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Dreaming of the Road

A trip-planning guide from
American Family Insurance

So You're Going on a Road Trip ...

Road trips are a quintessential part of the American Dream.

They're all about freedom - the freedom to travel where you want, when you want, on your own terms and with the people you care about.

That's why we're supporting your pursuit of happiness on the open road with this free road trip travel guide.

In it, you'll find tips and resources to fulfill your road trip dreams in a fun, safe and money-saving manner.

So what are you waiting for? Your road trip dream is out there. Go get it. We'll protect it.

All tips within this book are based on generally accepted best practices.

Traffic laws vary by city, state and country.

All American Family Insurance coverage is subject to terms and conditions and varies by state. Your American Family agent can help explain your individual coverage details.

- American Family Insurance

Prepare Your Ride for the Road

Whether you're traveling by motor home, sports car or sub-compact, use these pre-trip tips to ensure your ride serves you well.

  • Confirm your windshield wipers, lights and turn signals are working properly.
  • Check your air filter and all fluids (oil, coolant, transmission, power steering and windshield washer), replacing and replenishing as necessary.
  • Ensure your tires have good treads and are properly inflated, and that the spare is easily accessible - along with a lug wrench and jack.
  • Keep your proof of insurance in the glove compartment (and your title safely stored at home). Put your registration in your purse or wallet.
  • If you're planning an exceptionally long trip, know when your next oil change is due. You may need to get one on the road.
  • Load your cell phone with important emergency numbers - and make sure you have your charger.

Hint: A charger that plugs into your car's accessory port is great to have in case your phone batteries run low during the day.

What are you packing?

  • Have a first-aid kit handy for any minor bumps or bruises that occur along the way. Be sure to stash it in an easily accessible spot.
  • What Are You Packing?>>
  • Replace your air freshener! After a few days in the car, even with the sweetest people, you could have some sour smells to cover up - especially if you're traveling with pets.
  • Program your destinations into your GPS before you leave, but be sure to have an up-to-date road map as well.

Bonus Travel Tip: GPS devices are great for taking you from point A to where you want to be. But don't let your navigational unit lead robbers to your house. Instead of storing your home address in your GPS, use that of a nearby business or landmark. That way, if your device gets in the wrong hands while you're out of town, the location of your unoccupied dwelling remains a secret.

maps and GPS

Secure the Home Front

Don't advertise your temporarily empty house. Make your home look lived-in while you're away.

As tempting as it might be, refrain from announcing your travel plans on Facebook or other social media. And, wait until you return before posting pictures of your most memorable road trip moments.

Stop your mail, newspaper and any other deliveries.

Have a friend or trusted neighbor check your house while you're away.

Put several lights on timers throughout your house.

Hire someone to mow your lawn (or, if traveling in the winter, shovel your driveway and sidewalk).

Ask a trusted neighbor to park their car in your driveway.

  • Tell your local police when you'll be gone. They may make an extra effort to drive by your house on patrol.
  • If you have a security alarm, leave the code (and your key) with someone you trust - and be sure to give that person's contact information to the police and security alarm company.
  • Inform your neighborhood watch program that you'll be away.

A Drive Down Memory Lane

"My best road trip was when my daughter and I drove to and from Tennessee. I initially wasn't sure how the nine hour (each way) trip would go, but in the end the driving was almost as fun as the actual stay. Filled with chatter, music and snack breaks, I wouldn't change a thing."

A Drive Down Memory Lane>>

'Appy' Trails!

Smartphone and tablet applications can optimize your road trip and make it more enjoyable. Here are some app categories to consider.

  • Navigation Apps: Look for features like live traffic updates; hospital and pharmacy locations; and map-caching capability.
  • Restaurant and Hotel Locators: Some cool food and lodging apps include reviews, pricing, coupons and discount info, as well as real-time room and table availability.
  • Gas and Service Stations Finders: Good gas and
    • Navigation Apps: Magellan RoadMate USA, Google Maps, Garmin USA,Mapquest.*
    • Restaurant and Hotel Locators: TripAdvisor, Meal Ticket, Hotel Tonight,UrbanSpoon, MapsBuddy.*
    • Gas and Service Stations Finders: Gas Buddy, GasBook, Fuel Finder,RepairPal, Yelp.*
    • Sites, Activities and Event Listings: Around Me, Roadside America, Goby,Budget Travel's Ultimate Road Trips.*
    service station apps detail pricing options, restroom availability (and cleanliness!), as well as user reviews.
  • Sites, Activities and Event Listings: Get the most out of the destinations you're visiting with apps offering rich and timely information about your surroundings.

