McCarthy Chevrolet Blog

Three Awesome Kansas City Summer Road Trip Ideas


Summer will be gone before you know it, and what better way to make use of these last few weeks than a road trip? From sea to shining sea, our beautiful country offers a wonderland of exciting, breathtaking, and fun adventures.

Of course, the old slogan “See the USA in Your Chevrolet!” is still as valid today as it was when Dinah Shore sang it so many years ago. An award-winning 2015 Chevrolet from McCarthy Chevrolet, your hometown Chevy dealership in Olathe, Kansas, is still the ultimate vehicle for your all-American summer road trip. We’ve found three exceptional summer road trip destinations for you to consider. So pack your bags and let’s go!

Dinosaur Diamond Prehistoric Highway

Photo credit: Ken Barber, Getty Images (via National Geographic)

Dinosaur Diamond Prehistoric Highway

Looping through the western edge of Colorado and into eastern Utah, this remarkable journey takes you millions of years back in time, giving you the opportunity to see a variety of dinosaur fossils that are more than 150 million years old. You’ll also experience stunning vistas, spectacular mountains, flowing rivers, and remarkable geologic formations along the route’s 31-mile scenic loop.

Your adventure into Dinosaur National Monument begins in the aptly named town of Dinosaur just over the Colorado state line which is located on US 40. You’ll get your bearings at the park’s visitor center before heading west on US 40 toward the Dinosaur Quarry near the small town of Jensen, Utah. Stop in and discover many displays of thousands of dinosaur fossils. Continuing on your way, you’ll come to the town of Vernal. This is where you’ll encounter 18 life-sized dinosaur models at the Utah Field House of Natural History State Park. Be sure and take plenty of selfies with the “Utahraptor” at this gargantuan exhibit. There are many other exhibits to enjoy at this location.

Vernal is also the starting point for the Ashley National Forest along US 191. You’ll rise up through the 9,100-foot Indian Creek pass and experience massive cliffs before dropping down to the small town of Helper, home to the Western Mining and Railroad Museum. A short drive further down the road lands you at the town of Price, where you’ll find the Utah State University Eastern Prehistoric Museum.

You are now on US 191, which will take you southwest through the town of Helper and onto the town of Price, Utah. It features dinosaur fossils and a cast of a woolly mammoth skeleton. For more fascinating dinosaur experiences, you’ll need to get off the main loop by heading south on Utah State Highway 10. You’ll link up with Utah state route 155 where you’ll head east to the towns of Elmo and Cleveland. Continue on and follow the signs to the Cleveland-Lloyd Dinosaur Quarry. It contains the most Jurassic-era dinosaur bones ever discovered.

Afterwards, head back along the same route to Price, heading southeast on US 191 until it meets up with I-70. Take I-70 east through the astounding Arches National Park. Continue along I-70 until you come to the town of Fruita, just east of the Colorado state line. It’s the western gateway to the magnificent Colorado National Monument. In Fruita you’ll find the Dinosaur Journey Museum with an array of robotic dinosaurs, exhibits and interactive displays.

Your trip now takes you north on Colorado State Highway 139 through the picturesque Pintado National Historic District with hundreds of Native American pictographs and petroglyphs before it returns you back to the town of Dinosaur where your prehistoric adventure began. Once you get there, this nearly 500-mile trip will take between three and four days to accomplish, so plan your journey accordingly.

Photo credit: Greg Ryan, Alamy (via National Geographic)

Talimena Scenic Drive through the Ouachita National Forest

Talimena Scenic Drive through the Ouachita National Forest

A verdant paradise unfolds like an emerald jewel through the lush national forest that straddles the Oklahoma/Arkansas border. This two-lane highway follows the Ouachita Mountains, cascading through stands of evergreens and dense foliage. The 1.7 million-acre forest is the oldest and largest in the South. There’s a variety of different trees and plants including post oak, blackjack, serviceberry, hickory, dogwood, and papaw.

You pick up the drive at the junction of US 271 and Oklahoma 1 northeast of the town of Talihina. Choctaw Vista unfolds just beyond the information station, offering views of the hills and valleys below. As you venture further into the forest, you’ll come upon a panoramic vista with sweeping mountain views, along with small farming communities. With luck, you may spy a golden eagle, hawk, or vulture. Hang gliders also take advantage of the updrafts the area provides.

