Travelrific® Travel Journal

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Archive for road travel

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.

Take it Slow

By Linda Tancs

In an increasingly fast-paced world, it’s a luxury to slow down. That’s one reason why the slow travel movement is so appealing. Walking routes are a big part of the movement. In Britain, an ambitious plan is afoot (no pun intended) to establish a national network of walking routes connecting all of the nation’s towns, villages and cities. Known as Slow Ways, the idea is to use existing paths, ways, trails and roads to walk between settlements and combine them to create longer distance trips. Many existing footpaths follow ancient Roman and Anglo-Saxon treks, but there are thousands more paths and rights of way that risk being lost to history. Thanks to hundreds of volunteers, those lesser-known routes are being documented and road-tested. As of this writing, there are over 7,000 Slow Ways stretching more than 62,000 miles.

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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.

America’s Oldest Attraction

By Linda Tancs

First opening on August 8, 1861, the Auto Road is America’s oldest man-made attraction. It’s a steep, narrow mountain road without guardrails that leads to the summit of Mount Washington in New Hampshire. Called Agiocochook by some Native American tribes, Mount Washington is the highest peak in the northeastern United States at 6,288 feet. You can drive up the road yourself (in season) or take a guided tour with a “stage driver” for some history and insight into the area. The Auto Road tour company refers to their vans as stages because the first visitors to the road (known then as Carriage Road) traveled in horse-drawn stages. The mountain is notorious for having some of the strongest winds in the world; check for weather updates before you venture out.

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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.

Maine to Florida

By Linda Tancs

It makes sense that the East Coast, the country’s most populous corridor, should have a path for walkers and cyclists to experience all that the region has to offer. Enter the East Coast Greenway, a 3,000-mile network connecting 450 communities in 15 states, Maine to Florida. Designed to encourage people of all ages and abilities to commute, exercise and tour, the trail network features destinations like the Scarborough Marsh in Maine (the largest saltwater marsh in the state), the Hudson River Greenway in New York City (running the length of Manhattan) and South Carolina’s Spanish Moss Trail, the focal point of which is the old Beaufort rail depot of 1901.

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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.

Between Pakistan and China

By Linda Tancs

Some might call the Karakoram Highway the ultimate road trip. Or maybe thrill ride is a better term. Connecting China and Pakistan across the Karakoram mountain range, it’s loaded with hairpin turns, pencil-thin roads and steep slopes. It’s also billed as the world’s highest paved international border crossing, reaching over 15,000 feet above sea level. Stretching about 800 miles, part of its path traces the ancient Silk Road, a network of trade routes formally established during the Han Dynasty of China. If you’re keen to test your stamina (as well as your nerves), then this might be the trip for you.

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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.

Scotland’s Year of Coasts and Waters

By Linda Tancs

This year marks Scotland’s Year of Coasts and Waters. There’s so much to see, loch to loch and everything in between. If you’d like to experience the most in one touring route, then consider the North Coast 500, an epic, 516-mile scenic route around the north coast of Scotland. Starting and ending at Inverness Castle, it’s the nation’s version of U.S. Route 66. Pursue the trek counterclockwise, traveling the east coast and then venturing into the northwest to Applecross, followed by Torridon and Ullapool. From there you’ll see some of the most northerly points, like Caithness and its village, John o’Groats. But don’t stop there. The northernmost point of the mainland is Dunnet Head, a few miles further west.

The Jersey Coast Trail

By Linda Tancs

New Jersey’s Coastal Heritage Trail is a vehicular route stretching nearly 300 miles along the state’s shore and bays. It’s divided into five regions: Sandy Hook, Barnegat Bay, Absecon, Cape May and Delsea. Of equal interest to hikers and bicyclists, the trail passes national wildlife refuges, lighthouses, a Civil War fort, migratory bird settlements and several other places including, of course, the Jersey Shore.

America’s National Road

By Linda Tancs

Authorized by Congress in 1806, the National Road was the first highway built entirely with federal funds. It linked the eastern and western states in the first half of the 19th century, running from Cumberland, Maryland, to Vandalia, Illinois. Known in many places as Route 40, its charm lies in the many historic stone bridges along its path and the quaint, untouched towns and villages that called the road “Main Street.” In fact, the road earned the nickname “the Main Street of America.” Of the many inns dotting the route, Mount Washington Tavern (adjoining Fort Necessity Battlefield) in Pennsylvania is an example of a typical stagecoach stop for early travelers on the National Road. Unlike those early settlers, if you drive straight through without stopping, you should be able to complete the route in about 13 hours.

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