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December: Boston to San Diego Road Trip

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Nov 13th, 2009, 01:54 PM
  #1
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December: Boston to San Diego Road Trip

Hello! I am new to the Fodor's Community and have already found so much helpful information here. My husband and I are moving from Boston to San Diego and will be embarking on our cross country trip the first week in December. Because we know winter weather could be tricky, we are planning a southern route.

To prepare for the trip, I did a lot of "googling" to identify places worth the stop across the country. Then I mapped out a rough route to see which stops we'd pass through. We have 10+ days to complete the trip (Need to arrive in San Diego by Dec 12 for work).

This map can be found here: http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?hl=en...621094&t=h&z=4

I'd love ANY suggestions on the route I have [very roughly] mapped out, places to see, places to stay, etc!

Thanks a ton! Cant wait to see your feedback.
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Nov 13th, 2009, 02:00 PM
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Are you looking for sightseeing advice? Hotels? Food? Travel Distances? Road conditions?
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Nov 13th, 2009, 02:04 PM
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Any and all! PLEASE! But, if I had to prioritize- I think I'd like to know where to go I can do leg work to find places to stay & travel distances..

We'd love to visit historical sights, charming towns/villages, national parks... really have a wide open mind where we stop (so long as it's not way off course). We are very active.

THANK YOU!
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Nov 13th, 2009, 02:24 PM
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hmm map isnt displaying potential "stops".. lets try this link.

http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?hl=en...,66.621094&z=4

or

http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?hl=en...621094&t=h&z=4
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Nov 13th, 2009, 02:37 PM
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For me, I'd probably hightail it south as quickly as possible, driving all the way down to Savannah and then hopping on I-10 west to San Diego. I probably would not go all the way to Jacksonville. This seems to be the easiest way to avoid the worst winter weather. That's probably not the fastest route, but you'd pass through a lot of historic places, including Washington DC, Savannah, and Charleston).
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Nov 13th, 2009, 04:28 PM
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Hi,Twalsh7!

Looks like you have a lot of driving coming up! Agree with Doug that you should head south as soon as possible.

A few suggestions:

1. I was just at Monticello, VA, last month and do highly recommend it if you can possibly make it. I also returned to Washington DC via parts of the Shenandoah National Park where the views were gorgeous, but it was also snowing lightly at that time of year. You may not be able to take in that part of VA in December.

2. I'd suggest trading Big Bend in Texas for Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico, since you want to be close to the Guadalupe Mountains, but Texans may be able to advise you better on this portion of your trip.

3. Earlier, I had asked about road conditions going across parts of the Southwest in early December and here's the link to that thread:

http://www.fodors.com/community/unit...r-question.cfm

You may be able to drive up to Albuquerque from the Guadalupe Mountains/Carlsbad Caverns area at that time of year, but Taos may be a different story. Also going west from Albuquerque on I-40 may be a problem in December.

It's a long drive! Hope others will chime in to help you with your trip!
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Nov 13th, 2009, 04:31 PM
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Since you tagged Arkansas, I could give you several ideas for things to do there, if you are interested or think you might come that way. also in Oklahoma. Do you plan to drive I-40, I-10 or what. There is a lot of territory in between the two places you mention. You are talking 4 days of driving at a minimum, so you really have 5 days or so to see and or do some thingss. Have you been west of Mississippi before?
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Nov 13th, 2009, 05:32 PM
  #8
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Wow thanks a lot!

The route we were planning to travel is the 2nd link posted above. Essentially its 95S to 85S to 40W. But, totally open to other recommendations.

We have never been West of the Mississippi by car (only vacations, where we stayed at our destination). Looking forward to hearing about recommendations! This stretch of Arkansas/Oklahoma, etc is an area I haven't immediately found info on.

Also, this may sound ignorant, but along this route, are there stops for skiing as we make it out west, or will we be too far south?

The map I see when I log into google combines the 2 maps above so you can see which stops the route passes through. Not sure why I cant share version...
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Nov 14th, 2009, 05:52 AM
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95S to 85S can be nasty in term of traffic, consider going west a bit (90 W, or 84 W to 81S) and then south on 81. Keep an eye on the weather and pick a route that takes you to interesting places. In KY there is Mammouth Cave, southern NM has Carlsbad Caverns, southern AZ has Saguaro and Joshua tree. If the weather is ok and you can do 40, then there is a variety of places close to the hwy in NM, Accoma pueblo, Inscription Rock, in AZ Petrified forrest/painted desert, Walnut Canyon, Grand Canyon, then you could hit the jaded Vegas and go through Death Valley and then south to San Diego. I'd stay flexible and let the weather choose my route. If it's cold and dry you could have a fine trip on the northern route with plenty to see. BTW, these are all National Parks, so if you do go to a couple it would be worth it to get a park pass at the first one, it gets you and everyone in your car into all parks for a year.

