Road Trip Series: Part Four...A little bit of Ohio, the KY, & the Volunteer State
How many random places can you hit up on a road trip? That was the question on my mind as we were cruising up 71 North to return to Columbus after a six day road trip that was fun, adventure filled, and well...kinda random.
That’s the fun part about road trips. They don’t always need a theme or a plan. Our plan got thrown together on this one as we went and certainly the only cohesive theme you could gather from this trip was there a lack of a theme.
We left Ohio on a late Friday afternoon and returned on a late Thursday afternoon.
In between we ate falafel with vikings, danced the night away outside at a wedding for my friend since kindergarten, hiked with 85 year olds, did communal camping in a field, shot hoops with ten year olds, rock climbed on the side of a 150 foot cliff, & drank coffee in three states, one national park, one national forest, and one state park.
Let’s hit the high points real quick on the OH/KY/TN Road Trip
12 OH/KY/Tn Road Trip Highlights:
Total Days: 6
Total Mileage: 857 miles.
Main Destinations:Ohio Renaissance Festival, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, & Red River Gorge/Daniel Boone National Forest.
Favorite stop along the way:Miguel’s Pizza. Easily one of the cooler camping concepts in the world.
Best Song on Road Trip Playlist: Bye Bye Bye by N Sync. One of the closing songs by the wedding band on night two of the road trip. It quickly made its way on our Apple Music playlist as we drove south! The boy band lives on.
New friend: Well she has always been a friend but our friends 3 year old daughter Lucy wouldn’t let my wife out of her site the two days we spent with her and only wanted to hold her hand. New best friend I would say for my wife Jill G!
Old friends visited: My grandparents in Knoxville Tennessee, the McCormick’s in Waynesville, Ohio, and dozens of friends from high school and before at our friend Kevin’s wedding (who I went to Kindergarten through High School with.)
Read: Living with the Monks by Jessie Itzler.
Best Wildlife Sighting: The two foot Black Snake in Red River Gorge had my wife sprinting back to the start of the trailhead hahaha!
What did we do?
Let’s hit all the random things we did on this trip! We camped with our friends at a state park and then went to Highlands Weekend at the Ohio Renaissance Festival. I was able to secure a bronze medal on a target throwing game, also hit a bullseye with a shooting star, and dunked a medieval gentlemen into a tank of water while attending the festival.
Then we headed for Cincinnati to celebrate our friends Kevin and Ali’s big wedding day. It was outside on a Saturday night in the beautiful French Park and it was great to reconnect with old friends that I grew up with.
From there we went to Knoxvillle and stayed and visited my grandparents that included a day in America’s most visited National Park Great Smoky Mountains.
Finally we tent camped at Miguel’s Pizza and went hiking, did yoga, & rock climbed through Red River Gorge Kentucky.
It was a little bit of everything and it was great to piece together the road trip based on events. Kevin’s wedding date gave us the chance to go to Cincinnati and from there we built on experiences before and after. This is sometimes the best way to build a road trip. Find something that is on the calendar and build an adventure around it. The flexibility of a road trip allows you to wander and learn as you go and this trip was no exception.
Red River Gorge Kentucky is one of the neatest outdoor adventure scenes in the lower 48. To me it’s the best “within a three hour drive” outdoor spot from Columbus Ohio. We met folks from Canada, Australia, and all over America who were there for the best rock climbing in the country not located in California.
It’s a mecca for rock climbing and RRG’s backpacking & hiking is actually about as epic. My favorite hike was the Swift Camp Creek Trail which you can take for about 20 miles round trip. We only did about a 14 mile loop but it offered solitude, lovely views, and a great workout all in one.
We had some outdoor and indoor experiences all wrapped into one on this trip and jumping back and forth from one to the other made for a fun variety. I guarantee I was the only communal camper at Miguel’s Pizza with a shirt, tie, and suit pants wadded up in the back of the car from wearing it earlier in the week.
The next time you have a commitment you want to attend see if you can’t build a whole experience out around it. We struck gold with new friends and adventures on this one and can’t wait until we have another totally random road trip like this one.
Thanks for reading and supporting the One80Out family and community! Been on a random road trip recently? Share the itinerary in the comments!
Because Adventure Travel Feeds the Soul, Mike Rudd
Mike Rudd is a 4 Time Author, yogi & yoga teacher, outdoor & active events curator, nature junkie, world traveler, hiker, & trail runner. His outdoor adventure community can be found atHashtag 59 or follow him on Instagram @TheMikeRudd. Spread good vibes.
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