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AARP One-Tank Road Trip Contest

Vacationers love road tripping. Do you? Fall is a great time to drive for short getaways and we’d love to hear about your favorite excursions that take one tank of gas or less! And, with your post, you’ll have the option to be entered in the AARP One-Tank Road Trip contest for an opportunity to win $100.

 

Contest Details

Reply to this discussion to share your one-tank road trip ideas and tips. Be sure to include the location of travel with approximate mileage, your favorite one-tank-tunes, and a meaningful photo from the trip. Entries are accepted until midnight October 26, 2020. Official rules.

 

Other Good Reading from AARP

Check out our recent article, Top Road Trips and enjoy an inspiring drive from Washington, D.C. to Virginia’s Eastern Short or explore the winding back roads of Tennessee.

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My favorite one tank trip was to the California coast by Trinidad. We saw two elk fighting over "the Ladies". Since I am a child of the eighties Naturally " hot me with your best shot" by pat Benatar came to mind. Fight the good fight by Triump is a runner up 



@AARPLynne wrote:

Vacationers love road tripping. Do you? Fall is a great time to drive for short getaways and we’d love to hear about your favorite excursions that take one tank of gas or less! And, with your post, you’ll have the option to be entered in the AARP One-Tank Road Trip contest for an opportunity to win $100.

 

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In my gas efficient hybrid convertible, my one-tank road trip starts in my hometown of busy, crowded Los Angeles, driving North up Pacific Coast Highway along the coastline!  After making stops along the way to take in such iconic beach cities as Big Sur, Carmel and Monterey I would continue on to San Francisco, stopping at Fisherman's Wharf to pick up fresh seafood, crusty sourdough bread and other provisions. After driving over the majestic Golden Gate Bridge,I would end my trip in cozy Sausalito on my friend's sailboat taking a sunset cruise, enjoying a lovely seafood dinner and fine California wine as the sky turns purple, grey, then black, with only the sound of the boat's slow motoring, gazing out at the Bay ringed with sparkling light.

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A little over a week ago, I drove from Seattle over the Cascades Mountain Range to the town of Richland, in the eastern part of the state of Washington. Why? To adopt a puppy! It was a great change of scenery (from "the wet side" to "the dry side" of the state), and I stayed overnight with friends in Richland who have also recently adopted a new puppy. We socially distanced and enjoyed our pups together 🙂 The total trip was about 300 miles. The weather was beautiful both days. See pic of my new puppy "Sassy" (she's a mini-goldendoodle, and is just 8 weeks old in this pic -- she has won my heart!) I tuned in to local radio stations as I crossed the state, so the tunes ranged from alt-rock to country as the terrain became more rural.  

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my one-tank road trip is from Las Vegas, NV to Palm Springs, CA. i stop in Baker to check the thermometer and grab some jerky and interesting sodas and continue on. Then I stop in Yermo at Eddy World for amazing pizza and more “junk food”. they have the biggest variety of candy and treats I’ve ever seen. Sometimes I detour and stop at Calico ghost town. I just love  the scenery. I stop in Banning/Beaumont to visit friends. Palm Springs speaks for itself. so much to see and do, in spite of the pandemic. Great trip- very relaxing. mnmkeyboards@gmail.com

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If you have a car that gets 33 miles to the gallon, you can go 400 miles, from the Piedmont foothills in the middle of North Carolina to her mountainous southwest corner, with one tank of gas—provided you don’t run the air conditioning. Just roll down the windows and climb the long gradual grade.

Beginning in Durham, you’ll go through a hair-raising stretch of 10 lanes where Interstate 40 and 85 merge for a while in Burlington. Scoot around two good-size cities—Greensboro and Winston-Salem. Notice the large furniture mart at Hickory that sells to the whole world.

Along about Morganton in Burke County you will get your first glimpse of that blue rugged line. It’s where Far View Road crosses Interstate 40 and you’ll understand how it got that name as you come over the rise and at last see mountains before you.

The rest area at Marion is worth a stop for you and your dog—westbound, it has a waterfall. Haul up Black Mountain, swinging around the curves in the middle lane.