Stranded?

NOT FOR LONG WITH THIS AUTO POLICY OPTION

With American Family's Emergency Roadside Service, all you need to do is call and we'll send help. Talk to an American Family agent today about this road trip-protecting coverage.

Have Fun, But Be Safe - Never use apps while driving. Delegate these responsibilities to a passenger.

Additionally, consider apps that lock your smartphone or remove sensitive data, in case your device ends up in the wrong hands.

American Family Insurance does not endorse or assume responsibility for the use of any apps referenced here.

What Are You Packing?

Make your trip safe, comfortable and fun by storing the right cargo.

  • Have a first-aid kit handy for any minor bumps or bruises that occur along the way. Be sure to stash it in an easily accessible spot.
  • Always bring a container of sunscreen. When applied properly, it can keep you from getting burned when you stop for an impromptu picnic or hike.
  • Wet wipes are great for cleaning sticky fingers and wiping away dirt blown up from dusty roads.
  • Plastic grocery bags are a great way to consolidate garbage so it can be easily removed at every rest stop. They also work great for dirty laundry.
  • Keep a pair of sun glasses at arm's reach - especially if you're in the driver's seat.
  • Avoid arguments over the temperature. Throw in an extra blanket or sweatshirt in case the AC gets cranked up too high.
  • Keep over-the-counter medicines for headaches and upset stomachs readily accessible. Regional foods may look and taste great, but if you're not used to them, they could have adverse effects on your system.

A Drive Down Memory Lane

"I have many fond memories of the August vacations with my family, sleeping in a camper and cooking on a camp stove. Two of the best trips were with my dad to the Grand Canyon and Mount Rushmore. Lots of great memories, now that dad has passed away."

A Drive Down Memory Lane>>

Songs for the Road

No matter where you're heading or what your musical tastes, the right tunes can set the pace for a great trip. Not sure what to add to your road trip playlist? These suggestions will get you started:

  • Born to Run, Bruce Springsteen
  • I Can't Drive 55, Sammy Hagar

    While we love this tune, please operate your own wheels within the legally posted speed limit!

  • Radar Love, Golden Earring
  • East Bound and Down, Jerry Reed
  • Low Rider, War
  • Country Roads, John Denver
  • On the Road Again, Willie Nelson
  • California Dreamin', The Mama's and the Papa's
  • Take the Long Way Home, Supertramp
  • Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes, Jimmy Buffett
  • Born to Be Wild, Steppenwolf
  • Drive My Car, The Beatles
  • Soak Up the Sun, Sheryl Crow
  • Ridin' the Storm Out, REO Speedwagon
  • Mexico, Jimmy Buffett
  • Truckin', Grateful Dead
  • I've Been Everywhere, Johnny Cash
  • Life is a Highway, Rascal Flatts
  • Freeway of Love, Aretha Franklin
  • _________________________________

That's right, fill in the blank.

Music is a personal choice, so be sure to take along the tunes - or podcasts and audio books - that make you happy and relaxed. After all, this is your road trip.

What are you packing?

  • Wet wipes are great for cleaning sticky fingers and wiping away dirt blown up from dusty roads.
  • What Are You Packing?>>
family road trip

Make a Game of It

A road trip's allure includes the constantly changing scenery. But if the view starts to get monotonous for young riders, keep them entertained with these good old-fashioned road trip games.

  • License Plates by State (a team activity): See if you can spot license plates from every state as well as regions outside the U.S. Be sure to write them down so you don't lose track.
road trip
  • Who Am I?One player picks a person (real or fictional) while the others take turns asking yes-or-no questions to determine the mystery being's identity. Whichever player's question results in the correct answer (e.g., "Is it George Washington?") gets to pick the next character.
    moustache icon
  • I Spy: Have one person call out something interesting they see (e.g., "I spy ahandlebar mustache."). The first passenger to spot the items wins the round.
  • Alphabet Game (a group activity): Beginning with "A" and working through the alphabet, find items beginning with each letter. If you finish a round quickly, start over - but don't repeat any of the words you've already used!
  • Road Sign Bingo: Make, download or purchase bingo cards with images of objects commonly - or perhaps rarely - found along the road. The first person to spot every item on their card wins.

