In 2015, I did a road trip out west. I knew that my destination was going to be Salt Lake City, UT, and I would be going up to Yellowstone on my way back. But I wanted to see some interesting places on the way out there.
I figured out my general route, then flipped open the atlas, and looked for interesting looking attractions along the way.
I found two places in Colorado that I’d never heard of, but which had intriguing names. They would take me a little farther south than I needed to go, but that was ok with me. I wanted to see things.
I tried to see if the places seemed interesting, without actually learning too much about them.
No spoilers, and all that.
Honestly though, I wanted to be surprised, and hopefully impressed when I actually arrived there, instead of knowing what they’d be like. I know it’s a little weird, and it is usually smarter to get an idea of where you’re going, but that was how this trip was happening.
Did I mention that I planned my route on a Thursday and left on the trip that following Saturday?
Yep…It’s fun. Give it a try sometime.
The first place which caught my eye was the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve.
I mean, sand dunes in the middle of Colorado? I was curious…
And then, not too far away, there was something called the Black Canyon of the Gunnison. Sounded interesting. And was pretty well on my way once I left the sand dunes.
I was even more careful about finding out about the Black Canyon than I was about the dunes. I knew it was a canyon, and I knew it was in CO, and that was pretty much the extent of it.
I packed my car, and got ready to leave, and Saturday, around 1 pm, I was off.
I don’t know that I would suggest this manner of trip planning as a general rule, but it’s worth a try at least once.
Especially if you are road tripping in your own country, where you know you can get wifi and figure things out if your trip goes a little differently than planned.
Take an atlas with you, just in case your phone and/or gps is not getting service, and be ready to change your plans if you need to.
Try winging it on a trip, and see what happens. If you like it, do more trips like that. If you don’t like it, you’ve learned something that you shouldn’t do again.
But however you feel about it at the end of the trip, be sure that you remember the good more than you remember the bad. You’ve traveled, and you’ve had adventures. I’m sure there was good in there somewhere.
If you have been putting off traveling because you don’t know where to start planning a long trip, taking a chance and winging it may help you to get a better idea of what planning is needed. It might even catapult you into bigger trips.
I would suggest getting your car thoroughly checked out before leaving, but otherwise, don’t be too worried. If you’re traveling in the States, you’re never too far from a Wal-Mart if you decide you need something.
And, for those who like to know what to expect, I will be posting about both of these destinations, and other places I’ve liked. Those posts coming soon.