In 5 hours, you will have squeezed between all the access roads to Asheville, that bustling arty Blue Ridge yodel of a town. You might get a whiff of paper making stink at Enka/Canton. Grab a bite at Clyde’s Restaurant in Waynesville, a tradition for at least 60 years. In Balsam, buy new apples, then stop to walk the dog again at the lovely rest area on the westbound side.

Slip by Silva and roar up the road from Dillsboro to Franklin. At last climb over Chunky Gal Mountain and into Clay County to see TVA Lake Chatuge and the sweetest one-horse town, Hayesville, with an old courthouse square full of music and festivals, ice cream and crafts, and a Cherokee heritage walk. But don’t forget to refill your gas tank at Ingel’s on the bypass so you can get to Brasstown to contra dance.

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The Shawnee National Forest in Southern Illinois is always a beautiful destination but it's even more remarkable with the amazing display of leaves in the fall.  It's about 100 miles from the St. Louis Metro area and well worth the drive. There are many great hiking trails in the area and several nice lakes and rivers for fishing and watersports. 

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I and my son went to Mount Pleasant, South Carolina. Which is about 240 miles away from my home, Easley South Carolina. We went for three days. Driving was easy both ways, without any problems. My son's passion is fishing, that is all he did the entire time. Me on the other hand, I was occupied mostly by taking pictures. Photography is my thing. I also did some fishing too. I had a great time bonding even more with my son.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/190776287@N07/ 

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On a glorious sunny day last week we loaded up our Sheltie and Australian Shepard, gassed up the car and headed up to Mt. Rainier.  The drive from Tacoma was 65miles of bliss - sun filtering through tall firs, deciduous trees just showing their colors, fresh mountain air and as we got closer the sound of waterfalls, rushing water from the glacial runoff, birds and a gentle breeze.  Once at Paradise - aptly named - and the end of the road we soaked in the 

views of one of Washington’s most majestic volcanoes and the peaks surrounding it from a 360 degree panorama.  The mountain meadows are brilliant red and a beautiful foil for the deep blue sky and snow on the peaks. There are many short, easy hikes To be had.  On the ride home just outside the National Park we stopped to pick huckleberries and finished the trip with dinner of stew, homemade bread and blackberry pie at a small roadside restaurant named CopperCreek Inn.  There is no better one tank road trip in Washington State.  The only “tunes” that accompanied us were soft breeze, rushing water, and forest stillness!  

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Sept. was a sweet time of the year to drive south from the Washington DC area to southern MD, passing through St. Mary's City, which has a picturesque marina, sailing or kayaking opportunities and charter boat rides.  St, Mary's College campus is well worth checking out if you have a  MD high schooler considering their options who might appreciate smaller class sizes, great academics and proximity to the shore.  Our ultimate destination was Scotland, MD and Point Lookout State Park.  There is much sad Civil War history to be seen and read about at the state park, as the area once served as a Confederate Prison Camp (the counterpart of Andersonville in the South), where there is a cemetery and Union Soldier barracks.  Camping, swimming, crabbing and fishing abound  along the shoreline, with lots of picnic tables.  We had a dog along who had a grand time in the water.  Popular with a number of ethnic groups, the aromas of a variety of cuisines being grilled were mouthwatering.  There is a picturesque lighthouse.  Along the route, too, is the Patuxent River Naval Air Museum.  (Though both were closed, due to Covid restrictions when we went). Great produce stands along the way - sweet corn and sugar-cube canteloupes were delicious!  There is also the Slack winery in Ridge, MD nearby.  Best part for us was being able to hardly move from a quiet shore we visited and see both a sunrise and a sunset over the shore.   Wise to bring insect repellant, I should note.

It takes about 1 hour and 55 minutes one-way, along Route 5 and 235.  

We enjoy Enya's music, the Watermark album and especially the "Sail Away" song, Orinoco Flow.

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Driving down interstate 44 from Joplin Missouri to the Ozarks.

It's a nice change of scenery and we love the hills. Always end up in Arkansas down highway 65 just past Branson Missouri.

We see wildlife etc. And back home by night fall.

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Drive along the coast line of Long Island.  There are beautiful beaches to explore and great walking trails.  Do you like lighthouses?  Explore Fire Island where you can climb the stairs to the top of the lighthouse for a spectacular view.  There are historic sites to tour or you could choose to drive to the Hamptons to see amazing homes of the wealthy.  Happy trails!

