Road Tripping | The Lower 48 or Bust
Mel Dohmen & Carson Vaughan | Local Color XC

Road Trippin': The Lower 48 or Bust

We left Lincoln, Neb., on December 7, 2015 at 9:00am on a year-long road trip to every state in the lower 48. We'll be spending roughly one week in each state, staying at national and state park campgrounds, family and friends' driveways, and other unknown destinations along the way. Here's a rough outline of where we're going and where we've been. 

Where We've Been:



  • Oliver Lee Memorial State Park, White Sands National Monument, hiked the Dog Canyon Trail into Lincoln National Forest, Tularosa. 
  • Brantley Lake State Park and Carlsbad Caverns.


  • Davis Mountains State Park, Fort Davis, and Marfa. 
  • Guadalupe River State Park, San Antonio, Enchanted Rock, Boerne, Fredericksburg.


  • Saint Bernard State Park, New Orleans, Bar Tonique, NOMA Sculpture Garden, Louis Armstrong Park, Cafe Du Monde, the French Quarter, Hey! Cafe, Pho Cam Ly, R & O's Restaurant, St. James Cheese Company, NOLA Brewing, Audubon Park.


  • T.O. Fuller State Park, Memphis, Central BBQ, City & State, Bluff City Coffee, National Civil Rights Museum, Beale Street, Victory Bicycles, Gus's Fried Chicken, Avenue Coffee, The Peabody Hotel.
  • Panther Creek State Park.
  • Nashville, Prince's Hot Fried Chicken, Donut Den, Music City Bike Trail, Bongo Java.
  • Fall Creek Falls State Park, Spencer, Sparta, McMinnville, Chattanooga, The Terminal Brewhouse, The Chattanooga Choo Choo, The Hot Chocolatier, Imbibe, Mean Mug, Brash, Lookout Mountain, Clumpie's Ice Cream, Rock City.


  • Wall Doxey State Park, Oxford, City Grocery, Charleston, Square Books, Ole Miss campus, Cups of Oxford, Lamar Lounge, Whirlpool Dr. Trail.


  • Oak Mountain State Park, Birmingham, Surin West Thai, The Garage, Octane, Urban Standard. 
  • Meaher State Park, Mobile, Felix's Fish House, Dauphin Island, Fairhope, Mardi Gras Museum, Spanish Fort.


  • Fort Yargo State Park, Atlanta, The Sun Dial, Centennial Olympic Park, CNN Center, Cakes & Ales, Stone Mountain Park, King Memorial, Midtown, Piedmont Park, Hi-Five Diner, Margaret Mitchell House, Buckhead, Lenox Square Mall. 
  • Skidaway Island State Park, Savannah, Pin Point, Zunzi's.


  • Saint Andrews State Park, Panama City, Patches Bar & Pub.
  • St. Augustine, Erin & Scott's driveway.


  • Paris Mountain State Park, Greenville, Traveler's Rest, Swamp Rabbit, Velo Fellow, Addie's, Swamp Rabbit Trail, Chicora Alley, Sully's Steamers.


  • Asheville, Lake Powhatan Recreation Area, Asheville Sandwich Company, World Coffee Cafe, High Five Coffee, West End Bakery & Cafe, Hardtimes Trail, Clingman Cafe.
  • Morrow Mountain State Park, Albemarle.


  • Fort Boonesborough State Park, Lexington, Kentucky Theatre, Lexington Public Library + Friends of the Library Bookstore, Blue Stallion Brewery, Transylvania University, Gratz Park + nearby houses, University of Kentucky campus, Third Street Stuff coffee shop, Jasmine Rice Thai, Frankfort, Frankfort Cemetery, Capitol Building & Governor's Mansion, Coffeetree Cafe & Bookstore, Buffalo Trace Distillery Tour, Garcia's, Vest-Lindsey House.
  • Richmond, Eastern Kentucky University campus, Wink's Bar, Purdy's Coffee Co.


  • Coopers Rock State Forest, Morgantown, University of West Virginia, Fairmont, Colasessano's, Country Club Bakery, Joe N' Throw, Muriale's, Blue Moose Cafe, Raven's Rock overlook.
  • Cass Scenic Railroad, National Radio Astronomy Observatory, Green Bank, White Sulphur Springs, Lewisburg, Moncove Lake State Park, Union, Hanging Rock.


  • Mt. Trashmore, First Landing State Park, Taste, Duck Donuts, Field Guide, Ocean Front, Saffron.
  • Bull Run Regional Park, Sweetwater Tavern, Vienna Metro Station, Fairfax.
  • Pocahontas State Park, Richmond, Chesterfield, Lamplighter Coffee Shop (FAN), Garnett's, Crossroads Coffee + Ice Cream, Urban Farmhouse, Waller Tire, Thurston Springs, NAPA Auto Parts.


  • National Mall, Holocaust Museum, Library of Congress, U.S. Capitol, White House, Smithsonian museums, Supreme Court, various D.C. food trucks.


