Friday, January 20, 2012

Planning For The Open Road

One of my goals for January and February is to get a general idea of the route I want to take on my gulf excursion.  Although I regularly go off road and explore whenever we drive from here to Denver, I haven't been on an actual "vacation" since I drove my son to see what we thought would be his San Diego Campus years ago.

That trip involved driving from Denver to Utah and then traveling south-first through Moab (land of the mountain bike ) and Arches National Park, and then through Monument Valley. we then drove to Phoenix and headed west to San Diego, where we spent a lovely few days! If I had to drive on Interstate 5 daily, I might become a hermit, however. On the return, we took the low route all the way, driving across the bottom of Arizona, and New Mexico. Stops were fewer on the return due to time constraints. We had a lovely time-my son was most impressed with Glenwood Canyon in Colorado, myself with the Arches-some of which have since fallen.

My next trip is planned to explore and enjoy the gulf coast.  My goal is to drive south, go along the coast (not the interstate).  As I explore my options, my two concerns are how far to go, and where to start.  I know that I want to drive along the coast, to Huoma.  I would then hit Mobile, all the while driving along the coast road.  After that I would travel to down to Panama City and Pensacola. I'd allow myself at least one night in each location. Each drive is no more than five hours and planning on where I stay, the route could be much less.

My dilemma is where I go from there.  My parents lived in Beaufort, SC. If I didn't have family all west of the Mississippi, my ideal place to retire would be in the Savannah area. Ideally, if I had the time, I would cross to Jacksonville and take US 17 north to Savannah, Beaufort and Charleston.  The advantage to this is that I would be able to take an alternative route back (but probably not have time to visit Atlanta).  The downside is that I would not be able to take such a long trip over spring break (how weird does it fell to say that). Not a game changer, just means that the trip would wait until late May and I would take a brief hop somewhere mid March during the school break. The positives here are that the weather would be warmer, but not yet unbearable-and I would avoid innumerable college students.

In addition to how far I would go, I'm also looking at where I would begin. Getting from Dallas to the coast can involve many options. I could drive south, through Houston (while visiting my brother and sister in law), into Galveston, and then across the coast-more beaches, but a longer drive. On the other hand, I could drive across to Shreveport (where I've also never been), and then go south, through Lafayette to the coast. Not as much beach, but also a beautiful drive I expect-although I would miss my family visit.  Decisions, decisions........routes to plan, reservations to make.

You may or may not have noticed that New Orleans fits nowhere into this plan. I know, I know. The thing is, I've wanted to visit gulf coast beaches and eat seafood for awhile now, and I know full well that I cannot make New Orleans a single night's stay. It deserves at least a long weekend-and will get one.  You also may notice that I haven't planned my return routes as intensively.  This is not to say that I will drive home at the end of the trip non stop-that would defeat the purpose.  But since I will be more tired then, my travel will involve more spur of the moment off road side trips and smaller towns, with little planning. If nothing else the return trip will give me a taste of where I want to go.

I really cannot wait for all that sun, seafood and ocean!

1 comment:

  1. Having never traveled in the south for pleasur, I will be anxious to hear about your trip. Our kids really want us to look at North Carolina for our golden years.


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