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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Got to the University of West Chester in Pennsylvania
    Posts
    5

    Default First real road trip...

    Looking for any help or advice on the planning of a road trip. I really haven't done anything like this before, and I figure what a great reason to go but because of my college graduation. A friend of mine and I have decided to try and drive cross country, starting in Philadelphia and just work our way west, but we are both unfamiliar to the world of long term road trips. So I guess I was wondering whats the starting point? There's the obvious places we'd like to see, Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, etc...but what i'm really looking for is the unusual. The small stuff to me is the big extraction, the things only people would know about who have taken the same trips and routes. So I guess my first question is routes? Any road suggestions, and even approimate costs? We are hoping to do it for about 16 days or so 18 at the longest. It's kind of a way to cap off our college careers and a way to start our new careers off the right way, so any help is greatly appreciated. Thanks........

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default Starting out

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    The first step in heading out on the road is to simply lay down your goals and expectations. Think about the places you want to go, the things you want to see, as well as things like how long you want to travel each day, and how much you want to spend on things like eating and sleeping.

    A great place to start is with RTA's Roadtrip Compatibility Quiz, once you establish those basic elements, then the details start falling into place.


    Good luck to you, and have fun!
    Last edited by Quebec Gen; 02-26-2006 at 11:12 PM. Reason: typo

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Québec, Montreal, Arizona, California, France
    Posts
    761

    Default Tell us more!

    There's the obvious places we'd like to see, Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, etc...but what i'm really looking for is the unusual.
    Since you seem to be mostly interested in National Parks, maybe you should decide which ones you absolutely want to see and what cities you think you'd like to visit and then just draw a line between the dots to see if it would be doable within your time frame. To do so, you might use an online mapping service, a good road atlas or a good ol' traditionnal map. Driving 6-8 hours/day is usually a greta average for a first road trip. Just remember, if you have too many must sees on your list and put pressure on yourselves, it won't be a pleasant road trip, it'll more likely be a stenuous drive from point A to Z, unless of course you enjoy speed runs!

    To help you figure out the cost of such a trip, I recommend using Judy's tips along with our Fuel calculator. Here are a few additionnal tricks to keep it as cheap as possible while on the road.

    Happy planning!
    Gen

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Got to the University of West Chester in Pennsylvania
    Posts
    5

    Default

    Thanks for the help Midwest and Gen. I'll have to look more specifically at where we want to go, but any suggestions as far as must see. In particular we were thinkin about taking US 50 straight across, but I kind of torn because I'd like to see a good deal of colordo but also things more south like the Grand Canyon. Seems like US 50 doesn't hit the place I want to go, So I guess my first question would be, is 16 days enough? I'd like to hit TN, and some of the other southern states, then work my way back up to CO and then down to Cali and the Canyon. Seems like I may be pushing it, but considering I have no experience in such a long term trip, I'm not sure. Secondly, if US 50 is a bad route to take, any suggestions. Philly isn't exactly a hot spot for travel, so i feel like the routes are limitied as far as major highways heading west. Lastly, suggestions on places to see? I am very outdoors oriented, but still am young so like to go out and have some fun too. Oh and one last question, b/c I am a poor soon to be recent graduate, what kind of budget would you think it would run? For 16 days, I was thinking 2000ish, but not really sure? Espically since we were considering renting a car, rather than using our own. Any help is greatly appreciated, espically with Summer fast approaching. Thanks again.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Québec, Montreal, Arizona, California, France
    Posts
    761

    Default Road Trip ABC's

    BrettWCU,

    In particular we were thinkin about taking US 50 straight across, but I kind of torn because I'd like to see a good deal of colordo but also things more south like the Grand Canyon.
    Some people like to stick to itineraries, some like to improvise. Personally, I prefer the latter. That doesn't mean I don't plan my road trips. I have tons and tons of brochures, travel guides, atlas and maps at home. I suggest you find a general path (ex. : US50 to go and I-40 or I-40 to come back to the east coast) and more or less follow that route but allowing yourselves to do whatever you feel like : detours, stop for a few days. In the end, it is your trip so what's the point of restricting yourself to do something you might not feel like doing once you get there? Just my opinion. On my first trip to the south west, like most people I wanted to see the Grand Canyon, both the north and the south rim. I went to several off the beaten path destinations and I hiked through Bryce Canyon instead of the South Rim, which I felt would be packed with tourists at the time. I never regretted it, although the south rim is also worth seeing. So are small towns like Hurricane and the surrounding Native American reservations dirt roads. Besides you need to leave material behind for other future road trips.:-)

