Oprah Takes a Road Trip, Pumps Gas For First Time Since 1983*

Travel Blog  •  Sarah Schmelling  •  09.18.06 | 8:17 PM ET

imageToday Oprah Winfrey launched the 21st season of her TV show with highlights from a cross-country road trip she took this summer with her very best girlfriend, Gayle King. Inspired by Chevy’s old “see the USA” slogan, the two took off in an Impala for a 11-day, 3,600-mile trek from Santa Barbara to New York. As with any good road trip, they experienced plenty of gorgeous views, traffic hazards, direction mishaps and lite-rock station sing-alongs (Celine Dion!). But what makes this different is, well, Oprah.

The footage of their trip on today’s show was comical and compelling in its own way. Oprah pumps gas for the first time since 1983. She tries to check into a hotel—the Wynn Las Vegas—at an actual desk, rather than be escorted through a private entrance. And she and Gayle do what a lot of other road trippers do: get on each other’s nerves. “By day two I was already questioning—what was I thinking?” Oprah says.

She’ll dedicate time on several upcoming shows to the trip—the next will air Tuesday, September 26. If you just can’t wait, check out photos, videos, maps and road trip tips at Oprah’s Web site.

* Update: Watch Oprah pump gas!

Sarah Schmelling has written for The Washington Post, Salon, Spin, the Los Angeles Times, Variety, McSweeney's Internet Tendency and other publications. She lives in Maryland.

10 Comments for Oprah Takes a Road Trip, Pumps Gas For First Time Since 1983*

mike 09.19.06 | 8:11 AM ET

Look at Oprah, using her power to promote road tripping.

Maybe she’ll throw some travel books into her book club, too.

Steve 09.20.06 | 4:02 PM ET

“Welcome to the real world,” she says.

[Snip] I don’t need you to welcome me to the real world. I LIVE THERE EVERY [snip] DAY.

Kelsey 09.20.06 | 10:33 PM ET

Oprah drives a Chevy???

mike 09.20.06 | 10:55 PM ET

“Oprah drives a Chevy???”

I’m thinking product placement…

Kelsey 09.20.06 | 11:10 PM ET

Mike, so you’re saying she doesn’t?

I thought she was this down-to-earth every-woman who just happened to have her own talk show, magazine, radio station, and book club. 

I feel so disillusioned.  And to think, tomorrow I was going to run out and buy me an Impala.

What kind of car does she drive?  How much do they cost?  Where can I get one?

mike 09.20.06 | 11:34 PM ET

Ha! Yes, you and everyone else will go buy Impalas. It’ll be like in Get Shorty when everyone wanted a Mini Van.

I wonder if Oprah even has a car. Sounds like she usually just gets driven around.

Here’s another interesting take on the Oprah road trip:


Tracy 09.27.06 | 3:57 PM ET

Oprah and Gall,

This is the best to see you girls on the road. If you could only see me watchig you guys I cant get the smile off my face.I think this is the best show ever to watch I cant wait for Tuesday nights to see you girl you make me so happy to be a woman

Kelsey 09.27.06 | 4:50 PM ET


Lynn Miller 10.04.06 | 12:17 AM ET

My husband and I love road trips and am glad that Oprah is showing viewers the treasures and fun to be had in our own back yard. It’s too bad that Oprah missed out on some of the most interesting and fun places - such as the Wigwam Motel on Route 66 because of traveling with a large crew.

Some of my favorite road trip planning resources (in no particular order) are:

Road Trip USA
American Road Magazine and americanroadmagazine.com
National Geographic National Parks Guid

edna 10.19.06 | 11:24 AM ET

Will this road trip be out on dvd?

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