The Quintessential American Road Trip

This is an actual tumbleweed. We spotted it rolling down the street in the desert wind.

The Minneapolis Star-Tribune gave me one of my favorite assignments last month: to explore the Quintessential American Road Trip. Since I had racked up the majority of  the 100,000 plus miles I put on my first car, a much-loved Toyota Corolla, while criss-crossing the country repeatedly between Minneapolis,  Los Angeles, New York City, Austin, TX, and Chicago––for university, for work, for love, for relocation and just for kicks––I had sizable road trip repertoire from which to draw. Route 66 won out: my sister and I attempted to drive it completely spontaneously without an actual route map (or a smart phone). In keeping with the true pre-Interstate era spirit of the road–– a road that before it became Route 66,  started off life as the Lincoln Highway out of Chicago––we got lost. And got lost again. And again. Here’s the story.

It’s not a classic American road trip if you don’t get at least a tiny bit lost.

My sister and I on a road trip through Nevada a couple of years ago We aren’t actually lost here, but we are clearly unaware in this photo that we are about to get a flat tire.