    In particular we were thinkin about taking US 50 straight across, but I kind of torn because I'd like to see a good deal of colordo but also things more south like the Grand Canyon. Seems like US 50 doesn't hit the place I want to go
    I've driven US50 from Salina, UT to Reno, NV and I can state it has been one of the more pleasant road trip experience I've had. The loneliest road in America offers lots of hidden jewels and offbeat attractions like the Spencer Hot Springs and the Middlegate Shoe Tree. If you like the outdoors, you'll be spoiled in that area that's for sure! Be sure to stop for a burger at the International Café in Austin. The service is extremely slow, but who cares, you're in good company, everyone is smiling and the food is great (how can they even find meat and veggies that tasty in these parts?).

    I'd like to hit TN, and some of the other southern states, then work my way back up to CO and then down to Cali and the Canyon. [...] Lastly, suggestions on places to see?
    Every place is worth seeing but some places tend to be more appealing for people who like to have a little more fun:-). In the south, stop by the Vieux Carré in New Orleans, stroll down Bourbon Street, browse through the boutiques, pubs and cafés. New Orleans is a very friendly town, I'm sure you will meet lots of interesting folks there.

    For TN and the southern States, check out that thread. I don't know exactly which States you want to visit on your way to Colorado, but you might use the Search function on this forum to find more info on these States and their attractions. Here's a post by AZBuck that might be useful in that sense.

    In Colorado, you might want to visit Rocky Mountain National Park, Black Canyon of the Gunnison, Mesa Verde, use the Million Dollar Highway to Durango where you can take a steam rain ride along steep hills and mountains, explore scenic byways. Here's a post giving suggestions of things to do in Denver and lodging.

    Espically since we were considering renting a car, rather than using our own.
    Renting vs using one's car is a frequent topic on this forum. Use the search Function to find the various threads on this subject. I don't nkow how old you are, but sometimes, rental companies charge and extra ~25$/day for people under 25.

    Hope this helps.

    Gen

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Got to the University of West Chester in Pennsylvania
    Posts
    5

    Default

    Thanks Gen again for your help. REALLY appreciated. I checked out most the links an that helped us greatly decided alot of things. I'm not sure how familiar you are with Cali, but we are trying to figure out what would be the best city to start in. I've been torn between San Diego, and San Fran. I've looked at both's visitor center's websites, but nothing seemed to be standing out. I figured maybe some personal experience from someone whose been out there may be of more value. I'm intersted in working my way through Napa etc....hit the wine country, then shoot towards the Grand Canyon. From just looking at a map, it looks like San Fran would be the smartest way to go, but just wanted to know if I was looking in the right direction? Thanks for the help again..

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default A Slam Dunk

    Quote Originally Posted by BrettWCU
    I've been torn between San Diego, and San Fran. I've looked at both's visitor center's websites, but nothing seemed to be standing out.
    Methinks you must have a specific view of what you are looking for? On the face value of what there is to do, San Francisco would be a slam dunk, unless you are seeking a beach experience. It is cold, foggy and downright chilly in San Francisco in the summer -- whereas San Deigo is hot and lovely in the summer.

    Mark

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Got to the University of West Chester in Pennsylvania
    Posts
    5

    Default

    Would you say the Napa Valley has the same climate as San Fran or more like San Diego. My thoughts so far are once in San Fran, drive up to Napa and stay our first night there, touring the wineries etc....Leaving the next early afternoon to....this is where i'm stuck. Finding a place inbetween Grand Canyon and Napa. It's a 12 hour drive, and alot to do it one day, so looking around for any places of interesting value on the way to stay one night. Suggestions? THanks again for the help.

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