Epic US Road Trip 2016 Introduction
I‘m no stranger to driving in the USA, the world’s ultimate road-tripping destination with over 4 million miles (6.5 million kilometres) of roads, the world’s longest and biggest road network: I’ve driven cross-country from LA to Washington DC (2003); I’ve slid around the wintry roads of Alaska (2013); I’ve tackled the record-breaking drives of the Hawaiian Islands (2003 & 2013); I’ve looped the US Southwest (2013); and a 2015 self-drive adventure around Puerto Rico, the US commonwealth in the steamy Caribbean, was a highlight of a trip to that particular Greater Antilles landmass. All road trips are enjoyable experiences – the radio provides the soundtrack, you’re never quite sure what’s around the next corner (or at the end of the latest seemingly endless stretch of road), & you’re always aiming to reach somewhere for the night that you rarely actually reach – but this upcoming US road trip should be the zenith of them all, the best yet. It’ll certainly be the biggest; running to 36 days guarantees there’ll be highlights aplenty. It’s an ambitious, maybe overly ambitious itinerary tied to a tight schedule. No doubt it’ll change as we drive, some expected highlights outshone by as yet unknown or unresearched ones. Who knows save only for the road itself, be they bog-standard State Highways, Scenic Byways, or All-American Roads. Buckle up. Enjoy the ride.
Epic US Road Trip 2016 In Numbers
National Parks Visited
National Scenic Byways Driven
All-American Roads Driven
Epic US Road Trip 2016 Picture of The Day Highlights Gallery
The State Capitol Building in Madison, Wisconsin, USA. August 28, 2016.
Cupola of the State Capitol Building in Madison, Wisconsin, USA. August 29, 2016.
The facade of the Cathedral of Saint Paul in Saint Paul, Minnesota, USA. August 30, 2016.
At the Grand View Terrace of Mount Rushmore National Memorial, Black Hills, South Dakota, USA. September 2, 2016.
Custer marker stone, Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument, Montana, USA. September 3, 2016.
Grand Prismatic Spring, Midway Geyser Basin, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, USA. September 4, 2016.
Mormon Row Grand Teton National Park Wyoming
Buildings on Mormon Row in Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming, USA. September 5, 2016.
Abandoned – 1955 DeSoto & church. Montpelier, Idaho, USA. September 6, 2016.
The Angel Moroni Statue atop the central spire of the Salt Lake Temple in Temple Square, Salt Lake City, Utah, USA. September 7, 2016.
The Bryce Amphitheater of Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah, USA. September 8, 2016.
At the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, Arizona, USA. September 9, 2016.
On the dusty Valley Drive in Monument Valley, Navajo Nation, southern Utah, USA. September 11, 2016.
Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado, USA. September 13, 2016.
Royals Vs. White Sox, Kauffman Stadium, Kansas City, Missouri, USA. September 16, 2016.
Main Street, Yazoo City, Mississipp, USA
Main Street Yazoo City, Mississippi, USA. September 19, 2016.
Cemetery, Vicksburg National Military Park, Mississippi
Vicksburg National Cemetery, Vicksburg National Military Park, Vicksburg, Mississippi, USA. September 20, 2016.
March Dexter Avenue Montgomery Alabama
International Day of Peace 2016 March on Dexter Avenue, Montgomery, Alabama, USA. September 21, 2016.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park,
Great Smoky Mountains National Park, North Carolina, USA. September 22, 2016.
Blue Ridge Parkway North Carolina
Early Autumnal scenes on a portion of the All-American Blue Ridge Parkway outside Asheville, North Carolina, USA. September 23, 2016.
Rhonda Vincent Rex Fest Galax Virginia
Rhonda Vincent & The Rage. Rex Fest, Galax, Virginia, USA. September 24, 2016.
Mabry Mill, Blue Ridge Parkway, Virginia.
Mabry Mill of the All-American Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia, USA. September 25, 2015.
Calumet Farm, Lexington, Kentucky.
Late afternoon shadows at Calumet Farm in Lexington, Kentucky, USA. September 26, 2016.
Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky
Ranger tour deep in Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky, USA. September 27, 2016.
The Homeplace, Rosine, Kentucky
The birthplace of Bluegrass Music. Bill Monroe’s Old Homeplace in the hills over Rosine, Kentucky, USA. September 28, 2016.
Arrival in Chicago
Completing the 26-state, 9,510-mile loop. Arrival by the shores of Lake Michigan in Chicago, Illinois, USA. September 29, 2016.
Cloud Gate Chicago Illinois
Cloud Gate, a.k.a. The Bean, in Millennium Park, Chicago, Illinois, USA. September 30, 2016.
Chicago at night
Chicago as seen from 360 Chicago, the viewing deck of the John Hancock Building. Chicago, Illinois, USA. October 1, 2016.
“It’s an ambitious, maybe overly ambitious itinerary tied to a tight schedule. No doubt it’ll change as we drive, some expected highlights outshone by as yet unknown or unresearched ones. Who knows save only for the road itself, be they bog-standard State Highways, Scenic Byways or All-American Roads. Buckle up & enjoy the ride.”
