Nothing quite grasps the imagination like the concept of some classic road trips. Long days at the wheel, seeing the famous sights, and experiencing small-town life are essential ingredients.
A number of classic American films have succeeded in tapping into this deep-seated desire. Luckily, the road trips described in these classics don’t have to remain pure fantasy: the journeys can easily be attempted by anyone with reliable transportation and a sense of adventure. Here are just a few examples that will inspire you to pack up and recreate the ride on your own.
Into the Wild
Chris McCandless’s ascetic journey into the Alaskan wilderness has inspired a renewed interest in the great frontier of this northern state. While McCandless’s story has a tragic end, with proper planning, an adventure in Alaska is an excellent way to see some truly unspoiled scenery. Follow Chris’s lead and plan a trip to the famous Denali National Park.
The iconic motorcycle movie that inspired a generation, Easy Rider is an ode to open American road and a sense of adventure. Consider following Route 66 yourself, as you journey from California to Louisiana and see some of the best scenery the American heartland has to offer. Whether you’re a Harley Davidson loyalist or someone who’s never ridden a bike, you can’t help but want to emulate this classic film.
Planes, Trains, and Automobiles
While no one wants their travel plans to have as much spontaneity as Steve Martin’s in this film, everyone has had to improvise while on the road and can sympathize with his character. For those who are looking for more structure, skip the flight delay and plan a drive from Wichita to Chicago on your own. Budget enough time to truly enjoy the many hospitable small towns that dot the Midwest as you drive towards the Chicago sprawl.
While the crux of this film is the two main characters’ emotional development, it also centers around a trip through California’s wine country. Wine experts and amateur tasters alike should be sure to enjoy a drive up the California coast to the Napa valley. For those interested in a more metropolitan experience, be sure to allow time to explore the many attractions of San Francisco at the end of the trip.
Thelma and Louise
Sure, the drama surrounding the trip that Thelma and Louise take to the Utah wilderness is what made this film a cult classic. However, the message of the freedom of the open road is what has always given this movie a wider appeal. While not everyone has a vintage Thunderbird, anyone can see the appeal in sometimes needing to just get away from it all. Follow in the footsteps of these two women and take your own trip out West.
Movie road trips have been capturing the public imagination for years, and these films – both new and old – should help
to inspire you to take a trip of your own. Whether going East to West or North to South, a long trip is an excellent way to have a little adventure and see more of a country. Don’t put off the chance to have your own.
What other films have rocked your overland travel world? Share your comments below!
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