Going Places: 2 Good Road Trips That Begin At The Airport

Mar 8, 2017

Ah, the summer road trip. Remember? Miles and miles of highway, stuffed into the backseat with the cooler, that extra suitcase that wouldn’t fit into the trunk, and the coffee mugs Dad forgot to bring inside before you left?

Growing up, year after year, you could count on staring at blurry trees and big green highway signs, uncertain if you’d ever be allowed out of the car again, or if you were just going to be rolling down the turnpike until you were 30.

And then you get to age 30, or 40, or 50, and you think: That was fun. Let’s do that again.

This week on Going Places, we wanted to talk about road trips, but we threw in a catch: The trips have to begin far away. Below, find our conversation and our routes.

Matthew’s Route

For this trip, you’ll fly to Santiago, Chile. Then you let someone else do the driving.

Mendoza's wine country, in Argentina, is the perfect place to relax in South America.
Credit Ben O'Bryan / Flickr

Hop a public bus and head into the Andes. You’ll travel below Mt. Aconcagua – the tallest point in the western hemisphere, and the southern hemisphere.

Then you’ll drop down to Mendoza, in Argentina. This is the heart of Malbec wine country.

You’ll eat big steaks and drink more Malbec than you’ve ever thought of before.

End in Buenos Aires, about 904 miles away.

“That is a huge trip, but it’s stunning, it was very safe, it was affordable,” Brumley said.

And you can do it in reverse, if airfare is better the other way.

Ed’s Route

This one is a little closer. First, fly to Detroit.

Diego Rivera's murals are among the many treasures you'll find at the Detroit Institute of Art.
Credit Ed Ronco / KNKX

Is there a little hometown bias at work in Ed’s itinerary? Maybe. But the city is experiencing a rebirth that’s worth taking in – to say nothing of the outstanding institutions that have long made Detroit an unsung gem.

Drop by the Detroit Institute of Arts, the city’s vibrant Campus Martius area, see a Tigers game, or take in a show at one of the old, opulent theaters that attracts national tours and top acts.

Then hit the road.

You’re heading north on I-75 to Mackinaw City, where you’ll hop a ferry to Mackinac Island. You’ll have to leave the car behind for a day or two, but the island of horse-drawn carriages, fudge shops, and Lake Huron views is worth it.

After you get back to the mainland, head over to Traverse City, known for its nearby cherry industry. Then head down US-31 and stop in a variety of small Lake Michigan towns, like Ludington, Holland, South Haven and St. Joseph.

From here, wrap up the trip by heading back to Detroit, or over to Chicago. Total distance is between 725 and 825 miles, depending on where you end the trip.

How About Your Route?

Have you been on some good road trips we should know about? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

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“Going Places” is 88.5’s weekly exploration of travel. Matthew Brumley is the co-founder of Earthbound Expeditions on Bainbridge Island, which provides small-group travel to clients including KNKX. Never miss an episode again. Subscribe to Going Places with iTunes Google Play or Stitcher.