We'll Hit the Road, Never Looking Behind

I have dreamed of making a cross-country trip for as long as I can remember. Inspired by "On the Road", Son Volt's "Trace", Faulkner, Badlands and thousands of other nuggets, I have always wanted to hit the road for a few weeks and see what's across this country. I've never had much interest in major US cities, but have rather longed to visit desolate and obscure towns and stretches in New Mexico, South Dakota, Tennessee and Utah. These are always the places that provide the memories for me. These are the images that I see while listening to American music or watching a John Ford film. And I'm getting closer and closer to finally making this trip a reality.

The research has begun, but I still have a long ways to go. That said, my (quite) tentative plan is to hit the road in the days following Thanksgiving. I plan on being out on the road for 15-20 days or so. Right now the only thing holding me back is cash, but I've used that excuse many times over, and I think the time is ripe to put that concern at bay.

Here's what I'm thinking, as far as basics:

WEST TO EAST: Hwy 1 to LA -> Route 66 to the Grand Canyon, through Arizona, onto New Mexico, North Texas and Oklahoma -> drop off Route 66 and head to Memphis and Nashville -> up through Baltimore, Washington DC and New York City.

EAST TO WEST (still very unclear, but possibly): NYC -> Niagara Falls -> Pittsburgh -> Indianapolis -> Chicago -> South Dakota (Badlands) -> Wyoming (Yellowstone) -> Utah -> SF

Again, this is all very tentative, so please feel free to share your thoughts, warnings, tips, stories, etc. If I do make the trip, or even an abridged version, I will clearly post here, take photos and ask some of you for a floor to crash on.


Thurman said...

There's a sofa bed for you in Nashville.

Campbell said...

you guys are clearly the reason i'm stopping in nashville. well that, and that classic bar.

leigh said...

i meant to respond to your previous note, but i'm on the road for work right now. . . Because of the onset of Winter, it might be wise to consider doing the Northern route on the way East, and the Southern route on the way back. I've done almost the exact same trips but I went to Glacier instead of Badlands, which was incredible. Also, if you hit campgrounds (with or without showers depending on your comfort level) for most of the trip, it will be much less expensive. . . Here are some of the blog entries which include restaurants and museum suggestions that I have for our travels in Nashville ( http://needlefrish2.blogspot.com/2007/02/va-to-nashville-tn.html ) and Memphis ( http://needlefrish2.blogspot.com/2007/02/nashville-to-memphis.html ). The Clinton library in Oklahoma City and watching the deer dances outside Santa Fe were also highlights... Happy travels!

Matthew Rittenhouse Muenzen said...

if you stop in louisville, don't get a t-shirt. i still have one for you.

leigh said...

woops - meant clinton library in little rock.