Travel Channel joins Rand McNally’s Best of the Road cross-country road rally to search for America’s best small towns. With the road rally in full swing, we’re getting dispatches from our road warrior videographer: Allison Otto. Allison joined the Best of the Road RV team and she’ll be filming, taking photos and blogging while on the RV capturing the small town wonders that cross the their path.
Allison’s biggest passion in life is the joy of hitting the open road — she has clocked more than 450 road trips along the back roads of the US. She has also spent 2 years living in a fully-restored, 26 ft. 1958 Airstream — her other passion being vintage RVs!
Check out her photos from New York state and Kentucky.
Allison editing video on the Best of the Road RV.
On the Road dispatch from Allison:
The Best of the Road 2012 tour is officially underway and I’m riding along in a ritzy, 40 ft Fleetwood RV with a crew from Rand McNally as we search for America’s best small towns. It’s such an exciting way to spend the summer, and my personal mission as we head west from Washington D.C. is to find the offbeat and unique people, places and stories that define our country and its small towns.
By Katie Hards
An upright piano is not the typical instrument of choice among street musicians, but that hasn’t stopped piano player Dotan Negrin from following his dream to play “Piano Across America.“ In 2011, the clever musician put wheels on his bulky instrument, left his home base in Long Island, New York, and traveled over 23,000 miles across the country with his spunky Chihuahua mutt, Brando. Out of the 44 cities he stopped in to play a few tunes, Dotan says that New Orleans and Athens, Georgia were his favorites; although he couldn’t get enough of the great people he met in Jackson, Wyoming. On his journey, Dotan even ended up playing his piano inside a redwood tree in Redwoods, California. READ MORE
What better way to celebrate Earth Day than with a trip to one of America’s stunning national parks? Explore the awe-inspiring rock formations of the Grand Canyon, wander through the spindly cartoon-like Joshua trees at Joshua Tree National Park, get inspired at FDR’s Hudson River estate and presidential library, go gator-spotting in the Florida Everglades or watch the waves crash against the national seashore. All of these incredible historic sites and natural wonders have been lovingly preserved by the National Park Service, often called “America’s Best Idea.”
Starting Saturday (and ending Sunday, April 29), more than 100 of the national parks that typically charge an admission fee will be completely free to enter, and a visit to any one of them will inspire you to help preserve all 84 million acres of them. If you’d like to get involved and help out with a project, visit Saturday for Volunteer Day. Or take your kids on April 28 to participate in National Junior Ranger Day, when kids will be taught to “explore, learn and protect” the parks and landmarks that we have inherited. READ MORE
by Troy Petenbrink
In the beginning, New Mexico didn’t get much respect; early opponents of statehood said New Mexico’s cultural diversity and rural territory were actually liabilities. Today, those same reasons are what make America’s 47th state worth visiting.
This year, New Mexico celebrates its 100th year of statehood, making it the perfect time to discover (or rediscover) the state’s rich past and promising future. Here are 6 ideas to make a New Mexico trip memorable:
6) Explore History From the Pueblos to the Atomic Age
History lovers can explore the 2,000-year-old Acoma Pueblo atop a towering sandstone mesa; its responsible for the state’s nickname, “Sky City.” The 19 pueblos across New Mexico allow visitors to learn more about its native people.
Fast-forward to the 1940s: New Mexico’s vital role in ending World War II can be explored at Los Alamos, one of the primary locations for the Manhattan Project and home to the Bradbury Science Museum, which documents the history of the famed nuclear weapons project. Also tour Trinity Site, the location of the first atomic bomb explosion (it’s open for public visits twice a year); and The National Museum of Nuclear Science and History, located outside of Albuquerque, NM.
5) Stroll a Mile-Long Stretch of Galleries
Art and culture encompass nearly every aspect of New Mexico. There’s Native American pottery and jewelry made throughout the pueblos; Santa Fe’s mile-long stretch of galleries on Canyon Road; and the many museums in Taos, NM.
You can also learn about one of New Mexico’s most famous artists, Georgia O’Keeffe. Walk among the inspiring majestic landscapes that surround her two homes — Ghost Ranch and Abiquiu– where she lived until 1984. View the largest single repository of her work at the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum in downtown Santa Fe.