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I grew up on LI, I agree that driving out East can be very pretty 

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Driving up highway 1 up the California coast is often portrayed as one of the most spectacular scenic routes in the movies. They often show the  beautiful blue sea with its waves crashing on the beach or the  picturesque moment of the sun setting behind the pine trees in the seaside community of Cambria.  I have taken this drive many times but the 220 mile stretch of the I-15, with her sand and rock and beautiful neutral tones is the road trip I love. I prefer the serenity of the desert and her peacefulness and her understated beauty off the 15 freeway.  Her peaceful movement and mostly silence is majestic, but the irony is the destination is anything but peaceful or silent, it’s my destination to Las Vegas Nevada from the suburbs of Los Angeles , California.  

 

The drive to Las Vegas is less than 4 hours and is about a half a tank of gas in my Camry.  The drive is part of the fun and my car is always equipped with the necessities for the drive that my husband so lovingly prepares.  Included is my king size pillow and full size sheet or blanket, depending on the weather, a small ice chest to hold 6 bottled waters, and my “moms mix” cd, with various 80’s music including  Howard Jones, Moby, Joy Division, Radiohead, Beastie Boys, Oasis, and Elvis Costello.  The trip starts off after we have our morning coffee and off we go.  Within 45 minutes we are out of the suburbs and on the 15 freeway.  First stop will be for our routine triangle cut tuna salad sandwich on wheat at the convenience store at the Cajon Pass in Hesperia in the high desert.  

 

The desert is a monotony of tan colored rocks and sand and parched wilderness whose beauty is often depreciated.  The radio is still strong and it is not until we hit Baker, “Home of the worlds tallest thermometer” do we encounter radio static and interference and I know its time to put in a CD.  I enjoy the view of the desert and the heat of the desert against the glass and the hum of the the desert wind.  We sing along to a few songs, including Cat Stevens, “Oh Very Young, Wild World and Peace Train”.  Most of the music my husband barely tolerates and it is not until we are near the Nevada -California border is it time to put on our song,”Watching the Detective “by Elvis Costello.  “Nice girls, not one with a defect

Cellophane shrink-wrapped, so correct

Red dogs under illegal x

She looks so good that he gets down and begs

She is watching the detectives

"Ooh, he's so cute”

The lyrics are fun to sing and the drums in the song is so unlike any other, it sounds shallow, its reggae and is so fun and just as its ending, we pull up to the casino at state line, because I just can’t wait.  

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"NO-Tank" Road Trip In Our Electric Vehicle  October 14, 2020

  We are fortunate to drive our dream come true vehicle and to experience this beautiful view from the top of Mount Equinox in Vermont without using any gasoline and without emitting any pollution. Our "tank" is a massive battery pack that can take us 250 miles on one charge.  We chose an excursion for our 31st anniversary to drive from Boston along Route 2 through

western Massachusetts and into the quaint backroads of southwestern Vermont.  Driving is actually our hobby and with sunshine warming us, our sunroof open and Joe Walsh singing "Life's Been Good" we were treated to 180 miles of magnificent fall foliage with each mile revealing it's own beauty in contrasting color and blue sky. The "high point" of our trip was driving Skyline Drive, literally!  We drove hairpin turns and tree covered straightaways for an elevation gain over 3,200 feet finally reaching the summit which is the photo above.  After taking a nice hike around the visitors center we started our descent on this fabulous road and while there are pull overs that suggest vehicles rest their brakes from overheating... our EV has regenerative braking which afforded us the bonus of adding 22 miles to our "tank" without stopping for a fill-up!  

Nearby is Manchester Vermont, a great town for food, hiking and sightseeing.  We rode bikes to Equinox pond and hiked to Lye Brook falls, and we ordered take out food from local restaurants to eat on the porch of our hotel.  In a field by a pond we were treated to the most magnificent sight of a Bald Eagle in flight. A truly spiritually experience. At night we plugged our car in to a free EV charger that the hotel provided and when we woke up the next day our tank/battery was full for us to jump back into our dream car and silently soar down the roads to discover more beautiful adventures.  Life's Been Good... 

