Have you Heard Of : Roadtrip Nation ?

Last week or so I had a moment of “if they can do it why can’t I”. These moments are often bittersweet for me; especially since I get the winter blues really bad.  This winter has been particularly hard on me and I needed inspiration.

Through twitter I found out about Roadtrip Nation and spent an entire weekend watching Season 10 (the only one available for free), totally involved in the idea and inspired by what was going on.

Roadtrip Nation is a public television series, a reality TV show and an awesome movement all in one. Three strangers are chosen to drive the country in a big green RV and interview professionals in their field who are unique or have taken a different route than what was expected of them. The season I watched was focused on scientists and education, but still held my interest. One of the first people they interviewed is a gentleman who uses science to predict the weather and what waves will be like for a surfing website. How awesome is that?

The travelers were “just getting out of college age”, which I suppose makes sense, but I was still able to relate since I seem to be in Generation Stuck. Any other 30-somethings feeling that way? I also related because I want to travel more. And I love road trips. But it was also interesting to hear advice from folks who took a different path than what was expected and turned out okay. It gave me hope.

The interesting thing is that they are casting for a season based around designers right now. I’m not interested in being on TV at all and I’m not really in a place where I could even apply, but I can’t wait to watch the season when it airs. It will probably hit home even more for me and maybe it will fill me with awesome ideas and inspiration. I hope it’s available to watch online since we don’t have a TV.

I haven’t really had time to explore the website fully, but I’m intrigued by the fact that there are independent road trips too. Next time I need inspiration, I’m sure I’ll explore the site more and see what it has to offer.

Have you seen Roadtrip Nation? What do you think about it?

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Unexpected Treasures from Our Latest Roadtrip

Flattened Pennies Roadtrip Fallenpeach

A couple weeks ago, I posted about our favorite Tools for planning an American roadtrip , and now that the trip is over I’d like to go back over a few of those and add a few unexpected treasures.

Last time I mentioned TripAdvisor. I love the website, so I downloaded the app for this trip hoping it would make things easier. In many ways, it was a great app. And quick. However, one major problem was that there were no phone numbers listed in the app for the hotels. It was also near impossible to search for just campgrounds without googling them with the term tripadvisor. I would love for this app to be a little more “all in one” so that I didn’t have to go elsewhere for additional information that I needed.

Now let’s talk about one of my addictions. I love squished pennies. Or flattened pennies. Whatever you want to call them. I love them. I get them whenever I can find them and plan on buying a special jar or bowl to put them in. I have a couple of the books, but getting them in and out of it is difficult and annoying. Anyway, my point being that Penny Collector has an app! It’s not perfect, but it allowed us to search the area we were in and find penny squishers we might not have found otherwise, which made me happy.

keen hiking shoes fallenpeach photo

Another Unexpected Treasure that isn’t an app was my Keene hiking shoes. I initially bought these for our honeymoon last year and wore them all around Disney World. It was like having sandals on without having to worry about them falling off/being open toe, but I did get a couple blisters on my heel. This time around they were much better, maybe I’ve broken them in. I threw them on one day because I didn’t want to lace my other shoes and ended up wearing them for the rest of the trip. Super comfortable for long distance driving, but also wonderful for climbing stairs and walking around Mount Rushmore, Devil’s Tower and other stops we made. We didn’t really go hiking, but there was a lot of climbing and walking a few of the days. Now I’m obsessed with them and want to wear them every day.

Do you find unexpected treasures that help out on your roadtrips mid-trip too?

Sneak Peek at Great Wide Open Roadtrip

If you are following me on twitter or instagram, you already know that we went on a grand one week adventure very recently. I’ve decided to focus on this most recent trip next on my Destination Wednesday posts because there are far fewer photos to sort than our Away we Go trip and quiet honestly that trip still intimidates me a bit. So, starting either next week or the week after I will get into more detail about our Great Wide Open roadtrip 🙂 !

Visit my instagram page for more collages of the trip, but for now here is a taste of what we saw!

blackhills_instateaser_fallenpeach pinkelephant_instateaser_fallenpeach

Planning an American Road Trip: Favorite Tools

favtools_planroadtrip_fallenpeach

Last week we spent a few days planning our next road trip. How much planning we do for any given road trip often depends on a handful of factors:  time frame, budget and if we already have a set of places to go in mind.

This particular trip: we only have 7 days, a limited budget and at least three major stops already planned. We are also traveling to a part of the country that can have areas of no civilization / cell service. Because of all of these factors, we are planning a little more detailed than usual. We aren’t calling ahead for hotels or campsites, but are making lists with addresses and phone numbers for possible places to stay which means by the time we leave we should have a good idea of how far we will be driving each day and what our itinerary looks like.

The last time we went on a big road trip, I didn’t have a smart phone. We didn’t really use a lot of apps or even websites to plan, other than Google Maps. We just kind of drove and saw what we saw. Since then I’ve discovered a bunch of fun websites and apps to help us plan and so I decided to write this post letting you know about them!

Websites

Google Maps is a big one. With the website, you can put in multiple destinations and get a general idea of driving time (both total and between one location and the next), possible routes and a good far away look at what your route looks like.

Roadside America started to come into play for us after our first big trip. Once we saw how much craziness there is to be seen in America, we wanted to find more of it. This website is the ultimate list of World’s Largest and other awesome and nutty things/places you can see across this fine country. Choose a state and search by town, choose a map and trace your route, search for something specific – how you search is up to you. What’s also great about this site is that people chime in and update each listing so that others can know if an attraction has shut down or moved or expanded and enlarged.