Approximately 16 miles along the highway, you’ll come to Horse Thief Springs, a place where horse thieves, bandits, and others rested on their journey between Texas and Missouri. Be sure and stop at the Robert S. Kerr Arboretum and Nature Center to learn about the area’s geography and geology. There are three short trails you can take from there, as well.

Further along the highway you’ll encounter the Old Pioneer Cemetery and a rustic stone lodge named after Holland’s Queen Wilhelmina. Afterwards, you’ll reach the highest point of the drive. At more than 2,600 feet, Rich Mountain Fire Tower offers spectacular vistas. Your journey ends at the town of Mena, which started in 1896 with the development of the Kansas City Southern Railroad.

As there are no services along this route, please plan accordingly and have plenty of gas, food, and water for your trip.

Northern Mississippi River Road Trip

Photo Credit: Megan Backes, My Shot (via National Geographic)

Northern Mississippi River Road Trip

The mighty Mississippi River has many tales to tell as it winds its way from its Minnesota headwaters down to the Gulf of Mexico. The “Great River Road” offers a variety of sights and must-see attractions as you travel 350 miles along the borders of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, and Iowa. Along the way you’ll enjoy museums, historic sites, scenic treasures, cultural and educational exhibits, and a whole lot more.

The fun begins in the beautiful city of Minneapolis. This cosmopolitan city offers visitors a cornucopia of arts, culture, and entertainment. Notable attractions include the Walker Art Center, the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, the Weisman Art Museum, and the renowned Guthrie Theater.

As you begin your journey southward, you’ll take Highway 61 to the Anderson Center in the town of Red Wing. It’s an artist’s colony for writers and painters with a small but excellent art gallery. Continue south for about another hour along Highway 61 and you’ll reach the former lumber town of Winona. Attractions and events here include the new Minnesota Marine Art Museum and the Minnesota Beethoven Festival.

Highway 61 continues to hug the western bank of the Mississippi, taking you to your next destination and becoming Highway 26 just south of La Crescent. You’re on your way to the remarkable Effigy Mounds National Monument in Iowa. Prehistoric Native Americans left more than 4,000 effigies of various birds and bears at this site. Your next stop is Dubuque, Iowa which you can reach by taking various county roads that hug the river. Once you arrive in Dubuque, be sure and visit the impressive National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium, which is housed in an old shipbuilding facility.

Cross the river on Highway 20, where you’ll head to the small town of Galena, Illinois. This quaint village harkens back to the early 1900s with several inns and Victorian-era mansions. There are also several art galleries to enjoy, including the Chicago Contemporary Art Gallery featuring works by notable Chicago artists. From Galena, you’ll be taking the last leg of your Northern Mississippi River adventure via Highway 84 south on the east side of the river toward the city of Davenport, Iowa. This culturally diverse community offers many exciting things to see and do. Key attractions include the River Music Experience and the world-renowned Figge Art Museum, a fantastic glass structure housing more than 3,500 pieces of art.

McCarthy 2000 Sales Event benefiting Make-A-Wish® Foundation

For the third consecutive year, McCarthy Chevrolet is proud to participate in raising funds for the Missouri chapter of the Make-A-Wish® Foundation through our McCarthy 2000 Sales Event. From July 1 through Aug. 31, we will donate $10 for every new or pre-owned vehicle purchased at our dealership to this worthy cause. As part of the McCarthy Auto Group family of car dealerships here in Kansas City, our goal is to raise $20,000 to grant three wishes for three deserving children in the Kansas City metro area who suffer from a life-threatening medical condition. Help us support these special kids in Kansas City through Make-A-Wish. Together we can make a difference.

Discover Great Deals at McCarthy Chevrolet

Whether traveling to exciting new places or just down the street, you’ll arrive in style in a new Chevy car or truck from McCarthy Chevrolet. Take advantage of special summer offers on our entire lineup of new Chevy vehicles. Stop by our Chevy dealership in Olathe, Kansas, conveniently located at 675 N. Rawhide Road, Olathe, KS 66061 and let us show you just how easy it is to “see the USA” in a new Chevrolet today. For sales, please call (877) 460-5408, or for service, call (877) 460-5939.

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