Road trip

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

This article previously contained information about the road movie genre, for the genre see Road movies

A road trip is defined as “a journey via automobile, sometimes unplanned or impromptu” [1], thus encompassing any journey by automobile, regardless of stops en route. Road tripping professionals break down the road trip into several classifications:

A dashboard view while driving Southbound on Interstate-10 outside Phoenix, Arizona

A dashboard view while driving Southbound on Interstate-10 outside Phoenix, Arizona

  • The Classic/Touring Road trip: a cross-country journey with the intent of sight seeing.
  • The speed run: From point ‘A’ to point ‘B’ as fast as possible, with no unnecessary stops.
  • Relocation: A road trip centered on relocating from one location to another.
  • Park Hopping: A road trip centered on ‘hopping’ from National Park to National Park. This is not always limited to National Parks, but may be extended to trips to any government land (forests, monuments, etc.).
  • Regional Trips: Inner-county and trips within a state, but may be extended to short trips into neighboring states.
  • International trips: Road trips to the United States, Canada, Mexico, or within other foreign destinations outside of the traveler’s home country.
  • Ultimate Road Trips: Usually are months in length and encompass large goals, such as driving through every state in the contiguous United States or most provinces in Canada.
  • Caravanning: Road trips involving multiple vehicles traveling together.




[edit] Origins of the Road Trip

It is not known exactly when Road Trips were ‘invented’, but technically they have been around as long as people have had roads to travel and vehicles to travel with. The modern road trip arose in post-World War II America, in the early 1950’s. Automobiles were becoming more and more prevalent in society, and families were now taking their holiday (vacation) by car.

Although the modern road trip can trace its roots to post-WWII America, road tripping in general began long before The Great War.

The first successful transcontinental trip by automobile took place in 1903, and was piloted by H. Nelson Jackson, Sewall Crocker, and a canine by the name of Bud. The trip was completed using a 1903 Winton Touring Car, dubbed “Vermont” by Jackson. The trip took a total of 63 days between San Francisco and New York, and cost US$8,000. The total cost included items such as food, gasoline, lodging, tires, parts, other supplies, and the cost of the Winton.

Alice Huyler Ramsey in 1909

Alice Huyler Ramsey in 1909

Although many would make the trip after 1903, the first woman to cross the American landscape by car was Alice Ramsey and 3 women passengers in 1909. Ramsey left from Hell’s Gate in Manhattan, New York and traveled 59 days to San Francisco, California. Ramsey was followed in 1910 by Blanche Stuart Scott, who is often mistakenly cited as the first woman to make the cross-country journey by automobile East-to-West (but was a true pioneer in aviation).

[edit] The Mother Road: Route 66

For more details on this topic, see Route 66 .

New highways in the early 1900’s helped propel automobile travel, primarily cross-country travel. Commissioned in 1926, and completely paved near the end of the 1930’s, Route 66 is a living icon of early road tripping.

Motorists ventured cross-country for holiday as well as migrating to California and other locations. The modern road trip began to take shape in the late 1930’s and into the 1940’s, ushering in an era of a nation on the move.

[edit] The Modern Road Trip

The 1950’s saw rapid growth of ownership of automobiles by American families. The automobile, now a trusted mode of transportation, was being widely used for not only commuting, but leisure trips as well.

As a result of this new vacation-by-road style, many businesses began to cater to road-weary travelers. Such businesses include the Howard Johnsons hotel chain, among others. These new types of establishments sought to provide travelers of American highways one thing: Consistency. By creating business chains, restaurants and hotels were soon able to provide not only a familiar name, but familiar quality with travelers of American roadways.

More reliable vehicles and services made long distance road trips easier for families, as the length of time required to cross the continent was reduced from months to days. Within one week, the average family can travel to destinations across North America.

The greatest change to the American road trip was the start, and subsequent expansion, of the Interstate Highway System. The higher speeds and controlled access nature of the Interstate allowed for greater distances to be traveled in less time and with improved safety as highways became divided.

