Hi friends!  I know most of us are in gear-up for summer mode, and all of are looking for vacation ideas!  Beach scenes, mountain-tops, camp sites…and advise on the Best Road Trips! One modern-day “Family Griswold” planned an entire vacation around tee-pee motels!  Dying to know who they are?  Read on….


First Published: April 30, 2019 Last Updated: June 4, 2020



Best Road Trips


I’ve been blogging for two years now, and I’ve given you a few glimpses into my life in this post, this post  Hopefully you feel like you know me pretty well by now.  And, you also all know how much I LOVE to create detailed travel plans.  I shared my process with you in this post, and an not ashamed to admit how much I love a good spreadsheet plan!

But, there is only one person in the world who likes to make a plan more detailed than I do…and that’s my brother Michael.  His enthusiasm for a plan that might include NASCAR pit crew speed-level photo ops is truly remarkable.  Two summers ago, he took his family on one of the best road trips across the western U.S., earning them the title Modern-Day “Family Griswold.”

Here’s how he created his entire plan!


modern-day "Family Griswold" family selfie


Help from Roadtrippers, the App


There’s a TON of cool apps out there to help with travel planning, and Michael used Roadtrippers for this extravaganza.  Designed for…road trips….obviously…this app allows you to:

  • Map out an entire road-trip experience from start to finish
  • Access detailed suggestions and reviews by other travelers about hotels, restaurants, points of interest, etc.
  • Share itineraries with fellow road-trippers.


The brilliance of this app is the real-world data, provided by other road-trippers.  Honesty about the good, the bad, the ugly, and the epic.  Roadtrippers reveals it all!


the world's largest watermelon



Day 1:  Dallas to the Palo Duro Canyon


The Modern-Day “Family Griswold” left Dallas and headed straight to Palo Duro Canyon, and that’s a LONG first day y’all.  Understandably, Texas is a BIG state.  Their goal?  The musical “Texas.”  Yes….of course we have a live open-air musical about our great state!  Unfortunately, the show has been cancelled for 2020, but Palo Duro Canyon State Park IS open, and is well worth checking out!

What to eat on the best road trips?  Pancakes, obviously.  Per recommendations from Roadtrippers, there was a stop at Ye Olde Pancake Station in Amarillo.  Stomachs fully packed with cheap and sugary carbs, it’s back on the road…because there’s a SCHEDULE.  Move it!!!

Michael’s family experienced a Night #1 fail: an air mattress with a faulty seal.  However, not to worry! There’s only six more days of road tripping ahead.  Carrying on…


Woman posing at Palo Duro Canyon



Ye Olde Pancake Station for the best road trips


Before leaving Texas, it seemed appropriate to participate in the time-honored tradition of tagging vehicles.  Oh you know…at the Cadillac ranch y’all!  According to the Roadside America Web site, “Cadillac Ranch was invented and built by a group of art-hippies imported from San Francisco. They called themselves The Ant Farm, and their silent partner was Amarillo billionaire Stanley Marsh 3. He wanted a piece of public art that would baffle the locals, and the hippies came up with a tribute to the evolution of the Cadillac tail fin.

Ten Caddies were driven into one of Stanley Marsh 3’s fields, then half-buried, nose-down, in the dirt (supposedly at the same angle as the Great Pyramid of Giza). They faced west in a line, from the 1949 Club Sedan to the 1963 Sedan de Ville, their tail fins held high for all to see on the empty Texas panhandle.”  What did you think I was talking about????


 Cadillac Ranch


Day 2:  Texas to New Mexico


Welcome to the Land of Enchantment.  That’s New Mexico, y’all.  Naturally, a drive-through of Tucamcari along the historic Route 66, and the home of the tee-pee motel “Wigwam Village.” I mean…how could you NOT want to stay here?


Wigwam Motel


A favorite restaurant discovery of the Modern-Day “Family Griswold”, thanks to Roadtrippers, was the Golden Crown Panaderia in Albuquerque.  Since the 1970’s, this family owned restaurant has been serving up home baked bread, pastries, and cakes.  Five thumbs up from my brother’s family. Now, wipe your mouths and GET BACK IN THE CAR….MOVE! MOVE! MOVE!


Golden Crown Panderia





Across the Continental Divide to the Petrified Forest National Park.  What made this driving tour especially great was the tip from another road-tripper via the Roadtripper app.  Amazingly, my brother learned there is a CD available for purchase in a small gift shop, giving history and interesting information, all from the comfort of your own vehicle.  Sa-weet!


Petrified Forest National Park Sign at the Visitor's Center


I’m literally exhausted as this point, just typing….but never fear!  Team Modern-Day “Family Griswold” has MORE adventure planned out.  And, where is the MOST exciting place to be?  Clearly, standing on a corner in Winslow, Arizona.  In fact, I heard there was a GIRL…my Lord…who slowed down to take a look at my nephew.  Don’t blame her!  He’s pretty darn cute!


Winslow Arizona


Day 3:  The Grand Canyon


I will give credit where credit is due.  My brother, channeling all his super A-type planning mojo, scored TWO rooms at the El Tovar Hotel on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, which requires reservations AT LEAST a year in advance.  Nice work, Michael!


 El Tovar front entrance for the best road trips


According to the El Tovar website, “This celebrated historic hotel located directly on the rim of the Grand Canyon first opened its doors in 1905. It was designed by Charles Whittlesey, Chief Architect for the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railway.  The Chicago architect envisioned the hotel as a cross between a Swiss chalet and a Norwegian Villa. Interestingly, done in an effort to appeal to the tastes of the elite from that era, who at the time considered European culture the epitome of refinement. El Tovar was one of a chain of hotels and restaurants owned and operated by the Fred Harvey Company in conjunction with the Santa Fe Railway.

The hotel was built from local limestone and Oregon pine. It cost $250,000 to build, and many considered it the most elegant hotel west of the Mississippi River. In 1987 the Hotel was designated a National Historic Landmark.  Today, El Tovar retains its elegant charm and is widely considered the crown jewel of Historic National Park Lodges. Located on the canyon rim it features a fine dining room, lounge, gift shop and newsstand. El Tovar offers its guests full bell service, a lobby concierge and in-room dining.  In fact, a world-class travel destination.”


three kids posting at the Grand Canyon


Well rested, this modern-day “Family Griswold” participated in a fabulous tour of the Grand Canyon with Canyon Ministries, which was a highlight of their trip.  Afterward, they resumed road-tripping as they made their way to the Hoover Dam, complete with a tour, of course!


Canyon Ministries tour


Hoover Dam tour


Day 4:  The Grand Canyon to Las Vegas, baby!


The neon light at the end of this epic road-trip tunnel….Vegas Baby!  Beautiful hotels, great restaurants and shows, and entertainment galore!


 Thumbs Up for the best road trips


Nice job Michael!!!  I know your family had a GREAT time!  And y’all will laugh about all the funny sites, and experiences on one of the best road trips I’ve ever heard of for YEARS!

If anyone would like to utilize my brother for trip-planning services, he’s available.  But, you better beef up on your Vitamins…and maybe even dial in a pre-trip workout regimen.  Because, I’m pretty sure you’re gonna need to be IN SHAPE to travel with this modern-day “Family Griswold!”


 Michael in the tee pee



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a road leading to mountains in the distance with text overlay



a woman in a blue dress with text overlay

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