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Road Trip Memory from Travel Pro Peter Greenberg

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author photo by Holly Reich June 2011

If you want to get the best advice about road trips, go to someone like Peter Greenberg. You may know him as Travel Editor for CBS News, appearing on programs including The Early Show, CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley or CBS Sunday Morning.

I caught up with Greenberg, between flights (and continents) to ask him about his favorite road trips and more. The host of a nationally syndicated radio show that is broadcast each week from a different remote location around the world said one of his favorite road trips was also "an accident".

Greenberg was in Los Angeles during the summer of his junior year at the University of Wisconsin when he got a phone call from a friend who was a police detective in Madison.

"It seemed that a rental car that had been stolen from Avis was picked up in Southern California. He asked if I could drive it back to Madison for him… they needed the car as evidence in a trial in four days."

Long story short – three of his college buddies needed a ride and Avis offered to pay for all of their fuel, hotel and meals.

"It was an offer too good to refuse," said Peter who picked up the Ford Fairlane, loaded the car with friends, junk food and a DC-powered cassette player with loud speakers and headed east.

"It was a road trip to remember, because little by little, the car started to fall apart. We blew not one, but two tires in Flagstaff, Arizona and the radiator blew in New Mexico," he quipped.

Due to repairs they started running out of time. "We pulled over just long enough for bathroom and junk food pit stops, set the cruise control on 100 and just went flat out!"

Smooth sailing? Not exactly. They were pulled over by the police in three different states. "Smartly, I asked for a letter from the police authorizing me to drive the stolen car back for the department," says the savvy Greenberg, a multiple Emmy Award-winning investigative journalist and producer. The letter from the police department helped them out of all three tickets. "After all," noted Greenberg, "We were on official police business!"

"As we finally pulled into Madison four days later, with the outside of the car smoking and the inside of the car littered with the debris of the entire junk food sections of numerous convenience stores, it happened. With the temperature gauge reading way beyond "H," either a piston or a rod…or both, shot through the hood. When my friend the police detective saw the car (still smoking) he laughed and shook his head. Mission accomplished...the evidence, such as it was, had been returned!'" Greenberg added.

So, we asked, "If you had one bit of advice for someone taking off on a road trip in the US this summer what would it be?

"Stay off the interstates," said the man of many talents, whose current car collection includes a 1993 Mazda 929, 1964 Volvo P-1800, 1967 Ford Mustang, 2000 Chrysler Town & Country, a handmade, completely stainless steel Jeep and his "prize" 2011 Audi A8L.

"The real joys of driving are the county roads. Only use the GPS in an emergency. Remember, the best memories of travel happen when plans don't work and you have to adjust...and that's the real hidden beauty of the best road trips."

 Want to follow Peter Greenberg's travels? Go to PeterGreenberg.com.

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Road Trip Memory from Travel Pro Peter Greenberg - Autotrader