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  • Writer's pictureNancy Bauer

Road Trips: Take a Drive, Feed Your Soul

Updated: Oct 23, 2019

I love driving.

A car and a tank full of gas has always felt like freedom--from parents, from boredom, from the town where I grew up.

When I was poor and in my 20’s, on rainy weekends when I couldn’t think of - or afford - anything else to do, I would drive 64 miles around the DC beltway. And then if that didn’t scratch the itch, I’d drive it again.

Once, I overheard a woman on a cell phone say, “I finished my appointment in DC early, so I just started driving and ended up here.” “Here” was a beach town diner where I was having breakfast, 2 ½ hours away from Washington, and I totally got her. I would so do that.

Not me. But I have driven on the right before.

Mister is a driver, too. A few years back, my brother in Hawaii sold me his BMW and I traveled to the Port of Long Beach to pick it up. Mister flew out to meet me in Vegas so we could then drive 2,700 miles home to Virginia, arriving two weeks later (after a few detours) around one in the morning. But, wait. If we kept on driving just another couple hours, our new/old Beemer could poke its nose out over the Atlantic sand and complete its coast-to-coast-to-coast journey. How many cars can say that? We napped for a few hours, got up, and hit the road again.

My memory is filled with driving stories: as a kid in the back of my parents' car, my big brother at the wheel, exploring the green backroads around our town. With my sisters and my dad on the way back from the beach, belting out a song on the radio as the rain pelted our open convertible. Me, alone in Ireland with a map, a rental car and white knuckles on the right-hand steering.

I once heard about a couple who went on a driving adventure with no agenda – just the plan that they would keep turning left each time they reached an intersection. Ha! Imagine that.

Do you live to drive? Or do you not really get what this is all about, but you're game to give it a shot? (Yes! Do it!)

It’s simple, you just need a car and a rough plan, and ideally, GPS. (I'm not nostalgic for the good ol' days of maps; there's nothing fun about getting lost in Dublin's traffic maze at sunset with three hours of driving still ahead.)

Here are a few of the best drives out there. I hope to see you there.


Travel & Leisure – American Most Scenic Roads

Regional Bests

Travel Channel – Best East Coast Road Trips

On the Luce Travel Blog – A Two-Week Southwest Road Trip

Best of the Northwest – Best of Northwest Scenic Drives

Also, this! From Atlas Obscura - The Obsessively Detailed Map of American Literature’s Most Epic Road Trips, including Travels with Charley, Mark Twain's Roughing It, and Tom Wolfe's The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test.

BTW - Looking for a little inspiration? Maybe you'll find it in one of our favorite travel books by girls.

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