Planning a Roadtrip

How to plan a roadtrip via #quote

22 days until we move cross country to the Hemlock Inn! I’ve been plotting out our route using Roadtrippers. I added our start and finish points and then a few crucial stops in between. It’s still moving around but the whole trip is planned around visiting Lindsborgh, Kansas where my grandfather’s old farmhouse still stands and 2 of the presidential libraries on the trajectory back down to North Carolina.You can click here to see the itinerary.  Let me know if there’s any place you think we should stop (as long as it’s not too far out of the way….northern states will be another summer!).

Cross country roadtrip from California to North Carolina


A few cool things about Roadtrippers:

1. It plots the most efficient route and when you add new destinations along the way it’s easy to drag them into chronological order and everything recalculates.

2. You can zoom in and see what sites are nearby and click through for more info.  It’s easy to click and add to your trip or to your bucket list:

3. Each site even has a “rad-o-meter” that tells you if it’s worth stopping:

4. The blogs. That’s how I found this amazing timelapse of the Albuguerque Balloon Festival:


I also like Roadside America. Mostly because I am a huge fan of offbeat tourist attractions.  I also just love wandering and exploring abandoned places.

Oh, and I still have to have a BIG paper map or over-sized atlas.

What was your favorite road trip or one you can’t wait to take one day?



  1. says

    When you are in St. Louis, check out the City Museum. We stopped in on our trip from VA to ID in 2010 but only had a few hours to spend there…not nearly long enough! My kids keep asking when we can go back.;)

  2. Shannon says

    So happy your going to Harry Truman’s house since your little Boo is all about becoming president she will love it! Can you believe I live 30 mins from there and have never been there. I’ve lived here for 30 years!

  3. Robin says

    No way!!! My parents are from Kansas, and Lindsborgh was a favorite town of my Grandmothers. I’m not sure if I remember it correctly, but I think it’s of Swedish heritage? My Great Grandparents were directly from Sweden:-) Anyway, my paternal Great Grandparents farm is still there, in Larned. I can remember our family trips to Kansas every summer, and how it’s so flat that you can see a tornadoe touch down miles and miles and miles away. Awwww you’re very lucky to still have that connection there, as I no longer do, and I truly miss it. It really is a small world, and we’re all connected in some small way. It amazes me. Have so much fun on your most awesome adventure, and please say hello to Kansas for me…I love my memories of it so much:-)

  4. Sundee says

    The last time I was in Kansas City I got to go to the Truman’s home and it is as though Harry is going to walk in for breakfast at any time!! I drove by the library, but nobody else wanted to stop. I’ll go the next time I’m out there. Downtown Independence is quaint. If you’re looking for lunch be sure to go to Unk’s in Lee’s Summit. Best. Burgers. EVER!!!

  5. Emily says

    I’m from KY and highly recommend visiting there either on your way or while you’re on that side of the US. June 5-8th is the Great American Brass Band Festival in my hometown of Danville, KY. It’s an amazing event bringing people from all over the country. Danville is was also voted 2nd by Rand McNally in the category “Most Beautiful Towns”, only beat by another Kentucky town, Bardstown. Check out the website I also recommend Mammoth Cave National Park, and if you can make it to Lexington in the Spring or Fall when Keeneland race track is running, you can see real horse racing and see the beauty of the beautiful horse farms of the Bluegrass. Abraham Lincoln was born in KY, and of course there are tons of bourbon factories to visit. It’s not just for drinkers. My husband and I don’t drink and we’ve really enjoyed visiting them, and we’ve taken young cousins and friend’s children, too. Most of them are set on beautiful grounds. There are many other things to see while in KY, but those are just the few I thought I would mention!

  6. Andrea says

    How exciting- my hometown is St. Joseph Missouri- where the Pony Express started and Jesse James ended. Lots of history. Oddly one of the more fascinating museums in St. Joseph is the Glore Psychiatric Museum- fascinating journey on how mental illness was treated over the years. It’s a weird one but strangely fascinating. I can’t explain it. Independence is where the Harry S Truman home and library is and also the Mormon Spire -I’ve never been inside but it’s breathtaking from the outside. The Plaza in Kansas City is nice to see all the fountains. The Nelson-Atkins museum in KC has some nice stuff- Claes Oldenburg and I think there is a St. Louis is so much fun. Have fun at the Arch if you go there. There’s an awesome museum at the base of the arch. Have fun!!!.