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Long Island Lake George NY  ; 116 miles from home in the Berkshires then 3 miles by boat. My song of choice was of course, "Somewhere Over The Rainbow". While camping there we were visited by loons, raccoons, deer, and a muskrat... the perfect neighbors . Such peace and tranquility to soothe the soul.eLong Island Lake George NY ; 116 miles from home in the Berkshires then 3 miles by boat. My song of choice was of course, "Somewhere Over The Rainbow". While camping there we were visited by loons, raccoons, deer, and a muskrat... the perfect neighbors . Such peace and tranquility to soothe the soul.e

 

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 My great travel get away is practically in my backyard, only 50 miles away, but because of the insane Los Angeles traffic it makes it a road trip! It’s a serene oasis located in Laguna Beach, orange county, California. At the Moro campground (RV and tent), you can take in the sights and sounds of the ocean as well as the rolling foothills. Just a few yards away from your campsite you can take a variety of invigorating hikes to check out the flora, fauna and spectacular ocean views or leisurely stroll along the beach with a laid-back attitude. Just down the road there are rental cottages at Crystal Cove where the movie Beaches was filmed. And… Don’t forget to visit the Shake Shack (original not the franchised) located high above on a cliff overlooking the ocean for a scrumptious shake, either to share or decadently consume on your own. As for music, Beach Boy tunes or the soundtrack from the movie Beaches would be perfect! If camping isn’t your thing, no worries, you could possibly rent one of the quaint cottages on the beach and let the waves lull you to sleep at night. 

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The song "Take Me Home Country Roads" by John Denver was fulfilled October 16, 2020 as Interstates 64E and 81S directed me to SW Virginia departing Richmond, VA to Abingdon, VA driving 288 miles. I played my favorite gospel CDs such as Gaithers Homecoming and others.  My Honda gets over 400 miles to a tank of gas, so I drove to Grayson Highlands State Park, Mouth of Wilson the next day as I followed the Crooked Trail on Rt. 58.  Photosynthesis screamed at me loudly and clearly as the reds, oranges, and yellows popped on the trees during my drive. I reminisced with the fun of bicycle riders coming off White Top Mountain drifting into Damascus, my hometown, on the Creeper Trail. The drive up the mountain was beautiful as I soaked up the beauty of the mountains. Once at the park, I eagerly walked up the mountain side after parking in Massey Gap to see the wild ponies. Oh! to experience the peace on that mountainside was well worth the wait. Seeing nature in its pure form was refreshing as I found a pony one by one. It was like a child finding his favorite M&M.Wild pony at Grayson Highlands State ParkWild pony at Grayson Highlands State Park Being 71, female, and traveling alone gave me rest I needed from a busy paced life in the city. 

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Before my late husband of 20 years died 7 years ago, we were planning a cross country road trip. I would like to be able to take a road trip in his memory. 

 

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My current favorite is Fall Creek Falls State Park, in middle Tennessee. It is reachable from anywhere in the state on one tank of gas. It has everything you can possibly desire in the great outdoors.

 There is a very nice visitors center and separate nature center with very helpful staff for whatever you would like to do. There are campsites for every level from full hookup RV to rugged back country backpacking sites.  Short nature trails to long multi day trails. Boating, fishing, playgrounds, supplies store, picnic areas, all among some of the most beautiful woods, several waterfalls, swimming holes and mountain top vistas anywhere. As a added bonus, no Tennessee State Park charges an entrance fee. 👍Check it out, you will not be disappointed. 

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Since moving to Florida 2 years ago, moved twice and COVID I haven't been able to take a good road trip. I could use a take of gas to take off for the unknown. I'd like to take roads that are not I-4; back roads where there might be unusual animals to get a glimpse at would be awesome. I could use a relaxing trip for my mental health.

 

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Hello,

I need to see and help Mom im Lake Charles. Am unemployed and need the gas to get there. She is 84 and needs help due to hurricanes.

