Tag Archives: road trips

What does it mean to be “Out on the open road”?

If you’ve seen a lot of my previous posts you can tell I like road tripping, both the day and long distance variety. My favorite phrase and thing to say when describing such a trip, as you might have guessed, is being “out on the open road”. What has that phrase meant to me and what does it mean now?

It means…

…putting all things and worries aside for a while.

…enjoying the company of others (if with fellow roadtrippers).

…venturing to the unknown, leading to discovery.

Out on the open road. Lake Hawea - New Zealand.

…stopping to get gas every few hours.

…stopping at a service plaza/travel center and grabbing random snacks and beverages.

…while at the service plaza/travel center, grabbing all the travel brochures and magazines available.

Out on the open road. Tilbury, Ontario, Canada service plaza. Out on the open road. Tilbury, Ontario,   Canada service plaza.

…the floor of the car will fill up with the aforementioned empty snack wrappers, beverage bottles, travel brochures and who knows what else.

…radio stations will come and go on the dial.

…the windshield and front of the car will become engrossed in dead bugs.

…can I or can’t talk on the phone while driving where I’m at now?

…you’ll get stopped unexpectedly due to construction or the road will be shut all together.

…you’ll start singing 99 Bottles of Beer, driving other possible travelers crazy.

…if you drive along enough you’ll be in sunny skies, under clouds of all types, the rain, the dark night skies and who knows what else.

…you’ll want to stop and get out of the car ever two seconds to capture a photo.

Out on the open road. Town of Waihi, New Zealand.

…you’ll try to capture photos while driving. Not advisable. Tip: If a passenger on such a trip, snap away!

…you’ll be begging for a gas station, McDonald’s or a rest area at some point because you have to go.

…every mile further you get from home will be another mile you’ll have on the drive back.

…you’ll keep hearing the same Top 40 songs over and over again on the FM dial. Really need Sirius Satellite Radio. 🙂

…lots of tweets, Facebook posts and Instagram photos if you’re a social media geek like me. 🙂

…capturing the same photos with your camera and smart phone.

…stopping and doing goofy things in front of state and town welcome-to signs.

…I’m probably tired of saying “it means” haha.

…lots of tolls and parking meter fees if around a big city.

…getting excited watching the mile-to signs going down for a destination, meaning you’re getting closer.

Out on the open road. Heading east on South Island of New Zealand

…lots of Starbucks and/or random coffee house stops for fuel.

…expect the unexpected. Things will never go completely as planned.

Most importantly it means…

…lots more experiences to write about and share with the world and

…meeting great new people along the way and

…you’re traveling!

Gotta go. It’s time for The Adventures of Elatlboy to continue “out on the open road“!

Out on the open road. Southbound I-75 in central Ohio

What else comes to mind when you think (day) road trip?

How I Roll – The ABCs of Travel

I’ve been happily tagged by Leah of Leah Travels to take part in the ABC’s of travel series. Without further ado from A-Z:

Age you went on your first international trip:
I’ll say 11. A family road trip through Ontario and Quebec, with lengthy stays in Toronto and Montreal. The start of many trips to Canada in the years that followed.

Best (foreign) beer you’ve had and where:
I’m not a huge beer drinker, but I would say Monteith’s in New Zealand. Really took a liking to all of their varieties of beer when in Christchurch. Does the Crushed Pear Cider count too? Tasty. 🙂

Monteith’s Beer - New Zealand Monteith’s - New Zealand - Crushed Pear Cider

Cuisine (favorite):
Asian and Filipino. Always on the lookout for Asian and Filipino dining opportunities, a favorite being Japanese Hibachi. My favorite so far is Tokyo Steakhouse in Findlay, Ohio.

Japanese Hibachi - Tokyo Steakhouse, Findlay, Ohio

Destinations, favorite, least favorite and why:
No doubt New Zealand. You’ll see that throughout this post and in my writings in general. The fact that you can go from the rainforest to desert and from the prairie to the mountains in the blink of an eye is amazing. You want to constantly get out of your vehicle or off the bus and take pictures. Everyone is so nice too.

