View Full Version : Last Chance Summer Trip to all lower 48 +

03-15-2012, 07:45 AM
I've been looking at the forum posts and have found a gold mine of information here. I have two college age "Kids" and am looking at this summer being my last chance to get them on the road for any length of time. As I am coming into an inheritance, we will be purchasing a Class C RV for this trip. We will be pulling a Tahoe hybrid.

There are four dates we need to hit that are, as yet, unknown: 1. the inheritance needs to be settled, any time between April and July (am really hoping April) 2. Training for both "kids" in Toronto for two weeks, I will be staying with my sister-in-law in Gaylord, MI during that time, 3. Meeting eldest dtr and her family in NC to meet son-in-law's family and take granddaughters back up to see DC and Williamsburg. Since they are flying in, we need to know about when we'll reach that leg of our journey. And, 4 back home to Los Angeles before "kids" start back to school.

Since I am recently lost my husband, I am now alone in the planning of this grand road trip. This is sort of a National Park/Historic sites/ visit friends and family trip. My daughter requests we hit all of the lower 48 (we've been to Alaska and Hawaii so this will be awesome) and son requests we not be in too much of a hurry.

We also need to get to Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, and Quebec. I plan on staying in NY with friends for a few days and in NC for about five to seven days with day trips to the west of there. That's it, that's all that is planned. I have no idea how to get through the states and what are the must see sites. I have all the AAA books, and plan on staying in RV parks almost exclusively. I am open to any and all suggestions for this trip.

Fortunately, both kids like history, love the national parks and are good travelers as well as being alternate drivers. We've traveled often, up and down California, and to and from Michigan, but this will be a huge endeavor. I will be planning this is "legs" but haven't even figured that out since we're adding all 48 states in!

Thanks for any and all suggestions, from routes to must see sites!


03-15-2012, 09:06 AM
Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

Time is going to be the single most necessary ingredient to make this RoadTrip possible. I look at your two stated goals, "hit all of the lower 48" and "not be in too much of a hurry", and the only reasonable solution involves time measured in months, not days or even weeks. Add in significant parts of Canada, and you're looking at around 15,000 miles of driving (more or less, depending on the particulars of your final routing). At an average of 250 miles/day (my deification of 'not too much of a hurry) and you'll need about 60 days just for the driving portions, let alone time spent sitting in one place, visiting family, exploring some of the more major national parks, just taking a break from the road, etc. So, that's your first hurdle. Can you and the 'kids' set aside that kind of time? Can you all finance such an extended journey? Can the you all be away from work and/or family responsibilities for that long? If the answer to all of those questions is 'Yes', then the rest of it is just details and can be relatively easily worked out. If the answer to any of those questions is 'No', then you'll have to take a step (or two) back and try to work out something considerably less time consuming.


03-15-2012, 09:21 AM
Thanks, AZ, for your response. I think my son is more concerned about the rush we had getting back to CA from MI of six days on the road and trying to see things like Mt Rushmore, Crazy Horse, Arches, Bryce, Zion (this was accidental LOL), etc. He's fine with the driving, as long as we get time to stop, you know? We will have better than two months to do this. And, yes, I am not working right now, both kids have summer break from college. That is why this is titled Last Chance road trip since they will have jobs, families, etc, after this. In Canada, we are hitting just those Cities to have dinner with friends, see something of the city, but then back down to the US.

My goal is to leave the day they get out of school and to get back just in time to move my daughter into the dorm. I am receiving and inheritance that makes this all possible and will do my grandfather proud. So, let's just say we have ten weeks or so . . . what then?


03-15-2012, 02:13 PM
Great, and noting that on a trip of this magnitude, trying to plan everything down to the last minute, or even day, is going to be counter productive, the next step is to plot out your basic route that assures that you hit all forty-eight states and your specific time marks. The general secret' to the first constraint is that you make a general loop around the country: (described clockwise) down the East Coast, across the South, up the West Coast, across the Great Plains, and back home. Note that the two east-west legs will involve some considerable zigzagging. One possibility is illustrated here (http://familyroadtripusa.com/48statetrip.htm), but 2 months gives you considerable flexibility to alter this, take significant side trips, etc.

The second constraint is a bit more problematical since you'll be starting on the West Coast and your next time marks are on the East Coast and may involve some serious back-tracking as I read your needs to be in Michigan, Toronto, Washington and North Carolina. But if all of those East Coast Obligations can be made to fall within the same 3 week (say), then I don't see any insurmountable problems.

At this point, and until a few of the dates firm up, the best you can do is plot out a very general routing and start getting a handle on how long different segments will take, both for driving and for sightseeing. To that end, you should start right now to get input from everyone who will be a part of this trip as to when they'll be available, what specific times they have to be in specific places, and what are their 'must sees'. Parts of this trip will fall together very naturally. Parts will need a little more work. But you already have in hand the one ingredient for which there is no substitute and which is absolutely essential: time. With that, I think you can afford to relax a bit, get a few more of your time constraints straightened out, let people daydream a bit, and just talk amongst yourselves. The details will sort themselves out, and we're always here to help find the forest in the midst of all the trees you're seeing now.