Tag Archives: road trip

An Updated Ten Travel Tips for a Day Road Trip

It’s almost time to get out on the open road on a day road trip. Have you planned ahead? Spontaneity and just getting into the car and going can lead to some great trips no doubt. However there are some things that you should take into consideration before and during your roadie.

Day road trip tips - The Adventures of elATLboy.com

It’s been five years since I wrote my original post on this. The basics have stayed the same. A lot has changed though in terms of technology and in me getting more perspective from additional time on the road. Below is an update on my post and the day road trip tips I have found helpful.

1. Check the weather. The days leading up to a road trip and/or right before you get in the car, head to The Weather Channel website or app and check the forecast. You could also do a simple search like “Charleston weather” in Google, quickly becoming informed. Hmmm let’s see… winter storm? Maybe I should venture there tomorrow instead.

Day road trip tips - check the weather

Follow the weather on your phone throughout your adventure as well. You’ll increase the chances of not running into a sheet of ice (been there), high winds or getting caught up in a deluge of rain. You might change course on the spot. Who knows that could lead to an unexpected adventure and you’ll be safer.

Additional Tips: While you are at it check for major construction along with Googling “<NAME OF DESTINATON> traffic”.

2. Get a good night sleep. A day road trip could last a full 24 hours or more. I look at it like this. The longer you make the day, the further you can travel away from home and double back, meaning the more you can see. I love taking advantage of the extended daylight hours in the summer. If the sleep thing doesn’t work out then you are going to need…

3. …fuel, I mean coffee! Bring some from home. If desperate grab some at a travel center or truck stop ha-ha. As the day goes on make sure to refuel at indie, mom and pop coffee shops along the way. At least that’s my philosophy. I love experiencing something new, sometimes getting tips on things to do from bulletin boards or the locals sipping java inside. Drip Drop Drink in Muskegon is my-go when exploring the beach towns along Lake Michigan in Pure Michigan.

4. Charge, charge, charge. It’s not just you that needs to be fully charged. Make sure your Galaxy 7 or iPhone X and camera are ready to go. You will want to have enough juice to take pictures, post to Snapchat, Instagram live stories, ask for advice on Twitter, etc. Have those chargers and spare batteries, along with a portable power pack or two handy. A lot of people have USB ports in their vehicles these days. Bonus for getting extra juice while you are driving!

5. Fully stock your vehicle. Learning from experience, I make sure to have a blanket, bottled water, extra clothes, wind-shield washer fluid, flashlight, jumper cables, spare tire, emergency snack food, etc. Also check your oil and other fluids, along with your tires.

Day road trip tips - have a spare tire, windshield washer fluid, jumper cables

6. Have navigation help. Some people use Gladys (GPS), but many more gravitate to Google maps on their phone these days. The key is to have them available. Back to the word spontaneity. Make sure to put all navigational aids away at times for adventure sake. When I personally seek help I still like having my trusty, old-fashioned atlas alongside. The Waze app can help here as well.

7. Bring cash including change. You never know when you’ll need it for tolls and parking meters. When you call for help to fix a flat tire or for general road-side assistance, a lot of the time cash is the only payment option.

8. Hit the road on an empty stomach. You can snack and have your coffee, but be hungry and ready to eat so you can try some local cuisine. It’s not a day for McDonald’s or hitting up the vending machine at a rest area. How about a stop at Skyline Chili when road tripping through Cincinnati along I-75?! As far as chains go I will allow stopping at a random Waffle House ha-ha. Some of my best day road trip memories started or ended there.

Day road trip tips - stop at a Waffle House

9. Wear comfortable clothes and walking shoes. Hopefully there will be lots of getting out of the vehicle to explore. Some jogging, hiking and climbing could be in order. I once traveled fifteen miles on foot while in the heart of Chicago. With the cost of parking in a big city it’s better to centrally park and use public transportation or walk to everything.

10. Even with planning as described in the tips above make sure to have semi-plans. In other words be out there on the open road with an open mind. There it is yet again, my word of the day, spontaneity. Of course there will be places you marked to experience. You must also be willing to get sidetracked with random finds. The unexpected can be the most gratifying.

day road trip tips - lake mead, las vegas, nevada

Checkout my original day road trip tips post.

Any other day road trip recommendations? I can’t wait to see all of you out on the open road.

The 2017 Edition of Autumn in Pure Michigan

Another Autumn has come and gone here in Pure Michigan and the Midwestern US. Most of Fall was unusually warm. Between that and being out of town during the heart of the season, I wasn’t able to experience the fall colors as much as in years past.