View of ... from Mt. Eden in Auckland, New Zealand

Sure there have been places I’ve liked more than others, but I can’t think of one that I would call my least favorite.

Event you experienced abroad that made you say “wow”:
Went to an outdoor wedding in Cancún, Mexico right along the Mar Caribe. Was in awe of the setting.

Favorite mode of transportation:
That’s a toss-up. The plane because that means long distance traveling. You also have the good old vehicle too for that random (day) road trip.

Greatest feeling while traveling:
Traveling means always seeing new places, new terrain, new weather, meeting new people and experiencing different cultures and food. The best feeling when in a new place is knowing that every time you turn the corner you’ll going to see something you’ve never seen before.

Hottest place you’ve traveled to:
The middle of the desert in California. No humidity, but boy that dry heat.

Incredible service you’ve experienced and where:
I’d say when I flew V (Virgin) Australia from Los Angeles to Sydney and Melbourne and back. The atmosphere and friendliness throughout was exceptional. When checking in at LAX, there was music playing, everyone was so nice and it felt more like hanging out versus the standard boring, undescriptive long lines and waiting around for your flight.

Journey that took the longest:
The aforementioned trip above. Twenty-four plus hour journey from the eastern United States, through Los Angeles, Sydney/Melbourne and on to Christchurch. 🙂

Royal Botanical Gardens - Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Keepsake from your travels:
The photos you get from those touristy places where you stand in front of a green background and they Photoshop in the background. You can then view and purchase your photos at the end of your time there. Some of the best pictures I have are from these because it’s usually with my family and loved ones.

Let-down sight, why and where:
Nothing comes to mind. Would have loved that I saw something new, even though it might not have lived up to its billing.

Moment where you fell in love with travel:
When I was a kid, we were always going on vacation with long road trips and lot’s of flights. I always remember being the navigator watching the travel signs everywhere and with all my maps in hand.

Nicest hotel you’ve stayed in:
The Hyatt Cancún Caribe Resort. It’s right along the beach and the crystal blue waters of the Mar Caribe. There were pools everywhere including a romantic one with beds on the water and the bar set-up with-in.

Hyatt Cancun Caribe Resort pool

Obsession—what are you obsessed with taking pictures of while traveling?:
Water and skylines. Be it the ocean, a river, lake, bay, or even a creek or puddles after it rains, a photo must be taken. I’m always looking to get skyline shots from as many places and angles as possible when in a big city. Just combine the two and wow.

Auckland, New Zealand skyline, harbour

Passport stamps, how many and from where?
A lot of stamps, but a lot are from the same places. I definitely need to increase the variety with more international travel in the future. 🙂

Quirkiest attraction you’ve visited and where:
I’d have to say Odette Sculpture Park along the Detroit River in Windsor, Ontario, Canada. Some interesting contemporary sculptures by some world-renowed artists. Down below is Morning Flight by Gerald Gladstone and Eve’s Apple by Edwina Sandy.

Morning Flight - Odette Sculpture Park - Windsor, Ontario, Canada Eve's Apple - Odette Sculpture Park - Windsor, Ontario, Canada

Recommended sight, event or experience:
Everyone needs to experience San Francisco. The Golden Gate Bridge, cable cars, China Town, the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood, Golden Gate Park, Pier 39, Fisherman’s Wharf and so much more. The city as an international feel, great scenery, amazing food and you’ll always find something great to do.

San Francisco, California skyline

Splurge; something you have no problem forking over money for while traveling:
Great food and coffee. Not at one coffee shop or restaurant/food stand, but I just try to experience as many local dishes and caffeinated beverages as possible when traveling. Finding great pizza seems to be the latest thing.

Touristy thing you’ve done:
Every trip will include some touristy stuff. The tourist in me grabs every brochure and map from rest areas, stores and tourist centers and attractions.