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Nothing like a weekend up in the mountains camping. From San Diego North on the 15 to Lake Arrowhead and then into Dogwood Campground. It's a 2 hour trip approximately 115 miles and the way up your one tank tunes could be anything from smooth jazz and on your way down the mountain on your way home got to be listening to Tommy by The Who! I would love to share some pictures but can't seem to figure out how to download them

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I like going to the beach with a friend and we choose different routes to get there so our recent road trip was from Houston Texas, to Winnie Texas down I-10 East and then South on Hwy 124 to High Island Texas.  From here we spend a little time enjoying relaxing sounds of the peaceful and sparsely populated beach.  Throughout the trip we usually  listen to our siriusxm stations (Heart&Soul and The Groove) which are a blend of old and new R&B.  Total time for this trip was around 6hrs and 2 minutes for a total of about 218 miles.  From the Bolivar peninsula we head west until we reach the Ferry which takes us across the Bay to Galveston Texas; we normally stop at a restaurant for a nice meal and finally take I-45 North back to Houston, completing a full circle.

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My husband and I usually take a vacation in October every year. But due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the fact that he had a total hip replacement earlier this year, vacation plans were canceled. We always have enjoyed just hopping into the car, pointing it in a direction and taking off.  So, that's what we are doing. With the radio playing the "oldies", we enjoy the beautiful autumn foliage and each other's company. There is always something new to see and explore without having to get out of the car. We generally travel about 90 to100 miles out and then turn around and come back a different way. It is a relaxing, enjoyable afternoon spent together.

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One of my favorite road trips is to head to Graceland in Memphis TN, which is approximately 574 miles (8 1/2 hours) from my home...we make many stops along the way to check out the different scenery. We have stayed at The Guest House at Graceland thanks to help from AARP Travel...It is my happy place there and seeing Elvis Presley's humble beginnings in Tupelo Mississippi was fantastic.20171220_123722.jpg20170627_124019.jpg20160923_172921.jpg20171221_121934.jpg20181125_151242.jpg20181125_195226.jpg

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My road trip entry is to the fishing dock in Belford, NJ about 5-6 miles from our home in Middletown, NJ. Actually Belford is a bayshore section of Middletown. This is a scenic fishing village that draws people from all over the region. Just across the water is Sandy Hook, where the famous Jersey Shore begins. There is a lot to see and do in this resort area all year long, but of course summer is when the crowds come. The Beatles song Love Me Do from 1963 is one I love to play. I was 17 and had my driver's License, nothing like being with friends going for a ride "down the shore" as we Jersey natives call it. Life was good with the sun in our face and breeze at our backs. And our whole lives were before us. Anything was possible. Ahh....

 

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One of my favorite road trips is to head to Graceland in Memphis TN, which is approximately 574 miles (8 1/2 hours) from my home...we make many stops along the way to check out the different scenery. We have stayed at The Guest House at Graceland thanks to help from AARP Travel...It is my happy place there and seeing Elvis Presley's humble beginnings in Tupelo Mississippi was fantastic.20181125_151242.jpg20181125_151251.jpg

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My daughter and I have been known to fill up the tank and then just pick right or left at intersections...so many back roads, history and cute little places in Connecticut.  During the pandemic I started really working on our genealogy so our favorite short trips in recent months were to pay our respects to ancestors.  Not many folks hanging out around 200-400 year old headstones and cemeteries are nice places to walk.  Our most amazing road trip, which took more than a tank of gas, was going from CT up along Lake Champlain, stopping on the Canadian side of the lake, Montreal, Quebec City and home...four day, whirlwind trip.  A day trip that was fun was driving up to Oswego to Fort Ontario, my daughter didn't know why I was so excited to see a lock on the Erie Canal...but omg!!! So I am torn between that trip to Oswego and a trip we take more frequently...which is basically following route one and 1A from Newport RI, back home..takes about an hour but   so beautiful in spring and fall (never tried it in summer because of traffic).  Anyway I wrote this terribly, but those are my suggestions...my most general suggestion is just to find a place to drive..then look around at what's there...that's how we found dinosaur footprints in Holyoke, Ma...sometimes I look at Atlas Obscura website for funky places to check out, some times I just google map..we are poor so I love to find fun free stuff to do!

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3 weekends ago we took a trip ti Hayward W from Eleva, WI; about 250 miles round trip, 1/2 tank of fuel, to look at the beautiful fall leaves and find the fishing museum. we took a different route back the the little towns on hwy 73 and 40. 2 weekends ago we went east to a horse show south of Thorp, WI. took the long way home following random roads west and south until we got back home. the fall colors were beautiful. the 1 hour trip home took 2 1/2 hours, oh well, it was beautiful.

 

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