  7. laurie z says

    Hi Ashley-

    If you are in Albuquerque at breakfast time you have to go eat at Tim’s Place. You can read more about it at “” but its the most wonderful place. We drove from Minneapolis to Nevada last year and we went a ways out of the way to go to Tim’s after seeing it featured on the Today show. Tim is a young man with Down Syndrome and it was his dream to own a restaurant. His parents and siblings helped him achieve his dream and today Tim’s is famous for the number of hugs he has given out (tracked on the wall by the way!). He is there every morning to greet people from all over. It was the highlight of our trip. He was voted homecoming king by his school and there is a ton of fun memorabilia to look at. Tim was there when we went and he sat down and talked to us for a while. It was one of those places where you left feeling like a million bucks and the food was excellent too. I think you would really enjoy it.

    On a different note, I think we will be at the Hemlock Inn mid July. My son has a tournament in East Cobb, GA and my daughter and I figured out that the Hemlock Inn is only 3 hours a way so we are going to come for a couple of nights on our way to the next tournament. I will send a note when we know for sure because I would really like to meet you. YOU and the reason we are coming there and meeting Boo would be the icing on the cake. Can’t wait to read about your journey. We will be praying for safe travels. Hope to see you soon!
    Laurie from Minneapolis

  8. says

    Love that you are stopping several places in Kansas!!! I was greatly disappointed to see a favorite place of ours missing from the list that Roadside America put out. If you have read any of the Little House books with Boo the cabin in Independence is a must see. June 14th is Prairie Days if that would magically work into your schedule.

  9. susie says

    wow – you are going thru my town, salida, co!! i looked at roadtrippers and i have never heard of jim bishop’s castle. we’ll have to take a look sometime. i love your website and reading your stories. very inspiritional. keep it up! safe travels and enjoy your year at the hemlock! looking forward to hearing about it!

  10. Kimberly says

    So many awesome stops in Kansas! I love Abeline, so many fun antique stores there. About 30 minutes, along I-70, is Ft. Riley. There are a number of museums on post and you can even visit Colonel Custer’s home. When you’re in Kansas City the best place for BBQ is Oklahoma Joe’s, visit the original location for the best atmosphere. Also in Independence is an LDS visitor center.
    What an awesome adventure being able to see so much of this beautiful country!

  11. Cathy King says

    Can’t believe you’re skipping Kentucky……so many great things there…..did you know Mammoth Cave is the longest cave system in the world?? The different tours are out of this world… daughter loved it!! We went many times over the years!!

    I hope you get a chance to get to KY while you’re living so close!!

    I’m praying for safe travels on your adventures!!

  12. Aimee says

    you had me so confused with your fondness of Roadside America.

    I had no idea it was a website. But, it is an actual place and I just couldn’t imagine your desire to promote it.

    enjoy the scenery on your trip. Those last minute, lets check that out decisions are the best parts of road trips.

  13. Janet says

    I live in the St. Louis area and have a suggestion…. After Kansas City/Hannibal, I would skip your detour north and head east on 72 to Springfield ill. The Abraham Lincoln Presidential museum there is amazing! Lincoln’s tomb… Look it up! Then you can just head 55 south to St. Louis like you planned. Your Boo would love it.

  14. Janell says

    The City Museum in Saint Louis is a must see. You will love it. Like no other museum. It is a wonderful mix of eclectic items. Boo will love it. I’d also highly recommend the Lincoln Home in Springfield, IL. It is not just a single home, but they have preserved the whole neighborhood!!

    • Tracey says

      Roadtrippers looks like a great tool for travel!

      Last April we road-tripped from northern NJ where we live to Nashville, TN for a chess tournament my son was in. He was almost twelve at the time, and my daughter was 10. We took part of the Skyline Drive through VA. Gorgeous views! Further south, it becomes the Blue Ridge Parkway. We were supposed to go to the Smokies on the way, too, but were waylaid near Bristol VA/TN (yes, it’s in both states…so cool!) when daughter got sick and had to bypass it to get to Nashville on time. The team stayed at the beautiful Gaylord hotel & convention center outside the city. What a gorgeous indoor botanical atrium!

      It was a great way to spend Spring break, and we all treasure the memories! I know you will, too. When you like to explore and learn, road trips are the way to go. You’ll be full of stories before you even get to the Hemlock! Now that’s where I like to go next!

  15. Kat says

    I’m a Canadian prairies girl, so I have no helpful tips for you, just wanted to say thanks for the Roadtrippers info! I’m hoping to take a full month off next summer & take a road trip down the entire American west coast + Portland. Canada is beautiful, but I like traveling in the States since your scenery seems to change a lot more…plus your gas is WAY cheaper and your Target stores are better. But we have free health care 😉 (It’s what we comfort ourselves with so we don’t get TOO jealous lol.)

