Part 1

This year was supposed to be the first year that I actually went somewhere on spring break since I never went in college due to working through spring break to pay bills. Sadly that didn’t end up happening though due to the fact that I didn’t get my paycheck for coaching until the week we got back from spring break.

I refuse to not go on at least part of this road trip before I leave for Macedonia in September. So, without further ado I will take you through my randomly awesome road trip and the website I used to make my trip.

The website that I used to plan my road trip was https://roadtrippers.com
This website gives you a lot of different options to choose from to plan your road trip. Here is a list of the different options I used when planning my road trip.

  1. Camping and RV
    A. Cottages, cabins, KOA, RV parks, and tent campgrounds
  2. Attractions and culture
    b. Amusement parks, children’s attractions, museums, tours, and attractions for any season.
  3. Food and drink
    c. Bars, burgers, vegetarian, breweries, and whatever else you stomach could want.
  4. Outdoors and recreation
    d. Find beaches, nature reserves, scenic points, trails, national parks, and numerous other stops outdoors.
  5. Points of interest
    e. Abandoned towns, historic stops, monuments, photo ops, and spooky places. There’s definitely something for everyone to find.

Other options that I did not use were: Vacation rentals, entertainment and nightlife, services, shopping, sports, motoring, and the pre-made road trips (could be good for people don’t know where they want to go)

What is cool about choosing these different options is that they show up on the route from your starting point to your destination. This makes it quick and easy to see what is near the route you plan on taking.

The first thing I did on this website was to put in my starting point and my destination. I’ve been wanting to go to a dark sky park for a long time so, I made one my destination. Next I marked attractions/culture, camping/RV and outdoors/recreation so that I could find unique places to stop and places to sleep on my way to the dark sky park.

After a lot of trial and error I ended up making a road trip that went from Champaign, IL to Oracle State Park, AZ. Not only does this website help you find all the stops that you would need or want to go to on a road trip but, it also helps you figure out the cost of gas, the mileage, and how many hours it will take to get there. It figures out the gas mileage based on your car, if you put the information in, and it bases the amount of time it will take you by how you have planned your trip.

Now for my trip.

First stop:
Grand Falls–Missouri/Oklahoma (it’s on the border)

falls autumn

A little over 7 hours from my starting point, or 467 miles, Grand Falls is the largest continuously running waterfall in Missouri. Although, it is only 12 feet tall I felt like it would be a great first stop to go for a swim, hike a couple trails, and hopefully find some great photo ops.

After a short 2 mile drive I plan on staying at the KOA in Joplin, MO.

Stop Numero Dos:
Cadillac Ranch–Amarillo, Texas

Around 7 hours and 479 miles from the Joplin KOA Cadillac Ranch is a great place to stop for anyone into the weird and unique. Built by a group of art-hippies and with the support of what I’m guessing was an eccentric billionaire in 1974 Cadillac Ranch was supposed to be a public art display to baffle the locals. As time went on people started defacing the Cadillac’s and the tradition of spray paining the cars was started. I wanted to stop here not only because it was something strangely unique but I’ve always wanted to leave graffiti some where and what better place then this.

Another short 2 mile drive and I plan on staying in Amarillo, TX at a campground.

Stop Numéro Trois:

Sandia Peak–Sandia Heights, NM

A little over 4 hours and 276 miles from Cadillac Ranch is Sandia Peak. With the option of a tram or trail taking you to the top of the peak and back down anyone can get to the top for these fantastic views. Once at the top you can hike some trails in Cibola National Forest to check out more great scenery. During the summer when I plan on going you can ride on of the ski-lifts down the mountain to get a great view of the forest.

I plan on driving, after this stop, for almost another 4 hours and 244 miles to Holbrook, Az to sleep at the Petrified Forest KOA. While staying here I would like to explore the Petrified Forest and possibly the Painted Desert.

Final Destination:

Oracle State Park–Oracle, AZ

The final destination for the first half of the road trip is almost 4 hours and is 204 miles from my last camping spot. This is the dark sky park at Oracle State Park. A picture of the dark sky park is shown above. A dark sky park has restrictions on light pollution and allows people to get a glimpse of the stars in a way they normally wouldn’t. I grew up in a rural environment but, there was still enough light pollution that you couldn’t see as many stars as I could at this park. Plus, look at that milky way…I’ve never seen it that brilliantly here. About as close as I have come is when I went to Current River in Missouri and stayed in a cabin in the middle of nowhere, as in there wasn’t even any cell phone service. Not that I really cared anyways.

So, this is how I planned my road trip. I started with a website and a destination which ended with what I think is an awesome trip to some pretty unique places. I have another trip planned for the way back to Illinois but, I need to tweak it a little so I can visit a friend who is moving to Arizona. So, have a little patience with me and soon you will see the second half of my trip that is happening this summer.

Happy Monday everybody!

 

 

 

 

 

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