Have a great trip
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Nov 14th, 2009, 06:17 AM
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I didn't click the second link until now. So here goes from Memphis.

In Memphis eat at Blues City Cafe or Rendevouz. These are located on Beale Street and are not far from Peabody Hotel. See Ducks at the hotel(in the morning is the big production of them going up on the elevator).

Into Arkansas 3 options here.
1. Petit Jean State Park-oldest state park in AR and has nice hiking and gorgeous waterfall. Cabins and lodge are older. There is a restaraunt

2. Mount Magazine State Park. New Lodge with indoor swimming. Nice hiking

3. Buffalo National River. Nice Hiking with hundreds of waterfall hikes to choose from. Cabins are available. No Restaurants. Very isolated.

Note: the waterfalls run best in late winter or early spring. If it has rained or is raining they run well

In Oklahoma, your best bet would be the Oklahoma City Memorial.

In New Mexico and Arizona, I like emalloy's suggestions.


Since you are headed to S.D., I hope you like baja fish tacos. Rubio's is the original, but you will find other great stands also.
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Nov 14th, 2009, 11:01 AM
  #11
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This is great, The more feedback the better- I'm making all kinds of adjustments and notes to our travel plan. Thank you a TON!
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Nov 14th, 2009, 12:07 PM
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On skiing, I'm not a skier, so can't help you much on this.

But, in New Mexico, look up Cloudcroft, Ruidoso, Inn of the Mountain Gods for skiing in the Lincoln National Forest area.

If you are going that way, then I would suggest stopping at White Sands.

You should find skiing in northner New Mexico if you are going to Taos.


One other point, on your map, the route that you have mapped out is on I-10 when traversing the southernmost parts of New Mexico and Arizona to California.

If you are going further north, then you will be using I-40 through Albuquerque.

As someone has mentioned above, you want to check the weather to make sure which route to use.
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Nov 14th, 2009, 02:45 PM
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I would second the recommendation to see Carlsbad Caverns.
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Nov 14th, 2009, 07:09 PM
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Carlsbad is a great and if you go the more the I-10 route, then it wouldn't be too far out of your way.
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Nov 15th, 2009, 09:49 AM
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If you take the I-10/I-8 route from Tucson to San Diego, try to avoid doing it on a Sunday. Just after crossing into California, you will be in huge sand dunes which are crowded with off-road enthusiasts every weekend in the winter. On Sunday afternoons, thousands of cars with trailers, motorhomes with trailers, and trucks are driving back to San Diego making the freeway very crowded and slow.
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Nov 15th, 2009, 10:31 AM
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If you take I-40, it ends in park city, Utah which has fabulous skiing. You would take the I-80 from there to northern california and then take the 101 south which is a gorgeous coastal drive.

Park city is worth a two night stay fitting in a day of skiing on the full day. There is a gorgeous main street town with very fine dining. I love skiing at Deer Valley, often rated tops in N. America for skiing by Conde Nast.

Taking 80 from there will take you near Tahoe and then to San Francisco which is spectacular, especially with the wine country above. I like the stop in Carmel/Monterey on the drive down. Santa Barbara is lovely as well.
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Nov 15th, 2009, 06:56 PM
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ncountry,

I-40 does not end in Utah, it ends in California. You are a few hundred miles off on your advice.
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Nov 15th, 2009, 07:44 PM
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hmmmm.... maybe it picks up elsewhere but it dead ends at my neighborhood in Park City where it meets hwy 80 in a T.
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Nov 15th, 2009, 07:45 PM
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I looked it up: this is per wikipedia-

"The western end has been truncated several times, and the route now ends at Interstate 80 just outside of Park City, Utah, near Salt Lake City."
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Nov 16th, 2009, 10:31 AM
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ncountry,

I-40 is not the same as Hwy 40. US route 40 is not I-40 as you stated. Besides, every post besides yours was suggesting a southernly route. You are CLEARLY WRONG- I-40 does not end in Utah.
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