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  1. Default Solo western US tour

    Hi, I'm new to this forum but have already found it very helpful! I'm planning an extended solo tour of the western US. I'm starting next weekend from SC and plan to take the southern rt to california and then make my way up the coast of california then east to Ut, Wy, Co and back to SC. I'm a little overwhelmed at my options of places to stop and see and would like some help on "don't miss" places. I'll be spending the first weekend in LA at the the Jazz fest and about a week in Albuquerque to visit a friend, but other than that my trip is wide open. This is also my first cross country, solo trip and being a girl, kinda intimidates me but I'm not going to let it stop me from exploring the places I've always wanted to go. Any tips on traveling alone and staying safe would be great. And last but not least, I'm going to be camping, car camping and sleeping in my car 90% of the time. Any advice on safe places to stop to sleep with accessible restrooms? Someone had mentioned to me hotel parking lots where you can walk in the lobby to use their bathrooms and possible shower facilities if they have a pool. Has anyone ever done this without being run out of the place?

    I'm sure I'll think of more questions but this is a good start. Thanks for all the help!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,060

    Default Solo is always a grand adventure

    Quote Originally Posted by western trekker
    Hi, I'm new to this forum but have already found it very helpful!
    Welcome to the Great American RoadTrip Forum! We are pleased you found us and that we have already been helpful to you.
    I'm planning an extended solo tour of the western US. I'm starting next weekend from SC and plan to take the southern rt to california and then make my way up the coast of california then east to Ut, Wy, Co and back to SC.
    You are fortunate to be traveling solo -- that makes the decisions about where to stop so much easier. I take 3-4 solo trips each year and enjoy the flexibility of the planning (or lack thereof) of the process. How long is the total trip being considered?
    I'm a little overwhelmed at my options of places to stop and see and would like some help on "don't miss" places.
    It really comes down to what you are looking for on this trip? --for example, do you like shopping over hiking or natural hot springs over fancy spas or long solo drives over club hopping.
    This is also my first cross country, solo trip and being a girl, kinda intimidates me but I'm not going to let it stop me from exploring the places I've always wanted to go.
    Here is a great post from another solo (woman) traveler.
    Any advice on safe places to stop to sleep with accessible restrooms?
    Truck stops are now called "Travel Centers" and they almost alwasy have nice bathrooms. If your travels take you near any casinos, you can always count on nice restrooms there.
    Someone had mentioned to me hotel parking lots where you can walk in the lobby to use their bathrooms and possible shower facilities if they have a pool. Has anyone ever done this without being run out of the place?
    I would never recommend or condone this practice --

    Happy Planning!

    Mark

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

    Default Must sees + do's and don't's

    Hi Western Trekker and welcome aboard the Great American RoadTrip Forum!
    I'm starting next weekend from SC and plan to take the southern rt to california and then make my way up the coast of california then east to Ut, Wy, Co and back to SC. I'm a little overwhelmed at my options of places to stop and see and would like some help on "don't miss" places.
    Cool! Can I come along?:o) Here are some suggestions of places not to miss in the South and South West. For the Cali-Nevada part, check out this post. The Pacific Coast Highway, is definitely a must see. Other CA stops include : Joshua Tree NP, San Diego, Napa and Sonoma Wine Countries, Redwoods, Yosemite NP, Anza Borrego State Park, Lake Tahoe, Kings Canyon and Sequoia NP and other Driving Tours.

    For the Utah part, check out Moab, the National Parks (Bryce, Zion, Arches, etc.) and here's an interesting thread regarding that area. In Wyoming, visit Cheyenne and its Old West Museum and the various Oregon Trail Sites and Monuments (Register Cliffs, Ft. Laramie, Scotts Bluff NM, Grand Teton NP and of course Yellowstone NP.

