What’s the best thing about cars? Road trips. The long hours with the countryside sliding by. Feeling the immensity of the United States. Appreciating just how much agriculture there is. Being awed by huge tracts of empty land. Finding local diners. Seeing things up close. Travel as much as possible on the US and state highways, keeping off the interstate. That’s going in style.
For the first time in many years, we took a long family road trip this summer. While there was a lot of driving (2,300 miles of it), it was a great time. Our overall trip took us from Anacortes, across Washington, Oregon, Idaho, through the corner of Wyoming, down through Utah to Arizona before heading home to California. We saw the Columbia River, Craters of the Moon in Idaho, Fossil Butte in Wyoming, Dinosaur and Arches in Utah, and Monument Valley and the Grand Canyon in Arizona. And everything along the way. The details and some pictures from the trip are below. Where are you going to go on your road trip?
Day 1 Anacortes to Ontario, 536 miles
Leaving early on a Monday, we headed south from Anacortes, taking US 2 to avoid the interstate and visit scenic Leavenworth. Leavenworth is like Solvang but it’s German instead of Danish Swedish. (correction) We had nice sausages for lunch. Onward down to and along the Columbia river. Amazing basalt along the river. As we headed toward Pasco, there were range fires north of us. We finished the long driving day with a nice dinner in Ontario, Oregon. More or less the Oregon trail. No pictures as I just drove.
Day 2 Ontario to Kemmerer, 496 miles
Headed out toward Boise which thankfully doesn’t have a rush hour. Idaho’s 80 miles per hour speed limit took us to US 20, driving through magnificent empty and agricultural lands. We had our first national monument of the trip, Craters of the Moon. Created by a huge volcanic eruption about 2,000 years ago, you get to see what you would see in Hawaii but in Idaho. Here is a picture of some trails in the park.
Lava and paths at Craters of the Moon National Monument
We finished the day in Kemmerer, Wyoming, the home of JC Penney.
Day 3 Kemmerer to Moab, 406 miles
First stop today, Fossil Butte National Monument. I didn’t even now it existed until Mrs. C noted it on the map. Pretty area, few visitors, and a great visitors center. As you drive to the visitors’ center, they lay out history in distance, so you start from the formation of the Earth a mile out and end up at the visitors’ center at today. Along the way they lay out the geographic and biological history of the Earth. Excellent content. We plan to return here someday. This is Fossil Butte:
A panorama of Fossil Butte