Road Trip!

Hubby, the kids and I are going to be running away for a week in the middle of July.  We’re leaving hot and steamy St. Louis and headed north to Wisconsin to visit friends and family, and spend a day or two in the Dells.  A good old-fashioned American Road Trip.  We love our road trips, and in fact usually travel as a family no other way.  I head down to the local Thrifty Car Rental and pick up a sizable beast of a car, pack a basket of road snacks, load up all the iPods and MP3 players with music and audio books, and away we go.  This trip will be about a seven hour drive, which is tolerable and entertaining, especially when we get to drive by things like this. (For a full run-down on the interesting things we found at the antique mall in Illinois in March, you can check out my personal blog post for our last trip.

In preparation for our trip, I was over on Mapquest looking at driving directions.  We are trying to decide if we want to make a detour near Bloomington, Illinois, or not.  And lo and behold, Mapquest has a new beta out, and making detours or multiple legs of a trip to get more specific directions is a brand spanky new (and useful!) feature on the new Mapquest.  I know I’m a bit of a holdout for using Mapquest to begin with, but I’m kind of a creature of habit, and I like how Mapquest did things, including how they responded to feedback I’ve given over the years about driving routes.  I’ve used Google Maps on occasion, but I still often end up back on Mapquest.

And I have to say, the new Mapquest, still in beta for the moment, is pretty darned nifty!  The logo has changed, which in my mind was probably unnecessary, but beyond that, there are some great functional changes that I like a whole lot.  You are immediately faced with a map on the right, and a text box on your left where you can put in the location you want to find in one single line, ala Google Maps.  Once you enter the location data and hit enter, a new map immediately pops up.  The text box now has a link below it for directions, giving you another text box to put in your other location, and within a second, you have a new map, and full driving directions.  At that point you can “add more stops,” getting a complete set of directions that will take you to multiple places, rather than just a beginning and an end, and needing to start all over again for a second destination if you want to add one.

This is going to be great for our road trip.  I can now map from Missouri to Bloomington, to Baraboo, WI, to the Dells, to House on the Rocks, and back to Missouri, without having to re-enter data and print separate directions and maps.  It also gives us a great overall idea of what our trip will entail, driving wise, something I had to sort of guess at with my terrible math skills before.

Now I’m really in a vacation state of mind, with two more weeks of work to go before we can blow this pop stand and I can test Mapquest’s new mapping features!