We may not be fulltime RVers anymore, but we still get hitch itch and like to travel. Since we’re sitting still right now, I’ve been looking over past issues of the Gypsy Journal and thinking about some of our favorite routes from past travels. Here are my ten favorite RV routes.
Natchez Trace Parkway – They called it the Devil’s Backbone back in the days when Indians, outlaws, and renegades prowled this historic route, preying on unwary travelers. Today, the Natchez Trace Parkway is pure heaven for RVers! Picture 450 miles of good two lane road that meanders through hardwood forests and past charming small towns, with a speed limit of 50 miles per hour, and no commercial traffic allowed, with frequent pullouts large enough for any size RV, and you can see why we love this historic highway that winds from Natchez, Mississippi to Nashville, Tennessee. If you haven’t put this trip on your travel itinerary, do it now. You’ll be glad you did!
US Highway 101 – Further south in California, this scenic route loses much of its charm, but from Eureka, California to the tip of the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State, US 101 will take you through some of the most beautiful scenery you’ll find anywhere in the country. Take your time, because you’ll be treated to dramatic ocean views, charming small towns, lighthouses, fishing villages, and if you’re really lucky, even whales passing by, just offshore!
LoLo Pass Trail – If I had to choose my very favorite route in America, in terms of scenery, it would be US Highway 12 between Missoula, Montana and Lewiston, Idaho, which locals call the Lolo Pass Trail. The excellent two lane highway follows the route explorers Lewis and Clark took on their epic trek west, with towering mountains on one side and the beautiful Clearwater River on the other. Keep your camera handy for an opportunity to photograph deer, elk, moose, and whitewater rafters.
US Highway 2 – If you love unspoiled forests, friendly small towns, scenic views of deep water, and a slower travel pace, you should take some time to travel US Highway 2 across Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. For most of the 140 miles between Escanaba on the west, and St. Ignace on the east, you’ll be passing within spitting distance of beautiful Lake Michigan. It’s a good highway, and you can make good time if you want to, but with scenery like this, why would you hurry?
Great River Road – The Great River Road is one of America’s national treasures, and a route every RVer should take at least once. From the headwaters of the Mississippi River in northern Minnesota, this series of local, state, and federal roads follow the course of the river south through ten states, to where it empties into the Gulf of Mexico, introducing you to beautiful views, wonderful small towns, river barges, and history every mile of the way.
Route 66 – Much of this historic route has been swallowed up or paved over by interstate highways, but there are still many sections of the Mother Road to be explored between its origin in Chicago, Illinois and its terminus in Santa Monica, California. You could spend an entire season tracing the many alignments of this nostalgic highway by RV and with your dinghy, and still not see it all.
Overseas Highway – The Overseas Highway, the southernmost leg of US Highway 1, carries you from Miami, Florida to Key West, affording views of the sparkling blue water of the Atlantic Ocean on one side, and the Gulf of Mexico on the other. Along the way, you’ll pass funky tourist towns, a dolphin sanctuary, beautiful beaches, cross over the impressive Seven Mile Bridge, and back into history. One note here, while this is a great trip, you’ll have to park your RV somewhere else at the end of your journey because the streets in Key West, at the southern end of your route, are not suited for large vehicles.
Old Spanish Trail – Incorporating US Highway 90 in the east and US Highway 80 in the west, the route known to old time travelers as the Old Spanish Trail, is an interesting and memorable journey that will carry you from Jacksonville Beach, Florida all the way west to San Diego, California, as you trace America’s history from coast to coast.
Lincoln Highway – The Lincoln Highway was America’s first transcontinental highway, stretching from New York to San Francisco, and though the old route has been replaced by Interstate 80, you can still drive much of the original route, especially in the east and Midwest. It’s a slow paced trip to remember.
US Highway 60 – Beginning at an intersection with Interstate 10 in Quartzsite, Arizona, and stretching all the way to Virginia Beach, Virginia, we love to take this slow, scenic highway when we travel east from our old hometown in Show Low, Arizona. Sure, we could go north a few miles and jump on Interstate 40, but what fun would that be? We prefer to take our time, stop for lunch in small town cafes, and experience the real America that the superslab bypasses.
So there you have it, my ten favorite great RV routes. Tell us about some of yours.
Thought For The Day – The goal is to die young as late as possible.