Bucket List: Trans-America Trail and More Awesome Adventures

Bucket List Feature

We’ve all got them.  Those dream adventures, the things you feel that you must do before your life is complete: the artist you must see, the destination you must visit, or even the accomplishment you must achieve.  Some people call it a bucket list, some people have some other name for it.  All that matters is that these are the things we dream of and the stories we will tell our kids about one day.  Sometimes these are the only things that get us through another day at a job that drags us down. Sometimes they are the perfect way to mark a special occasion.  The important thing is getting out and chasing those dreams. Here is my current bucket list. It started years ago and it is ever changing. This post contains affiliate links.

Trans-America Trail

Traversing the Trans-America Trail in a 4wd vehicle is at the top of my bucket list.  It will be an expensive and long trip, so it is on the back burner while I prepare for it. The Trans-America Trail was originally mapped for adventure motorcycle riders by Sam Carrero.  This trail starts in Jellico Tennessee and will take the rider (or driver) across the country to the Oregon Coast by way of gravel roads, logging roads, farm roads, and other non-highway roads. Because it was initially mapped for motorcycles, there are some sections that a 4WD vehicle simply won’t fit through, but bypassing a little bit isn’t going to ruin the trip. I love road trips, but I can’t imagine a better way to see the country than a 3 or 4 week Off Road Cross Country adventure!

Gravel Road Bucket List

Synchronous Fireflies

Gatlinburg and the Great Smoky Mountains are a major vacation destination many.  It is the most visited National Park in the United States with over 10 million visitors in 2015. What many people don’t know is right in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park you can see the only species of firefly in North America that can synchronize its bio-luminescence with other individuals! I had not heard of these fireflies until just a few years ago, and now I can not wait to see them.  Getting a chance to see them is a little tricky though (Check out this handy guide to seeing the Synchronous Fireflies). Parking passes for the main viewing areas are issued via a lottery system due to the popularity and to protect the habitat. The peak viewing time is somewhere towards the end of May and into June.  The specific weeks change yearly due to environmental fluctuations, but you can keep up with it at the National Parks’ page on Synchronous Fireflies.


The last frontier. I have dreamed of visiting Alaska since I was just a kid.  The wide open spaces and extreme environment has some magical appeal.  I would love to take an extended trip to Alaska so I could really dig into it.  I mean sure I want to see glaciers, the northern lights, and moose, but I also want to see the small towns, explore Denali, and see what else Alaska has to offer. It is such a vast place that I’m sure even a month long trip wouldn’t begin to scratch the surface.

Alaska Bucket List


I worked for a Japanese owned company for quite some time.  Lots of business trips to Japan were scheduled and canceled (cost savings).  I guess this planted the seed for my desire to visit Japan.  I find myself reading all kinds of articles about life in Tokyo, visiting local Japanese cultural events like the Nashville Cherry Blossom Festival, and watching shows about travel to Japan. Everything about this place fascinates me, and I must make it there one day.

Shibuya Crossing at Night Tokyo


Geneaology has been an interest of mine for a while.  In my research I have found that a lot of my family (both sides) originally came to the United States from Scotland.  Naturally this piqued my interest in traveling there.  All of the research I have done since then has only strengthened my desire to explore this amazing destination. A road trip through the Highlands, castle tours, and Scotch? Yes please.

Scotland Bucket List Eilean Dolan Castle

Red Rocks

I love going to concerts.  Sometime this year I will attend my 50th concert, and I don’t plan on stopping anytime soon.  Some of my favorite experiences have been at live music events.  That being said most of the concerts I have been to have been held at venues nearby.  Don’t get me wrong, Tennessee has amazing concert venues, but I would like to explore venues away from home.  There is one that has been on my bucket list for a long time: Red Rocks Amphitheater in Morrison, Colorado. This natural amphitheater has been ranked at the top of just about every music magazines poll for best concert venue. The hardest part will be picking which amazing artist to see there!

Red Rocks Amphitheater BUcket List
Photo Credit: Don Pietzman / Red Rocks Amphitheater

Grand Canyon

I became interested in Geology in college and seriously considered pursuing a career in that field. The scale of geologic time is completely mind boggling. The Grand Canyon allows you to see it all laid out before you. Everyone I know who has been to the canyon tells me how incredible it is. Ideally I would like to raft the Colorado River through the Canyon, but I would settle for just laying eyes on this wonder. There is no way I am getting on the skywalk though.

 Grand Canyon Bucket List

Route 66

The Mother Road, Main Street of America: Chicago to Santa Monica on one of the most famous roads in the world.  Route 66 is a  iconic road that helped shape this country. As a road trip enthusiast, how can I not be enamored with this trip? Highway 66 served as a route for people during the great depression to get out west and again post WWII.  The highway began to decline with the building of interstates and was eventually decommissioned.  The original highway can not be driven uninterrupted, but with careful planning the majority of it is still drivable. Some sections are incredibly well preserved.  This historic road helped shape our country and has been calling to wanderers since it was first laid.  I intend to answer that call.

Route 66 Bucket List

What’s on your Bucket List?

