Road Trip: St. Paul to Skagway, AK

On Friday, my mom, sister and I will set off on a long road trip: St. Paul to Skagway, Alaska (then to Juneau by ferry). According to our friends at Google, it is 2760 miles. Why, you may be asking are we doing this? Well, we all love road trips and my niece and her husband live in Juneau so we’re going to visit them.

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As I was getting ready this afternoon, I got to thinking about some of the many road trips I’ve taken over the years. Here are ten of the best:

1. Karachi – Islamabad – Karachi (Pakistan). We used to do this one very summer (in the 1969’s), following the Grand Trunk Road. In the early years, we drove a Land Rover; later on it was our trusty green and white VW Microbus (the favorite of hippies).

Exactly like ours -- now in a museum!

Exactly like ours — now in a museum!

2. Karachi, Pakistan – Kandahar and Kabul, Afghanistan – Islamabad, Pakistan – Karachi. My family did this in the summer of 1968, when Afghanistan was relatively peaceful and still ruled by a king. The highlight was going through the famous Khyber Pass.

3. One month road trip around Western Europe in the summer of 1970. We flew from Pakistan to Munich, and went straight to the VW factory to pick up the station wagon my dad had ordered. We drove it through Europe for a month, then dropped it off in Hamburg where it was put on a ship and sent to Los Angeles. A month later, we picked it up there. We then drove it all over the US for a year, before returning to Pakistan. (Us, not the car)

4. Numerous road trips between Minnesota and California over the years. It seems that during the times we were in the US, we were either living in California and driving to Minnesota to visit relatives, or the other way around.

5. My last year of college I was in a musical ensemble that toured the US. We gave 60+ concerts in 32 states in 6 weeks — from Minnesota to Colorado to Maine to Florida, then back to Minnesota.

6. In 1990, I took my then ten-year old niece on a road trip to Washington, DC. Suffice to say, I did all the driving.

7. In 2003, I took my mom on a road trip around Lake Superior. Duluth to Duluth. I highly recommend it. In fact, I’d love to drive around all of the Great Lakes.

8. St. Paul to Santa Barbara by back roads. I did this with my mom and sister in 2007. Since we had done the drive so many times, we just wanted to do something different. It’s a gorgeous drive across Nebraska if  you get off  I-80 and take Scenic Highway 2 across the northern part of the state, through the Sand Hills.

The last two are road trips I took in China.

9. Beijing – Pingyao (Shanxi) – Pingyao. An American friend had a red jeep, and off we went.

10. Beijing – Xanadu – Beijing. “Xanadu” is the western name for the ancient summer capital of Kublai Khan. The remains of the city are 8 hours north of Beijing, in the grasslands. We hired a car and driver to take us (again, a red jeep).

What fun or epic road trips have you taken? Leave a comment and tell us about it.

Map source: Google

Image source: Wikimedia