Road Trips are not New: 7 Reasons to Take One

Road trips have been around since the first accessible car arrived on the scene in 1908. Since then, Americans have loved the open road. I know my family did. We road tripped everywhere: on vacation, to see the grandparents, to go camping. 

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The Collegiate Peaks from Hwy 285.

You will read a lot about road trips this summer. It will be as though car trips have just been discovered and if you’re my age, you will giggle, because it’s likely that you, my Gen-X friend, went on road trips as a kid too (and probably still do). 

RELATED: R is for Road Trip, Denver to Cortez, Colorado

Thanks to the coronavirus, every online and print publication is going to make you feel like the road trip is novel because statistics show that travelers don’t want to get into airplanes this summer.

However, if you’ve spent any time reading, you know that the road trip is not new.

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You just never know what you’ll see from the car. Snow Mountain Ranch, Jan. 2016

I’ve been doing road trips for my entire adult life, and I like to tweet, Facebook, and write about it. Sharing my experiences on the road is one of my favorite things.

Road trips are wonderful and here’s why:

1. Observing the world through the window of a car gives you a much more accurate depiction of the world than seeing it through a tiny airplane window. This country is big, I mean, really, really big. There is no better way to experience this grandeur than by car (or foot, but that’s a lot of walking).

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Eastern Colorado

2. The road trip is easy. There is no Transportation Security Administration (TSA) or someone telling you to put your tray table in the upright position. There are no de-icing machines or travel delays. Okay, that last one is a lie. My road trips have been hindered several times by closures around Colorado due to accidents or snow. In general, road closures on a road trip come with great stories like the time it took us two days to reach Vail. That was a story! Airport delays just come with frustration.

3. Eating along the way is one of my favorite parts of a road trip. I travel around Colorado a great deal and have some beloved stops. Anytime we are near Glenwood Springs we have to go to Slope & Hatch. Crispy calamari tacos for me and a Chicago Dog for Ryan. We also LOVE the 4th Street Diner & Bakery in Saguache. If you drive from Denver to Durango or Denver to Cortez, it’s the perfect place to stop for lunch. 

Road Trips are not New 7 Reasons to Take One, Slope & Hatch in Glenwood Springs, Colorado.
Crispy calamari tacos at Slope & Hatch, Glenwood Springs, Colorado.

4. I adore scenic overlooks. This is kind of like #1 but scenic overlooks deserve their own number on this list. I always stop and take pictures at these turnouts so I have around ten photos of the overlook on Wolf Creek Pass and maybe hundreds of the Collegiate Peaks from along Hwy 285 near Buena Vista. If you enjoy traveling scenic roads, check out Colorado Scenic Byways.

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Overlook at Wolf Creek Pass (currently closed due to CDOT work)

5. When you are on a road trip you can stop anytime. You can stop to eat, stop at an overlook, stop to stretch your legs, or stop because the dog has to go potty. We once spent a road trip from Colorado to Arizona measuring the distance between dog parks.

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Why are you taking another photo of me, mom? – Fritzi the GSD puppy

6. And #5 leads me to #6. It is super easy to bring the dog along on a road trip. Dog-friendly hotels seem to be the norm in Colorado, even super nice ones like the Four Seasons in Vail. Dogs are our pals in life, why not take them on your next road trip? 

7. My husband’s favorite thing about a road trip is that time is not of the essence. If he wants to drive through a little town to see its neighborhoods, he does. If there’s a dirt road he wants to take, just to see where it goes, he takes it. It doesn’t matter whether a travel takes four hours or five hours, on a road trip, reaching the destination is part of the adventure.

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Sometimes there’s a traffic jam on a dirt road. One of the few hazards of traveling dirt roads.

And perhaps that is what it’s all about. Road trips can be leisurely. They let us slow down and photograph the columbines. They allow us to spend private time with the ones we love. Best of all, according to the dog at my feet, road trips mean that she can come.

Why do you love road trips?

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