We are beginning the ultimate 2010 road trip: North along the 469-mile length of the Blue Ridge Parkway followed by 105-mile-long Skyline Drive that winds through Shenandoah National Park. Then west to St. Joseph, Missouri, to follow the Oregon Trail to Oregon City, Oregon, before returning via the route followed by Lewis & Clark along the Columbia and Missouri rivers.
We will be following the Lewis & Clark route from Fort Clatsop, where the Corps of Discovery spent a very uncomfortable winter, to St. Louis, Missouri, where the expedition formally commenced its epic trip. At least, that is the plan. The National Park Service is one of several organizations involved in helping to interpret the two historical trails.
We will be traveling in a 2003 Toyota RAV4, a great road-trip vehicle that has rewarded us with 32 to 36 mpg during two previous cross-country trips. Removable rear seats allow sufficient storage for a small tent, an air mattress, three blankets, a small stove, and two ice chests (adequate for some brewskis), plus essential foods including peanut butter, Ritz crackers, Oreos, and canned tuna.
During Part I of the Ultimate Road Trip, we will be reporting from each of the four lodges on the Blue Ridge Parkway and the three lodges in Shenandoah National Park. In all, we will be spending 11 nights exploring these two parks before heading west to St. Joe and the Missouri River.
The beginning of summer is certainly a good time to leave our home in south Georgia that has become oppressively hot and humid. The cooler temperatures along the Blue Ridge are quite welcome to most of us deep-south crackers who glory in our wonderful falls, mild winters, and colorful springs, but wilt like a dehydrated azalea from mid-May to mid-September.
So check in each day to see where we've been and what we've found.