February 23, 2012

TRAVEL TIPS: A Great American Adventure

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Few road trips compare with driving across the continental U.S. — the pinnacle of automotive adventure. When else can you see quiet New England Towns, horse-drawn carriages in Amish Country, metropolises like Chicago, the Great (and often boring) Plains and three national parks in one adventure?On way to my semester at a Co-Op with General Electric in Portland, Oregon, I knew the only way to explore the Pacific Northwest was to have my car out there with me. And so my trip began. My Dad and I stocked the always-temperamental PT Cruiser (yes, I drive a PT Cruiser, and yes, it’s turbocharged) with nuts, granola and fruit. You never know where the next food stop will be, and besides it’s better to ditch the GPS. Some female Aussie voice telling you when to turn just doesn’t sound right in South Dakota. Our first stop was Cedar Point Amusement Park, a place I’ve been dreaming about going since I was still a boy wet behind the ears. We drove 11 hours to Ohio and crashed at a hotel near the park. The Best Amusement Park in the World did not disappoint and is must-visit for cross-country travelers. We then cruised through the Midwest to save time for the national parks. Two important factors guided our choice of hotels — great continental breakfasts and AAA discounts. A hearty plate of waffles, eggs, fruit and yogurt works wonders on the road. And your AAA card isn’t just for emergencies, but saves big bucks at hotels, restaurants and amusements. The trip ended with daylong tours of Yellowstone and Glacier National Park. Whether or not you’re an earthy, crunchy outdoorsy type, seeing a national park (and as many as possible) is a necessity. If you can only hit one, visit Glacier National Park. Tucked away in northern Montana, Glacier doesn’t get as much attention as others, but it’s home to Big Sky: where the men are men, the women are scarce and the sheep are nervous. And for my dad and I, our drive was the perfect, opportune trip for men looking to be men. A cross-country road excursion, however, is an eye-opening adventure that should be on everyone’s bucket list.  Sam Jones is a junior in the College of Engineering and worked for GE in Portland, Oregon last semester. He may be reached at [email protected]. Notes from Abroad: Travel Tips appears on Thursdays.

Original Author: Sam Jones