Almost anyone who reads Neil Gaiman’s 2001 novel American Godsdreams of hitting the road following the route Shadow takes through the Midwest.
Last week marked the ten-year anniversary of the book’s first publication. Here are six essential locations to seek out so you can live Shadow’s journey.
I have obscured the location of several of the places in this book: the town of Lakeside, for example, and the farm with the ash tree an hour south of Blacksburg. You may look for them if you wish. You might even find them.” —Neil Gaiman American Gods
1. House on the Rock, Spring Green, WI. The first major stop in American Gods—the stop that solidified to the reader that Shadow is caught between two worlds—is House on the Rock, outside of Spring Green. This dizzying roadside attraction makes it easy to believe there are multiple realities layered atop one another, with dioramas, music machines, and architecture jumbled and smashed together. Continue reading “American Gods Roadtrip”
There’s a reason the winding mountain road is an iconic image in our culture. Here are five roads that will induce a white-knuckle grip on the safety handle.
Beartooth Pass – Highway 312 Red Lodge to Cooke City, Montana
Highway 312 winds 60 miles from Red Lodge to Cooke City, Montana at the edge of Yellowstone National Park. Starting at 5,555 feet, the highway claws its way up 5,000 feet in less than 19 miles, switching-back on itself dozens of times before reaching Beartooth Pass, named after a spike of rock that looks like a massive canine tooth. Most of the drive is above treeline, with great views of towering granite peaks, hundreds of alpine lakes and snow all summer long. Keep an eye out for Grizzly Bears and Bighorn Sheep. Also, don’t forget to stop at “Top of the World” a tiny convenience store near the highpoint of the pass.
Mount Washington looms over coastal New England. At 6,288 feet, it is visible from the Atlantic Ocean, 80 miles away. The highest windspeed ever recorded was clocked here on April 12th, 1934 at 231 mph. The “home of the worst weather on Earth” is accessible by a winding toll-road, but (for once) I decide to leave the car behind and take the historic cog railway allowing me to sit back and enjoy the ride as it claws its way straight up the mountain.
As the summer season approaches, I find myself following the price of oil and wondering how the upward trend is going to affect my travel season. The truth is that oil, and the fuels made from it, are a finite resource. The price is going to continue to rise, no matter how many subsidies we throw at it. Period. But this doesn’t spell the end of the roadtrip. (In fact, this may be the dawn of a new “golden age” of exploring America’s roadways.) Here are three ways to keep the pavement rolling under your tires as fuel prices rise.
1. See more, drive (slightly) less. While I’d love to get back out to the Rocky Mountains again this year, I’m considering scrapping that plan for exploring the nearby White Mountains instead. Rather than drone out long-distance milage to get to a far-off destination, I’m going to spend a lot more time getting to know the backroads of western Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont. While a lot of the small towns here aren’t considered “destinations,” they all have something to offer, either historical or cultural. I spent twenty minutes with an elderly gentleman as he described, to my friends and I, how the small town we stopped in for breakfast had changed over the years since his childhood. I’d never heard any of the events he’d spoken of and it reminded me how little I really knew about the region within 100 miles of my home. Continue reading “Long Live Roadtrips! Three Ways to Keep Exploring America’s Roadways Through Rising Fuel Prices”
Real travel is when you put yourself in a position where the unexpected happens. Which is something I sometimes do accidentally.
While driving around Dallas with the cast of “Paulie & Me” and Donna, our awesome Keller-Williams real estate agent guiding us through potential sites for a brewery, we happen by a restaurant called Sol Irelandes. The restaurant’s host runs outside to say hello to our guide and ask if she’s coming in for a bite. We look at each-other and silently agree. What the hell, it’s lunch time and the scent of chipotle wafting from the little Irish-Mexican restaurant is making my stomach ache for something with a little kick.
What I get is a whole lot better. I order enchiladas with the hottest sauce they have available. I love spicy food, but I expect at least a few beads of sweat to pop out of my forehead when eating it in Texas. Surprise, it’s not hot. Our server, JC, appears, as if out of thin air, and hears my lament about the lack of bite. Rather than my complaint causing an awkward scene, JC smiles and heads to the kitchen to get me something special.