I would like to say I am spontaneous with my road trips, that I roll and go wherever my fancy takes me. The truth is I approach each one like a general planning an attack. Research goes into each trip.
What is there to see along the way? Which is the best way to get there? How can I get the most bang out the route? All this takes a bit of digging in my files and the Internet, but since I enjoy that, it’s part of the fun.
1. I decide on a place to visit. My inspiration comes from the time of the year, a picture I’ve seen, or just because I haven’t been there, so why not visit. My last trip was to Winnsboro. I wanted to take pictures of the famous town clock, longest continuous working clock in the United States. I also wanted to drive US21 and take in the fall colors. There’s a stretch that’s arrow straight. When you top a rise you can see the road dip and rise for miles.
2. Now that I know where I want to go I check out what’s there to see in the area. I used sciway.net’s picture project and spotted the old school at Lando. The National Register of Historic places listed Great Fall’s Historic District so I thought to go there and check out the architecture. From a past trip I knew of a tree in Chester that, in fall, looks like the sun fell in pieces under it, bright yellow leaves all over the yard.
3. I got the list of places to see, now it’s time to map my route. Some of the places will be moved to another trip due to time or being too far off the route. I use my SC gazetteer and Google maps to chart the path. The atlas doesn’t tell me the street names I need to look for. From Columbia, I’ll go north on I77 then head over to US21, etc. I put the route on paper, typing it on the computer.
4. It’s off on the trip. Weather is good, there’s fuel in the car. As I drive I watch for potential picture taking opportunities and where I can safely stop to take the pictures. A car hugging my rear bumper can put a damper on leisure driving. If I miss a road, no problem, I wait for a place to turn and head back. If I take the wrong road there might be something of interest down it. See a sign with a stop worthy item, I take it. You never know what you find.