Top 10 Ways to See the Country
Written by: Catalogs.com Editorial Staff
August 8, 2011
Filed Under Vacations
Contributed by Tim Brugger, Catalogs.com Top 10 Guru
Getting out to see the country this summer, or any time for that matter, is generally time well spent.
It’s easy to forget sometimes that within our own borders we have some of the most amazing sights in the world, and people too.
From Niagra Falls, to bleak deserts and bustling cities, America has it all. If you’re of the mind it’s more about the journey than the destination, you’ll enjoy the following Top 10 Ways to See the Country.
Sure, it may lack a bit of the panache of some of the other items on our Top 10 list, but if you want your kids to enjoy the many wonders that are these United States without leaving the safe confines of your home, break out the old school View-Master. And not just any View Master mind you, go big with the 3D version. All your child will need are a few slides, a couple of candy bars and they’ll consider their summer a smashing success.
Too bad it’s gotten a bit more dangerous than it once was, because hitchhiking is a great way to see the country, and meet some interesting people. Case in point, on one trip from San Diego to Portland, Oregon I met a guy that flew with Chuck Yeager, a newly ordained priest who was questioning his decision (he was all of 23), a trucker who had passed me, then went up to the next off ramp, circled back around and finally picked me up and proceeded to spring for two, gigantic truck stop burgers. And that was before I’d even left the State of California.
If your imagination is bigger than your pocket book, try reading an old Louis L’Amour novel. His descriptions of the West give you an appreciation for all it’s beauty, and rubbing your backside like you’ve just spent too many hours in the saddle. If you’d prefer checking out some sun, Elmore Leonard’s descriptions of Florida will have you reaching for the SPF 94.
7. Omnimax Theater
Short on funds, with little to no imagination? Your nearest IMAX theater is likely playing one of their visually stunning rides across America. Riding the rapids in Colorado, and flying with paragliders from one end of the country to the next; it’s almost better than being there.
6. Stadium Tour
If money is no object (lucky you) and you happen to be a sports fan, one of the coolest ways to see the country is to hop from professional stadium to professional stadium. Whether it’s the NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, MSL or Arena Football (okay, that’s kind of lame), what a great excuse to visit the four corners of America.
For triathletes and the criminally insane, hopping a bike for a week-long tour of the coast or other areas around the nation will keep you close to nature while you check out the vistas. Not for the feint of heart, seeing the country on a well-outfitted road bike will take some preparation, both physically and mentally. But if you have the gumption, it’s got to be a blast. Oh, and let us know how it turns out; we’ll be at your final destination waiting for you with a cold one.
Road trips get a bad rap sometimes; the sound of kids screaming from trunk (they couldn’t be trusted in the back seat after the last ‘incident’), getting lost or hearing “are we there yet?” 6,000 times can wear a body down. But there are the leisurely drives through some of the most beautiful towns and scenery in the world to consider. And don’t forget about stopping whenever and wherever you want to take a picture, grab a bite or just exist; it gives you a sense of freedom like nothing else can.
Flying through the countryside on a train, ideally from the bar car, is one of the truly fantastic ways to see the country. There’s an immediate sense of nostalgia that only a train can instill. It has a number of other advantages as well; you have a full-time designated driver, there’s no need to ask anyone to pull over because you have certain needs that require immediate attention, and you can stand up and stretch any time you want to.
Some travelers may equate a trip to see the country in a motorhome akin to taking a hair dryer camping. While there may be some truth to that, the thought of sticking some wheels on your house and taking off for a few days or weeks sounds great to me. And the biggest expense will probably be the gas, because the hotel is all around you if you make sure the interior of your rv has all the comforts, it’s just a matter of finding a safe place to park.
This is the time of year it becomes clear why motorcycles are the #1 way to see the country. If you haven’t already, take a trip to your nearest recreational playground area, whatever that might be. You’d think the Hells Angels are doing reunion tours all across the land. There isn’t just a bike here and a bike there; it’s motorcycle pandemonium with 8, 10, and sometimes as many as 15 riding in a posse. Awesome.