If I Were Planning An Epic American Road Trip…

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I’m in the midst of writing a road trip book right now, and it was ridiculously fun to plan my main character’s route across the country. So I thought today I’d share a few of the gems I discovered—places I hadn’t heard of before, but which have been given a place on my “someday” list. (Although only one of these made my book. Want to guess which one?)

There are quite a few “soul food” places, of course. I was surprised at how many I hadn’t heard of, given that I’ve taken multiple trips to these areas of the country:

Antelope Canyon (Arizona):

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Photo by Moyan_Brenn, via Flickr

And The Wave, also in Arizona. Who knew there was more awe-inspiring beauty in this state than the Grand Canyon? (Probably everyone except me, but there you go.)

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Photo by Moon Howler 97321, via Flickr

Oneonta Gorge, Oregon:

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Photo by Sarah McDevitt, via Flickr

And there’s Hamilton Pool, in Texas:

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Photo by Knowsphotos, via Flickr

There are historical locations like Taos Pueblo, in New Mexico, where residents still live a traditional Native American life. (But Fodors had me at “fry bread”):

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Photo by Phillip Capper, via flickr

Then there are the quirkier locations, which were a whole lot of fun to explore. There’s a great site and app called “Roadside America,” which has done the work for you. Check it out, but do it when you have some time to kill, because this site is the rabbit hole of all rabbit holes.

Ft. Worth Stockyards

Photo by Jeremy Wilburn, via Flickr

Photo by Jeremy Wilburn, via Flickr

The “Enchanted Highway,” North Dakota.

One of the sculptures along the Enchanted Highway. Image by drewweber, via Flickr.

One of the sculptures along the Enchanted Highway. Image by drewweber, via Flickr.

Because sometimes cheesy looks kind of fun: the Gunfighters Wax Museum (Dodge City, KS)

Photo by TravelKS, via Flickr

Photo by TravelKS, via Flickr

It also seems like it might be a fun thing to take a spin through Casey, Illinois, which seems to boast an inordinate number of the “world’s largest,” to wit: wind chime, golf tee, knitting needles, crochet hook, rocking chair, mailbox, and pitchfork.

But this one is my favorite: the UFO Watchtower, in Hooper, CO

Photo by anyjazz65, via Flickr.

Photo by anyjazz65, via Flickr.

 

In Gold Field, Nevada, there’s an art car parking lot:

Photo by what's_the_frequency, via Flickr

Photo by what’s_the_frequency, via Flickr

And finally, closer to home is this: the Billion Gallon Lake, formed in the defunct Bonne Terre mine in south Missouri: (You can scuba dive here, too, and see the mining equipment abandoned there. How cool is that?)

Photo by The_Gut, via Flickr

Photo by The_Gut, via Flickr

So what other beautiful, quirky, or just plain fun places should I add to my list?

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