Category Archives: Great American Road Trip

The Great American Road Trip: Savannah, GA

After a sweltering night and hike at Cumberland Island National Seashore, we made our way up the coast to historic Savannah, Georgia. We’d heard a lot about the town and were excited to check it out. Though we didn’t stay too long, we had a great time walking through the historic squares; taking in James Edward Oglethorpe’s thoughtfully planned city layout was a great experience.

I’ve never seen a more photo-friendly city than Savannah; everywhere you look is visually stimulating and worthy of being captured.

We stopped at the Savannah College for Art & Design Store to check out what some of the brightest creative and artistic minds have been putting out. We weren’t disappointed.

And finally, what trip to Savannah would be complete without a visit to Leopold’s Ice Cream, by this point a city institution? The classic atmosphere was a perfect place to wind down our day in The Garden City.

Vancouver’s Parklets

During our road trip, we weren’t just focused on the great outdoors; as someone who lives in an urban neighborhood, I made a goal of stopping in cities that had significant placemaking or urban renewal developments. Vancouver and its parklets was one of these stops.

Not sure what a parklet is?

A parklet is a sidewalk extension that provides more space and amenities for people using the street. Usually parklets are installed on parking lanes and use several parking spaces.

Now that you’re learned, you can check out and appreciate these six examples found all over Vancouver. Initially a temporary installation in 2013, the parklets became quite popular and still remain, two years later.

  1. Commercial Drive

    Located in front of Prado Cafe, this parklet features communal tables and benches. Bonus points for the handicap accessible table and attractive profile from across the street.

  2. Urban Pasture

    This parklet features simple, staggered benches with an abundance of flora, a refreshing change of pace from the surrounding urban environment.

  3. Sunny Slopes

    Built on an incline, this unique parklet hosts two semi-enclosed seating areas with backs, to help close out traffic and encourage group gatherings.

  4. Parallel Park

    One of the more colorful and bold parklets, Parallel Park is a great extension of the coffee shop located just next to it.

  5. French Quarter

    With leaves all over the place, this parklet was probably one of the least maintained- and looking at concepts prior to the build, also half-baked. The “French Quarter” aspect was supposed to have been realized with trellises and pergolas, but it seems that it was never done or taken down due to visibility issues with traffic. I still liked the open feel and greenery, and how the parklet felt like a completely natural extension of the sidewalk.

  6. Hot Tubs

    Located outside of a spa, the theme continues with varied seating shaped to mimic hot tubs. Interestingly enough, the seating flows over onto the sidewalk, creating a smooth transition over at least three parking spaces. This site was also unkempt, with trash and leaves everywhere.

If you’re planning on visiting Vancouver, I highly recommend checking out the parklets, as they are a very interesting concept that could be implemented in any town or city. I’d love to see one or two in downtown Cincinnati or Covington.

The Great American Road Trip, Continued – Westward We Go

Those first three weeks flew by- so much so, in fact, that I’m way behind on posting. I’ll start catching up here in the near-ish future, but until then, here’s a quick look at our 20,000 mile itinerary for the next 9 weeks. Let me know your thoughts/suggestions! Nothing is fixed except for the stuff in bold.

9/14: Madison, WI
9/15: Minneapolis, MN
9/16: Fargo, ND
9/17: Theodore Roosevelt National Park (NP) – Medora, ND
9/18: Badlands NP – SD
9/19: Wind Cave NP – Hot Springs, SD
9/20: Thunder Basin National Grassland -Douglas, WY
9/21: Grand Teton NP – Moose, WY
9/23: Yellowstone NP – Yellowstone, WY
9/25: Craters of the Moon State Park – Arco, ID
9/26: Helena, MT
9/27: Glacier NP – West Glacier, MT
9/29: Waterton Park, Alberta
9/30: Kettle Falls, WA
10/1: North Cascades NP – Upper Skagit, WA
10/3: Vancouver, BC
10/4: Olympic NP – Port Angeles, WA
10/5: Seattle, WA
10/6: Mount Rainier NP – Ashford, WA
10/7: Portland, OR
10/8: Crater Lake NP – Klamath, OR
10/9: Redwood NP – Crescent City CA
10/10: San Francisco, CA
10/12: Pinnacles NP – Soledad, CA
10/13: Yosemite NP – Yosemite Valley, CA
10/16: Kings Canyon NP – Kings Canyon, CA
10/17: Sequoia NP – Sequoia National Park, CA
10/18: Channel Islands NP – Ventura, CA
10/19: Santa Monica, CA
10/20: Death Valley NP – Death Valley, CA
10/21: Joshua Tree NP – Joshua Tree, CA
10/22: Saguaro NP – Tucson, AZ
10/23: Petrified Forest NP – Petrified Forest National Park, AZ
10/24: Grand Canyon NP – Grand Canyon, AZ
10/26: Bryce Canyon NP – Bryce Canyon, UT
10/27: Zion NP – Zion National Park, UT
10/28: Great Basin NP – Baker, NV
10/29: Capitol Reef NP – Torrey, UT
10/30: Arches NP – Moab, UT
10/31: Canyonlands NP – Moab, UT
11/1: Mesa Verde NP – Mesa Verde National Park, CO
11/2: Black Canyon of the Gunnison NP – Gunnison, CO
11/4: Rocky Mountain NP – Este Park, CO
11/5: Denver, CO
11/6: Chicago, IL
11/7: Three Oaks, MI
11/8: Denver, CO
11/9: Great Sand Dunes NP – Mosca, CO
11/10: Santa Fe, NM
11/11: Carlsbad Caverns NP – Carlsbad, NM
11/12: Guadalupe Mountains NP – Salt Flat, TX
11/13: Big Bend NP – Big Bend National Park, TX
11/15: San Antonio, TX
11/16: Austin, TX
11/18: New Orleans, LA
11/20: Nashville, TN
11/22: Covington, KY