I could sit here and dream up all kinds of amazing adventures to add to my bucket list.  There is a lot to see out there. These are the adventures that call to me though.  What about you?  What are the adventures that you can’t get out of your head?  Where is it that you must go?  Tell me about your bucket list in the comments and checkout my Bucket list pinterest board to see what else gets added.

We've all got them. Those dream adventures, the things you feel that you must do before your life is complete. The artist you must see, the destination you must visit, or even the accomplishment you must achieve. Some people call it a bucket list, some people have some other name for it. All that matters is that these are the things we dream of and the stories we will tell our kids about one day. Sometimes these are the only things that get us through another day at a job that drags us down. Sometimes they are the perfect way to mark a special occasion. The important thing is getting out and chasing those dreams. My list started years ago and it is ever changing.



30 Comment

  1. Tomeka Allgood says: Reply

    I had no idea the Red Rocks Amphitheater existed. Thank you for my latest bucket list add!

  2. Great list! Alaska and Scotland are on my big to do list. I’ve been to Japan …it is one of my favorite countries.

  3. Scotland is on my list too! We have just sent in our DNA, so when I see what the results are it may sway my trip choices!
    Great Bucket List. I don’t have one, it would be too long to narrow down. ha-ha

    1. My list just keeps on growing. It seems like every time I mark one thing off, I am adding two more 🙂

  4. Great list. I like reading where other people are dreaming of going. Mine matches with Japan and Scotland. Hopefully one day!

  5. Awesome article! I so need to go to Scotland.

  6. Ok I’ve not got some serious wanderlust! I’d love to go to Panama, it’e one place I’ve never made it to but it keeps me daydreaming. Having said that, after reading this there are now a ton more places on my bucket list! Gorgeous photos too!

  7. These are all now added to my travel bucket list! Love it!

  8. I have some many things on my bucket list that I don’t know were to start but that Trans-American road trip is something else. I will love to do that.

  9. These are great ideas for your bucket list. I would love to visit Alaska but I’m waiting for my kids to be a bit older. Thank you for sharing your ideas!

  10. I have not been to Alaska and I have been wanting to go there for a really long time! would love to see those snow capped mountains.

  11. Alaska, Grand Canyon and Route 66 are also on my bucket list. Have been to Japan and it is definitely bucket list worthy!

  12. Oh my goodness, how gorgeous are all of these spots.

    I really need to hurry up and make money so I can be free to travel and follow this trail from beginning to end. We have a similar one that runs across Canada, it’s insane!

    Thanks for the day dreams,

  13. All those places are amazing! Ive done road trip in USA once and it was a wonderful experience! America is so beautiful! And I booked my flight to Japan the other week ! So excited !

  14. I used to live in Canada and I still can’t believe I have not travelled to see the beautiful Alaska! Grand Canyon is such an amazing place that you can’t missed if you go to Vegas!

  15. We have a similar bucket list. We are taking a 6 week cross-country road trip this summer (Whoohoo) We have Alaska on deck for next summer and we finally got to visit Scotland last summer. Scotland is fantastic, so I am sure you will love it!

  16. Great bucket list! I would also love to do Route 66 and Grand Canyon in particular from this list. Me, I have got the Bolivian Salt Flats, Easter Island, Papua New Guinea and Angkor Wat near the top of my list; Mongolia is on it too, but I’m going there in July 🙂

  17. I’m fortunate enough to live near Red Rocks..it is the most amazing concert venue I’ve ever experienced! Timing tip…if you make it here, try to visit during the night of a full moon. Watching the moon rise directly above the venue over the city of Denver is amazing.

  18. Japan and Alaska! Out of these that’s where I haven’t been. Japan during cherry blossom season would be incredible

  19. What a great list! I was fortunate enough to live in northern Arizona so I became pretty familiar with the Grand Canyon and Route 66 for a little bit. The destinations on your list look amazing!

  20. I’d like to visit Alaska, Japan, and Scotland too. I haven’t been outside my country though. Great list!

  21. We have a very similar bucket list

  22. Daniela || Ipanema travels to says: Reply

    I don’t have a bucket list. I always visit a place on a whimsical – like hm… where should I go to next, and there I am.

  23. Love your bucket list! 😉 Oh, there are so many places to see, don’t even know where to begin. I usually have a small(er) list of places I’d like to visit in the next few years, a small “package”. And then I just shift “packages”! 😀

  24. This is an excellent bucket list and it’s definitely made me want to add some new locations to my own list of destinations

  25. Wow! What an ambitious list, it sounds absolutely amazing! I really want to go to Japan too!

  26. Nice bucket list! I also have Japan in mine. I had not heard about the fireflies and this sounds awesome. You have added one more thing to my list, hehe.

  27. These are really great bucket list places! I have been to Grand Canyon but I feel like I need to go again to get a better feel for it. Route 66 seems like it would be fun to do (and easy) .I also want to go to Japan. It seems like a fascinating place! I’m not quite sure I would really like Alaska, as I am not a fan of the cold, but I think the scenery would be breathtaking! Hope you get started on your list soon!

  28. Grand Canyon is definitely on my bucket list. But, I had not heard ever about fireflies that can synchronize its bio-luminescence with other individuals. I am so interested to pay a visit to these species. You got me curious 🙂

  29. This is an unbelievably good trail! I am adding it to my bucket list!

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