhile and if there had been no turn offs for awhile he would back up a bit Then we would drive a ways from the road until we could not see the road for a space, nor hear it if someone drove on it, and make camp and we could explore to our hearts content. Us 4 kids would clamber over everything. The smell of the pines. No radios or anything just the lovely sound the birds, cicada’s, rattlesnakes (if we didn’t pay attention to where we were going. No one ever got bit. Except my sister got stung by a bee once) That was back in the 50’s. You were allowed to do things like that then. We also visited most of the states. Mainly the parks. Loved tramping the trails and stuff. Miss doing that.

  37. Janet Bailey says:

    My favorite vacation was out trip to Alaska in 2014. We had time for some wonderful hikes. We watched a whale spouting and eagles flying while eating breakfast on Fox Island. Best of all, Denali was out of the clouds for the entire time we were in the back country.

  38. Jess D says:

    My favorite vacation was Acadia national Park in Bar Harbor Maine. Even the air up there seemed cleaner and more crisp than my own Pennsylvania backyard. I would love to go back up there again. The colors were brighter and you really felt part of nature.

  39. Jill Broussard says:

    We had a great time visiting Howe Caverns in upstate N.Y. when my oldest son was 6. We also took him to Carson City and the Indian Village in the Catskills. It was like living in the old wild west. The best was when our stagecoach got held up and all we had to give the bad guys were crackers! They took them and ran. Silly, but so much fun!

  40. Doward Wilson says:

    Visiting the many historical sites along the coast from Delaware to Florida, ending with Disney World & Epcot Center. This fall 1984 3- week trip was an unforgettable experience.

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