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Although I have always been a “homebody” in a sense and have always wanted to put down roots in one place for my kids, there is a huge part of me that loves to road trip, and I’m mean full-on, stop-at-every-kitschy-diner-and-national-park kind of trip. I don’t think my husband realized what he had gotten into when we got married and a week later hopped in our truck and drive across the country from Georgia to Utah. When we got to Kentucky, there was the first, big, beautiful, 1970’s brown sign heralding some kind of road-side tourist spot that we knew nothing about but I insisted we pull over. That one wasn’t the most fun, but ya win some you lose some, and I was ready to pull off at another one four miles later. He wouldn’t let me pull over at all of them, if I had, our trip would have taken weeks, but you get the point. I love everything about road-tripping. In fact, in college I really wanted to go on tour with a band just working the merchandise table or something so that I could live out on the road for awhile. That’s my kind of scene.
When I road-trip, I don’t like having a schedule, I don’t like having a set anything. The whole fun of a road trip is being able to pull over and take pictures with a giant sombrero left out in the desert, or get boiled peanuts from a little stand on the side of the road, or drive down a dusty back-road just to see what is there and not worry about being in a hurry. I make the drive to and from my parents lake property at least 30 times a year and I still like turning off the roads I know sometimes just to see what’s there. You see the coolest things and meeting the nicest people when you’re just having fun and not worried about hurrying from point A to point B.
When you hear the word “road-trip” isn’t that exactly what comes into your mind? The windows down, friends in the car, rolling down an old highway with the radio turned up? Me too. I’ve been so, so lucky to get to do some amazing road trips with friends and family and have seen a lot of the USA, although I still have so much more to see, and our truck has been our means of finding all those amazing places. In a few weeks we’re going to road-trip to the beach, and I’ve been getting the truck ready, cleaning it out and getting the oil changed to get it ready to roll. The last thing you want to happen is for your car to get worn out or break down. I took the truck to our Walmart Auto Center and got the Quaker State ® Do-It-For-Me oil change for just $19.88. It was super quick while I shopped for snacks, and I’m ready for another 3,000 miles of open road. Quaker State ® Advanced Durability Motor Oil gives you more durability so your car will be ready for this road trip, and all the ones you take in the future. Quaker State gives your twice the protection, so you can travel twice as many cool places!
1. Hit the beach. Fall is the best time to go to the beach because all the kids go back to school, the fraternities and sororities are back at college, and it’s not quite as hot. Crab and Lobster fishing is at it’s peak in the fall (at least here in GA), and for most hotels the fall is not considered a peak time, so their prices are cheaper but the air is plenty warm to have fun. My favorite beaches to visit in the fall are St. Simons Island, or nearby Jekyll. They both have white sandy beaches and neat communities. St. Simons is very small and so most of the businesses on the island are run by locals. Jekyll is mostly un-developed and is probably the prettiest beach I’ve ever been to, with miles of beach with low, sprawling, Southern Oaks on the edge of the sand and Spanish Moss hanging down as shade. It’s beautiful.
2. The Mountains When the Leaves Change. Yes, here in the South we’ve got leaves turning beautiful oranges and yellows all over the place, but there’s something special about driving those narrow, winding mountain roads surrounded by beautiful leaves and waterfalls coming out of the side of mountains. I’ve been lucky to have driven through the Smoky Mountains twice during fall, but it’s been far too long. One of my favorite spots to roadtrip to in the fall is Mentone, Alabama. It’s got a cute little hippie town with amazing mom and pop restaurants and then right on Lookout Mountain is the most amazing waterfall, DeSoto Falls. Imagine a 100 foot waterfall surrounded by fall leaves; it is well worth the drive.
3. Apple Picking. Now, for some people, Apple Picking might not require a road-trip, but we live far enough South that it’s a good 6 hour round-trip drive to the closest apple orchard, so it’s definitely a road-trip. Find some cute farmer’s stands on the side of the road to grab snacks for the drive and hit the open road! Apple’s are ripe early enough that you can have those windows rolled down and not get cold, win win!
4. See a historic sight. There’s a small window of time each year where visiting historical sights like Revolutionary War forts, old bridges, and Dinosaur tracks are actually enjoyable to go see. Most really old sights have no heat or a/c, and so in the summer it is way too hot, and in the winter it’s cold and they’re covered in snow. Fall is a great time to go see some really great history, and if it is outside, it’s usually free. Side note: While fall is also a great time to do genealogy and find family graves (since they are easier to find without all the leaves on the trees), keep in mind that hunting season has started, and it’s not the best idea to go wandering around in the woods during hunting season. Just sayin’. You’d be surprised how many people do that without thinking about it.)
5. Go to a Concert in Another City. While summer is peak season for music festivals and fairs, most artist tour through the fall as well. Find a singer you like who’s playing at a town four or five hours away, grab your best friend, and road-trip it! No rules, you don’t have to stay overnight, and you should leave early enough that you can stop at any fun looking restaurant or shop on the way. We live about five hours from Nashville and four or five times we’ve done day trips to go see concerts and it has been a blast. Bonus points if you play their music and sing along the whole way there too.
Before you head out on the road, don’t forget to grab your favorite people (or go solo- if you’ve never done it, try it! It’s freeing!), get your car ready to go with Quaker State, and take lots of pictures you can share! I’d love to see your pictures from your travels or how you’re getting your car ready to go!