Be Spontaneous-Plan Well But Leave Some Room To Explore What You Find Along The Way

dakota road trip 097

As I’ve said in so many of my blog posts, with any road trip, good planning is essential. However, it’s always a good idea to leave room for a little spontaneity.  Some of our most unique and memorable experiences are things we didn’t plan, but sort of stumbled upon along the way.   Here are a few ideas to help you find some adventure behind an unexpected corner…

Going Off the Beaten PathIn hotel lobbies and even some restaurants, be on the lookout for those racks of brochures that advertise local activities, restaurants and the like. This is where you can discover odd and interesting local stops that you may not have come across in your research.  One of my favorite and most memorable brochure finds was in Oklahoma City, where we discovered a brochure for the World of Wings, which houses a museum on pigeon racing and has the largest collection of racing pigeons in the world.  It was a lot of fun and left us with a whole new appreciation for pigeons.

Going Off the Beaten PathAnother way to add a little spontaneity is to occasionally stop along the side of the road if you see something interesting.  We have stopped to see a bale of hay (you cannot imagine how huge these are up close), to check out ears of corn growing on the stalk, and even a herd of cows.  Of course, only stop if it’s safe and not on a major highway.  Roadside stands can also be a great spontaneous stop—and keep everyone happy with a delicious snack.  It’s even more fun when it’s something we’ve never had before, almost like a food tasting.  We’ve tried boiled peanuts, apple cider, spicy peanut brittle and cactus candy, to name just a few.

Going Off the Beaten PathThe best peaches we’ve ever eaten in our lives were the ones we got at a roadside farm stand in North Georgia, just past the Tennessee border.  They came right out of the orchard, sold to us by the lovely woman who grew them.  We just had to try a Georgia peach and it was spectacular.  Nothing like the mealy junk you get at the supermarket.

As long as it’s safe, if you see something that looks worth stopping for—go for it!

We keep our eyes open and are constantly exploring, but we never wander aimlessly.  We stay on track and keep to our planned schedule getting from point A to B,  but in between stopping briefly to check something out if it seems interesting.  The best advice I can give is plan your trip well, but don’t be too rigid. Always pad yourself with time for a little spontaneous adventure.  Your trip will always be more memorable for it.

Going Off the Beaten Path

Stopping to sample cheese on the way to Green Bay, Wis.

Going Off the Beaten Path

You can't believe how big those bales of hay really are till you stand near one.


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