  • Hampden, Top of the World - World Trade Center, Inner Harbor, Little Italy, Camden Yards, Fort McHenry, Sabatino's, Dangerously Delicious Pies, Fells Point, Pitango Gelato, Brewers Hills, Natty Boh, shipyards. 


  • Trap Pond State Park, Rehoboth Beach, Milton, Lewes, Zwaanendael Museum, Laurel, Dogfish Head Brewery + restaurant in Rehoboth, Dolle's Candy, Po' Boys Creole & Fresh Catch, Nicola Pizza (the Nicoboli!).


  • Sea Isle City, Ocean Sands where we parked Elsie (thanks, John & Leah!), Hank's Hot Sauce + Restaurant, Vita Bella Pizza, THE BEACH, Stone Harbor, Avalon, Springer's Ice Cream.
  • Mahlon Dickerson Reservation, Farmingdale (where we parked Elsie while in NYC).


  • NYC! Visited Union Hall, West Village, downtown Brooklyn, Chelsea Market, Artists & Fleas in Williamsburg, La Colombe coffee, Blind Tiger for drinks, Earl's Beer + Cheese and the upper East Side (goodbye, Kristin!), Troost in Greenpoint, Brooklyn Heights.


  • Norwich, West Thompson Lake, Salt Rock Campground, Sprague / Village of Baltic, New London, Fred's Shanty.


  • Fishermen's Memorial State Park, Narragansett, The Bike Stop, The Wash Tub Laundromat, Providence, The Hot Club, East Side Pockets, RISD & Brown campuses, RISD Museum + Todd Oldham exhibit, the state capitol.


  • SoWa Boston Open Market, Norwell, Boston, Harvard Campus, Summer Solstice Festival, Harpoon Brewery, 1369 Coffee Shop.


  • Lake Umbagog Campground, Errol, The Balsams, Colebrook, Northern Exposure Cafe, L.L. Cote, Dixville Notch, Dixville Notch Flume, Table Rock Hiking Trail.


  • Mt. Desert, Southwest Harbor, Bar Harbor, Trailhead Cafe, Sherman's Bookstore, Acadia National Park (Jordan Pond, Thunderhole, Beehive, Gorham Mountain, Beech Mtn. + Firetower), Beal's Lobster Pier.


  • Winhall Brook Campground, Burlington, West River Trail, Crow Books, Trinket, El Cortijo, Riverfront, University of Vermont.


  • Montreal, Voyageur Provincial Park (Ontario), Fairmount Bagels, Bar Waverly, Old Port, Mile End, Mont Royal.
  • Toronto, China Town, Bronte Creek Provincial Park (Ontario), Caplansky's, Kensington Market, Toronto Islands, St. Lawrence Market, University of Toronto.


  • Leonard Harrison State Park, Wellsboro, Pine Creek Trail (biked it, liked it), Wellsboro Diner, Penn Wells Hotel, Cafe 1905, Goodwill.
  • State College, Duffy's, Elk Creek Cafe, Millheim.
  • Pittsburgh, Church Brew Works, Shady Side, Noodlehead, Spak Brothers.


  • Cleveland, Punderson State Park, Chagrin Falls, Cosmic Dave's Subs, Sokolowski's, Hoopples, Great Lakes Brewing Company, The Bubble Project, Mitchell's Ice Cream, Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland (MOCA), Cleveland Clothing Co., Cleveland Public Library (Main Branch), West Side Market, The Arcade (downtown), West 4h (downtown), Clock Tower, Waterfront district, University Circle, Nighttown Jazz Club.


  • Potato Creek State Park, South Bend.
  • Indianapolis, Bier Brewery, The Brugge, Broad Ripple, Mounds State Park, Indy Urban Flea.


  • Grand Rapids, Ionia State Recreation Area, Grand Rapids Brewing Co., Grand Rapids Downtown Market, MadCap, Lantern Coffee House, GoJava, HopCat, Stella's, Sidebar, Marie Catribs, Brick & Porter, Biggby's, Brewery Vivant.


  • Milwaukee, Wisconsin State Fair RV Park (better than you might imagine!), Colectivo, Lakeshore State Park, Historic Third Ward, Downtown Riverwalk, Milwaukee Public Market.


  • Chicago, Humboldt Park, Wicker Park, Logan Square, Trike Thai, Black Lion, East Room, China Town, EZ Inn, Spinning J, Hopewell Brewing, C.C. Ferns, Chicago Athletic Association.


  • Des Moines, Chichaqua Bottoms Greenbelt, Shelby, Cornstalk Cafe, Casey's + Casey's Pizza, Hy-Vee + Hy-Vee Chinese. 


  • St. Paul, Lowertown, the Capitol building, Minnesota Workers' Memorial Garden, F. Scott Fitzgerald row house + Summit Ave, Lotus House Thai, Mill City + Mill District, Minneapolis, Target Field, Fulton Brewery, LynLake Brewery, Lyn-Lake neighborhood, Uptown neighborhood, Victor's 1959 Cafe, East + West downtown, Dinkytown, U of M, Annie's.


  • Fargo + downtown Fargo, Fargo Theater, Great Plains Art Museum.
  • Bismarck, ND Capitol building, Luft Rooftop Bar, General Sibley Park.