I did have a chance to sneak out and venture around Ann Arbor, Brighton and the western suburbs of Detroit a little bit. It doesn’t matter where you are in the state, it seems the beautiful colors will be right in front of you. Well without further ado:

n 2017 - Huron Meadows Metropark in Brighton

Huron Meadows Metro Park in Brighton. An annual stop.

n 2017 - Out on the open Livingston County dirt road

You never know the scenes that await while driving random dirt roads. From Livingston County.

n 2017 - Out on the open Ann Arbor area dirt road

Off to the dirt roads it is around Ann Arbor.

n 2017 - Huron River Drive in Ann Arbor

Out on the open Huron River Drive in Ann Arbor. My recommended Fall drive in these parts.

n 2017 - Huron River Drive in Ann Arbor

Out on the open Huron River Drive in Ann Arbor. My recommended Fall drive in these parts.

n 2017 - Huron River Drive in Ann Arbor

Out on the open Huron River Drive in Ann Arbor. I’m repeating myself. I just this drive!

n 2017 - Out on the open Livingston County dirt road

You never know the scenes that await while driving random dirt roads. From Livingston County.

n 2017 - Early morning frost

The leaves and I are taking in the early morning frost.

n 2017 - Early morning frost

The leaves and I are taking in the early morning frost.

n 2017 - Early morning frost

The colors were really popping out in Brighton, Michigan.

n 2017 - Huron River, Ann Arbor

The Huron River is on the move to capture Fall in Ann Arbor.

n 2017 - Huron River, Ann Arbor

Argo Park Autumn views along the Huron River in Ann Arbor.

n 2017 - Huron River, Ann Arbor

Argo Park Autumn views along the Huron River in Ann Arbor.

n 2017 - Ann Arbor residential fall scene

Residentaial drives are a must this time of the year in collegetown Ann Arbor.

n 2017

Random dirt road driving is a must during the Fall season.

Pure Michigan Autumn 2017 - Brighton State Recreation Area

Reflecting on the season at the Brighton State Rrecreation Area.

Pure Michigan Autumn 2017 - Brighton State Recreation Area

Reflecting on the season at the Brighton State Rrecreation Area.

Pure Michigan Autumn 2017 - Brighton State Recreation Area

The colors and I are taking in the dawn sky at Bishop Lake.

Pure Michigan Autumn 2017 - Brighton State Recreation Area

The colors and I are taking in the dawn sky at the Brighton State Recreation Area.

Pure Michigan Autumn 2017 - Huron River in Ann Arbor

Looking down the Huron River at Ann Arbor’s Bandemer Park.

Pure Michigan Autumn 2017 - Huron River in Ann Arbor

Looking down the Huron River at Ann Arbor’s Bandemer Park.

Pure Michigan Autumn 2017 - Ann Arbor, Michigan Stadium

Michigan Stadium straight ahead. It only take one Fall tree or two to make a beautiful scene.

n 2017 - Hines Drive in Metro Detroit

It’s a great time for the kids to hit the playground like here in western Wayne county.

Pure Michigan Autumn 2017 - Hines Drive in Metro Detroit

Out on the open Hines Drive in Northville.

n 2017 - Huron River Drive in Ann Arbor

Back to Huron River Drive I go. The route takes you from Ann Arbor to Dexter.

n 2017 - Barton Nature Area, Huron River, Ann Arbor

Starring out down the Huron River at the Barton Nature Area in Ann Arbor.

Pure Michigan Autumn 2017 - Hines Drive in Metro Detroit

Reflecting on the colors of Newburgh Lake in Livonia.

Pure Michigan Autumn 2017 - Hines Drive in Metro Detroit

The Autumn leaves of Hines Drive in Metro Detroit.

Pure Michigan Autumn 2017 - Hines Drive in Metro Detroit

The Autumn leaves of Hines Drive in Metro Detroit.

Check some scenes I captured last year in The 2016 Edition of Autumn in Pure Michigan.

Where have you gone around home or in your travels to capture this years Fall colors?

Cruising Along Lake Michigan in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula

Is the Michigan summer open road taking you to Mackinac Island or just into the Upper Peninsula and St. Ignace? If so, take some time to drive westbound U.S. Route 2, one of the major east-west drives in the U.P. Once you are about ten miles off I-75 and the Mackinac Bridge you will find yourself along the Lake Michigan shoreline.

U.S. Route 2, Lake Michigan shoreline - Upper Peninsula, Michigan

You will be on a part of the official Lake Michigan Circle Tour. For miles and miles it will be just lake, beach, sand dunes and brush straight ahead. The brush along the road is narrow, along with the beach that snugs the northern shore of the Great Lake.

U.S. Route 2, Lake Michigan shoreline - Upper Peninsula, Michigan

There are plenty of places to park the car alongside the road to walk the beach. Despite being here in the middle of the summer, I had the scenery all to myself.

U.S. Route 2, Lake Michigan shoreline - Upper Peninsula, Michigan

U.S. Route 2, Lake Michigan shoreline - Upper Peninsula, Michigan

Well without further ado, some more pics of my time out on the open road in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan:

U.S. Route 2, Lake Michigan shoreline - Upper Peninsula, Michigan

U.S. Route 2, Lake Michigan shoreline - Upper Peninsula, Michigan

U.S. Route 2, Lake Michigan shoreline - Upper Peninsula, Michigan

U.S. Route 2, Lake Michigan shoreline - Upper Peninsula, Michigan

U.S. Route 2, Lake Michigan shoreline - Upper Peninsula, Michigan

U.S. Route 2, Lake Michigan shoreline - Upper Peninsula, Michigan

U.S. Route 2, Lake Michigan shoreline - Upper Peninsula, Michigan

U.S. Route 2, Lake Michigan shoreline - Upper Peninsula, Michigan

U.S. Route 2, Lake Michigan shoreline - Upper Peninsula, Michigan

What lake side drives are your favorites? Any in Michigan?

