Next stop: Americana

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Road-tripping through history and weirdness in the heart of America

Chris and I are suckers for the open road. Give us anything with an engine and wheels and we’ll be on our way happily. We’ve had a lot of time to conjure the perfect road trip and if time and money were no option, we would spend the entire summer on the blacktop, driving through an empty highway, hands floating outside the rolled down windows. Turn on our road trip tunes and join us!


There’s just something about watching the countryside change as you make your way across the country that drives us wild. Our dream road trip would start at the birthplace of our nation: Virginia. We would make sure to arrive in Williamsburg on a weekend, which is when the reenactments usually happen. You just can’t beat grown men in period costumes. This is one of the reasons I fell in love Chris in the first place. Next, we would head into historic Jamestown. If we are lucky enough we might run into Dr. William Kelso at the Jamestown site; he’s a modern-day Indiana Jones and has been credited with finding and unearthing the Jamestown settlement. We would walk through the site and stand in the same spot where Pocahontas married John Rolfe.

After that blast from the past, we would head northeast to Chicago. Our road of choice: Route 66, of course. This ribbon of road is known for its quirky icons, and we would want to enjoy as many of them as possible. Some of the sites on the list: the giant statue of Paul Bunyan in Atlanta, Illinois; the giant meteor crater in Meteor City, Arizona; Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo, Texas; the Britten Leaning Water Tower in Groom, Texas; and the Devil’s Rope Museum (which pays tribute to barbed wire) in Madison, Texas.

Viewfinder Tip: Take your time exploring Route 66; it is, without question, the most eccentric road in America.

When it comes to food we’d be sure to stop in at Cozy Dog Drive In in Springfield, Illinois, known of as the birthplace of the corn dog. Our food extravaganza would continue to Ted Drewes Frozen Custard in Chippewa, Missouri. Another place we’ve always wanted to eat: the Snow Cap Drive-In in Seligman, Arizona.


Accommodations on Route 66 are frequent and incredibly diverse. We’re suckers for themed hotels; luckily for us, Route 66 has a ton of them. Wigwam Village in Cave City, Kentucky is high on our list of overnight stays. Who doesn’t want to spend the night in a giant teepee? We would also be sure to spend a night in the Blue Swallow Motel, in Tucumcari, New Mexico; and the Wagon Wheel Motel in Cuba, Missouri.


After wrapping up on Route 66, we would head northwest to Rapid City, South Dakota. Home to Mount Rushmore, the Crazy Horse Memorial, roaming bison, and delicious food, this state is the perfect place to end our epic adventure.


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Captain And Clark

Chris Staudinger and Tawny Clark (also known as "Captain and Clark") have spent the majority of their relationship exploring this great big world. After meeting on Kilimanjaro, courting in South Korea, getting engaged at the Taj Mahal, and sealing the deal in the Cascade Mountains, the two decided it was time to add another explorer to the mix. Traveling the world with kiddo-in-tow might alter the way they navigate the globe, but they welcome the challenge with open suitcases.

Chris and Tawny have had articles and videos published on USA TODAY TRAVEL, BBC Travel, Matador Network, as well as appeared as guest stars on TLC Asia's Fun Taiwan television series. When not on the road, you can find Chris and Tawny nestled in their home in Tacoma, Washington fueling up on coffee and cat cuddles while planning their future adventures. You can follow their travels on their blog, Instagram, and YouTube

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