¡ADIOS, ESTADOS UNIDOS! (GOOD-BYE, UNITED STATES)

If Mexico is your road trip destination, make sure you're covered when driving south of the U.S. border. An American Family agent can help you obtain Mexico Auto Insurance. Pulling a boat across the border? We can help you get Mexico Boat Insurance, too!

American Family Mutual Insurance Company, American Standard Insurance Company of Ohio, American Standard Insurance Company of Wisconsin - 6000 American Pkwy., Madison, WI 53783

Eating Smart on the Go

If you like to crunch and munch while you travel, keep healthy options in your car.

  • Trail mix is nutritious and kids love it. (Make sure your kids aren't allergic to any of the ingredients, though.)
  • Assorted fruit and prewashed carrots, celery or snap peas typically stay fresh in coolers.
  • Freeze water bottles to keep your cooler cool. After they've thawed, you'll have refreshingly chilled drinks to quench your thirst.
  • Crackers and peanut butter are great energy boosters that are filling, too.
  • Bring paper towels, wipes and grocery bags for handling spills and garbage.
  • smart food choices

What are you packing?

  • Keep over-the-counter medicines for headaches and upset stomachs readily accessible. Regional foods may look and taste great, but if you're not used to them, they could have adverse effects on your system. What Are You Packing?>>

Part of the road trip experience is finding unique spots to enjoy a meal. It's a perfect way to absorb local culture and create great memories.

  • Ask the locals for dining recommendations.
  • Check websites devoted specifically to road trip dining and regional eats.
family picnic
  • Be adventurous - try dishes that aren't available back home.
  • Don't order large portions. Lighter, balanced meals are better for you, and can help you avoid becoming drowsy behind the wheel.
  • To save money, split your order with a traveling companion.

Steer Clear of Road Trip Potholes

The great American road trip is an adventure to treasure. When you stay focused on the highway and all it holds, you keep the good times - and your wheels - rolling.

Watch for deer, rodents, birds and other creatures on road trips of their own.

Let aggressive drivers pass. Road rage is an uninvited guest on any road trip.

Feeling drowsy? Don't drive! Perhaps your traveling companion can take the wheel. Or, better yet, pull over and discover an area attraction - maybe even one that serves coffee.

Keep an eye on the gas gauge. Running out of gas in unfamiliar territory is not the type of adventure you want.

Enlist a co-navigator to control the GPS, radio and any other technology that would take your eyes off the road, even momentarily.

Safety Tips for Your Road Trip

While you're soaking up the local atmosphere, don't lose sight of personal safety.

  • If you carry cash, don't keep it all in one place. Split it into several small amounts "hidden" in different pieces of luggage.
  • Use a credit or debit card to avoid carrying lots of cash. If you pay the balance in full, you may avoid interest charges.
  • If you take prescription medications, be sure to bring enough for the duration of your vacation.
  • If leaving your car unattended - like at a hotel or when going for a walk through town - conceal any contents that might tempt a thief.
  • Never leave children or pets unattended in a car. In the summer, the inside of a vehicle can reach dangerous temperatures in a matter of minutes.
  • When driving long distances, stop every few hours to stand up, walk around and stretch your legs. It's good for your mind and body alike.

What are you packing?

family road trip

A Drive Down Memory Lane

Road trips are as unique as those who pursue them. We asked for your favorite memories and received an abundance of fun and fulfilling tales - enough to cover the entire stretch of Route 66! Here are just some of the submissions that came our way.

'Hippopalooza' Celebrates Sisterhood

Twice a year, Tisa and her sister drive more than a thousand miles to visit their aunt in Florida. Because her sister's favorite animal is the hippopotamus, they've named their biannual adventure Hippopalooza. They even take along a mascot - a stuffed hippo named Jessica. "We've tried flying,"says Tisa, "but we always go back to driving because we relish the time we spend together on the road."

RENTAL REIMBURSEMENT COVERAGE

Having an accident can be stressful enough. Don't let out-of-pocket rental car expenses add to your anxiety. American Family Insurance Auto Rental Reimbursement Coverage pays for a rental vehicle when your car is being repaired due to a covered loss. Talk to an agent today.

Connecting in the Country

"One bright spring day, I took my mother, stricken with Alzheimer's, on a ride in the country. As the scenery rolled by, she turned and smiled at me and, for that brief moment, I had her back again. She has passed, but the memory will be with me always."

