Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Pick ME, Mazda!

I just submitted an short essay for Mazda's online "Zoom Zoom" magazine. First prize gets to take his or her proposed road trip and wins an iPod Touch to bring along. (Would be pretty nice to win a car, too, but whatever.) I'm sure I have as good a chance of winning this as I did the $330 million Mega Millions jackpot tonight. (That is, slim to none, and Slim just left the building and forgot his keys.)

Anyway, here's the itinerary I whipped up in five minutes, based on our trip last March and with some new destinations tacked on to the end.

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When I think of road trips, I think of the American West. I may be a Jersey guy who went to college in the Midwest, but I feel right home in the desert or the Rockies. Though I've made several trips to Arizona, Utah and Colorado, if given the time and resources for a road trip somewhere in North America, I think I'd go right back to roads I've cruised before.

Starting in Phoenix, we'll head north to Flagstaff, taking scenic Route 89A from Sedona. After exploring parts of old Route 66 outside "Flag," we'd head north to the Grand Canyon. From there, it'd be east out of the park and down into the Painted Desert on the way up to Monument Valley. Next, it's up into Utah, past Mexican Hat and on into Moab, where a few days would be needed to see Arches and Canyonlands.

But then a decision must be made. One option is to turn west to hit Capitol Reef and then south again for Bryce Canyon and Zion. Depending on the season, a stop at the gorgeous and even more remote North Rim of the Grand Canyon would be a bonus. Finally, if time permits, I'd like to continue west and back around the Grand Canyon -- via Hoover Dam -- to get back to Phoenix and a trip-capping dinner at the famed Pizzeria Bianco.

Or perhaps we'll go east from Moab into Colorado, where the options include turning north to Dinosaur National park, south to Mesa Verde, or cruise east on the prettiest interstate in America, I-70, to Rocky Mountain National Park. If this is our route, Denver would be our finale -- some good steak and wine in LoDo.

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