WOMENNowhere in the world inspires road trips like America. The scenery, the ease of getting around on the open road, and the sheer size of the country, all make up a vast resort style unmatched: the RV world. Recreational vehicles come in many shapes and sizes, but are part of a $140 billion industry that is present almost anywhere in the United States. We are aiming to chart as much as possible over the next 12 months.
We invested in our own RV for the trip and are abandoning our usual Florida stomping ground to head north and west in search of sights, sounds and flavors of the open road throughout the year. We’re looking for national parks, forests and monuments as well as vast vistas of states like Wyoming, Montana, Utah, New Mexico, Arizona and the Dakotas, on a cruise – if we last long. speed – will be about 15,000 miles in total.
We won’t be visiting many cities, but we will focus on picturesque landscapes, wildlife and wilderness, highlighting the unique beauty essential to the question ‘Why? ‘ about why we travel. Best of all, we’ll show you how to take a great trip in America and discover a whole new way to appreciate the United States for yourself. Seatbelt…
Part One: Florida to Minnesota
“Welcome to UP,” smiled the cheery tollboy at Mighty Mac, the shimmering five-mile bridge connecting Michigan with the Upper Peninsula (UP) and dubbed the Eighth Wonder of the World. when it was inaugurated in 1957. Still the longest suspension bridge in the Western Hemisphere, the Mackinac Bridge marks the transition from the familiar to the unfamiliar.
Susan is from Michigan and has a solid knowledge of UP, but crossing the bridge in the passenger seat of a 36-foot, 11-ton Class A motorhome (a 9-year-old Winnebago Sightseer) was a complete experience. all new. . Simply put, with a 200-foot drop into the frigid waters of Mackinac Strait seemingly mere inches from her right shoulder, that’s a scary line.
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Here we are, however, into (relatively) uncharted territory, two RV newcomers and our old Labrador, armed with an RV GPS, some map books , various videos on how things work and full of enthusiasm.
Happily, the RV world is ready for us. This is an industry that offers a multitude of purpose-designed campsites, technology, and support. It has been in boom mode since the pandemic began and is arguably the best way to travel without worrying about accommodations, restaurants, and the age-old toilet bug. You simply drive, soak up the scenery as you travel, stop at an RV-specific camp – which has more than 15,000 camps across the US – and use it as a base for further exploration.
With all of that in mind, we combed through Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Indiana one by one in a busy week-long “troubleshooting” journey to figure out what we could. – and more importantly cannot – manage. We can fix a broken ceiling ventilation cap in Indiana. We couldn’t fix the packaged water heater in Kentucky and needed a technician when we arrived in Michigan.
We love the back roads of Georgia, where we drive for miles without seeing another car and bask in the scenery of the famous redlands and small farms that have made existence possible. at that word. We hate the highway that passes through Birmingham, Alabama, which seems designed to shake our poor RV to pieces.
Withdrawn from Harvest server – an organization that provides overnight RV accommodation on farms, breweries and wineries – we are delighted to be staying at a Pecan farm in Georgia; One charming winery in Tennessee; cute family farm in rural Indiana; and a Brewery in Michiganwhere we cheered our second week on the road with some great beers.
Overcoming the Mighty Mac is different. This is where things come true, where the wilderness is on our doorstep and we are one long way from home (1,427 miles to be exact). But this is what we set out to experience: the raw, natural side of the country.
To that extent, upper Michigan is the real starting point. based in Pictured Rocks Park RV in the town of Munising, we are at the gateway to Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, home to many superlative landscapes, equal parts The Last Mohican And Avenger.
This rugged Lake Superior shore is lined with exotic “painted” rock formations from minerals seeping out of sandstone cliffs and enveloped in deep pine and birch forests, where carpets of brilliant white trillium, hepatica green and yellow marigold create a botanical masterpiece on the tree; you can easily imagine Tom Bombadil of Tolkien gambling through the bushes. Hikers and cyclists are invited to explore extensively on land, while boat tours offer close-ups of the towering cliffs and dunes.
Towns like Marquette and Grand Marais offer their own frontier existence, the former still famous 130 years later as the main garrison in the huge iron ore business in the Great Lakes and the latter town is a destination for beautiful beaches in summer and outdoor sports Mecca in winter.
Beach, you said? That’s right, UP is surrounded by dozens of inviting stretches of sand, relic of the last Ice Age and ideal for a secluded paddleboard (provided you’re fit enough to make it through the frigid waters). Superior year-round rates). This is where we dined on pastry — a 19th-century delicacy left over from Cornish miners who were mass-recruited for the region’s booming iron ore mines — and fish. succulent perch and smoked whitefish, caught daily from the Great Lakes and year-round local staples.
Heading west, Minnesota took Michigan’s jungle image and ran with it on a larger scale than ever before. The Premium National Forest covers a whopping three million acres – roughly the size of Yorkshire – in a symphony of green, highlighted by picturesque, pristine lakes that seem to have been preserved. imported from Finland.
From Red Pine Campground Just west of Duluth’s mighty iron ore port, we cruised along North Shore Scenic Drive, marveling at waterfalls and views that revealed more ice age terrain, and explored Jay Cooke State Park, where the St Louis River has created a spectacular landscape. A series of waterfalls and rapids plunge violently into Lake Superior through a chaotic landscape of magnificent rock.
Inland, we gawked at the gargantuan Hull-Rust-Mahoning Mine in Hibbing (Bob Dylan’s childhood home), a testament to 128 years of open-pit iron ore mining. Eight miles long and nearly four miles wide, it reaches 535 feet deep and has been dubbed the Grand Canyon of the North. Neighbor Eveleth also had a surprise for us: a mural specifically dedicated to the town’s pivotal role in the U.S. national ice hockey league, which just happened to be a drawing. 1928 by Louis Prelesnik – Susan’s grandfather.
That ended the first month of our last US road trip. But we’re just getting started, with the Dakotas, Montana and the majesty of Yellowstone National Park next.
How to do it
- Before you move an inch, check out the full demo on how to plug your RV into electrical, water, and sewer outlets. Make a video about it and refer to it often.
- Don’t worry about the amount of noise an RV makes on the road. It would shake, rattle and roll with all sorts of creaks, whistles, and unexpected sounds. That is normal.
- Find an empty parking lot and practice backing into a prepared spot, which you’ll need to do at most campsites.
- Pack half of the clothes you think you’ll need. Most RVs have less cabinet space than you think. But definitely take insect repellent and use it.
The best RV companies
Ready to try RVing in the US? There are three companies to watch out for:
Read more about the best American hotel reviews