Last Day of School, First Day of Adventure

Jessica's favorite road trip occurred during her childhood. Instead of taking the bus home, she and her sister were picked up by their parents on the last day of school. On the way home, the family car abruptly turned onto the highway, and the girls' parents announced the family was embarking on a fun-filled trip to Branson, Mo. "They already had packed our bags and snacks," says Jessica. "It was a great surprise!"

Lasting Memory of Mom and Dad

"I picked up my mom and dad and drove them to Gulf Shores after dad had a massive stroke. It was their last trip together. I've got pictures of them on the beach holding hands. Best memory ever!"

Life Is the Ultimate Road Trip

As a single father, John made a point of taking his two daughters on road trips, including one that was especially memorable. On the way home to Colorado from Texas, they spontaneously pulled over, studied a road atlas, and resolved to take an entirely different route - one that was

indirect, yet full of surprises. They saw SeaWorld, visited trinket shops, and cruised along scenic stretches near the Rio Grande. But the best part was an impromptu nighttime stop to gaze upward at the Milky Way. "The thing that my kids and I remember the most after all these years is the opportunity we had to just talk about 'stuff' out there in the dark, quiet night where even the faintest crackle of civilization through the AM radio couldn't reach us," John recalls. "Life is the ultimate road trip. Make each moment of it one to remember."

Holy Hundred!

"Coming from Pennsylvania, it was very wet when I observed three nuns on the side of road with a flat tire. I stopped to help and while I was changing their flat tire, my children were playing in the grass and found a hundred dollar bill, and offered it to the nuns."

$1,000 in Six Weeks

"When I was 11 years old my mother took my sister and me on a road trip across the Eastern U.S. We left home with $1,000 and a plan to travel until the money ran out. Six weeks later we returned with a priceless education and memories to last a lifetime."

You Can Go Your Own Way

Kim's decision to make a solo road trip to Santa Fe, N.M., turned out to be a memorable, rewarding adventure. "I met a lot of kind, interesting people, ate a lot of delicious

foods, and had an amazing trip all by myself!" Kim exclaims. Best of all, she got to do whatever she wanted, from visiting shops that looked interesting to her, to taking in the scenic architecture unique to Santa Fe. "It was beautiful," she says.

D.C. Dream Fulfilled

"My favorite road trip memory was being one of the family members that got to take my mother on her lifelong dream [trip] to Washington, D.C. family road tripWe lost our mother this past year to Alzheimer's, but she got to see her dream before she died."

Road Trip as a Rite of Passage

Frivolity definitely was in the air when Jason, his wife and some friends began a road trip from London, England, and headed south. "When we arrived at Folkestone's docks, we threw caution to the wind and hopped on a ferry to France," Jason says. "We got lost, laughed, had lunch - moules frites." It was memorable in other ways, too. "We also announced to our friends who we were traveling with that we were pregnant with our first child and wanted them to be godparents. Good times.

Meeting the 'Mayor' of Terlingua

On a spring break road trip from Iowa to southern Texas,Jeff and his friends consumed energy drinks, devoured homemade tamales and logged seemingly countless miles. But a true high point was meeting Clay Henry, Sr., a high-ranking official of Terlingua, Texas, population 58. "There he was, standing on a shelf with a beer bottle in his mouth," recounts Jeff, describing a pose Henry had assumed for years and years. You see, Clay Henry was not a human. He was a stuffed, beer-guzzling goat, once voted mayor of the small town.

road trip on a bike

Modern Day Explorers

"Two years ago I rode on a motorcycle trip for the ages. We followed the Lewis and Clark Trail from St. Louis to Oregon. We traveled 7,000 miles in 22 days and took in both historic and scenic sites in 12 different states."

Fulfillment in the Nation's Center

"Recently, my family purchased a vintage Airstream travel trailer and headed west for adventure. In Nebraska, we found the America we were looking for. One bucolic small town after another greeted us with fresh pie and characters.

Ten days, many memories."

Life as a 'Road Scholar'

By the time Renee was 12, she had traveled coast to coast with her family, first in a station wagon, then in a used RV. Each road trip proved to be a rich learning experience. On a trip to the East Coast, she read the entire "Little House on the Prairie" series. Nestled in the family's RV on a trip out West, she took in the scenery while spending quality time with her family. "We watched the West roll by while playing endless hours of 'Life' and 'Monopoly,'"Renee recalls. "It's hard to say where I learned more - on the way to each spot, or once we arrived."