  16. Aleisha says

    Was coming to suggest Rock City/Ruby Falls in TN. Some of my favorite childhood vacation memories are from there. Glad it’s already part of your plan (#23). Safe travels and best wishes.

  17. Jenny B. says

    Another Kansas City person chiming in, Oklahoma Joes is the best BBQ! Be prepared to wait in line, but it is worth it. The National WWI museum is very good, if you are into Jesse James, there is a good museum in Kearney, MO. Harry S. Truman library is great – I’ve never been to his home but I’ve heard it is good as well. Lots to see and do in Kansas City.

  18. Alison says

    My brother lives in durango and he would definitely tell you that you should pack the sunscreen and hats because it will be hot! Durango is a fun little town with lots of great hikes and fun rivers to visit. Plus, a steam train goes right through the middle of town – how cool is that.

  19. jennifer says

    Once your in St louis you’re only 2 hours from the Lincoln presidential museum in Springfield il. They also have Lincoln tomb and old Salem which is an old homestead town that you can walk through. It’s pretty cool and not too far out of your way.

  20. Swen Swenson says

    Ashely, you need to also get a CB radio for your long trip! What would your handle be? “Hey there walmart truck, got your ears on?” “Yeeeah,, come on.” “Hey there, this here is Diesel Smoke (Ashley), that’s a big ten four, how does it look behind yah?” “Yeah… Diesel smoke, yeah, this is Jail Bird, it’s clear all the way to Flagtown, just was a bear back at the chicken coup (weigh station) at the 21, I just stopped got a bite to eat the the Choke and Puke (truck stop) down the road, hey Diesel smoke, keep the Bugs off your Glass, and the Bears off your @$$” “That’s a big ten four, Jail Bird, it’s clear behind me too, just at the 19, there was a bear in middle taking pictures, and report of a few gators (old truck treads) in the road at 10, catch yah on the flip side!”

  21. K G Palmer says

    Oklahoma and Route 66 are wonderful if you are looking for a detour on your way home. We hope you will visit or at least get online and check out our amazing state. Many Blessings and safe travels on your new adventure, praying for you and your family.

  22. Kris Hackbart says

    You’ve got my spots on your list! Salt caves, Cosmos, Ike’s museum. There is a fabulous little Museum of Telephony on the back-side of the big museum, which is fun for kids who have only known cell-phones. Have a great trip!

  23. says

    My family is relocating from Ohio to the bay area of CA the last two weeks of June. I am also slowly getting rid of things so we are only taking a minimum of stuff. Thank you for the roadtrippers web page. This week I have it on my checklist to find housing and plan the route to drive.

  24. Cara says

    If you are close (and I think you are) you should do at least 1 or 2 national parks in utah. Zion’s, Cedar Breaks, Bryce Canyon, Arches, Canyonlands, Capital Reef, Monument Valley, and the Grand Canyon are some that are really fairly close to each other. They are breathtaking and beautiful.

  25. Cara says

    I forgot…at the national parks most usually have a junior ranger program. They give you a booklet with lots of good kids information with activities you can do and then you turn it in and they give you a badge. My kids love it!

  26. Melissa says

    Have enjoyed following your blog for some time and to a certain extent I long for an adventure like you’re soon undertaking.
    You’ll love Lindsborg! I live about an hour south of Lindsborg in Hutchinson. We have two fantastic museums that are NOT TO BE MISSED.
    1. The Kansas Cosmosphere. Check our their website. This is the most extensive collection of space memorabilia, equipment and artifacts. Absolutely worth the visit.
    2. Strataca – Kansas Underground Salt Museum. Ride the elevator 600 plus feet underground. I’ve been three times and look forward to going again.

    If you do decide to include a visit to Hutchinson, I would be happy to give you a guided tour. We have a number of positively wonderful antique shops, a very special family owned grocery store, an authentically restored Fox Theater, a marvelous park system, world class golf course, and I have some connections with folks who own/operate unique manufacturing businesses and I think I could easily arrange a tour of these, for example:
    1. Siemens: they manufacture nacelle’s for wind generators
    2. Hubco: they are one of the very last textile bag manufacturers in the nation (gunny sacks, flour sacks, etc.)
    If your visit required an overnight stay, I would welcome you and your family to spend the night as our guests. We have two guest rooms and would love to have you! Seriously!

  27. Jerrilyn Hendrickson says

    I live in Kansas and have been to Abilene, Lindsborg, and Hutchinson. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask.

    In Abilene, I recommend going to the Greyhound Museum across the street from the Eisenhower Museum. The museum itself may not interest your daughter, but the chance to see and pet greyhounds is amazing! Abilene also has several mansions between interstate and the museum. Some have tours, but it is also just fun to look while you drive the few blocks.

