One of the great pleasures of living in America has to be the time-honoured tradition of planning the road trip. Our parents might have planned out a trip along Route 66 in their Chevy BelAir, but we have many other options available to us, so in this coast to coast road trip, let’s see if we can traverse the country while hitting the spots of unorthodox interest.
We start out from Manhattan, where else can you start but in the world’s most magnificent metropolis? Before we go, let’s head down to Grand and Mulberry to grab some cannoli for the long trip ahead from Ferrara’s, a Little Italy landmark established in 1892 that makes its pastries better than in Sicily where they originated, and was the great tenor Enrico Caruso’s favorite haunt.
Now we’re going to head north on the NY State Thruway about 400 miles to a little town southeast of Rochester. Palmyra is a pleasant village of about 7,000 inhabitants, but it’s best known as the place where Joseph Smith found the golden plates buried in a hill in 1827. That discovery led to the foundation of the entire Mormon religion which today has millions of adherents.
Let’s continue along the Thruway, now heading west, until we reach Niagara Falls. Make sure to bring your passport as the best views of this majestic waterfall are from the Canadian side! One and a half million gallons flow over the falls every second, and the Horseshoe Falls have eroded an average of almost 4 feet per year since they were first surveyed in 1842.
We’ll now head west southwest for a very long day’s drive (two days is better) to reach St. Louis and the Gateway Arch to the West. The symbolic significance of this Arch is to commemorate the millions of people who crossed the mighty Mississippi to seek their future in the great American West. At 630 feet, the Arch is the country’s tallest man made monument.
Time to head across the wide prairies of the Plains states until we can just see the mountains on the horizon, which means that we will be approaching Denver, called the Mile High City since the 13th step of the State Capital Building is exactly one mile above sea level, commemorating the original 13 colonies. When in Denver you have to dine on one of their famous cheeseburgers since they were invented right here! With a full tummy, lets head west on I-70 way up into the Rockies and turn off the highway at the road to Mount Evans which is the highest road on the continent, reaching an elevation of 14,258 feet!
Once we descend from those amazing peaks, we run through the high desert area of Utah, where most of Smith’s Mormons live today, and finally we see the lights of Las Vegas in the distance. Las Vegas is much more than Sin City, it is a fantastic family playground where everyone can find more than enough fun and entertainment to suit them, regardless of age. From roller coasters wrapped around the tops of skyscrapers to the biggest waterparks in the world, Las Vegas is packed with family fun. Las Vegas was started by a mobster who bought a hotel in the middle of the desert and the rest of the city just sprang up around it.
Of course we have to end our trip at the beach in Santa Monica. The Los Angeles metropolitan area is a sprawling concrete jungle, but it also is one of the greatest places in the world for great food, exceptional entertainment, starspotting, and the very particular Southern California culture that exists nowhere else! Although usually abbreviated to L.A., the official original name of the city is El Pueblo de Nuestra Senora la Reina de los Angeles de Porciuncula! Try to write that on a postcard!!!