Archive for the ‘road trip!’ Category
Full disclosure: I couldn’t care less about Elvis Presley. But as a dutiful Amurrican tourist, I went to visit Memphis to pay my respects to the King. Staying at the Graceland RV Park in the shadow of Heartbreak Hotel is convenient, and everyone seems to be having fun. Graceland is a happy place—like Pisa in Italy, clogged with souvenirs—where everything is all Elvis all the time.
You gotta love huckster-slash-enthusiast Robert W. Limbert. Originally a taxidermist from Boise, Limbert saw great potential (and fame and fortune for himself) when he first explored desolate Craters of the Moon in Idaho. He was tireless in his belief that ‘Craters would be the premier tourist attraction in the country. As you can see from the many available campsites, that dream did not come to pass.
Native Idahoans, feel free to disagree. Like much of the Lower 48, Idaho is a place that one begrudgingly passes through on the way to someplace else. But thanks to the Harvest Hosts program, I’m warming up to Idaho. There’s a nice little wine region northwest of Boise by the Snake River.
Those taking a more northwesterly route home on I-94 from Alumapalooza won’t visit Hastings, but they might Airstream through “The Buffalo City”—Jamestown, North Dakota.
One could fall asleep at the wheel slogging the width of North Dakota. It’s 340 miles with no attractions (unless you count the peculiar Enchanted Highway and world’s largest plastic cow). Jamestown appears like a magical oasis halfway between Bismarck and Fargo when dad needs to crack his back, the kids need a corn dog, and mom needs a pee break.
Are you returning home from Alumapalooza westbound on I-80? After 13 hours on the road you’ll need a break. Take the half hour detour to Hastings, Nebraska, home of Kool-Aid.
Deep within the bowels of the Hastings Museum, past the antique cars and taxidermied coyotes, remains every possible relic from the Kool-Aid years, circa 1927 to the present. You’ll learn about nerdy young Edwin Perkins, who began his snack drink empire in his mother’s Nebraska kitchen.
I polled everyone with the question, “where should I camp in Palm Springs?” Okay, I asked three people. But all three, without hesitation, immediately said “Happy Traveler”.
All then followed that recommendation with “you’ll need reservations, and it’s probably full.” Ralph, responsible for the destinations and tactics of our southwest road trip, called Happy Traveler RV Park well in advance…and conscientiously booked a reservation for the wrong nights.
We discovered the error on our way there when Ralph called to confirm our arrival, days later than he reserved. “Don’t worry, we’ll figure something out,” said Mike, the manager.
I’ve been to Reno many times and I’m always surprised to see how it morphs. Suddenly there’s a mega mall where an empty lot just was (and vice versa), and long-standing businesses fade away. One particular megacasino has changed hands six times since 1974. And always opening and closing are an assortment of ethnic markets.