United States on the road.
Boundless choices, itineraries, explorations and discoveries.
It’s difficult to be able to gather in words and pictures all the beauty and the little big wonders of a boundless country without getting lost into the myriad of possible paths, detours and views.
This time I want to tell you about a very beautiful and less “crowded” area, that one from the wide plains of the Mid-West arriving as far as the Great Lakes, skirting in the final part the borderline with Canada.
An unusual and very particular itinerary which (I’ll never stop repeating it) doesn’t mean less beautiful or suggestive, on the contrary.
A journey gathering in itself many little different paths, particular experiences and emotions included.
A journey into the music, in the deeds of the great USA roads, the car and aviation history, into the local traditions and the Native culture.
Six states – Illinois, Missouri, Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio and Michigan – several stages extremely unlike each other, to reckon and select, also following interests and travel expectations, and about 2300km of distance.
An itinerary feasible in its whole in 12/14 days.
Find down here a series of indications and cues, stage by stage, to plan and/or modify the path according to each own need.
Chicago, city of skyscrapers, architecture, public art, sport, blues, cult movies and TV series.
Spectacularly set on Lake Michigan shores, where it reflects into giving unique postcards of its inimitable profile.
A city which deserves a stay of at least two days and three nights.
Click here to view the complete itinerary, area by area.
From Chicago two very beautiful historic trails leave.
The Blues Hwy which reaches New Orleans through Illinois, Missouri, Tennessee, Mississippi and Louisiana, intersecting on its turn with other historic ones, among them, the Great River Road and the Natchez Trace Parkway.
And the mythical Mother Road, the Route 66.
It’s possible to follow both in the first part of this itinerary through Illinois and a trait of Missouri.
Stages that cannot be missed along the path: the Gemini Giant in Wilmington – one of the last Muffler Man of the Mother Road perfectly preserved – Pontiac – seat of the Route 66 Association Hall of fame– Lincoln – for a photo at the Giant Lincoln on Covered Wagon – Springfield, Livingston with stage at Pink Elephant Antique Mall, and St. Louis.
Indianapolis, affectionately renamed Indy by locals, is an obligatory stage for who is keen on race cars.
The Indianapolis Motor Speedway hosted some among the most famous sports competitions in the world – Formula 1, MotoGp and 500Miles. Different typologies of tours of the circuit can be done arriving as far as the mythical track. Click here to learn more.
Not to miss in Indianapolis: the City Market – the market of local products where it’s possible to have lunch – and a walk along the White River State Park to learn the history of the local Natives.
Welcome to Kentucky, for a taste of charming and magnetic old South.
Louisville, the biggest city of the state, is a stage rich in surprises.
Why stopping here for (at least) one night?
For the Kentucky Derby, one among the most glamour sports competitions of the country: it’s a Thoroughbreds race attracting lovers from all the world every year in the first week of May. If you cannot be in the city during the Derby Day or one of the events related, you can however stop and visit the really rich Kentucky Derby Museum.
If you are fond of baseball, then a stop at the Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory is de rigueur: it’s a museum entirely dedicated to the history of baseball bats production, with an interesting section dedicated to the greatest characters of the field, from Joe di Maggio to Babe Ruth.
If you love history, you can give yourselves a regenerating walk through the historic district of Old Louisville and then visit Thomas Edison’s house-museum.
Since ever Cincinnati – Ohio – is a crossroads…of states, rivers, traditions, cultures, thoughts and people.
In the middle, history, culture, wonderful Art Deco buildings, elegant vintage dwellings, really many bridges – among them the prototype of the most famous one in the world – a street art for connoisseurs, some of the most original museums of the country (bright signs included), a record baseball team and a special dish – worthy of the best local gastronomic tradition – to celebrate their success.
Then if you are fond of aviation and Air Force One specifically, you cannot miss the chance to stop in Dayton – siblings Wright’s home – and (literally) get on a presidential aircraft, maybe right John Fitzgerald Kennedy one.
Cleveland – Ohio – seat of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the greatest museum dedicated to one of the most famous musical genres in the world, and Alan Freed’s homeland, the legendary DJ to whom the invention of the term “rock n’ roll” is right attributed.
Only this it would be enough to motivate a stop, but you can add the tour of the nice West Side Market – where to eat local products with locals – and a jazz night in one of The Flats’ Club.
If some years ago you asked an American for news about Detroit, he certainly would have discouraged you, talking about an unsafe and dangerous city.
Today Detroit is definitely changed. In a better way!
It’s a completely different city, which made of his motor and record past one of its strength points.
A downtown completely re-evaluated with a series of interesting pedestrian paths on the river walk overlooking the Detroit River, the river marking the border between the United States and Canada.
Detroit is the Motown city, the record label which generated international artists of the calibre of Stevie Wonder and Michael Jackson, only to quote some among the most famous ones.
In Hitsville district at the Motown Museum is still possible to visit the mythical Studio A – and listening to unpublished tracks right like in the Sun Studio in Memphis – which Berry Gordie built in 1959 with a loan of 800$.
It’s the city of the street art which progressively re-qualifies the old abandoned districts, of jazz and blues played in the many clubs in downtown. And of the Eastern Market, a fresh products market, working since 1891, where it’s possible to have lunch for few dollars completely swallowed up by the local culture.
But Detroit is more than all the city of Henry Ford, the founder of one among the most important motor company in the world.
Few kilometres out of town, in Dearborn precisely, you’ll find the Henry Ford Museum, the mecca of the world motor history with really many relics, starting from the Lincoln where President Kennedy was assassinated to the bus where the Afro-American Rosa Parks refused to give her seat up to a White at the beginning of the Civil Rights Movement.
You can end up your tour through the city dedicating a couple of hours to the near Greenfield Village, a sort of historic public park where progressively all the historic districts of America were gathered – on the contrary, they would have been destroyed.
A nice walk back in time over 300 years of American history.