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thechad90000
12-27-2007, 07:25 PM
My friend and I are going to be going on a trip, not anytime soon, but I'm trying to get everything figured out as to where some really neat places are. We're going to be starting in East Tennessee. First we're going to travel up to New England. We'll go up and see Niagra Falls. Then after time up there we'll head west, staying in the United States most of the way preferably; and then cutting up into Canada once we reach Washington and heading for Alaska. Afterwards we're planning to come down from there and go along the West Coast in Washington, Oregon, and California; and then seeing most everything we can in the Southwest. I know that's quite a bit and quite vague; but I was wondering what kind of places I could detour too. Which roads offer the best scenery and best things to do along the way. I'm looking into this being about 2 to 3 months long. Thanks for all the help.

Midwest Michael
12-27-2007, 08:44 PM
Welcome to the RTA Forum!



I know that's quite a bit and quite vague; but I was wondering what kind of places I could detour too.


That might be the understatement of the century! You've laid out rough sketch that basically covers the entire US, and a good bit of Canada too, and you want to know what places you could detour too?

My question is what places couldn't you detour too? When you are talking about a canvas as large as you are talking about, trying to pick out even a handful of places, things, or routes would be like covering a football field with pennies and trying to pick out which ones look the most shiny!

Its not a bad thing, per se, because there are a whole lot of shiny pennies out there, but without know what kinds of things you'd like to see, what things you find to be fun and entertaining, or even some sense of a route beyond "most of North America" it almost impossible to even find a place to begin.

thechad90000
12-27-2007, 09:25 PM
Yeah I realize there's a lot of stuff to do. It's kind of my I made it out of the army alive present to myself..haha. Anyway I guess instead of asking about detours and such, maybe any hints that would be useful seeing as this is my first really really big road trip? Anything in general really. The longest I've ever taken has been a week.

PNW Judy
12-28-2007, 07:04 AM
Oh, we've got a lot of those here. Since you have limited road-tripping experience, I would say that your best bet is simply to read through various threads here that have titles that interest you. I would start in the Gear Up section for tips on what kinds of things you will want to pack in the car and more. And then, from there, seek out threads discussing some of the areas you plan on traveling through. You can simply browse around or use the search function to find threads on topics you might find useful.

Some general tips:
* Have maintenance done on your car by a trusted mechanic before you leave and ensure your tires are up to the trip.
* Eating out of a cooler is cheaper and can be healthier.
* Campground or hotel reservations are usually not necessary. However, if you're going to be in a touristy area during peak tourist times or when some kind of special event is going on, you might wish you had one.
* Having some kind of resources for an emergency situation is a good idea. This could be a bit of extra cash tucked away in a safe place, extra funds accessible by a debit card, or a credit card with plenty of room on it and/or membership in a national road service organization like AAA.
* Having some way to track your money so you know how you are doing budget-wise. You don't want to run out of money far from home.
* Even if you will have access to something like a GPS or a laptop with maps on it, paper maps are always good to have on-hand.
* With the time you have, go with the flow. I mean, if you like a place and want to check it out more thoroughly, allow yourself a few days off the road and do it. If you get lost, enjoy it and don't sweat it as you might find something really cool. You get the drift, right? Don't tie yourself too tight into some kind of schedule/itinerary.
* Have a way to communicate with somebody where you are, where you're going, etc. A cellphone with national coverage is a big help with this.

This should get you started.

As for planning your trip, I think sitting down with a good-sized map/atlas and pouring over it to see what kind of places are in the various areas is a good place to start. Highlight the things you really want to see the most and visualize the routes you would need to drive to get to them. Then come back here for more specific hints/tips/suggestions.

Happy planning!

gretchen01
01-01-2008, 09:57 PM
First, make two lists.

1) Places you want to see on this trip. Choose at least two -- your trip needs at least a couple of high points -- and no more than twelve -- one per week if your trip really lasts three months.

2) Places you can get people to put you up for free. Friends, parents, grandparents, relatives, roomates, parents or children of old roommates (depending on your age!), the Vermont border guard your Dad visited on last year's business trip (real example from my early travels)... Choose between two and twelve -- same reasons. First choice is always people you really want to see -- family, loved ones, dear friends -- but don't pass up likable people with a spare room.

Often, those two lists will magically combine themselves into an itinerary that works.

Also -- a good tip I learned from travel guru Rick Steves is to plan on one day a week of downtime. Use it for relaxing (sleep late, eat slow, go to the beach or the park) and catching up on routine chores (laundry, phone calls and E-Mail, sending postcards or downloading digital photos, cleaning out the car, restocking the shampoo and sunscreen...)

Best of luck, and enjoy your trip! -- Gretchen

thechad90000
01-02-2008, 03:00 PM
Hey thank you very much. That was very helpful.