36 Days. 26 States. 9,510 miles. Epic Indeed.

“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.”

Image || Day 27 – Early Autumnal Scenes On The All-American Blue Ridge Parkway outside Asheville, North Carolina.

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.

The start & finish line. Completing the 26-state, 9,510-mile loop. Arrival by the shores of Lake Michigan in Chicago, Illinois. Day 34. September 29, 2016.

Epic US Road Trip 2016 In Numbers


National Parks Visited

Miles Driven

National Scenic Byways Driven

States Visited

All-American Roads Driven

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
|| THE UPPER MIDWEST || Wisconsin (WI): Madison, Pewit’s Nest. Minnesota (MN): Minneapolis & St Paul, Lake District (Walker & Bemidji). || THE DAKOTAS || North Dakota (ND): Rugby, Bismarck, Fort Yates. South Dakota (SD): Badlands National Park, Deadwood & The Black Hills (Mount Rushmore, Crazy Horse Memorial, Custer State Park (Peter Norbeck National Scenic Byway). || THE NORTHERN ROCKIES || Wyoming (WY): Devil’s Tower. Montana (MT): Little Bighorn Battlefield, Billings, Beartooth Highway. Wyoming (WY): Yellowstone National Park, Grand Teton National Park, Jackson. Idaho (ID): Montpelier, Paris, Bear Lake. Utah (UT): Logan Canyon National Scenic Byway, Salt Lake City, Panguitch & the Patchwork Parkway National Scenic Byway, Scenic Byway 12, Bryce Canyon National Park, Zion National Park. || THE SOUTHWEST || Arizona (AZ): Page, Grand Canyon National Park (North Rim), Kaibab Plateau-North Rim Parkway, Horseshoe Bend, Antelope Canyon, Four Corners Monument. Utah (UT): Monument Valley. || THE ROCKIES || Colorado (CO): San Juan Skyway, Durango, Top of the Rockies National Scenic Byway, Leadville, Aspen, Colorado River Headwaters National Scenic Byway, Trail Ridge Road/Beaver Meadow Road (Rocky Mountain National Park), Estes Park. || THE GREAT PLAINS || Wyoming (WY): Laramie, Medicine Bow, Cheyenne. Nebraska (NE): Scotts Bluff National Monument, Alliance (Carhenge), Burwell. Nebraska (NE): Spalding, Omaha. Missouri (MO): Kansas City, St. Louis. Arkansas (AR): Dyess. || THE SOUTH || Tennessee (TN): Memphis. Mississippi (MS): Mississippi Delta (Clarksdale, Yazoo City, Bentonia, Vicksburg). Alabama (AL): Selma, Selma to Montgomery March Byway, Prattville, Montgomery. Georgia (GA): Stone Mountain, Cornelia. THE APPALACHIANS || Georgia (GA): Helen, Russell-Brasstown National Scenic Byway. North Carolina (NC): Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Blue Ridge Parkway. Virginia (VA): Blue Ridge Parkway, Galax & the Crooked Road, Skyline Drive & Shenandoah National Park. West Virginia (WV): Lewisburg, Midland Trail. Ohio (OH): Ohio River National Scenic Byway. || KENTUCKY & THE GREAT LAKES || Kentucky (KY): Country Music Highway, Cordell, Sandy Hook, Lexington, Mammoth Cave National Park, Beaver Dam, Rosine, Owensboro. Indiana (IN): Bloomington, Indianapolis. Illinois (IL): Chicago.

National Parks || National Scenic Byways || All-American Roads

Forget all of your preconceptions. Take a look at America the way it really, truly is today; a land of limitless road trips, astonishing natural beauty and diverse multiethnic cities from coast to coast. Pay your respects to the heritage of Native American tribes, then explore the kitschy side of stateside life at oddball roadside attractions. Taste the American dream – sweet as apple pie, strong as homemade moonshine – for yourself.

– Lonely Planet USA, 6th edition

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