The Peak of Adventure

"In July 2012, my wife of 32 years and I took a three-week driving trip from Kansas to Alaska and back. We saw mountains (including Denali) for each of the 21 days. What a gorgeous 8,000-mile trip. Next time we do it, we plan to take six weeks."

Big Horn Cattle Roundup

We were driving in the Big Horn Mountains after a fall snowstorm. The scenery was breathtaking, but the memory is of seeing an old fashioned cattle roundup with cowboys herding cattle on horseback. That is a piece of Americana you don't see every day."

The Last Road Trip Together

For a number of years, Therese enjoyed backpacking vacations in Wyoming with her fiancé, Danny. In time, though, the two decided to embark on a less strenuous but equally fun vacation: a road trip to Niagara Falls. On their journey east, they stopped in scenic Mackinac Island and encountered a band of friendly bikers who persuaded them to visit Traverse City, Mich., on their way back home to Wisconsin. When Therese and Danny reached their destination, they took full advantage of everything Niagara Falls had to offer, including helicopter rides and the famous whirlpool jet tours. "It was unforgettable!" says Therese. "After leaving Niagara Falls we headed to Traverse City and got there just in time for their HUGE parade …. I was very thankful to those bikers for recommending this side trip." Sadly, it was the last trip Therese took with Danny before he passed away.

Keep It Short and Sweet

Sometimes, short road trips on less-traveled routes are the best way to see America. Just ask Britt, who recently avoided traveling on the interstate from Madison to River Falls, Wis., choosing state and county highways instead. As a result, she discovered affordable antique stores, historic hotels with great food and live music, creameries offering lip-smacking cheeses, and other attractions. "We finally arrived - six hours later - in time for dinner with friends," says Britt. "It was an easy but entertaining getaway."

Around the Nation in 80 Days

"Visiting 26 states, driving 10,000 miles in 80 days - America the beautiful she truly is. From the Gulf Coast to the Great Lakes, our beautiful national parks, the Badlands, western prairie and grand mountain ranges, and, most importantly, the American people."

couple on a road trip

Delectable Drive-In Dining

When Amy was growing up, every summer vacation included a trip "down home" to visit relatives in southern Illinois. Being from Chicago, this was a great adventure for her and her siblings. "Every trip included a stop at the 'Dog 'n Suds' drive-in where they clipped a tray loaded with burgers and root beers to the car window," Amy says. "It was awesome!"

Moseying in the Lone Star State

One day, Dorothy's husband called and asked her to book a flight to "somewhere warm." Taking advantage of a one-day sale on inexpensive flights, she arranged a trip to Houston, where they rented a car and began a memorable road trip on back roads through small towns toward Galveston. They visited cafés, antique shops, and best of all, "sale barns" where livestock and agriculture products are sold. "Sale barns are like the old-time general stores, in that everyone stops and stares at the newcomer," Dorothy explains. "Then, once you get introduced,

everyone talks to you." There were some haunting moments, too: she and her husband also saw areas ravaged by Hurricane Ike, which made the entire trip unforgettable.

Spontaneous Fun on the Road

For Travis and his wife, the best plan is no plan when it comes to road trips. "No family trip agenda - we simply go and stop, eat and sleep when we want," he says. On one of their journeys, they started from Portland, Ore., and "hopscotched" south through the Sierra Nevada mountains. Their journey took them to Crater Lake National Park, Mount Shasta, Lake Tahoe, Yosemite National Park, Mammoth Lakes and other breathtakingly scenic spots. "A couple of my favorite memories were watching the sunset from atop a 3,000-foot cliff at Yosemite on Glacier Point, and rowing in complete solitude on one of the alpine lakes in a vintage wooden boat," recalls Travis. "It was a great trip!"

Discovering the Lost Chronicles

"I took my mom and dad out to see Mount Rushmore, Custer National Battlefield, Yellowstone National Park and

Glacier National Park. I did all the driving and my dad kept a journal of everything he saw, which I never knew until after his passing years later."

Building Friendship Mile by Mile

Back in 2010, Karyn and three coworkers took a road trip across Washington state to explore wine country. "It was a long, but gorgeous and fun drive, as we took turns blasting 'girly' music and keeping a quote book of all the funny comments we made," she says. The threesome created "wine passports" that were signed by each winery owner, as a clever keepsake from the trip. They even brought a cutout picture of their boss, so he could be in a few pictures along the way. "It was such a fantastic, memorable trip and it strengthened our friendship even more," Karyn says.