  • Shadehill Recreation Area + Hugh Glass Memorial Site (where he was mauled by that bear!), Lemmon, World's Largest Petrified Wood Exhibit (in Lemmon).
  • Wall + Wall Drug, Cedar Pass Lodge in Badlands National Park, Badlands NPS + Castle Trail & Saddlepass Trail, Black Hills, Mount Rushmore National Memorial, Keystone, Minuteman Missile National Historic Site, Rapid City.


  • Sundance, Buffalo, downtown Buffalo, The Occidental Hotel + Saloon, William J. Mentock Hiking Trail + Big Horn National Forest, The Fix Coffee Shop, Lake DeSmet.


  • Red Cliff Campground, Big Sky, Upper Beehive Trail, Lone Creek Brewing, Rockford Coffee Roasters, Bozeman, downtown Bozeman, Montana State University.
  • Missoula, Zocalo Coffee, Montana Ale Works, Country Bookshelf, University of Montana, Hiked the M on Mount Sentinel, Biga Pizza, Zootown Brew, riverfront trails, downtown Missoula.


  • Stoneridge Resort, Blanchard, Couer d'Alene, hiked around Lake Couer d'Alene. 


  • Spokane, WA + Clinkerdagger.
  • Columbia River Valley, Anjou Bakery, Chelan County Expo Center, Cashmere, Peshastin Pinnacles Trail.
  • Seattle, Game Farm Wilderness Park, Auburn, Pike Place Market, Space Needle, Capitol Hill, University of Washington, Olympic Park, Lenin Statue, Ophelia's Bookstore, Fremont neighborhood, Lost Lake Cafe & Lounge, Elliot Bay Book Company, Paseo, Seattle Public Library.


  • Astoria, The Goonies House, Astoria Tower.
  • Portland, Portland Aerial Tram, Jam on Hawthorne, Powell's Bookstore, Grand Marketplace, Pearl District, Hot Lips Pizza, McMenamins Back Stage Bar, Laurelhurst Theater, Champoeg State Park, Salt & Straw Ice Cream, Willamette Valley wineries including Archer and Purple Hands.
  • Harris Beach State Park + Highway 101.


  • U.S. 101 and Hwy 1 -- we took this down the Oregon coast and into the Bay Area. Redwood State Forest + National Forest, Richardson Grove Campground, Garberville, Napa Valley and Sonoma County.
  • Oakland, Berkeley, Moxy Beer Garden, Lindgren's Cafe, Yogurtland, Belly, Lost & Found, Acme Bread Co., Arbor Cafe, Burma Superstar, The Avenue, Temescal neighborhood, Jokes for Votes comedy tour, Alcatraz Island, Kirala, Fireworks Brewery, Heinolds, Jack London Square, Bakesale Betty. 


  • Carson City, Kit Carson Walking Trail, Nevada State Capitol Building, Gold Dust West RV Park, In-N-Out Burger (our first time!), The Crackerbox.
  • Virginia City, Bucket of Blood Saloon, Storey County Courthouse + Jail, Mine Tour.
  • Reno, Pho 777, Reno Art Museum, U Swirl Froyo, Reno Sparks Convention Center
  • Route 50 (the loneliest road in America), Austin, Ely, Prospector Hotel + RV Park.


  • Zion National Park, Mt. Carmel, Angel's Landing Hiking Trail, Emerald Pools Hiking Trails, East Zion Riverside RV Park, Thunderbird Restaurant, Springdale.
  • Panguitch, Paradise RV Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, Peekaboo Hiking Trail, Capitol Reef National Park, Grand Staircase.
  • Dead Horse Point State Park, East Rim Trail, West Rim Trail; Arches National Park, Delicate Arch Hiking Trail; Canyonlands National Park, Mesa Arch Trail, Aztec Butte Trail; Moab, Arches Thai, Milt's Stop & Eat, Moab Brewery. 


  • Alamosa, Mi Taquito, San Luis Valley Brewing Co., Milagros Coffee Shop; Great Sand Dunes National Park, Sand Dunes Swimming Pool & RV Park.


  • Elkhart, Prairie RV Park.... :\ 


  • Bartlesville, Hideaway Pizza, Tallgrass Prairie Reserve, Woolaroc Museum, Price Tower Arts Center, El Maguey Mexican Grill, Freddy's, Osage Hills State Park + all hiking trails.
  • Tulsa, My Thai Kitchen, Pawhuska.


  • Little Rock, HAM Sandwich Shop, Big Dam Bridge, Maumelle COE Park, Capital Hotel + Bar & Grill, Central High School National Historic Site, River Market District, Bill Clinton Presidential Library, Arkansas State Capitol + Little Rock 9 Memorial, Lost Forty Brewing Co.


  • Kansas City, SoT Social, Green Lady Lounge, The Kansas City Public Library, Thou Mayest, The Brick, Moti Mahal II, Union Station, Scratch, Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art.

Want to know what we're doing in each state?

Hop over to our Field Notes blog, or visit our TwitterInstagram or Facebook pages.