    Some places of interest in Colorado : Rocky Mountain NP, Great Sand Dunes National Park, Million Dollar Highway, Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, Mesa Verde NP, plus take a look at these tips.
    This is also my first cross country, solo trip and being a girl, kinda intimidates me but I'm not going to let it stop me from exploring the places I've always wanted to go.
    Great attitude! That's exactly what you need to get through this trip, that and common sense.
    Any tips on traveling alone and staying safe would be great.
    This article might answer a few of your questions/concerns. I myself am a female solo road tripper and I can assure you that the USA is a relatively safe country. Nothing ever happened to me, I always managed to go where I wanted to even with a "handicap" because my native language is French. Of course, that doesn't mean you can do whatever you want, you have to watch your back and use common sense...without being paranoiac. You can meet lots of nice folks on the road but shaking hands with bums in a dark alley at night is not really the best way to encounter new people right? Avoid obvious dangerous situations and everything should be fine.

    Usually, when on the road, I try to call relatives at least every 2 days to let them know where I am and prevention so it's always worth it. Another safety advice I would give you is to carry one of those small pepper spray they sell in every hunter/fishermen store (~15$). It's perfectly legal and it can scare animals (or even some humans) away. Another mandatory item is a charged cell phone and a roadside assistance membership, wether it's AAA or a private company. Try to learn a few mechanic basics : change a tire, check your oil, etc and have the right tools with you. A great way to save space in the car is to put the tools with the spare tire in the trunk.
    I'm going to be camping, car camping and sleeping in my car 90% of the time. Any advice on safe places to stop to sleep with accessible restrooms?
    Check out this post, you will find links at the bottom with suggestions of "unusual" places to sleep. Personally, I think truck stops, moreover busy 24/7 truck stops, would be your best option (comes with ear plugs:-).
    Someone had mentioned to me hotel parking lots where you can walk in the lobby to use their bathrooms and possible shower facilities if they have a pool. Has anyone ever done this without being run out of the place?
    To avoid without a doubt! You could be charged with tresspassing of private property or worse! Taking a hot shower in a clean truck stop can cost you ~10$ or even less if you fill your tank (sometimes they're free!).

    Have fun!
    Gen
    Last edited by Quebec Gen; 05-01-2006 at 04:15 AM.

  4. Default

    First of all, this is such a fantastic forum. I had no idea I would find such nice and knowledgable people! Great ideas: thanks to both of you! I read the post from the other solo traveler and what an enlightening chic! I'm also going to spend some time researching all the places Gen suggested. I'm much more interested in hiking, sightseeing, walking through cities/towns, and anything else inexpensive or free!

    I have no problem staying a "travel centers" but I'm going to try to avoid major highways in hopes of coming upon interesting people/places and I'm concerned there won't be many in the rural areas. Any second choices if I find myself out in the middle of nowhere?

    Thanks for all the help!!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,060

    Default Get a Trucker's Guide

    Quote Originally Posted by western trekker
    First of all, this is such a fantastic forum.
    We are happy to be of assistance. But this is a two-way deal -- when you get out there, we hope you will post current Intel on what you find and the types of experiences that come your way.
    I'm much more interested in hiking, sightseeing, walking through cities/towns, and anything else inexpensive or free!
    Every town in America has community centers with free concerts and events during the summer.
    I have no problem staying a "travel centers" but I'm going to try to avoid major highways in hopes of coming upon interesting people/places and I'm concerned there won't be many in the rural areas.
    I think you should pick up one of the trucker truckstop guides (all truckstops have extensive book/supply stores) I think you will be amazed with the coverage of such places. Most of them are not in urban areas -- perhaps near, but urban congestion is not a good match with trucking/travel centers.
    Any second choices if I find myself out in the middle of nowhere?
    Best choice is to grab a cat-nap in a hospital parking lot -- ideally near the Emergency Wing -- people arrive at all sorts of hours and no one can tell if you are visiting a patient or just sleepy.

    Mark
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 05-01-2006 at 09:34 AM. Reason: typo

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