Let's Talk with Terry Ambrose

February 9, 2023

Return of the road trip

Ah, the Great American Road Trip. Depending on your taste in movies, it might conjure up images of Easy Rider, National Lampoon’s Vacation, or Rain Man. But the once-popular road trip died off for a time. Air travel became faster and cheaper and the road trip became a tedious way to get from Point A to Point B.

The High Peaks at Pinnacles
By 9:26 AM, the sun was shining and the fog pulled back like outgoing surf


In the post-Covid-19 world, the road trip is making a comeback. For many of us, there are too many people in the tight confines of an airplane. Not being willing to fly put the kibosh on going to our favorite vacation destination—Hawaii. The question was, where to go for some time away? The answer turned out to be hidden in a conversation wife and I had been having for years. We decided to visit the national parks.

Plan, plan, and plan to be surprised

For our first long(ish) road trip, we chose Pinnacles National Park. Our planned route took us through once-familiar territory, through LA and then up US 101. Our first night’s stop was to be in Solvang, a small Danish town north of Santa Barbara. (We arrived right at the start of the annual scarecrow festival!) For the return, we planned to go west to Monterey and then down the coast along California’s iconic Highway 1.

Solvang was just starting it's scarecrow contest
Has anyone seen a girl with this sized foot?


We spent months planning our trip. Logistically, we were balancing the charging requirements of our electric car, our dietary restrictions (we both have different food allergies), and what sights we wanted to see. The planning was, at times, very challenging (especially when dealing with food allergies). The planning was also a large part of the fun. One of the great things about the planning phase of any trip is that it’s free. It costs nothing to Google a place and explore. Then again, nothing compares to actually being there.

Point Lobos State Natural Reserve
The rocky coastline is a series of one magnificent view after another


Our trip not only helped us discover new places we’d never heard about, but it also gave us the opportunity to learn the history of stops along the way. We enjoyed the ‘Pinnacles trip’ so much that we’re planning our next road trip. It will be longer and will take in multiple national parks. The trip won’t happen until the fall, but we can’t wait until that exciting morning when we get to say, “We’re off!”

What kind of traveler are you? Are you a road trip person? Strictly an air traveler? Or maybe you like to cruise? It’s time to fess up. What’s your travel fantasy?

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Posted in Let's Talk, with Terry Ambrose • Tags: , , , , |  13 Comments


13 thoughts on “Return of the road trip

  1. I agree that covid changed my mind about flying, but I have trouble with long road trips. Truthfully, after six hours in the car my body and brain are fried! My solution is to stay put and venturing out for shorter day trips. However, I still travel for family visits and book promotion, though less frequently than pre-covid. I admire you for getting out and charting that course of what seems like a number of obstacles. I will vacation vicariously through your reports!

    1. My wife and I are taking my mom to Maine and back this summer. Driving up the coast and back. First time for a long road trip. Can’t wait!

  2. COVID changed our travel habits as well. We’re making more day trips and exploring our lovely West Florida by visiting the beaches, parks, and museums. Don’t think we’ll ever drive more than a few hours ever again. Luckily, we took a lot of road trips when our boys were young and we were fully of energy.

    1. I agree with you about not driving too many hours. The way we planned this trip, the day’s trip might take more than four hours, but the driving never did. About 200 miles was my limit and on a number of days it was less.

  3. My husband and I used to enjoy cruising. Two of our favorites were Alaska and the Mediterranean. However, after the horrors of Covid, neither one of us wants to venture onto a cruise ship again. I’ve flown twice this past year and both times was one of few people in the airports and on the planes who wore a mask, but for me, it’s the new normal. Masking in crowded settings not only keeps me safer, it keeps others safer from anything I could be incubating and spreading without realizing it.

    1. We feel the same way about cruising, Lois. We also feel that way about flying. Although I have heard that cruise lines are making things much safer, I’m still not 100% sold.

  4. We used to love road trips and still would but are getting too old to drive for hours at one sitting. I don’t like cruises because there are too many people crammed together on the boat. The same kind of goes for planes, but that is one way that at times needs to be taken.

  5. Since we retired, our road trip adventures have been much more adventurous. We choose a direction and a possible final destination and keep things more flexible. My iPad is a huge help since I can find all kinds of things while we’re driving. So far we haven’t hit any really serious snags although I know they’re possible but it’s so much fun to not have to keep a rigid schedule. And we’ve discovered some amazing places! We’re hoping to do a Washington to Florida trip since I’ve got a variety of friends and family we could also visit on the way while seeing a lot of amazing country.

  6. Given a choice, I’d far rather drive than fly. With having to pay for parking at the airport, getting there at least 2 hours early, and then all the hassle of gate changes and so forth before you even get on the terribly uncomfortable plane, if the drive is under 8 hours I’m in my car. I think it’s a control thing, LOL!

  7. If I can get a direct flight that isn’t delayed, that’s my first mode of travel choice (with a mask). For leisure time, I’ve always enjoyed being on the water, but cruising since covid has not and is not on my bucket list. Trains and Planes for me because driving just doesn’t do it for me.

  8. We used to enjoy road trips but now our travel is more restricted due to health issues. We love Caribbean cruises, however, and have just booked one. We’d had to cancel twice in the past few years so here’s hoping we make it this time!

  9. We use to do alot of road trips when we lived in California especially to visit family. Since 2022 we did get back to traveling via plane and also went on our first cruise on Virgin Voyages which is mainly adults only. We went to London, to Amsterdam and to Athens. This year we plan to go to Barcelona, England and France. We still wear our mask, keep distance, and wash our hands. In 2018 before the pandemic we went to Singapore, Hong Kong and Tokyo. We are waiting till maybe next year to go to Osaka. As we get older, our children have grown up and moved out we want to travel and we are working on our bucket list.

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