My daughter, Vienna, is planning to take her first road trip after her eighteenth birthday, less than five months away, and she's asked me to construct a list of essential road trip experiences. However, I've been a bit nervous about fulfilling that request. To me, any effort to define the perfect road trip experience will only reveal my ignorance, the places I haven't yet seen. My inclination is to wait another two or three decades until I'm sure I've traveled enough of the country. But as the philosophers say, I ought not let the perfect be the enemy of the good. So, here are five essential road trip experiences. Later on, I'll add more. In no particular order…
Drive a dusty stretch of Route 66, preferably west of Oklahoma City, while the trains roll alongside; listen to Nat King Cole's "Laura."
Visit a tacky tourist trap. Count the billboards on your way to Wall Drug in South Dakota.
Eat some genuinely sublime barbeque. Set your course for Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and gorge at Dreamland.
Drive through the southern Utah desert along the red rocks in the rain; listen to The Doors' "Riders on the Storm."
Stay at a classic Mom-and-Pop motel like the Blue Swallow in Tucumcari, New Mexico. In the twilight, find a metal chair and watch the cars roll by.
More to come…