VIP Treatment at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue

Paulette has had a few memorable trips, but the one that really stands out is when she went to the White House. As the owner of a chimney sweeping business, her husband was among a group of chimney sweeps invited to clean chimneys at the White House when President Clinton was in office. A couple years later, Paulette, her husband and their three daughters returned, and received a private tour of the Oval Office, stood in the Rose Garden, and viewed the south lawn from the Truman Balcony. "We also got to see other areas that the public is not allowed to view," says Paulette. "It was a great experience for all of us."

Friends and Family on Two Wheels

"My favorite road trip memory consisted of a six-week-long cross-country motorcycle trip to Florida to see a retired friend, then to Savannah, Ga., to see the house I lived in 40 years ago, and then to Charleston, S.C., to visit my granddaughter."

Born to Be Wild - and Free!

Kathy and her husband have loved every mile of their motorcycle vacations. "We jump on the bike and decide to head east, west, north or south and then just take turns deciding right or left," Kathy explains. "For us, it's the ride and not the destination."

Travels with Bambi

When Liz and her husband embark on road trips, they always go in style with their 19-foot Airstream "Bambi" travel trailer, in which they've logged more 35,000 miles. "We've actually had people follow us and stop and talk about the trailer, and tell us how they remember either seeing one like it, or how they actually camped in one as a kid," she says. Whenever they see American Family's television ad depicting a father and son pursuing their dream of visiting all of America's national parks in their Airstream, she and her husband always exclaim "That's us!" Liz and her husband are on a quest to visit every national park, too.

No Need for Gift Wrap

"I surprised my parents by driving over 1,000 miles to show up at their 60th anniversary party. I had a great time, no problems. That road trip was my anniversary present to them."

Togetherness is a Rented RV

"We rented an RV to take the family cross country to see the Badlands, Yellowstone and the Tetons, and to drive over Bear Tooth Pass. RVThat road trip was my anniversary present to them."

Beholding the Majesty of 'Carhenge'

On a road trip to Nebraska to visit a friend, Bill discovered a somewhat bizarre attraction along the way: "Carhenge." As the name suggests, "Carhenge" is an artistic depiction of the famed British prehistoric monument, except it is constructed of old cars spray-painted gray to somewhat resemble the actual Stonehenge in Wiltshire, England. "It's one of those things you must see to believe, and it's just as silly in person as it is in photographs," says Bill. "If you're near Alliance, Neb., give it a look. It's one of those things that make America interesting."

Getting It Right the Second Time

The first time that Nina and a friend went on a road trip from Madison, Wis., to Phoenix, Ariz., they made the journey in two days. Aside from seeing some quirky sights along the way, such as a giraffe sticking its head out of a small shed, they didn't really get the full "road trip" experience. The following year, however, Nina flew back down to Phoenix for a visit, and ended up taking an unforgettable road trip. Highlights included remarkable scenery in Sedona, Ariz., a whitewater rafting trip to a winery, a visit to the Grand Canyon, and a weekend stay in Las Vegas. "Now, that is a road trip worth taking!" says Nina.

Top Down, Thumbs Up

Every summer Orvin and his wife strike out on a two-week road trip in their convertible, convertible trip always with the top down (weather permitting) and wearing baseball caps. They have a general idea of where they're headed, but make no reservations or firm plans. Instead, they use an iPad and travel websites for guidance. "Our goal is to stay off the interstates as much as possible, visit small towns, stop at roadside stands, avoid chain restaurants and see America!" Orvin explains. "We have had many wonderful experiences and plan to continue this travel for some years

to come."

Making Music in Memphis

"In 1981, our family traveled to Atlanta, Ga., to visit my sister. While driving through Memphis Tenn., my sister stuck her trumpet out the window of our car and played a song, fulfilling her dream of playing in Memphis. A car next to us clapped and honked for her!"

Lost and Found

"My most special memory was a road trip to the UP of Michigan following my divorce. I got lost on the back roads after enjoying Silver Mountain, and by finding my way back I realized through faith that I am strong enough and I am going to make it."

What's 'Bugging' Mom?