The Great American Road Trip: Cumberland Island National Seashore

“We’re going to miss the ferry, aren’t we?” Stef asked, as we loaded up into the car and left the Waycross Hampton Inn. I considered the 64 miles we had to cover, looked at the clock (10:20 AM) and the fact that we were expected to arrive 30 minutes early for our 11:45 departure, and said, “Nah.” That may have been a slightly less-than-confident response.  Continue reading The Great American Road Trip: Cumberland Island National Seashore

The Great American Road Trip, Days 1-3: Mammoth Cave & Nashville

There were no less than 22 different moments over the first three days of this adventure where I thought to myself, “Holy cow, I’m actually unemployed and living out of my car for the next three months.” Luckily, I’ve got a tremendous sidekick in Stef keeping me company on this crazy trip.

With stops at Elizabethtown and Mammoth Cave National Park (1st park of the trip, check), we got into Nashville by 6 and hung out downtown on the famed Broadway Street for a bit before calling it a night.

Saturday morning came around, and after grabbing a phenomenal breakfast at local staple The Pancake Pantry and walking around town a bit, I found myself at a gun range for the first time ever. This impossibly brown guy stood out like a sore, brown thumb at the range, I tell you what. But I’ll be damned if I didn’t hold my own between the 9mm pistol and the AK-74s at my disposal. It was pretty satisfying to hit dead center from 50 meters out with the AK (completely accidental, I’m sure, but overall my accuracy was slightly scary). With that experience completed, I can finally say that I’ve taken advantage of my second amendment rights.

We relaxed Saturday evening and prepared for our trip to Cumberland Island by packing our bags and making sure we had everything we needed to throw into the car. After breakfast on Sunday, we were good to go and get on the road to Waycross, Georgia.

The Great American Road Trip

This post has been a little overdue, so I’ll do my best to catch you up on everything that’s transpired over the past few weeks.

I worked at Toyota for a little more than 8 years- I was able to experience a lot of facets of manufacturing, travel the world and the country, and work with a lot of driven, energetic people. Deep down, though, I realized that there just had to be more to life than coming in to the office for 8-10 hours each day, going grocery shopping, and turning on the evening news just to hear about another terrible incident somewhere in the world.

After meeting Stefanie and spending the past year with her, I’ve (finally) learned that life is precious, and each and every moment is a gift. We simply have to make the most of the time we’re given, because it could very well end at any moment.

So we began planning- at first we thought about traveling around the world, and then realized that we’d most likely be biting off more than we could chew, given that we wanted to start traveling this summer. After determining for how long we wanted to pursue the nomadic lifestyle (3 months), we decided that we should explore the very country we call home. Sure, Europe has history, and Asia has an abundance of culture, but the US is more than twice the size of Europe and has everything from deserts to swamps to glaciers to mountains. There’s a lot to see here, and it’s right in our backyard. Well, relatively speaking.

Starting today, we’ll be embarking on a 16,000+ mile road trip around the United States with an emphasis on seeing as many National Parks as possible- 38, to be exact. The route, below, will be split into two legs, with a week in Cincinnati between the two serving as a regroup/refresh session. The first will be a 3,800 mile jaunt around the East, from Cumberland Island in Georgia all the way up to New Hampshire’s White Mountains, with 4 National Parks and a number of great cities along the way. The second part of the trip will have us leaving Cincinnati for the north, heading down the Pacific Coast, and throughout the south, a 13,000 mile, 9 week drive.

Great American Roadtrip
Our Great American Road Trip: nearly 17,000 miles around the United States, its National Parks, and amazing cities.

Am I nervous? Of course. Leaving a life of stability, a regular paycheck, benefits, and a general idea of what’s going to happen the next day is always difficult. However, I’m far more excited for what lies ahead. I never thought in a million years that I’d get the chance to embark on a journey like this, especially with a girl I care so much about. There is so much more to life outside of what exists in any office, and I can’t wait to find all there is to see.