Resolve the Road Trip in 2020

Advice for planning at least one intentional road trip vacation this year

We went on a lot of road trips when I was a kid. In fact, it was the only way we traveled. Getting on a plane wasn’t something I did until I was in my late teens. We traveled in an unairconditioned car for my entire childhood and we loved it. 

Today, road trips are still a big part of my life, and in fact, I have developed my entire brand around the concept. Most of the travel I write about here in The Heidi Guide is done in a vehicle.

Blowing snow near Vail. Photo by Heidi Kerr-Schlaefer

Let’s face it, driving to a destination is often easier than flying and if the destination is within five or so hours away, it's just as fast. I could write a myriad of blog posts about my air travel experiences and none of them would be happy. 

I don’t just love road trips because they are cheaper. Heck no. I like the style of travel they bring about. Road trips slow us down and allow us to really see the country we call home. Whether it’s the hour and a half to my inlaws’ house or the seven hours it takes us to get to Durango, road trips have opened my eyes to the beauty of Colorado. 

Road trip on the old Santa Fe Trail. Photo by Heidi Kerr-Schlaefer

I have seen every weather condition including blinding snow and beautiful rainbows. I have been witness to beetle-kill trees littering the mountainside and snow blowing off the tops of majestic peaks along Interstate 70. I’ve sat in a number of backups and road closures. 

Road trips come with potential hazards; it recently took us two days to get to Vail when it normally takes two and a half hours. There were several road closures and a snowstorm. That was an unusual experience, but it happens, so you’ve got to be prepared, especially for winter driving.

Road trip through San Luis Valley. Photo by Heidi Kerr-Schlaefer

Keep an ice scraper and a shovel in your car at all times. Years ago, my mom got me a car safety kit (she was convinced I was moving to the Arctic when I moved to Colorado). We haven’t had to use it but I have had to stop for Duct Tape (long story).

I think you should resolve to do at least one intentional road trip vacation this year. Not only is it an opportunity to spend time with the ones you love (spouse, children, Fido), but it’s a way to reconnect with the countryside. It also gives us a guilt-free reason to listen to a book on Audible.

Sirus Radio has also come in handy as we road trip the state and beyond. One December, on the way to Ouray, we listened to Christmas tunes for most of the time. We’ve listened to comedy and football. Sirus has changed our road trip experience for the better, although we don’t get through as many Audible books now.

Snowy mountains near Aspen. Photo by Heidi Kerr-Schlaefer

It is best to think of the drive to a destination as part of the getaway. If you measure vacation time by the hours spent at your final destination you’re missing out.

For example, lunch at the 4th Street Diner & Bakery in Saguache is a true respite from the crazy world. This cozy cafe is warmed by a stove burning logs from the nearby woodpile. It is a place ranchers gather in the morning over cups of steaming coffee, and road-weary travelers find solace here in homemade pie served with a smile. 

Road trips connect us to the land, quite literally, but also figuratively. I wish you delight and wonder this 2020, and I hope that some of that comes from your travels on the road.

Categories: The Heidi Guide