Why I Love Road Trips
June 15, 2014

Why I Love Road Trips

I travel a lot, and when I write a lot, I mean a lot. And more often than not, when I travel, I travel by road tripping. Right now, I am into my annual summer road trip. This is my absolute favorite way to travel. I love every part of traveling by taking a road trip. I love organizing the trip, packing the car, tentatively planning where we will be going, and best of all the going: the sights, sounds, foods, drinks, and experiences.

My favorite part of taking road trips is seeing the sights. When we take road trips, we never just jet to our final destinations. We always plan to do and see things along the way. For instance, this trip started with going from our home in Oklahoma to Colorado Springs, Colorado, to spend the evening with our Okie friend who happens to be working in Colorado Springs. Usually, we plan to stop somewhere to camp and walk around and just enjoy being in Nature, but this time we stayed in a motel room with our friend. We went out to eat in Colorado Springs and just enjoyed the sight of Pike’s Peak. Then in the morning we went to a nice, little breakfast place. Though this was a different way for us to enjoy our travels, it was nice to see our friend and enjoy the lovely city of Colorado Springs before heading to our next stop.

One year, we drove straight through to the Grand Canyon to spend a couple of days there before heading to our destination in California. Each road trip we take has ultimate goals, but we do not miss out on what we can see while we are trying to get there. So each day consists of travel, but we stop to see the American sights.

I also enjoy just looking out the car’s window at the landscape and environment as we drive from one point to another. It is amazing to drive from Oklahoma to the West Coast and see how different the ecosystems are. For instance, this trip will take us through Colorado to Utah to Nevada and end up at Sequoia National Park for a couple of days. From there, we will go onto the California Coast for a couple of days and then up to Oregon and Washington. We start in the plains of Oklahoma, move to Colorado’s high altitude desert, the Continental Divide, and Rockies, then to Utah’s red mountains and canyons, through Nevada’s basin and desert, to California’s mountains then beaches, ultimately ending up in the mountains and forests of the Pacific Northwest. Yes, these sights are sublime and breathtaking.

Beyond the sights, I love to travel and stop in different places to check out the local fare, especially food and drink. When we travel, we almost never stop at chain restaurants and focus on checking out local food joints and breweries, wineries, coffee shops, and other eateries and drinkeries. Yes, I just made that word up for this article. I love trying the coffee brewed by small coffee shops. And to sit at a table in a restaurant that exists only where I am at that moment is so fun. We will often buy shirts or other gifts from the places that we love the most, those with the most memorable food and drink.

Taking road trips is definitely my way of travel. Driving down the highways (interstate and smaller state highways alike), listening to music or talk radio or just sitting in silence, and seeing vistas that stun the senses are some of my favorite reasons that we should road trip more often, but experiencing different people, cultures, foods, and drinks are also compelling reasons. This summer, take a road trip and have a life-changing experience.

Image Credit: Thinkstock

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Rayshell E. Clapper is an Associate Professor of English at a rural college in Oklahoma where she teaches Creative Writing, Literature, and Composition classes. She has presented her original fiction and non-fiction at several conferences and events including: Scissortail Creative Writing Festival, Howlers and Yawpers Creativity Symposium, Southwest/Texas Pop Culture Association/American Culture Association Regional Conference, and Pop Culture Association/American Culture Association National Conference. Her publications include Cybersoleil Journal, Sugar Mule Literary Magazine, Red Dirt Anthology, Originals, and Oklahoma English Journal. Beyond her written works, she successfully created a writer's group in rural Oklahoma to support burgeoning writers. The written word is her passion, and all she experiences inspires that passion. She hopes to help inspire others through her words.

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