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|Travel: Retro road trips|
|by Jo Giraudo|
|December 15, 2010 17:43|
Classic Americana is my pick for the New Year’s trend in travel. A themed trip through the past is the perfect way to take your mind off whatever is presently bothering you. Retro retreats, classic road trips, and theme hotels create the stage for fantasy vacations that will satisfy any figment of your imagination.
Americana road trips are easy to plan, go light on your wallet and create vivid memories. Decide on your trip’s theme and lay out the route with a Google map. The Trails of Bonnie and Clyde is my latest client request. I put them in a vintage Ford Deluxe Sedan and sent them out to stops including the Ambush Museum in Gibsland, La., and Bonnie & Clyde’s Diner in Shelbyville, Ind. Hotels range from roadside kitsch to the luxurious Eldorado Shreveport.
Route 66 remains the Mother Road of car trips. “Get your kicks on Route 66” with 2,000 miles of fabled Americana from Chicago to Los Angeles. Even with the Grand Canyon as a centerpiece, Route 66 is not found on modern maps. The two lane byway was out paced by the eight lane highway. But the classic motels and Chicago back streets still make it the best of the best road trips. Rent a VW camper for this one.
Though not yet retro, Oprah and Gail’s See the USA in a Chevrolet trek from Santa Barbara to New York City is already a classic. This trip is more upscale with stops like the five-star Wynn Hotel in Las Vegas. A 10-day, 3,600 mile odyssey of two good friends. To recreate their trip, it must be taken in June and end in NYC at the Tony Awards on the 12th.
Want to do it on a Harley? Perhaps the best Harley adventure is in California, the heartland of the American Dream. California Motorcycle Adventures has Harleys of all description, including Road Kings, from as little as $99 per day. They will customize a self-guided tour, including route maps and hotels, or put together an escorted Harley adventure.
Vintage railroad travel is a relaxed and modestly priced way to see the US. Isango and Vacations by Rail will give you ideas. Amtrak has excellent travel deals. The Georgetown Loop Railroad, a genuine old-style 19th-century steam locomotive, spends nine hours through the Rockies in Colorado, reliving memories of the Gold Rush.
Every road trip should include motels in the American kitsch genre. This is a booming business with more travelers exploring the U.S. You can stay in an Airstream camper in Shady Dell, Ariz., or the Heartbreak Hotel across the street from Graceland. Las Vegas is the King of Kitsch, with deals in almost every hotel.
The coming year will be one of hope, rejuvenation, and recovery. America could certainly use all the tourist dollars it can get to help revitalize small towns brimming with history and folklore. When you think about your next trip, consider one made in America.
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