[edit] The Road Trip Rite of Passage

Today many teens and young adults see a road trip as a rite of passage, their first solo journey from home, frequently across state boundaries. It is the idea of shedding parental bonds and taking that great leap out on one’s own that attracts many young men and women to saddle up and head out on the open road. This is due in part to the feeling of freedom some people get when traveling the open roads.

An abandoned gas station off of Interstate 8 in Arizona.

An abandoned gas station off of Interstate 8 in Arizona.

[edit] Road Tripping Today

Today, modern road tripping is a fast growing hobby, and not just a means of vacationing. Groups dedicated to the art of the road trip, known either as professional road trippers or road enthusiasts, are becoming prevalent online. One such online community, and one of the largest, is Roadtrip America.

Road tripping, to some, has indeed become an art. Road enthusiasts frequently debate on proper gear, attire, and electronics. Other frequent debates include type of road trip (a ‘moseying’ road trip vs. a set schedule), use of in-vehicle DVD players to pacify young passengers, and, to a lesser extent, destinations.

Professional road tripping has spawned other activities, including dashboarding, caravanning (multi-vehicle road trips), RV-ing, county collecting, welcome sign photography, and other facets of the road tripping hobby.

[edit] The Road Enthusiast

Those who look upon road trips not as a method of travel but rather a hobby frequently describe themselves as Road Enthusiasts or Professional Road Trippers. These motorists take the concept of road trips very seriously, some have devoted time and resources to the pursuit of the hobby. Although there are many personalities in the Road Tripping Community, many road enthusiasts advocate sharing the roadways, preservation of historic places and natural spaces, and safe driving. Much like backpacking, many road enthusiasts also subscribe to the ideas of Leave No Trace.

The goal of road trip enthusiasts is to experience the culture, nature and history of the route, and to celebrate the open road.

[edit] Road Trip Technology

One topic of frequent discussion amongst professional road enthusiasts is the latest Road Tripping technology. This includes new technology, as well as some old familiars. Items of frequent discussion include mobile internet, cellular phones, laptops, GPS units, Digital Mapping Programs, CB/Wireless Radios, and of course, vehicles.

[edit] International Road Trips

Road tripping, or motoring, is not only an American hobby, it is enjoyed the world over. Although the history of road trips may be different in each country, the idea, concept, and methods remain realitively unchanged world-wide. For this reason, it can be fairly easy to conduct a road trip on foreign soils. Many travelers from European countries, and Australia, flock to the United States to take part in the American idea of a road trip, and frequently Americans travel abroad to travel foreign motorways. Unlike some other methods of travel, the automobile allows travelers to customize their trip and set their own pace.

[edit] Impact of Automobile Associations

In many countries, primarily the United States and Canada, Automobile Associations play a major part in facilitating long distance road trips. Automobile Associations, such as AAA and CAA, provide their members with services and materials to make road trips more enjoyable. Many of these groups offer some sort of Roadside Assistance, coming to the aid stranded motorists, as well as travel materials, such as guide books, maps, destination guides, and even road trip gear. Such associations allow a motorist to venture further from their home, and as long as they are in an area serviced by the association or an affiliate, can use the local association for booking lodging or entertainment tickets, roadside assistance, or get new travel guides and maps. This allows travelers to have a sense of comfort that they will have access to these services when they travel.

[edit] Sample Road Trip Routes

The major piece of a road trip is the route. Different routes offer not only different views and attractions, but also different highway conditions. These are a sample of major road trip routes in North America that offer great historic and scenic value and are also well documented. Many of these routes have more than one travel guide published strictly regarding the topic route.

This list is only a sample of some well-known routes.

[edit] See also

[edit] References

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One Response to “Road Trip”

  1. Mr.Carrot80 Says:

    Organised by Management Forum; venue – The Rembrandt Hotel, London. ,

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