The Top Five Cult US Road Trips

Posted on: 17 April 2009 by Gareth Hargreaves

It is 40 years since Easy Rider hit the silver screen, capturing the spirit of American counterculture and inspiring a new generation of road trip movies.

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Marking this anniversary, road trip specialist TrekAmerica has selected its top five cult road trips – both fictional and real – with details on how travellers can follow in their tyre tracks.

1) Easy Rider

Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper play two bikers who set off from Los Angeles to reach New Orleans in time for Mardi Gras, stopping along the way to spend a few days in a commune.
Travellers can swap the Harley Davidsons for a minibus and follow the bikers’ route on TrekAmerica’s Cross Country BLT trip, which passes through many locations used to film Easy Rider.

These include Los Angeles, Flagstaff, Monument Valley, New Orleans and Taos, New Mexico, which will be marking Easy Rider’s anniversary in its Summer of Love this year from May to September. This annual festival is inspired by the ethos of the film with some events fronted by part-time resident of Taos, Dennis Hopper.

The 21-day Cross Country BLT starts from £1,479 per person excluding flights.

2) On The Road

Jack Kerouac’s semi-autobiographical novel tells the story of Sal Paradise who travels across the USA from the east to the west coast during the late 1940s. The novel, published in 1957, became a definitive work of the Beat Generation and a film version is currently in pre-production.

Sal Paradise’s cross-country route begins in New York and travels west through the northern USA states towards Los Angeles.

Travellers on TrekAmerica’s Northern Trail will find themselves on a similar route to Sal, stopping in Chicago then passing through Iowa, Wyoming and Nevada before travelling south through California from San Francisco to Los Angeles.

The 21-day Northern Trail starts from £1,199 per person excluding flights.

3) The Adventures Of Priscilla, Queen Of The Desert

Hugo Weaving, Terence Stamp and Guy Pearce play three drag queens driving across the Australian outback from Sydney to Alice Springs in a bus nicknamed Priscilla. The film had its debut at the 1994 Cannes Film Festival and has now been transformed into a successful musical, opening in London in March 2009.

TrekAmerica’s sister company OzXposure offers bus and van tours across the whole of Australia. Southern Xposure is a 15-day trip following the Priscilla route in reverse, beginning with the incredible outback landscapes of Kings Canyon, Uluru and Coober Pedy and ending with the iconic sights of Sydney Harbour. High heels and feathered head-dresses are optional.

The 15-day Southern Xposure tour costs from £938 per person excluding flights.

4) The Motorcycle Diaries

2004 film The Motorcycle Diaries is based on the journals of Che Guevara, recounting a road trip he took with his friend Alberto Granado across South America in the early 1950s.

Finding eight spare months to travel as Che did will be difficult for most, but Footloose’s South American Adventure captures the essence of the expedition, touring four countries in 25 days.

The trip takes a horseshoe route from Santiago in Chile to Buenos Aires in Argentina, via Bolivia and Brazil. Footloose’s trip includes a few days exploring the Atacama Desert as Che himself did.

Footloose’s 25-day South American Adventure costs from £1,699 per person excluding flights.

5) Thelma & Louise

Two Arkansas women break free from their lives to take a weekend road trip, but after killing a man, they find themselves in a bid to reach Mexico. Reluctant to drive through Texas, their route takes them west through Oklahoma and eventually to the Grand Canyon.

TrekAmerica’s Americana Road Trip follows the route of the female fugitives, stopping for a dip in Hot Springs, Arkansas, before crossing into Oklahoma where Route 66 was born. The canyon landscapes of Utah and Nevada are another highlight of this trip, although TrekAmerica’s van will be parked safely away from the Grand Canyon rim.

The 21-day Americana Road Trip costs from £1,439 per person excluding flights.

Web Links

  • TrekAmerica (www.TrekAmerica.co.uk) has been creating original adventures for 18-38 year olds in the USA, Canada and Mexico since 1972.
  • Footloose (www.Footloose.com) runs open age tours across North, Central and South America.
  • OzXposure (www.OzXposure.co.uk) runs open age tours in Australia and New Zealand.

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