Back in the 1970s, Melinda's parents took the family on a journey around the country - quite literally - from their home in Oregon out to the East Coast, down through the South and then northward back to Oregon."My favorite memory of the road trip, though, stemmed from my father's sense of humor and my mother's fear of ... well, everything," Melinda recalls. Specifically, an encounter with a large tarantula left a lasting impression on Melinda's poor mom. Adding insult to injury, a dragonfly flew through the window and struck Melinda's mother in the head while she was asleep, causing her to shriek in terror. "To this day, I cannot plan a long trip without wondering who will scream about every little thing, or where we will end up that was unplanned, but worth the detour."

Motorcycle Matrimony

"Celebrating our 50th wedding anniversary, we did a motorcycle cross-country ride from Arizona east to Virginia and back home, a total of about 6,000 miles! No mishaps, and loads of fun for us 70-plus grandparents!"

Quality Quick Trips

"My favorite road trip was going to the grocery store with my grandson to pick out what he wanted to bake. Today we will be going again, making chocolate chip peanut butter brownie cookies! Memories forever!"

Reliving a Great Ride

"As a young kid, I was fortunate to accompany my grandfather on a pair of motorcycle trips to the West Coast. When I was a young adult I bought my first motorcycle and we retraced our trip from all those years before. It was the best road trip of my life."

Follow Your Nose

It was "way back" in 1998, before GPS navigational devices became virtually ubiquitous, that Sandra and a friend threw a dart at a map on a wall, and resolved to drive in that general direction. "We wound up in South Dakota, and along the way we stopped at every tourist attraction/trap we never got to see when taking similar trips as kids," she says. "And yes, we dug Wall Drug."

Good Tunes, Good Friends, Good Times

With adventure in theirroad map hearts and "awesome music" on the car stereo, Wendy and her best friend experienced the best road trip ever when they cruised to Las Vegas in a Honda Civic CRX. "We visited Luxor, saw the Hoover Dam, stayed at Circus Circus and climbed mountains," says Wendy, adding that going up was much easier than getting back down. On the way home, the two 19-year-olds ran out of money, and ended up scrounging enough loose coins in the car to share a double cheeseburger meal. It was one of the best times of her life.

34 in 50

"Our trip of a lifetime - 10,700 miles in April through May of 2013 - went through 34 states in 50 days, from Oregon to Texas, then over to Florida, up the East Coast to Boston, then Highway 20 all the way to the Oregon. It is a beautiful country."

Do Your Own Thing

Several years ago, Victoria rented a car, purchased her first cell phone in case of emergencies and drove from Madison, Wis., to Seattle, solo. Along the way, she

experienced unique, beautiful and even bizarre sites: two grottos, three carousels, the world's shortest and steepest scenic railroad, the world's largest Cheeto, and Roslyn, Wash., the town where the TV show "Northern Exposure" was filmed. "It was six days of me, the open road, lots of CDs and Gnarl the Gnome, who stood in for me in photos," she notes. "It was my all-time favorite road trip."

The Road Is Filled with a Range of Emotions

"We decided to take a break from work. My wife, two sons and I drove from Missouri to the West Coast. We camped, hiked, biked, laughed, got angry, made up, and learned to love and forgive each other."

Summer Vacation 'Pin the Tail' Style

Grandpa would pull out a road map, close his eyes, point to a spot, and that's where our journey would be that summer. Always a fun trip! We never knew what to expect."

Making Good on His Word

"Not long ago my dad and I took a trip to Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, where we hiked to what's known as Bull Pasture. Upon reaching the peak he told me after I was born he came here and in a guest book at the top, wrote that one day he'd bring me."

Taking a Living History Tour

"Instead of handing my granddaughter my written memoirs, I drove her there instead—visiting my childhood home, schools, church and a lighthouse on Lake Michigan. Hearing stories from two 93-year-old aunts made the trip a joyous chapter written together!"

Life Imitating Art Imitating Life

After more than a year of careful planning, Jon, his wife and their daughter headed off to Prescott, Ariz., and then traveled to the west end of the Grand Canyon, where they would hike down to the breathtakingly beautiful Havasu Canyon. On the way, they travelled on old Route 66, passing through several small, nostalgic towns, including one named Seligman in Arizona. "We were surprised to learn this little town was the inspiration for Radiator Springs, the town the Disney movie 'Cars' was based on," says Jon. "My 11-year old daughter was thrilled." While they spent only a couple of hours there, it will always be a memory Jon and his family cherish, largely because it was unexpected.

Your road trip dream is out there.
Go get it. We’ll protect it.


American Family Insurance