Cross Country Road Trip

Old Feb 23rd, 2016, 06:03 AM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 8,581
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Cross Country Road Trip

Hello

Has anyone done a XC road trip? Where did you start, what was your end point before turning home, did you mostly do interstates but for little forays off the main road, or mostly small roads? What was your favorite part of the trip?

Contemplating one of these.. destination Grand Canyon, Antelope Canyon, and Bryce Canyon. Maybe the Redwoods, too, on the loop back home... throw in a few hikes and this would be a grand trip. Bonus, visiting friends along the way!

I don't want to plan this out but nor do I want this to turn into just stretches of 8 hours of driving punctuated by finding a place to sleep at night, passing by cool things to see/do/drive because I didn't know what was out there to see... a few Presidential homes or libraries would be pretty interesting. It was such a humbling and inspirational experience to visit FDR's home and library in Hyde Park, for instance.

Thank you for any thoughts.
flygirl is online now  
Old Feb 23rd, 2016, 06:19 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 27,869
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Where are YOU going to start/end??

When is this trip?

How much time do you have for the trip?

Are you alone or with others?
DebitNM is offline  
Old Feb 23rd, 2016, 06:31 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 11,085
Likes: 0
Received 17 Likes on 4 Posts
All valid questions DebitNM. It does not HAVE to be a full road trip. My style is to take a train to a city or town near what I want to see and rent a car and then return the car and go onward to another place I want to see.
A 15 or 30 day USA Rail Pass might save you some money.
Any night you spend sleeping in an Amtrak coach seat is a night you are not paying to sleep in a hotel not getting any closer to where you want to go
tomfuller is offline  
Old Feb 23rd, 2016, 06:33 AM
  #4  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 8,581
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Debit, haven't the foggiest! For really anything, other than where I will start: DC.

DC start, and if it's going to be XC somewhere on the Pacific. I don't want to secure lodging ahead of time. I want to have time to take detours including small scenic roads.

Two weeks would be easy - could do it this summer, but to do it justice I should take no less than three weeks.

Like always, I'd prefer to go with a friend or family, but just like always - coordinating time and resources. And doing it alone is better than not doing it at all, but this really does seem like an epic thing you do with a friend.

The only things I know I'd want to visit, for sure, are the canyons I've mentioned, and the redwoods. Not a clue about what to see in the middle parts of the USA other than obvious things like the arch in St. Louis, etc. I'd need to look up pretty/historic towns for each state. And I really don't want this to merely be an interstate trip.

Thanks!
flygirl is online now  
Old Feb 23rd, 2016, 06:36 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,611
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
We did something similar 3 years ago, but flew into Las Vegas to get a rental car for the trip.
Keith is offline  
Old Feb 23rd, 2016, 07:20 AM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 16,429
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I'd suggest getting a map and putting pins in it for friends to visit and places you want to see.
We could ALL suggest places WE love--mine would be Mesa Verde and Yosemite as not misses--maybe even over the Grand Canyon, but.... that's me.
I'd say Santa Fe and Indian pueblos also. Bandelier is a beautiful park/monument.
Colorado Rockies. RMNP
The Grand Tetons?
There is Frank Lloyd Wright and Georgia O'Keefe in the southwest--don't know if that is your thing.
So flying to Denver might be a starting point if you have 3 weeks.
I think for visiting the big parks it is going to be difficult not to plan a bit ahead for reservations--or you will have long drives in and out to nightly lodging IF it is summer travel. Shoulder times might work out OK.
Gretchen is offline  
Old Feb 23rd, 2016, 07:37 AM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 11,085
Likes: 0
Received 17 Likes on 4 Posts
Some good ideas here. One of the better ones is to fly to Las Vegas and rent a car. About 3 weeks should cover the things you want to see west of the Mississippi River.
Do you have any comment on my style using trains and multiple rental cars?
Using trains, it would be the Capitol Limited to Chicago and either the Southwest Chief, California Zephyr or the Empire Builder depending on where you would want to go first.
In Chicago the US's largest HI Hostel is on Congress if you wanted to stay longer than a few hours.
tomfuller is offline  
Old Feb 23rd, 2016, 08:12 AM
  #8  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 8,581
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hi

good ideas here. I like Gretchen's idea of pinning a map.

Most of what I already know I want to see is in the west, southwest specifically. I suppose I could do the first two thirds of the drive more quickly and then do a more leisurely pace when I get to the canyons and hiking..

thanks for all the comments - some things to chew on, now...
flygirl is online now  
Old Feb 23rd, 2016, 12:33 PM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 3,129
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I would fly to Denver or Las Vegas and then drive to see the things you want like the SW Parks and redwoods, maybe drive Hwy 1 (there are some redwoods south of SF, you don't have to drive all the way to Redwoods National Park which is a haul).
We drove from Texas to the LA area and all we saw was rest stops, motels and restaurants via I-10 which has to be the ugliest inter state in the US.
jamie99 is offline  
Old Feb 23rd, 2016, 01:45 PM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 18,388
Received 77 Likes on 7 Posts
Even three weeks isn't a lot of time; coast-to-coast takes five days at a minimum, and that's with pretty hard driving.

