The year 2014 brought me some wonderful opportunities to travel and even fulfill some travel dreams. In the past year I traveled nearly 10,000 miles on road trips and traversed through 19 states (including my home state of Kentucky). With all of this travel I was able to hit a few “bucket list” stops and also drive a good part of some “bucket list” highways as well. Overall, the year was splendid.
The Big Highlights
- 9,700 Miles Driven
- Traveled through 19 states
- Drove about 1,200 miles of US Route 2, one of my Bucket List Highways. Drove from Ironwood, MI to Browning, MT
- Drove the Blues Highway in Mississippi
- Drove the Beartooth Highway in Wyoming (which Charles Kuralt noted as “the most beautiful drive in America” and I concur
My Top 10 List of Places Visited (in order)
1. Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox in Bemidji, MN
I had dreamed of visiting here since first seeing pictures of it in a Life Magazine Book in the 1960s. A dream came true in May. (see full post here)
2. Drive the Beartooth Highway (US 212) in Wyoming and Montana
For years I had hoped for a chance to take one of the most beautiful drives in America. I was lucky on this one as the highway was opened for travel on Memorial Day weekend, just a couple of days before I got there. (see full post here)
3. Carhenge in Alliance, Nebraska
I have had this on a Bucket List for a number of years. Along with Cadillac Ranch (in Amarillo, TX) and “Spindle” – the Cars on a Spike in Cermak Plaza (Berwyn, IL – and no longer there), these were my BIG THREE car art sites on my Bucket List. This was the last one to check off, though I have found smaller scale ones along the way as well (such as Rabbit Ranch in Staunton, IL) (see full post here)
4. The famous Austin sign in Austin, Texas
This is probably one of the most famous “Welcome to” signs in the country and one I wanted to say I had been to. Well, here it was, in June. (Full post coming in January 2015)
5. Mammy’s Cupboard in Natchez, Mississippi
This unique eatery deep in the heart of Mississippi made the list because of its quirky style. I had not heard of this place until doing my research on the Blues Highway. But it was a definite “Must See” place on the way. Glad I made it here. (see full post here)
6. The Big Fish Supper Club in Bena, Minnesota
Another iconic roadside attraction (one of many) in Minnesota, this big guy on US Highway 2 was well worth the visit. Wish I could have stopped for dinner…(not his…MINE!) (see full post here)
7. Rock City in Valier, Montana
While visiting family in Montana, I was told about this place called Rock City, a unique geologic site. Had to make a visit, so we went as a family. Well worth the trip! (see full post here)
8. Giant Pyramid Structure in Nekoma, North Dakota
I came across this unusual site while perusing Roadside America and looking for something to see in northern North Dakota near US Route 2. Well, I found a doozy!! (see full post here)
9. Visit to the home of “Swamp People” in Pierre Part, Louisiana
When the TV show “Swamp People” premiered a few years ago, I told my wife that I would someday make it to Louisiana and meet Troy Landry, one of the stars of the show and fun guy to watch catchin’ alligators. Well, in June I did it! (see full post here)
10. Hell’s Half Acre in Wyoming
This is another one of those places I just came across while driving through Wyoming. An amazing geologic site. My only disappointment was that it was surrounded by fencing. But, I did get to meet a fellow traveler and amazing photographer named Derek Ace (see his Facebook page). We have since become friends on Facebook and I really love the photos of his travels and unique perspectives on our broad expanse.
A Couple of Other Notable Items
I got to meet Facebook friend, fellow travel blogger and author Tui Snider (visit her site) while on the road in 2014.
Her books “Unexpected Texas” and “Paranormal Texas” are both great travel guides for the Dallas and northern Texas area. It was fun to meet her. We continue to exchange travel ideas and photos as we go.
One of Tui’s favorite comments is “Even Home is a Destination” and I have certainly made Lexington a destination in 2014. The proliferation of massive wall art murals, among other things, have kept me busy. I was even published in Ace Weekly Magazine for a post about these.
Indeed, 2014 was a great year for travel!