Do you like to travel?  How about traveling by car?

I love taking road trips and over the past several years, my mother and I embark on an annual road trip in our continuing mission to learn about the different regions of the United States.

Both my mother and I are native Californians and now Arizona is our home.  So, our cultural journey has been decidely West Coast and Southwestern.

As a result, we enjoy learning and experiencing the varied sub-cultures that each region of the U.S. has, from its food, history, gardens and people.

Interesting past experiences include:

-Walking into the living room of our bed & breakfast in Indiana Amish country to find two old Amish women watching the royal wedding of William & Kate.

– Touring thoroughbred horse farms and participating at a bourbon tasting at distillery in Kentucky.

– Learning what ‘Kentucky burgoo’ tastes like and deciding to pass on trying ‘dandelion gravy’ in Amish country.

– Seeing the actual kitchen where the recipe of Kentucky Fried Chicken was developed.

I could go on and on, but it’s time to decide where our road trip this year will take us.

We have several options to choose from and you may think that this is funny, but I drag out my kid’s United States puzzle to see where we have been and to help us decide where to go.

This is where we have traveled in the past few years.

So for this year’s trip, here are our options:

Option 1: Oregon and Washington.  
I have been to Seattle and Spokane, Washington, but have never traveled to Oregon.  

Options for this trip would include visiting Portland, Oregon and driving up to Seattle, visiting the San Juan Islands and going on up into Canada to Victoria and Vancouver before driving over to Spokane where we have family who live there.

Option 2: Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas and Oklahoma.

We would land in Birmingham, Alabama and drive through Nashiville & Memphis, Tennessee before heading to Little Rock, Arkansas and ending up in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Option 3: Wyoming, Montana and South Dakota.

I’ve never traveled to any of these states and would love to see Yellowstone and Mount Rushmore.  

Option 4: Louisiana, Arkansas, eastern Texas and Oklahoma.

I am anxious to visit the vibrant cities of Texas such as Austin and San Antonio and visit some of my fellow garden blogger friends who live there.  

My grandmother was born in Louisiana and that would be a fun place to visit with a stop in New Orleans.  For this option, we would also visit Little Rock, Arkansas and Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Option 5: Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine.

Okay, I realize that this is a lot of states to see, but they are small, so we would be able to fit them all into a road trip.  I have visited parts of New Hampshire and Vermont, but would like to see the other states in the Northeast.

So, those are the options we have to choose from.  We will be traveling in early May and our trip will last approximately 8 – 9 days.  

**Do you have a favorite option?  I’d love to hear your recommendations!

No matter where we visit this year, we hope to eventually fulfill all of the options listed above.


Baby Watch Update:

Not yet, but very, very soon!  The doctor says that the baby is settled as low as he can be, which is a good thing.  

I honestly think that it is harder waiting for your grandchild to be born than your own children.  

Okay, on second thought, not really – being pregnant for 9+ months and not being able to see your feet, much less tie your own shoes – I think waiting for your own baby is harder, but not by much!
Noelle Johnson, aka, 'AZ Plant Lady' is a horticulturist, certified arborist, and landscape consultant who helps people learn how to create, grow, and maintain beautiful desert gardens that thrive in a hot, dry climate. She does this through her consulting services, her online class Desert Gardening 101, and her monthly membership club, Through the Garden Gate. As she likes to tell desert-dwellers, "Gardening in the desert isn't hard, but it is different."

8 replies
  1. Holly
    Holly says:

    All of those are great options. I grew up in Indiana and love the Amish country. We have lived in Arizona (Glendale) for the past 30 years. My husband and I took a road trip through Tennessee last year. Our only goal was to find the best back road BBQ. We had no itinerary. We just took back roads throughout the entire state and ate some amazing bbq, met some really wonderful people and had the trip of a lifetime. I highly recommend a trip like this at least once in your life where you have nothing planned. Just drive and see what you find. I am a bit of a control freak and usually plan out everything. It was very freeing to have no idea where we would go, and have no expectations. We are planning on doing the same thing around Montana next year. We also have Idaho and South Dakota on our radar. Have fun where ever you go!

  2. Emily Mignano
    Emily Mignano says:

    I would totally go with option 1, we just relocated to arizona from Wa state last summer. If traveling by car be sure to make a stop in Olympia, Wa. It's right off of I-5.

  3. dryheatblog
    dryheatblog says:

    Glad I don't have to make this decision…many interesting things and reasons for either place.

    Since you've gone east each time I've read about your trips, I vote for #1 (maybe add E of the Cascades to Boise then Coeur d'Alene / panhandle…will blow you away). #3 is my runner-up…plains to Rockies.

    #1 and #3 are so different than an eastern or SE spring, let alone AZ.

  4. Aaron Dalton
    Aaron Dalton says:

    They all sound fun!

    If you come to Nashville, please let me know. I'd be happy to play tour guide for a day and show you around!

    Regarding your Oregon plans, I will say that I thought the Columbia River Gorge (east of Portland) was incredibly beautiful when I drove through it one day a few summers back…

  5. Deb
    Deb says:

    Well, we're from Oregon, so of course I think trip #1! But…if you do go there, don't just do Portland. In fact, you could (in my opinion) skip Portland and do the Coast. Enjoy some FANTASTIC fresh caught seafood and just keep going up the Coast to Washington. It'll be fun to see what you pick. We're heading to the Coast in August.

  6. Gardens at Waters East
    Gardens at Waters East says:

    There are so many places to visit in the beauty county and everyone of them has something to offer. I have traveled most of the states and it would be hard to choose which I like best. Even if I never get to return to them – it is nice know that they are there if I want to. They after so much. Pick anyplace and you will enjoy. Jack

  7. jeansgarden
    jeansgarden says:

    Noelle, These are great options. One thing to consider is what the weather/seasons are likely to be in early May. In New England, May is still very much spring. In northern New England, trees will just be starting to leaf out in early May and flowering bulbs will be in bloom. It will be too early for produce from farmers' markets; farmers in northern New England don't plant until the end of May. On the other hand, it isn't the tourist season yet in May, so you could get some great out-of-season rates in coastal resorts. (New England has fabulous coastal scenery.)
    You might find some parts of Wyoming and Montana still snowed in in early May. -Jean

Comments are closed.