I too would suggest flying somewhere and renting a car for a big loop. That would allow you to avoid very high one-way drop-off fees or surcharges, and three weeks would be enough time to develop an itinerary - or the lack of one - that would suit you.

Timing is important in that finding accommodations in some places is close to impossible on short notice. This is especially the case with many national parks, with Yosemite being the most notorious. And of course the desert southwest in August is a very different experience than it is in April or May.

Sure, driving in your own car is certainly doable provided you don't mind cranking out a lot of miles for a few days in each direction. Some years ago I drove from Philly to Seattle in 4 1/2 days, averaging around 10 hours/600 miles per day. You wouldn't need to be that rapid, but if you could get to, say, the Rockies in three or four days that would give you more "net" time to spend in the west. Even so, distances are great, so you'd need to have some idea of time management even if you don't want to have an overly specific itinerary.
Gardyloo is offline  
Old Mar 29th, 2016, 10:18 AM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 889
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Check this out: http://dereklow.co/across-the-usa-by...-for-just-213/

Plenty of options if you plan this right.
Jim_Tardio is offline  
Old Mar 29th, 2016, 11:34 AM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 11,085
Likes: 0
Received 17 Likes on 4 Posts
Jim have you ever gone all the way coast to coast on trains?
You could cross the country using only 2 trains for $213 if you packed all the food you were going to eat for 4 days.
I will never again spend more than 2 consecutive nights sleeping in coach seats on Amtrak.
If I have the money or Amtrak Guest Rewards points to do it, I ride in a Roomette which includes my meals in the dining car.
tomfuller is offline  
Old Mar 29th, 2016, 02:11 PM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 889
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
No, I haven't done it. It just sounds like something cool to do. But I understand what you're saying.

I think it works best if you can get off a lot and spend most nights in a hotel, the pick up the next train.

But, of course, you need time.
Jim_Tardio is offline  
Old Mar 29th, 2016, 04:25 PM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 269
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
We've done three-week driving vacations from the DC area. One trip ended at the Grand Canyon and the other ended at Yellowstone. We camped -- slept in a minivan without the middle and rear seats. We did have some long days, but our goal was to see those places and the areas around them. As Gardyloo mentioned, we did the bulk of the driving in the first two days to allow more time in the West. I enjoyed seeing the variety of landscape the U.S. offers. For me, the journey was part of the fun.
edjim is offline  
Old Mar 30th, 2016, 06:24 AM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Feb 2016
Posts: 173
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
This is an ambitious trip. I know you don't want to secure lodging ahead of time but it is really an essential thing to do in the national parks. I would book a room in the Grand Canyon south rim and Bryce. Even campgrounds fill up early in the national parks. Having to drive miles and miles to find a room does not sound like fun to me. I would also recommend flying to Las Vegas and doing a road trip from there. Two weeks is definitely not enough time and 3 would be VERY TIGHT if you plan to drive from Washington D.C. It sounds like you don't want to overplan, but I think some planning is essential for a trip like this.
db6040 is offline  
Old Apr 2nd, 2016, 05:43 AM
  #16  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 8,581
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thank you everyone! This is still in the back of my mind, haven't even looked things up yet, although I have a few months before I'd even go... good tips, and I have to say I agree with the thought of flying somewhere first but if I drive I won't be incurring a car rental expense.
flygirl is online now  
Old Apr 2nd, 2016, 06:18 AM
  #17  
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 11,085
Likes: 0
Received 17 Likes on 4 Posts
Can you let us know where you would be starting from?
rereading your original post, I can tell you that if you ride a train you don't have a car rental plus drop off fee and if you sleep on the train, you don't have to pay for motel rooms in places you'd rather not stay.
Starting from New York or Washington take the train to Chicago overnight.
Depending on how much time you have, rent a car in Chicago and drive a huge loop all the way to the west coast and back to Chicago and turn the car in and either fly or take the train back.
tomfuller is offline  
Old Apr 2nd, 2016, 07:26 AM
  #18  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 8,581
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thank you Tom, but I think I can confidently say I'm not taking a train for this. I'm starting from DC.
flygirl is online now  
Old Apr 2nd, 2016, 08:18 AM
  #19  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 67,692
Likes: 0
Received 50 Likes on 7 Posts
don't worry flygirl -- tom just needs to put that in to get his Amtrak commission
janisj is offline  
Old Apr 2nd, 2016, 08:57 PM
  #20  
 
Join Date: May 2013
Posts: 555
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Suggest Google:
cross country driving tips

Then create an agenda for us to comment

Vaga
RVvagabond is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell My Personal Information


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 12:56 AM.