Travelrific® Travel Journal

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Archive for road travel

The Beartooth Highway

By Linda Tancs

The Beartooth Highway is an All-American Road ( a special designation conferred by the U.S. Department of Transportation for a scenic byway) on a section of U.S. Route 212 in Montana and Wyoming between Red Lodge, Montana, and the northeast entrance to Yellowstone National Park. Once dubbed “the most beautiful roadway in America,” it zigzags across the Montana-Wyoming border through a series of steep switchbacks along the Absaroka-Beartooth Range, rising from about 5,000 feet to 10,947 feet at the Beartooth Pass. The ecosystems on display range from pine forests to alpine tundra, with snow that often lingers through the summer months. The breathtaking scenery includes high alpine plateaus dotted with glacial lakes, forested valleys, waterfalls and wildlife. It offers some of the best motorcycling in the country this time of year.

The Road in the Ocean

By Linda Tancs

Opened in 1989, Atlantic Road is Norway’s answer to Florida’s Ocean Highway. Dubbed “the road in the ocean,” the 22-mile scenic route hugs the Atlantic Ocean, connecting islet with islet over seven bridges. Along with great ocean views, the journey presents the fertile cultural landscape of the coast across moorland to windswept crags. You’ll find ample opportunity for sightseeing along well-marked trails and elevated paths. Eldhusøya is the largest rest area along the way and is located on a scenic spot at the ocean’s edge. The road runs from Kårvåg to Bud.

The Pig Trail

By Linda Tancs

Arkansas boasts over 600 native wildflowers. Spring is a good time to watch them explode, especially along scenic byways like the Pig Trail. It’s a 19-mile stretch of State Highway 23 that passes through Ozark National Forest. The Pig Trail takes its name from fans of the University of Arkansas Razorbacks, who traditionally used it as a shortcut through the mountains to “Hogs” games in Fayetteville. The razorback (feral hog) is not only the university’s mascot but also a wild animal found throughout the state.

Wyoming’s Scenic Byway

By Linda Tancs

The Cody area of Wyoming boasts six federally-designated scenic byways. One of those routes is the Buffalo Bill Cody Scenic Byway. It follows the North Fork of the Shoshone River through Wapiti Valley and ends at Sylvan Pass, a mountain pass providing access to Yellowstone National Park from the east entrance. Sylvan’s sweeping mountain views (at an elevation of 8,530 feet) are just part of the journey’s charms. A stop in Buffalo Bill’s town of Cody is likewise irresistible. It boasts the Irma Hotel, built by Buffalo Bill in 1902 and featuring an intricately carved cherrywood bar gifted to Bill by Queen Victoria, a fan of his Wild West show. Another charm in the city is the Buffalo Bill Historical Center. Comprising five museums under one roof, it has earned the nickname “the Smithsonian of the West.” The route also features the Buffalo Bill Dam, a prototype for world-famous Hoover Dam. Its massive concrete wall boasts a structural height of 350 feet, and you can take a breathtaking walk along the top. No wonder this trek was called “the most scenic 50 miles in the world” by Teddy Roosevelt.

Following the Mississippi

By Linda Tancs

You may have wondered whether you can drive along the course of the Mississippi River. Yes, there’s a road for that. The Great River Road National Scenic Byway follows the course of the Mississippi River for 3,000 miles from northern Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico, passing through 10 states. Its designation as a National Scenic Byway is in recognition of the route’s outstanding assets in the areas of culture, history, nature, recreation and scenic beauty. The different roads and highways comprising the byway are marked by a green pilot’s wheel logo to keep you on track. Watch for river-related attractions and interpretative centers. You can take in the whole route in 36 hours of straight driving, but why not stretch it out for four to 10 days and enjoy the ride.

The Civil Rights Trail

By Linda Tancs

Established in 2018, the U.S. Civil Rights Trail spans 15 states and the District of Columbia. It charts the course of the Civil Rights Movement, beginning with the site of school integration and ending at the Supreme Court. Along the way is a collection of churches, courthouses, schools, museums and other landmarks defining the quest for social justice. Nearly a quarter of the 100-plus sites are in Alabama, considered by many to be ground zero for the movement. Famous sites include the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama; Little Rock Central High School in Arkansas; the Greensboro, North Carolina, Woolworth’s where sit-ins began; the National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee; and Dr. King’s birthplace in Atlanta. Check the trail’s website often for the addition of new cities and sites.

America’s Loneliest Road

By Linda Tancs

U.S. Route 50 is a transcontinental highway in the United States, stretching from California to Maryland. The Nevada portion crosses the center of the state and was named “The Loneliest Road in America” by Life magazine in 1986. The natives beg to differ. After all, the Nevada route features stops along the Pony Express, a horseback mail service in operation from 1860 to 1861. And where else will you find the Shoe Tree, a giant cottonwood adorned with hundreds of shoes dangling from its branches. The area’s silver mining history is hard to miss, especially at Stokes Castle, a stone structure built in the late 19th century for one of the region’s most eccentric silver mine investors. You get the point. You’ll hardly need “survival skills” as the vaunted magazine put it. But in any event you can get a copy of the Official Highway 50 Survival Guide and get it stamped at the seven largest towns (Austin, Dayton, Eureka, Ely, Fallon, Fernley and Baker) along the way.

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To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

Crossing the Arctic Circle

By Linda Tancs

One of the northernmost roads in Alaska is the Dalton Highway, the only road in the United States to cross the Yukon River, the Arctic Circle and Brooks Range. Named for James William Dalton, a North Slope engineer, it was closed to public traffic for years, having been developed as a haul road connecting the Yukon River and Prudhoe Bay during construction of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline. Today it’s one of Alaska’s scenic byways and one of the remotest drives on earth. Some of the highlights along the way are signs of active gold mining in Livengood, mile marker 115 (where a sign indicates that you’ve crossed the Arctic Circle) and Atigun Pass, the highest in Alaska at 4,800 feet. The route begins in Livengood although the only place to rent a vehicle suitable for road conditions is Fairbanks. Over 400 miles long, the journey will take you to Prudhoe Bay, where you can overnight and rest before beginning the long trek back to Fairbanks. The highway is mostly a gravel road with several steep grades and no cell phone coverage. Extra supplies and spare tires are recommended. Due to weather and varying road conditions, the best time to travel is between June and August.

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To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

The Heart of Scotland

By Linda Tancs

Perth, Stirling, The Trossachs and Highland Perthshire represent the very heart of Scotland. You can experience all of it on the new touring route known as Heart 200. It’s a 200-mile road trip comprising six sections: the Wooded Western Edge, the Highland North, the Riverside East, Perth, the Historic South and Stirling. Gems abound throughout the route, like Loch Tay (the largest loch on the route) and the nation’s oldest tree in the Highland North and Loch Leven (where Mary Queen of Scots was imprisoned on Castle Island) in the Historic South. You’ll find a plethora of places to stay, too, from five-star hotels to campsites.

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To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

Chasing the Trace

By Linda Tancs

The Old Natchez Trace is a travel corridor used by American Indians and others, representing over 10,000 years of history. Today it’s known as Natchez Trace Parkway, a 444-mile recreational road and scenic drive through Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee. It’s so much more than a drive, though. It’s also a designated cycling route as well as a place for hiking, biking, horseback riding and camping. You’ll have the opportunity to see prehistoric mound sites, gorgeous waterfalls, imprints of Old Natchez at places like Sunken Trace and the hills of Mississippi at Jeff Busby Little Mountain. You’ll even find The Meriwether Lewis monument, marking the burial site of famed explorer Meriwether Lewis, near present-day Hohenwald, Tennessee.

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To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

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