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As many of you know, I “Hit The Roam” across the continental U.S. to see what I could see and eat what I could eat. Besides the beef jerky and sunflower seeds in the Gnome-Mobile, it was the stops along the way that made this trip tip-top. Here are just a few of my recommendations from each of those stops.

San Antonio, Texas

You may have to pull out your “Hola” and your “Howdy” here. The best plan for this city is to load up on the Mexican food and River-Walk it off. (There are also river barges if the sopapillas are weighing you down.)

Shreveport, Louisiana

Shreveport is the cultural center of the Ark-La-Tex region, but it’s true to its Louisiana roots when it comes to Cajun food. After I won my staring contest with the giant rooster, I headed to Orlandeaux’s Café for some takeout boudin balls. I recommend following my lead, but be warned: Not everyone can beat ol’ red.

Orange Beach, Alabama

My advice here is to catch and eat some blue crab on the docks, then head to the Flora-Bama Lounge: a bar where you can drink bushwackers and stand in two states at once. If you find yourself asking “which two?,” maybe slow down on the bushwackers.

Smoky Mountains, Tennessee

Pack a picnic and enjoy the lush greenery of the Great Smoky Mountains. And remember, if you run into a black bear, make yourself look as large as possible. Not my forte, unfortunately.

Cleveland, Ohio

Museums are the name of the game in Cleveland, but I like to say I’m a cultured gnome, seeing as I’ve already been to most of them. This trip, I spent my time at the beach and in the lovely parks around the city, and I couldn’t be more satisfied.

Michigan beaches

Cherry-picking comes in handy for deciding what to put on your resume and for trips to Michigan in the summer. Then at night, head to the beach to make a campfire. Just remember to bring your warmest blue coat.

Chicago, Illinois

Sure, The Bean is iconic, the pizza is scrumptious and the sports are exciting, but if you’re up for some adventure, historic Route 66 in Chicago is the perfect place to start a road trip. Grab the family and tell that famous road “hi” from its old friend The Roaming Gnome.

Colorado Springs, Colorado

I spent my time in Colorado Springs at Garden of the Gods (a gnome loves his gardens). Hey, you can’t go to Colorado without stretching those legs and getting some altitude.

Ouray, Colorado

This picturesque valley town will turn you into one outdoorsy, rock climbing, biking, fishing, rafting, off-roading, hiking, hot-springing, mine-touring gnome. Well, at least it did me!

Santa Fe, New Mexico

This city is full of New Mexican cuisine and outdoor flea markets, but take a drive outside city limits to find grandiose desert views that make the whole road trip worth it. And when I say grandiose… well, gnomes may be smaller than they appear.

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