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Road Trip…Whatever happened to it?

Whatever happened to the Old Fashioned Road Trip?  Today people act like they are not “traveling” unless they go to Dubai.  There is so much to see that you don’t have to leave the country. Hell, you don’t have to leave the state.  Road Trips are perfect for Single Parents and Families of 4 or more. It is time to see the things that are close to you. Enjoy what your State has to offer. Save yourself thousands of dollars for another day.

Road Trip
Road Trip

Why Road Trips Work Today

Today, for a family of 3 or 4 to travel takes a great deal of money and planning.  It is hard enough to get everyone’s schedules to work. Then the price of flights, admission to sites all come with a healthy price tag.  A road trip allows you to take control of your expenses. With a little planning, you can pick where you will stay. What you will do and what you will see.  For Nikki and I that was always fun. We would research places and pick things that fit into our budget. As our budget has gotten bigger, we have done more!

My First Road Trip(s)

Indianapolis the Circle City
Indianapolis the Circle City

When we first started traveling we took a lot of road trips.  Back then we had a 300-mile car. Meaning we felt comfortable that we could make it there and back.  We went places within 300 miles from our hometown St. Louis, Missouri. That included Terre Haute, Indiana where I went to college., Indianapolis where we attended Circle City Classic and Black Expo annually.  Chicago, Illinois where we visited what was then the world’s tallest building. We also visited the Shedd Aquarium, the Navy Pier, Chinatown, and the Magnificent Mile. Lake Michigan is a sight to see by car, foot or boat!

Chicago Lakefront
Chicago Lakefront

Road Trips to Cincinnati & Kansas City

Kansas City Museum of Art
Kansas City Museum of Art

We took Road Trips to Cincinnati and Kansas City.  Cincinnati is another beautiful river city like St. Louis.  It has a nice aquarium just across the river in Kentucky. Cincinnati also has a world-class zoo and botanical garden as well as the world-famous amusement park Coney Island.  Back then Coney Island featured the Roller Coaster the Beast! One of the best I have ever ridden. Kansas City is on the opposite side of Missouri. It like St. Louis has a twin City across the river in Kansas.  The city is rich with museums, excellent shopping at Crown Center and the Plaza. Worlds of Fun was just that an amusement park with nonstop fun, but what we really traveled to KC for was the great Barbecue!

Cincinnati Skyline
Cincinnati, Ohio Skyline

Road Trip to Memphis

Lorraine Motel in Memphis

Memphis, our neighbor to the South was always a fun Road Trip.  Beale Street like Bourbon Street in New Orleans is one of the great party thoroughfares in the United States.  We also enjoyed Graceland, Mud Island, and some great Memphis Barbecue. However, the show stopper was always the National Civil Rights Museum which included the Lorraine Motel the place where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated.

Road Trip Logging

The trips were simple.  We left usually on Friday after work and came back on Sunday or Monday when it was a holiday.  That meant 2 or 3 nights in a hotel and we got what we could afford. When we started we stayed in Super 8 then moved up to the Days Inn Chain.  Today with all the rewards clubs and the emergence sites like Airbnb, there are lots of options of affordable places to stay. We would find nice restaurants in each city and have one Big Meal.   Back then we were Clubbing and we found Black Clubs in every City just to see what they were like. Our breakfast spot was Shoney’s and you could not beat their buffet. Otherwise, it was Cracker Barrel or a local spot someone had recommended.

Road Trips in Florida

Road Trip Central Florida
Road Trip Central Florida

We continued road trips when we first moved to Orlando, Florida.  Our rotation consisted of Jacksonville, Tampa Bay, Palm Beach, Daytona Beach, Cocoa Beach, Fort Lauderdale, and Miami.  We would travel 3 out of 4 weekends a month. That allowed us to see each of the different cities. We explored the many different beaches in the area.  Then we started going back to our favorites. We found some interesting things in each area. Like Lion Country Safari in Palm Beach. An actual drive-through zoo.  The River Walk and the Landing in Jacksonville. Bayside Marketplace in Miami. Ybor City and Channelside in Tampa. The Kennedy Space Center in Port Canaveral. We found lots of restaurants and places to shop along the way.

Lion Country Safari
Lion Country Safari

Great Road Trip Restaurants

Let me take a minute to talk about some of the restaurants we found.   In Tampa, we really enjoyed the Crazy Buffet and the Jerk Hut.  The Crazy Buffet has all the Asian style food under 1 roof for a simple flat fee.  No matter if you like Mongolian, Japanese or Chinese it is all there! The Jerk Hut has Caribbean food and live entertainment.   Just outside of Palm Beach is Riggin’s Crabhouse in Lake Worth. The restaurant is located right off the highway and you can’t miss it.  If you like any kind of Crab, they have it there. Something fun and different is the Mai-Kai Restaurant and Polynesian Show in Ft. Lauderdale.  The Luau Show is the main draw. It is fun and entertaining.  We have found lots of restaurants on our road trips.

Hawaiian Restaurant and Polynesian Show in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida

Bring back the Road Trip!

Let’s bring back the Old Fashioned Road Trip.  We all need a break and don’t need to go broke.  I know there are things you have heard of that are close by that you have wanted to do.  Road Trips are something you don’t have to wait for a group of people to do. You and your kids or maybe you and your Significant Other or just a Friend (Male or Female) can go.  See it and do it now. Go to the beach, lake, zoo, park, museum, festival, riverfront, restaurant or whatever interests you. Utilize platforms such as Eventbrite, Groupon, Facebook Events to find fun things to do.

Whatever happened to the Road Trip?  Today people act like if they are not traveling to the Maldives then you are not doing anything!   As nice as our vehicles are today there is no reason not to Road Trip. There is so much to see and do just within 300 miles from where ever you live. Explore and enjoy the things around you.  See the rest later.

Road Trip!
Road Trip!

Other related stories:

5 things a New or Beginning Cruiser need to know!

How to make a Girls Trip a Success!

The how and why to Black Adult Travel

10 Things to know before traveling to Cuba

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Bill Collins

Bill Collins is a former Army Officer turned veteran traveler. I have traveled to 34 different Countries mainly concentrated in Central & Latin America and have spent the last 16 years exploring the Caribbean Islands.

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