ROAD TRIP! - Photo: iStock

The allure of a road trip is something many people feel. The freedom of the open road. The possibilities. The people you meet. The boring office job you leave behind.

But, everybody is different. One person's ideal road trip could be wildly different to that of the person sitting next to them. After all, travelling the length of the West coast of the US, only to wind up eating the wrong wild flowers in Alaska isn't for everybody.

Some people are firmly Easy Rider, while others are a little more Thelma And Louise.

But now, a scientist has come up with what he claims is the perfect road trip around the United States.

American boffin randy S. Olson, in association with Discovery News has applied a complicated algorithm to find out the optimal path for a road trip around the US, taking in all major areas - including every state, but ensuring that driving time is kept to a minimum, and that anybody undertaking it doesn't stay in one place, or surrounded by one kind of scenery, for too long.

Photo - Randal Olson / Google Earth

The route can be started at any point on the map, and stops only at all major landmarks, historic sites, national parks, and national monuments.

The science behind the algorithm is complicated, and includes bits of baffling algebraic equations that say things like O(n22n). Obviously, we know exactly what that means, but there simply isn't the time to get into that now.

However, the formula is actually based on the optimum formula to sole Where's Waldo (nee: Wally) puzzles. No, really. That exists, as Olson explains on his website.

The rout of the US takes in 50 landmarks and points of interest in total. Along the way, you can expect to see:

  1. Grand Canyon, AZ
  2. Bryce Canyon National Park, UT
  3. Craters of the Moon National Monument, ID
  4. Yellowstone National Park, WY
  5. Pikes Peak, CO
  6. Carlsbad Caverns National Park, NM
  7. The Alamo, TX
  8. The Platt Historic District, OK
  9. Toltec Mounds, AR
  10. Elvis Presley’s Graceland, TN
  11. Vicksburg National Military Park, MS
  12. French Quarter, New Orleans, LA
  13. USS Alabama, AL
  14. Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, FL
  15. Okefenokee Swamp Park, GA
  16. Fort Sumter National Monument, SC
  17. Lost World Caverns, WV
  18. Wright Brothers National Memorial Visitor Center, NC
  19. Mount Vernon, VA
  20. White House, Washington, DC
  21. Colonial Annapolis Historic District, MD
  22. New Castle Historic District, Delaware
  23. Cape May Historic District, NJ
  24. Liberty Bell, PA
  25. Statue of Liberty, NY
  26. The Mark Twain House & Museum, CT
  27. The Breakers, RI
  28. USS Constitution, MA
  29. Acadia National Park, ME
  30. Mount Washington Hotel, NH
  31. Shelburne Farms, VT
  32. Fox Theater, Detroit, MI
  33. Spring Grove Cemetery, OH
  34. Mammoth Cave National Park, KY
  35. West Baden Springs Hotel, IN
  36. Abraham Lincoln’s Home, IL
  37. Gateway Arch, MO
  38. C. W. Parker Carousel Museum, KS
  39. Terrace Hill Governor’s Mansion, IA
  40. Taliesin, WI
  41. Fort Snelling, MN
  42. Ashfall Fossil Bed, NE
  43. Mount Rushmore, SD
  44. Fort Union Trading Post, ND
  45. Glacier National Park, MT
  46. Hanford Site, WA
  47. Columbia River Highway, OR
  48. San Francisco Cable Cars, CA
  49. San Andreas Fault, CA
  50. Hoover Dam, NV

Interestingly, the same formula was also applied to find the ultimate inline skate spots in the US as well. The route, however, is quite different.

Photo: Google earth / Mpora

You may also like:

The 10 Most Spectacular Road Trips on Earth

24 Essential Tips For Surviving A Road Trip