RoadTrippers is fairly new (at least to us) and amazes me in so many ways. You can put in your route (with multiple destinations) then choose what you want to see on the map (attractions, places to stay, restaurants etc) and little dots will appear along your route telling you what of those locations is nearby. It also estimates distance and hours to be traveled as well as how much gas will cost (although our estimate for this trip seems a bit high). I love using this website in conjunction with others, but I don’t think I would use just it alone. The places to stay seem to be limited to quirky not chain and although that is nice sometimes, others you just need a Best Western. Overall, though, I found some fun unique places to see for our trip through this website!

TripAdvisor is great for hotel reviews. I always make sure to read some of the good ones and some of the bad to find the truth in reviews.

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As for phone apps, I’m limited. RoadTrippers and Roadside America both have apps but they are unfortunately only available for Apple devices. Both Matt and I have Android phones. However, I will definitely be using GasBuddy and am on the search for any other handy apps. Will update if I find anything else great!

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Books and Other Helpful Things

GPS – we will be using our Garmin GPS for most of our journey. We used it on our Honeymoon and it worked beautifully. Google Maps on our phones may also come in handy if we need to detour or something goes wrong. We will also have an actual paper road atlas in case we lose cell / GPS signal.

AAA – I always stop by AAA and pick up a couple maps and travel guides for the places we will be going. It’s free with your membership.

The Next Exit  – this book is awesome. It’s so helpful and easy to use that I recommend anyone that ever travels by car have one in their back seat. Most times I find it easier to use this book than the GPS. It has all the restaurants, gas and hotels off of EVERY EXIT off of every major highway in the United States. It even tells you if something is only on one side of the highway (and what side). We have the 2012 edition and love it. If you are on the East Coast there is another similar book just for I-95 which is equally awesome.

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What are your favorite tools for planning a road trip?

Destination Wednesday: Hello America Roadtrip Roundup

destination wednesday by fallenpeach

Destination Wednesday started with an idea – an idea to share my memories of our roadtrips – beginning with the one that started them all. Over the past few months I’ve been sharing blog posts from our first America Roadtrip, which we called Hello America 2009 and lasted two weeks.When we started planning Hello America, Matt and I had been dating for less than a year. It was an ambitious trip to take together, but we never doubted that it would be amazing. And it was.

matt and lindsey in san francisco by fallenpeach

this is us in front of our hotel in San Francisco

From the Hello America blog, circa 2009:

We’ve arrived back home. It was pouring rain for the vast majority of today and we’re mostly just glad to be out of the rain.

I kind of wanted to just keep going – maybe up to Canada and then down to Vermont and then back to Gatlinburg and then who knows… but sadly our funds are not bottomless and I have to return to work tomorrow. 😦

That was the best adventure I’ve had and I would do it all again in a heartbeat. The things I saw and experienced made me speechless and I’m so so so glad that we went on this trip. ” – Lindsey, April 20, 2009

Those few sentences say it all. We just wanted to keep going. Keep driving, keep adventuring. The spark of our next trip was just that at this point, but from the moment we got home we were subconsciously planning our next grand adventure.

Starting next Wednesday I’ll be posting about smaller adventures leading up to our second grand American Road Trip ( called Away We Go).

What’s the biggest adventure you’ve been on?

In case you missed any of my posts about Hello America 2009, I’m linking to all of the entries for this trip here:

1. Loveland Castle, Ohio

2. Chicago, Ilinois

3. Alliance Nebraska and Carhenge

4. San Francisco, California

5. Big Basin Redwood State Park, California

6. California Coastline – CA1

7.Las Vegas, Nevada

8.Out West

9.Memphis, Tennessee

10.Gatlinburg, Tennessee

 

Destination Wednesday: Gatlinburg Tennessee

 

destination wednesday by fallenpeach

Gatlinburg Trolley Photograph by fallenpeach

Ah Gatlinburg. Home to some of the most beautiful Smokey Mountain views and some of the craziest kitchy tourist attractions. Matt had already been and I remember he was really excited to show me what he loved so much about the area. And I have to admit, I fell in love as well. Somewhere in between Hillbilly Mini Golf and those gorgeous vistas. We’ve been back a few times since this first trip, including a week stay in a cabin, but nothing beats that first impression.

From the Hello America blog, circa 2009:

“Drove through a crazy rainstorm in Tennessee… but it cleared up almost as soon as we entered town… and boy what a town.

Gatlinburg Attractions photograph by fallenpeach

I describe Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge as Las Vegas, the New York State fair and a Renaissance Faire all rolled into one. Bright flashy signs and lights, tiny little shopping villages and mini golf/arcades/haunted houses etc etc etc galore. Tons of Old Tyme Photo stands, fried dough and corn dogs for sale and a Ripley’s museum or two. Thankfully the rain ended as we checked in so we had a wonderfully perfect evening walking around town and looking in shops and playing mini-golf with a wonderful view of the mountains. The weather was perfect, I wore jeans but didn’t need a coat. Here’s hoping we get good weather for tomorrow too… maybe the storm is done.

There are also – we counted – 9 Pancake houses within a 3 minute driving distance on a main road through Pigeon Forge. There are more we missed, we’re pretty sure. But try to go to these pancake houses and you discover that they are only open until 2pm. Had to go to this fantabulous 50’s diner for some pancakes as it was after 9pm. They were aaaamazing though. ” – Lindsey, April 19, 2009

Gatlinburg Mini Golf photograph by fallenpeach

Have you been to Gatlinburg? What were your first impressions?