Epic US Road Trip 2016 Day-by-Day Overview
THE UPPER MIDWEST || Wisconsin & Minnesota
DAY 01 139 miles || Chicago’s O’Hare Airport to Madison, Wisconsin
DAY 02 302 miles || Madison to Saint Paul, Minnesota (via Pewit’s Nest State Natural Area & Prescott, Wisconsin)
DAY 03 259 miles || Saint Paul to Bemidji, Minnesota (via St Cloud, Brainard & Walker, Minnesota)
THE DAKOTAS || North & South Dakota
DAY 04 458 miles || Bemidji to Bismarck, North Dakota (via Grand Forks, Lakota & Rugby, North Dakota)
DAY 05 459 miles || Bismarck to Deadwood, South Dakota (via Fort Yates, North Dakota & Badlands National Park, South Dakota)
DAY 06 167 miles || Deadwood & The Black Hills (Mount Rushmore National Memorial & Crazy Horse Memorial)
THE NORTHERN ROCKIES || Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, & Northern Utah
DAY 07 354 miles || Deadwood to Billings, Montana (via Devil’s Tower & Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monuments)
DAY 08 262 miles || Billings to West Yellowstone, Montana (via the Beartooth Highway & Yellowstone National Park)
DAY 09 227 miles || West Yellowstone to Jackson, Wyoming (via Yellowstone National Park & Grand Teton National Park)
DAY 10 280 miles || Jackson to Salt Lake City, Utah (via Alpine, Wyoming; & Montpelier, Paris, & Bear Lake, Idaho)
THE RED SOUTHWEST || Southern Utah, Arizona & New Mexico
DAY 11 330 miles || Salt Lake City to Panguitch, Utah (via Brian Head & Cedar Breaks National Monument)
DAY 12 273 miles || Panguitch to Page, Arizona (via Bryce Canyon National Park, & Zion National Park)
DAY 13 307 miles || Page (Horseshoe Bend) & Grand Canyon National Park (North Rim)
DAY 14 175 miles || Page to Kayenta, Arizona (via Upper Antelope Canyon, Arizona & Monument Valley, Utah)
DAY 15 252 miles || Kayenta to Durango, Colorado (via Monument Valley, Utah, the Four Corners Monument, & New Mexico)
THE ROCKIES || Colorado
DAY 16 348 miles || Durango to Leadville, Colorado (via Wolf Creek Pass & Monarch Pass)
DAY 17 299 miles || Leadville to Estes Park, Colorado (via Independence Pass, Aspen, Berthoud Pass, & Rocky Mountain National Park)
THE GREAT PLAINS || Wyoming, Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri & Arkansas
DAY 18 307 miles || Estes Park to Cheyenne, Wyoming (via Laramie, Como Bluff, Medicine Bow, & Buford, Wyoming)
DAY 19 404 miles || Cheyenne to Burwell, Nebraska (via Scotts Bluff National Monument & Carhenge, Nebraska)
DAY 20 407 miles || Burwell to Kansas City, Missouri (via Spalding, Nebraska; SW Iowa; & Omaha, Nebraska)
DAY 21 286 miles || Kansas City to St Louis, Missouri
DAY 22 322 miles || St Louis to Memphis, Tennessee (via Dyess, Arkansas)
THE SOUTH || Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama & Georgia
DAY 23 308 miles || Memphis to Vicksburg, Mississippi (via Clarksdale, Yazoo City & Bentonia, Mississippi)
DAY 24 336 miles || Vicksburg to Prattville, Alabama (via Selma, Alabama)
DAY 25 297 miles || Prattville to Cornelia, Georgia (via Montgomery, Alabama & Stone Mountain, Georgia)
THE APPALACHIANS || Georgia, North Carolina, Virginia & West Virginia
DAY 26 261 miles || Cornelia to Asheville, North Carolina (via Helen & Brasstown Bald, Georgia & Great Smoky Mountains National Park, North Carolina)
DAY 27 200 miles || Asheville to Galax, Virginia (via the Blue Ridge Parkway)
DAY 28 004 miles || Galax, Virginia
DAY 29 354 miles || Galax to Lewisburg, West Virginia (via the Blue Ridge Parkway & Shenandoah National Park)
KENTUCKY & THE GREAT LAKES || Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana & Illinois
DAY 30 404 miles || Lewisburg to Lexington, Kentucky (via Chesapeake, Ohio; Cordell, Kentucky; & Sandy Hook, Kentucky)
DAY 31 241 miles || Lexington to Beaver Dam, Kentucky (via Lincoln Homestead State Park & Mammoth Cave National Park)
DAY 32 190 miles || Beaver Dam to Bloomington, Indiana (via Rosine & Owensboro, Kentucky)
DAY 33 282 miles || Bloomington to Chicago, Illinois (via Indianapolis, Indiana)
DAYS 34-36 017 miles || Chicago, Illinois
Epic US Road Trip 2016 Route Map
Start & finish point Chicago, Illinois (bouncing pin). Red lines mark the (mostly) anticlockwise/counterclockwise route. Map pins indicate overnight locations.
In The Rearview Mirror
National Parks || National Scenic Byways || All-American Roads
– Lonely Planet USA, 6th edition