"Get out the map and lay your finger anywhere down..."

I've done tons of great road and car camping trips, but the most memorable one was a photography class I took my senior year in college,
Resurveying the American West.  12 crazy people and myself travelled around OR, ID, UT, AZ, NV, CA and even a tad in Mexico for a month, car camping and photographing the west.  We studied ecology, history, and archaeology along the way.  We read several great books - Abbey's Road and Desert Solitaire by Ed Abbey, Basin and Range by John McPhee, Cadillac Desert by Marc Reisner, among many others.  And the greatest thing was we did a ton of things I would never be able to do on my own - we took a tour of the Nevada Test Site (tours are only given to certain educational groups and must be arranged at least a year in advance).  We were given a tour along the US/Mexico border by a ranger at Organ Pipe Cactus NM.  We were given permission to visit the most sacred site to the Tahono O'odham people of southern Arizona, I'iatoya's Cave.  A lifetime of stories and adventures came out of that trip... 

Other notable road trips include a slew of them with my best friend Mindi:

Southern OR and Northern CA coasts Fall 97
Denali NP, AK Summer 98
San Fran and Yosemite, CA Fall 98
Arches, Canyonlands, and Natural Bridges, UT Spring 02
Acadia NP, ME Spring 02
Kenai Peninsula, AK Summer 03
Zion, Bryce, and Lake Powell, UT Spring 04
Fall in New England 04
Fall in New  England 08

And finally a bunch of them by myself:
Zion, Bryce, and Monument Valley, UT and AZ Winter 00
Navajo NM, Lake Powell, Antelope Canyon, Grand Staircase/Excalante, UT Fall 00
Black Hills, Mt. Rushmore, Wind and Jewel Caves, SD Fall 01
Grand Teton, Yellowstone, and the Bighorns, WY Fall 02
Utah Fall 05
Carrizo Plain, Big Sur, Point Lobos, & Mt. Diablo 08

Some of my road trips have lasted weeks, others have only lasted a day.  I usually have some idea of where I'm going but I don't like to have everything planned out.  I think you have to be flexible as the best road trips evolve ;)

Here are some suggestions to having a successful road trip, per Mindi:

1.  Have good snack food on hand: String Cheese and Pringles
2.  Always have a spare set of keys
3.  Have good road trip music--make a mixed tape or CD specifically for that trip and play it endlessly until all are sick of the songs. Years later a specific song will bring back a specific memory of the trip and you'll smile.
4.  Stop at every interpretive sign
5.  Come up with good road games to play when driving I-5 for hours on end ("I spy with my little eye something that begins with m--"Mountain")
6.  Keep a road-trip journal in your car so you can look back on your memories
7.  Have a star-chart/astronomy guide in your car in case the night is clear
8.  You should know how to stack and move things in a car so that if necessary you and your buddy can sleep in a small car comfortably (Denali 98--Chevy Cavalier)
9.  Know that even though the point is to enjoy the outdoors and to "rough it," a good hot tub and a nice warm bed is a well-deserved treat at the end of a long trip (Utah 02)
10.  Oreo milkshakes at Denny's in Redding, CA is the best way to break up a long trip.
And finally...
11.  Plan a long road trip at least once a year!!!

Road Trip Photos and Trip Reports:

Williamsburg & Jamestown, VA March '98
Alaska August '98
Abajo Mountains October '00
Utah March '02
Acadia Spring '02
Kennaday Peak Summer '02
Carrizo Plain March '03
Bishop June '03
Big Sur July '03
Alaska July '03
Bishop September '03
Pinnacles National Monument November '03
Big Sur February '04
Utah March '04
Exploring my Backyard June '04
San Diego July '04
Fall Trip to New England '04
North Fork Kaweah River November '04
Fall Drive November '04
Blue Ridge December '04
Joshua Tree National Park December '04
Kern National Wildlife Refuge January '05
Anza-Borrego Desert State Park February '05
Death Valley National Park March '05
Carrizo Plain National Monument March '05
Springtime in 4 National Parks Mar/Apr '05
Caliente Bodfish Road April '05
Lake Tahoe April '05
Ojai July/Aug '05
White Mountains Aug '05
Utah Sept/Oct '05
Big Sur Nov '05
Silver Springs, NV Nov '05
Mojave National Preserve Feb '06
Carrizo Plain National Monument Feb '06
Tule Canyon March '06
Spring Sunday, Sequoia NP March '06
Sonora April '06
CA Poppy Reserve April '06
Southeastern US April-May '06
2 Meadows and 2 Mountaintops July '06
Exploring my Backyard II September '06
In Search of Fall Colors October '06
Anniversary Trip to Kings Canyon October '06
Lake Tahoe Oct/Nov '06
Mini Family Reunion November '06
Deer Creek Grove & CA Hot Springs Nov '06
Trona, Kern River, Breckenridge Nov '06
Bird Spring Pass, Wyleys Knob Jan '07
Owen's Valley, Randsburg Feb '07
Lake Isabella March '07
Route 66 and the Grand Canyon May '07
Highways 38 and 18 October '07
Mojave National Preserve Nov '07
Joshua Tree National Park Dec '07-Jan '08
Anza-Borrego Desert State Park March '08
Carrizo Plain National Monument March '08
Hwy 58 Wildflowers March '08
Big Sur March '08
San Francisco March '08
San Jacinto Mountains May '08
New England October '08
Mojave National Preserve November '08
Colorado Nov-Dec '08
Salton Sea January '09
3 National Forests in 3 Days January '09
Arizona/Utah March '09
PCH and Mulholland Highway April '09
Mono Lake June '09
Point Mugu February '10
Carrizo Plain March '10
Minnesota/Isle Royale NP August '10
San Francisco & Yosemite October '10
Bishop April '11
Bishop September '11
San Diego November '12
Salton Sea December '12
Colorado (and NV, UT, AZ, NM, TX) Feb '13
Mammoth June '13
San Clemente State Beach July '13
Lone Pine & Death Valley Oct '13
Sequoia National Forest Nov '13
Afton Canyon & Calico Ghost Town Dec '13
Coachella Valley Preserve & A-B Dec '13
CA Poppy Reserve April '14
Bristlecones May '14
Hanna, Holcomb, & Green Valley July '14
Sonora and Yosemite August '14
Lone Pine & Bishop October '14
Death Valley December '14
Big Sur & San Francisco Dec '14-Jan '15
San Simeon September '15
Mt. Charleston, NV October '15
Burien, WA March '16
Roadtrip back to California May-June '16
Hells Canyon & Zumwalt Prairie June '16
Mt. Rainier National Park July '16
North Cascades National Park September '16
Olympic National Park & Forest October '16
Hells Canyon Scenic Byway November '16
Thanksgiving Week Fun OR/WA November '16
10th Anniversary Roadtrip to Springville, CA May '17
Trip to Kings Canyon & Pinnacles NP's Dec. '17
Trip to Gold Country March '18
Trip to Lake Tahoe June '18
Forest Glen, Humboldt Redwoods, Skunk Train & Fort Brag Nov. '18

Mendocino NF & Mendocino Coast Dec. '18
Patricks Point State Park April '19
Lassen NP & NF & Plumas NF June '19
Northern CA Coast Feb '20
Sacramento NWR/Colusa State Recreation Area Nov '20
Fort Bragg Jan '21
Folsom Lake State Rec Area Feb '21
Brannan Island State Recreation Area Nov '21
Fort Bragg Jan '22
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