There's something about the feel of the open road, with the window cracked and the spotted yellow line disappearing beneath your tires. Perhaps you're talking to someone in the passenger's seat or just listening to music.
As a child, Mike Shubic fell in love with the lure of the highway while road-tripping with his parents. The passion persisted into adulthood, and Mike now shares his passion and considerable expertise at Mikesroadtrip.com.
It's always a good time to rediscover the magic of road trips with people you care about. Mike took a moment to share some of his adventures with us, and some places to see. From fly fishing in Bozeman, Montana to eating out in Charlottesville, Virginia, you're bound to find somewhere you want to go.
How did you fall in love with road trips? What were some of those early formative experiences that helped create a lifelong passion?
There is a sense of freedom when behind the wheel on a road trip. It's very different from air, ship or train travel where you are beholden to schedules and confinement. A road trip is quintessentially American. I do have a few fond memories road tripping with my parents when I was a child, often to family gatherings in Idaho and Washington. I also remember a very exciting trip to Disneyland.
With less vacation time and cheap airfare, road trips seem like a dying art form. Can you talk a bit about why you feel like road trips are still important? What are some things that road trips have done for you personally?
Air travel continues to rise, so if a trip is less than eight hours to drive, I usually opt to go that direction versus flying. After you drive to the airport, park your car, take a shuttle to the airport, check your luggage, go through security, then wait to board your flight, you're into the trip for a good five hours just for a short flight. Plus, when you drive, you are in control and can deviate if you so choose.
You stayed at Grey Cliffs' Ranch, a luxurious bed and breakfast in Montana, to do some fly fishing. What was your favorite part of staying there? Are there any other bed and breakfasts you can recommend, particularly for fishing destinations?
The Grey Cliff's Ranch in Montana is a fantastic place to get really far removed from the hustle and bustle of city life. The ranch is about a half hour west of Bozeman and is situated on more than 2000 acres of rolling hills, with a nearby river and two stocked ponds on the property for fly fishing. They even have a professional trap shooting area. The accommodations are simply spectacular, and it's so quiet that all you hear is wind and wildlife. Montana is full of wonderful B&B type lodges. Some that offer fishing and outdoor activities that I recommend include: Gallatin River Lodge in Bozeman; Rainbow Ranch in Big Sky; The Lodge at Columbia Falls near Glacier National Park; and the Ranch at Rock Creek in Philipsburg.
Other B&Bs around the country that I love and highly recommend include: Run of the River in Leavenworth, Washington; Camden Harbour Inn in Camden, Maine; Cameo Heights Mansion in Walla Walla, Washington; Colette's in Port Angeles, Washington; Vagabond Lodge in Kicking Horse, British Columbia; Blue Lake Ranch in Durango, Colorado; Ann's Point Inn in Bass Harbor, Maine; El Farolito in Santa Fe, New Mexico; Cozy Cactus in Sedona, Arizona; WildSpring in Port Orford, Oregon; 1906 Lodge on Coronado Island off Sand Diego; and the Brewery Gulch Inn in Mendocino, California. Just to name a few.
You've also visited Charlottesville to satisfy your quest for amazing cuisine. What are some other foodie destinations you might recommend?
Yes, I love Charlottesville, Virginia! They have a fantastic restaurant scene. Some other great small town food destinations include Santa Fe & Taos, New Mexico; Plattsburgh & Lewiston, New York; Bloomington, Indiana; Tubac, Arizona; Walla Walla, Washington; and Camden, Maine.
You also recommend finding "one thing to do" in various towns and cities. How might someone go about finding out for themselves that one essential activity wherever they are visiting?
I find it interesting and fascinating about distilling a destination down to the "one thing" that you have to do when visiting, as everyone will have a different opinion on the subject. For example, if someone were going to Seattle, would the "one thing" be the Space Needle, visiting Pike Place Market, taking a ferry ride, or maybe eating fish & chips? If you go to Philipsburgh, Montana, you have to go to the candy shop (aka The Sweet Palace)! In Santa Fe, it's probably the art scene along Canyon Road. In Niagara Falls ... probably the falls.
Can you recommend some road trips or destinations that might be good for a family with really young children? What about for lovers looking for a romantic getaway?
I have road tripped and stayed in many romantic destinations, but unfortunately, until recently those trips were all solo. Here are some romantic road trip destinations I can highly recommend.
Gateway Canyons resort in Gateway, Colorado. There isn't much of a town, but the scenery, landscape, activities, dining and accommodations at the resort are spectacular!
The Oregon Coast is stunning. Two of my favorite coastal communities are Canon Beach to the north and Port Orford to the South. Both areas have great food and romantic lodging. In Canon Beach, I would recommend the Stephanie Inn. In Port Orford, the Wildspring Guest Habit where each of the accommodations are romantic private cabins nestled in the woods, with a large hot tub overlooking the ocean.
Mike's Road Trip's motto is "The road is the page. The experience is the ink. Next chapter begins in 300 miles." Can you talk a bit about what the phrase means to you?
My motto is an attempt at being clever in describing Mike's Road Trip. If you think about it as a book or piece of art, the destination (or road) is the blank canvas. As I explore and learn about a destination, I begin to get a sense of its story (the ink). The last part of the phrase coincides with moving on to my next destination to write about a new experience (next chapter).
What have been some of your all-time favorite trips, and why?
Everyone asks what my favorite place or best road trip is. It really is an impossible question, and I often answer by saying something like, "the place I am right now." Every place I visit is special in its own way and helps shape and mold me as a person and as a traveler. I try and look at all the positive attributes about a place I'm visiting. No place is a utopia, so it is easy to find something to complain about if that is what you choose to do. I, on the other hand, want to make the most out of every day of my life and try and create the best memories possible.
With that said, here are some road trips that stand out:
Driving along PCH (Hwy 1) and 101 during late fall one year was amazing. I drove the entire length from northern Washington all the way to San Diego.
The Beartooth Highway outside of Red Lodge, Montana is stunning!
The history and lush forests of the Adirondacks was fascinating.
And, Acadia National Park in Maine provides some sights to behold.
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