Europeans came to the United States by boat, and ‘settled’ it with horses and wagons. The US has been criss-crossed by wagon trails and railroad tracks, but I believe the highway system opened up America to more than just faster transportation, but also to more beauty. The best way to get a
The Cabrillo Highway
This segment of California State Route 1 from Monterey to San Luis Obispo is a marvel. The road winds and twists between rocky cliffs and the vast Pacific. The ocean’s blue and green waves churn, mixing those pure colors like a skilled painter. You have to have control of your vehicle to maintain highway speeds safely, as the twists can be unforgiving. This is a road for people who like to drive. Every now and again, you’ll see one or more of the fanciest cars you’ll never be able to afford zoom past you on the blind curves as if the road is the driver’s personal racetrack, reminding you, in case you’ve forgotten, that you’re in California.
Yellowstone National Park- Day and Night
Tourists flock to Yellowstone for the geysers, but the drive through the park is pretty amazing. Serene buffalo mill beside the road (a friend claims he spotted a wolf while bicycling through the park). The best sites, however, come when you’ve left the park for the night and are heading south into the darkness, perhaps to a hotel in Jackson Hole or Moran. On a clear, cloudless night, when there are no other cars on the road (which may start around 10pm, even in the summer), pull your car far off the road, and turn off your lights. Look up, and appreciate the natural majesty of a sky clear and unadulterated from city pollution. Contemplate the meaning of ‘where the buffalo roam’, and the lives of cowboys.
Amber waves of grain- Route I-90, from Sioux Falls, South Dakota to the Bad Lands National Park
I was driving across the country when I was 21 before I knew what “amber waves of grain” really meant. In the summer, stalks of grain in various shades from yellow to light brown waver like water as the breeze blows across the plains, catching the sun and shimmering as each stalk catches the sun just right. This route takes you west through Wall Drug (an interesting piece of Western history, west through Mt Rushmore. A good time to drive to South Dakota is during Sturgis bike week, when bikers from all over the country meet to ride. Many of the bikers are friendly and just wanting to appreciate the natural beauty of the West.