Things Learned After Spending Time in New Zealand

Up until 2009 I had traveled a lot, but it was confined to places all over the United States and Canada, with a little time in Mexico. All of this changed that year when I headed abroad for the first time. In fact I was headed to the other side of the world and New Zealand for an extended period of time.

Auckland skyline from afar in New Zealand

Upon arriving at Auckland Airport I immediately started noticing not just the big differences compared to home in the states, but the small. During that trip and my subsequent time in New Zealand here are some of the things that I have learned:

  • Gotta make sure to look to the right first before crossing the street.
  • Hitchhiking is common a way to get around and a pretty safe one. Picked one up, helping them get from A to B, with a lot of great conversation in-between.
  • To do the above, had to experience driving on the other side of the road. That was the biggest transition.
  • I’m not walking into a convenience store to grab some drinks and snacks, but a dairy.
  • A New Zealand Dairy in Auckland

  • Speaking of dairies, them along with gas stations and in every other place it seems you will find a display case of meat pies ready for consumption. The steak and cheese yum!
  • New Zealand meat pies

  • You want to wash that pie down with a V Energy Drink a.k.a. fuel for more road tripping. Why don’t they carry those outside of NZ and Australia haha?! 🙂 🙂
  • When getting a different kind of fuel, Burger Fuel, the fries you are getting are Kumara, not sweet potato.
  • I’m not grabbing a beer at the restaurant/bar, but a pint. To this day even at home when I want a beer I find myself asking for a pint.
  • When at the restaurant/bar there is no tipping, you don’t give payment to the waiter and there is no seating available at the bar.
  • Continuing on with the food, it’s frites not fries. Oh and can I have some aioli with those! What’s ketchup? People call it tomato sauce.
  • When I visit I am not on a vacation, but on holiday.
  • Here a sheep, there a sheep, everywhere a sheep sheep.
  • More mingling with the New Zealand sheep

  • It’s rugby, rugby, rugby over here. I quickly got drawn in to the All Blacks National rugby union team. Was very excited when they won the 2015 Rugby World Cup in London.
  • The further south you go the colder it gets.
  • It’s January and the sun is out until after 9 pm.
  • I quickly Learned not to not close your eyes when road tripping, the terrain changes fast. We’re in the rain forest, wait the mountains, wait the prairie, wait I see a glacier.
  • It is really as pretty and magical as Lord of the Rings depicts it to be. You never know what lies straight ahead.
  • Heading towards the Franz Glacier in New Zealand

  • I discovered for myself what all the chatter was about involving the Queenstown Fergburger. Delicious.
  • Roundabouts you are starting to see here-and-there in the states, in New Zealand they are just a way of life.
  • I’ve already said it a couple of times in this post, people refer to the US as “The States”.
  • Stay at hostel, not a hotel. Who knows who you’ll meet, where they will be from and what kinds of great memories you will make.
  • Most importantly, everyone is so friendly. I don’t recall ever having a bad interaction with anyone.

It was great learning about, experiencing and seeing the differences between home and somewhere outside North America. I look forward to uncovering more in New Zealand and beyond.

Have you ever been to New Zealand? If so, what are some of the differences you noticed from home?

A Muskegon Morning Lake Michigan Beach Walk

A while back I got in the car in the dark and road-tripped a couple of hours to Hoffmaster State Park on the West Side of Michigan. I arrived on the parks Lake Michigan beach about an hour after sunrise.

Why the early start to the day? The pictures say it all. Warm it was not so I had the state parks three miles of beach along the Great Lake all to myself. I hung out with the sand dunes, blue sky and cold Lake Michigan waters as I walked. 🙂

Hoffmaster State Park beach walk along Lake Michigan in Muskegon

Hoffmaster State Park beach walk along Lake Michigan in Muskegon

Hoffmaster State Park beach walk along Lake Michigan in Muskegon

Hoffmaster State Park beach walk along Lake Michigan in Muskegon

Hoffmaster State Park beach walk along Lake Michigan in Muskegon

Hoffmaster State Park beach walk along Lake Michigan in Muskegon

Hoffmaster State Park beach walk along Lake Michigan in Muskegon

Hoffmaster State Park beach walk along Lake Michigan in Muskegon

Hoffmaster State Park beach walk along Lake Michigan in Muskegon

Hoffmaster State Park beach walk along Lake Michigan in Muskegon

Hoffmaster State Park beach walk along Lake Michigan in Muskegon

Where else in Michigan would you recommend going for an early morning beach walk along Lake Michigan?