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  1. Default Washington to Arizona - 2 weeks

    I'm an Aussie, planning a two-week road trip from Washington to Arizona in late May. We've never been to the US before, so desperately need some tips as to the best way to go. Two ideas that have occurred to us are
    1) head south through N&S Carolina to Georgia, then across the "Deep South", Texas, etc to Arizona (we are going to Yuma actually. Why? Because that's where my daughter is moving to.) Is New Orleans worth visiting yet? Is it all still a mess down there from the hurricanes? What would be the top places to visit?
    2) go up to Chicago and down "Route 66" - have no idea about what to see - my husband thinks it would be cool because of the song...
    or 3) is there a better way?
    We don't like tourist tat, but prefer "off the beaten track" interesting places, love history and old buildings, gardens, nice restaurants, and meeting people. I realise 2 weeks is probably cutting it fine for such a large area, but it's all we have. We don't mind driving long distances, it's part of life in Australia.
    Any help appreciated ! Oh, also - how warm/cold will it be in May? My daughter reckons pretty warm, but she only moved to the US last June, she hasn't had a US spring yet !

  2. #2
    RoadTripper Brad Guest

    Default I take it's D.C. to Arizona

    Welcome to the Forum!

    I haven't been out east yet, I know a lot of people have, so I won't comment on routes, but the two you've mentioned both seem like they would hold good prospects of things to do.

    To comment on New Orleans, is really hard. Frankly, it's a double edged sword. I know they want/need tourists to come back, but making a judgement on whether it's the right thing to do is hard. Personally, I would stay clear of the city and let them get some things back in order, but that is just my perosonal judgement call. Like I said, they do want and need tourists and the money they bring to visit the area. You might check with their chamber of commerce (I think I will as well sometime this week, just to get a personal idea of what they recommend).

    Also, on the topic of weather... It depends on what route you take. In the northern states it will be milder, cooler nights (usually). The states in the Great Plains region might be a bit warmer than the more eastern states. If you go south, I would expect warmer days the further south you go, but nights might still be cool.

    Out in Arizona, expect some heat. In may we should at least be hitting 80's to 90's in the Central desert areas during the day. Nights are tough, though. I live in the city so it's always warmer than the frontier lands and open desert. Desert nights can get chilly, so do prepare to potentially have to wear a thin jacket depending on the night.

    Other than that, that's all I can think of.

    Enjoy your visit to the Grand Canyon State!

  3. Default

    Oops - yes - Washington DC, not Washington the state.
    We Aussies tend to forget about the state - you do have such a lot of them !

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Québec, Montreal, Arizona, California, France

    Default Tips & comments

    Hi Kmart,

    I agree with Brad, both the southern route and route 66 could be fun. Personally, as a heat addict and a desert lover, I'd pick the southern route though:-)

    Here are a few suggestions if you choose the southern route. Going down the east coast :

    Cape May, NJ-Lewes, DE Ferry and US13 through Delaware - Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel to VA
    -2 great ways to avoid traffic;
    -lots of small towns and Mom & Pop motels on the way;

    -Orientation Walking Tour in Williamsburg historic district;
    -Governor's Palace in Williambsurg;
    -dig site in Jamestown;
    -Victory Center in Yorktown, VA

    North Carolina
    -Route 12 and the Outer Banks of NC;
    -Wright Bros National Memorial (US 158);
    -Cape Hatteras National Sea Shore;

    South Carolina
    -Charleston, SC :
    -Magnolia Plantation & Gardens;
    -Charleston Museum;
    -Bull Island

    -Whistle Stop Café from the movie Fried Green Tomatoes, Juliette, GA
    -Watershed Restaurant owned by Indigo Girls' Emily Saliers, Decatur, GA;

    Deep South :

    First, read AZBuck trip report here.

    -Bubble Lounge on Old Shell Rd is a great place to have a martini in Mobile;
    -The Wintzell's Oyster House has oyster-eating contests;
    -USS Alabama in Mobile Battleship Park;
    -Bellingrath Rose Gardens in Theodore;
    -Parks in that area : Meaher S.P., Shepard S.P., Gulf Islands N.S.

    -take a shrimping tour on the Sailfish in Biloxi;
    -casinos : Treasure Bay, Beau Rivage, Casino Magic (Bay St. Louis)

    Louisiana : New Orleans, LA
    -Guided tours (I recommend the Gay Heritage Tour (20$) wether you are straight or gay) ;
    -Vieux Carré pubs, jazz clubs and boutiques;
    -Lafayette Cemetery;
    -Voodoo Museum and Westgate Museum of Necromancy;
    -Plantation River Road;
    -If you're into blues, jazz and gospel music, you might want to drive some stretches of US 61.

    Quote Originally Posted by ArizonaBrad
    To comment on New Orleans, is really hard. Frankly, it's a double edged sword. I know they want/need tourists to come back, but making a judgement on whether it's the right thing to do is hard.
    A few notes : I've been to New Orleans at the beginning of December and yes there is still lots of work to do in certain parts of town, but the French Quarter is clear. The atmosphere is not like it used to be of course, there are less people in the street and folks are not necessarily as free-and-easy but the restaurants, the music and the quirky boutiques are still standing. Some of them are under construction, but this part of town still looked attractive to me. Some shops even sell Katrina promotional T-shirts claiming they survived the storm. Besides, they really need the money. I drove around town and the discrimination is still palpable among certain communities, it was a tear jerking experience. However, if you don't want to witness poverty and/or the consequences of Katrina, just stick to the interstates and the Vieux Carré and you should be fine:-)

    Texas to Arizona
    For the rest of the trip, I suggest you read that post.

    If you choose to drive route 66, there are plenty of books on the subject and you can use the search function on the forum to help you find a couple of cool spots along the way.

    Happy planning!
    Last edited by Quebec Gen; 03-12-2006 at 09:12 AM. Reason: added links

  5. Default

    Thanks soooo much - this is just the sort of thing I'm looking for - places the average person doesn't get to see on air-conditioned tour bus photo-stops. I think I will go to New Orleans - I don't want a sanitised, cotton-candy experience, I want to really see America, not just a bunch of icons.
    I really appreciate all the effort you went to, with the hyperlinks. I'll post a trip report when I get back - "The Great American Road Trip from an Aussie Perspective", heehee.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Québec, Montreal, Arizona, California, France

    Default Aussie Perspective


    I'll post a trip report when I get back - "The Great American Road Trip from an Aussie Perspective", heehee
    We're looking forward to your field report with an Australian twist!:-) I'm sure you'll have lots of fun!

    Cheers from Canada!

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