Unforgettable travel memory:
A family road trip when I was younger to New England via Canada. My dad and I tried New England clam chowder from every place we could find on Cape Cod. Also lots of time in Boston, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Hampshire and Vermont. It was also the last trip in which my grandmother came which made it even more memorable.

Visas, how many and for where:
Not to many, definitely need to increase that in the future as well!

Wine, best glass of wine while traveling and where?
Several choices I could give from the various wineries in the North Georgia wine country. Will go with a glass of 2009 Montaluce Dolce at Montaluce Vineyards.

Montaluce Vineyards - North Georgia wine country Montaluce Vineyards - North Georgia wine country

eXcellent view and from where?:
The view of the skyline, stadiums, hills, leaf colors and the three rivers of Pittsburgh from up-top the Duquesne Incline and the Mt. Washington neighborhood. You can drive, but the best way to get to the top and the views is by going up in the historical cable cars.

Pittsburgh - Duquesne Incline, Mt. Washington

Years spent traveling?:
From as far back as I can remember. Lot’s of family trips growing up. Traveling solo for the most part since the college years.

Zealous sports fans and where?:
That’s a tough one. I’ve had the chance to attend MLB and NFL games in many stadiums over the years. I’d say the dog pound in the original Cleveland Stadium back in the 1980’s and early 90’s. They were especially zealous against the Steelers and the John Elway lead Broncos. Lots of passion for their team there. 🙂

What a great travel exercise. Just as I was tagged, I get to tag others. So…

Karla at travellersoul76
Deej at The World of Deej
Tiffany at The Good Travel Life

TAG! Your it!

A travelers thoughts on checking-in.


Foursquare. Gowalla. BrightKite. Yelp. Your reading about these terms, you hear people talking about them, but what are they? Basically these are social technologies that allow you to (check-in) let people know where you are and in the process your winning badges, smack talk rights, points, sometimes even promotions from places that you visit. This phenomenon is still relatively new so both individuals and businesses are still figuring out how to most effectively use these technologies.

I’ve used Gowalla a little bit, but Foursquare is my choice because it’s the most well-known, popular and I find it easy to use.

How am I using these technologies? As people that follow me on Twitter and Foursquare know, I tend to check-in a lot more when traveling then when at home, sometimes going overboard. Why do I do that? What is my goal? Basically to showcase what a certain place has to offer. I’ve “somewhat” lost interest in the day-to-day checking in a lot around home and gathering mayor ships. Believe me, I still check in and give shout outs to great places around home, but I’d rather have a variety of check-ins in different towns, states, even countries just to highlight great places to check out. I’m sure no one is interested in my daily gas station, fast-food, grocery and errand habits anyways.

New York Welcome to Sign - I-90 North

When traveling my favorite check-in spots include welcome to signs, coffee houses, tourist attractions, sports stadiums, unique restaurants/bars, parks, river fronts, piers, anything around water for that matter. Just checking in at these places is not enough. I love adding a water photo shot, a great meal tip, something special that will make someone else want to experience the same thing.
I’ve definitely got the parks, stadiums and water shots covered in the Foursquare screen shot below on a recent trip through Tennessee.

Using Foursquare when traveling.

The day road trip. My staple. On these, I’ll check-in usually only on the way to a destination. I find no reason to check back in at the same places, trying to collect mayor ships unless there is more to see. On a recent day venture I checked in at the same park in Cleveland to and from because I wanted day and night photos.

When traveling, contrary to my statement above, I will check-in at a gas station or fast food joint, especially on long distance trips. It’s to let followers know where I’m going and passing through. Sometimes I’ll drive through a whole state and that’s my only chance to give them a shout out.

How about when flying? Airports are a must. They show your on the move, ready to travel. I check-in at the airport itself and usually a restaurant within. I just laugh at all the gates, bathrooms and seats that have been checked in at. Do people really to be that specific with their check-ins?

So next time I’m out on the open road, I’m sure you’ll see me checking in a lot, shouting, tweeting while taking photos. Maybe I’ll see you out there.