    To the west of Abilene on interstate just a mile or two is a Russell Stover’s Outlet and manufacturing. They typically have free samples and you can load up on chocolate goodies. They also have ice cream and drinks. Sometimes they have someone in the demonstration room putting together chocolates and you can watch.

    Lindsborg – My husband is swedish so we typically like to eat there when we go before Christmas. The authentic restaurants seem to change sometimes, but I think the Crown Restaurant is still there and offers some authentic dishes. One of the stores paints your name on dala horses of many sizes and colors if you are interested.

    Hutchinson – The cosmosphere is awesome. We took my then three and five year old to the salt mine. The elevator ride down was a little scary for them, but not as bad as the employee said it would be. I think we spent hours below ground. I do recommend the train ride they offer below ground because the tour information is awesome (they do not bring up any vehicles or trash they are done with from the mining and it is neat to see stuff from the 40s and 50s still down there). There is also a nice outdoor park with a neat museum if you need to stretch your legs a bit. There is also a buffalo park with real buffalo on the south end of town.

    Like I said, feel free to ask questions if I didn’t cover something!

  28. Nancy in Oklahoma says

    I lived in St. Louis during my teens and into my thirties. St. Louis is a great town for lovers of history. By the time you hit St. Louis, I would expect the “Let’s get there!” would be over powering the “Let’s stop to see this!” While St. Louis has some great spots (Forest Park – site of the 1904 St. Louis World’s fair and featured in the great classic film – “Meet Me in St. Louis” and having great museums within its boundaries, the AKC art museum – featuring dogs -of course, railroad museurm, Annheuser-Busch brewery, Grant’s Farm, etc. A couple great spots which can be appreciated without traveling all over the area are right at the foot of the Arch. What are they? The Old Courthouse – site of the Dred Scott decision, the Old Cathedral – the oldest cathedral west of the Mississippi, the riverfront where the first settlers landed – Laclede’s Landing and the Lewis & Clark trek west began. I loved summer nights on the levee. One had but shut their eyes and listen to the music coming from the river boats and visualize what it may have been like a hundred years ago on those old, worn cobblestones.

    I agree with the suggestino of taking the river road north toward Hannibal and cross over to Springfield and Lincoln country. The river road is a great ride anywhere from New Orleans up to Bemidji.

    Enjoy your great adventure. I do hope you are taking a digital recorder to capture Boo’s reactions! I know you will have pics but having a small digital recorder is wonderful to capture conversations without being intrusive and making people be self conscious about being recorded.

    I look forward hearing about The Great Adventure – Chapter One (as well as ensuing chapters.)

  29. Melissa says

    Love hearing about your move, road trip, and all in between…born and raised in KC, and I have to disagree with those who say OK Joe’s is a must stop…if you want authentic KC BBQ choose either Arthur Bryant’s or Gates & Son’s…both well-established in KC LONG before OK Joe’s! Although Unk’s is good, for the full KC hamburger experience, choose Winstead’s and get the chocolate malt you have to eat with a spoon. Or, go to one of Harry Truman’s hangouts, Dixon’s Chili. Don’t be fooled by it’s appearance…the chili is delicious and the people that work there are the best. The Truman Library is a great stop and although downtown Independence is nice, downtown Lee’s Summit, just about 15 minutes from Independence is nice, too.

  30. Jenny Wenzel says

    So glad you are going to the Salt Mine in Hutchinson,KS! Super cool! We live in Wichita if you need any recommendations for places to stay or eat!!!

  31. Sarah says

    Have you heard of Coronado Heights outside of Lindsborg? I grew up near there in McPherson and that was my favorite stop as a kid.

    I loved imagining Coronado hiking up that “mountain” to get a better view.

    I’m sure you’ve had a million offers, but we live in Littleton, CO, which is a southern suburb of Denver, if you need a place to stay. We would love to have you! And we have plenty of room.

    God bless you and your journey, both physical and spiritual, over the next few months. You make me want to stretch myself more. Wishing you all the best.

  32. says

    Looks like a super fun road trip!! We are traveling to Mesa Verde and the Grand Canyon Friday through next week. I doubt we’ll be there at the same time but it would be fun if we are! By looking at your map, I see a few extra places we may have to stop along out trip. :) You should try to stop at the Sand Dunes in CO as well. They are closer to Alamosa and I see you are going more north but if you have time to squeeze it in. I live in Fountain, CO about 30 minutes North of Pueblo if you need/want a place to take a break.
    Good luck on the road trip and for the new adventure!!

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