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  1. Default Boston to CA and Back

    Hey everybody,

    I was wondering if anybody had any advice on a trip of mine that I am planning. Me and my two best friends are planning a trip from Boston to California. We are all 19, but very mature for our age. We have been planning this for a long time. Anyways, we are thinking we are going to drive down through Virginia, then go west through St. Louis, and south from there towards Vegas. After Vegas we were going to drive up the CA coast and then head back east. We already got a National Parks pass and have all the maps, etc. My friend is bringing his GPS unit also. We have set aside 3 weeks for this adventure. Do you guys think that is enough? Too much? We are planning to camp and use hotels. Obviously we want to view all the big things along the way, and some wacky spots also. We are planning to leave on June 15, in my ford escape. Any help or suggestions would be awesome. Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default Quick, but possible

    Welcome to the RTA Forum! You sound a lot like me, particularly when I was 19.

    Three weeks will be enough time to do a trip like this, but you won't have a whole lot of time for stopping. Boston to LA is a pretty solid 5 day, all driving trip one way, so you'll have a little time to explore, but not a lot of time to smell the roses. For me and my roadtripping friends this is fine, because we generally do most of our exploring from the car window. If you are fine with that, I think you'll have a fine time.

    However, just to make sure, I would highly recommend you take RTA's Roadtrip compatability test, just to make sure you are all on the same page. Keep in mind, when you've got 3 guys couped up in a car for 3 weeks, you'll certainly have some disagreement no matter how mature or how good of friends you are.

    The Ford Escape is a great roadtrip vehicle, but I'm a little biased, my personal roadtrip vehicle is the Mazda version of the same SUV. Make sure you get your oil changed before the trip, and I'd recommend getting a transmission fluid flush too. It will cost you about 80 bucks, or you can do it yourself cheaper, but as you may have figured out by now, Ford didn't exactly put the greatest auto transmission in these vehicles. Flushing the ATF is very important in this particular SUV.

    Good luck and have fun!

  3. Default Thanks

    Thanks for the advice. It turns out it will probably just be me and a friend on the trip. As you mentioned, most of the sightseeing will be from the car, which is fine for us. I am disabled (with cerebral palsy) so walking long distances and exploring is not our cup of tea anyways. Anybody else with advice, please feel free to post!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula

    Default 3 weeks will be good...more time would be better.

    You can do it in 3 weeks but, wow, lots of driving. Oh, but the sights you will see!

    I'm unclear exactly what type of advice you're seeking. Are you wanting suggestions on places to see? If so, do you have your route down or are you winging it? If we had a clearer picture of where you're planning on driving through, we could probably come up with some suggestions. Or do you not yet have a defined route and are hoping for suggestions so you can complete your route?

    Some highlights that are must-sees and some whacky stops, imho (in no particular order):

    Grand Canyon
    Carlsbad Caverns
    Roswell, NM (aliens)
    Route 66 stuff alongside parts of I-40 going through NM and AZ
    Crater Lake, OR
    Oregon and California coasts (especially Hwy 1)
    Glacier NP
    Craters of the Moon, ID
    Wall Drug, SD
    Deadwood, SD
    Grand Coulee Dam, WA
    Olympic National Park, WA
    Mt. St. Helens, WA (a BIG must-see!!!)
    Cody, WY
    Glacier NP (Going to the Sun Road)

    Hope this helps a bit!

  5. Default Update

    I thought i would share our plans with everybody, maybe in the hopes for some last minute advice/tips. We are leaving this saturday, the 17th, from western massachusetts. The timeline is as follows:

    Night 1: Medina, OH
    Night 2: Granite City, IL
    Night 3: Selana, KS
    Night 4: Aurora, CO
    Night 5: Grand Canyon Village, AZ
    Night 6: Grand Canyon Village, AZ
    Night 7: Las Vegas, NV;
    Night 8, Las Vegas, NV
    Night 9: L.A.
    Night 10: L.A.
    *Pacific Coast Highway*
    Night 11: San Franciso, CA
    Night 12: San Francisco, CA
    Night 13: Redwood National Park
    Night 14: Somewhere between Redwoods, and Craters of the Moon, ID
    Night 15: Yellowstone
    Night 16: Yellowstone
    Night 17: Mt. Rushmore
    Night 18: Chicago
    Night 19: Detroit
    Night 20: Detroit
    *Drive thru canada*
    Night 21: Niagra Falls, NY

    What do you all think?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default Some concerns

    That's a very optimistic trip plan, with lots of driving and very little time for stops. But you probably already know that.

    I will point out some stops that are particualrly problematic. Denver to Grand Canyon in one day would be very difficult. Its close to 700 miles, much of which is not on interstates. Having already spent 4 straight days of driving to get there, I think that leg is going to be too much.

    If the Grand Canyon is a major goal, I'd follow old RT-66 (I-44, I-40) from St. Louis, just because the distance is significantly shorter. You'd have to cut out the rockies, but on this time frame, you really do need to make decisions about what you think is most important.

    I'm also going to say, If you make it from Mt. Rushmore to Chicago in one day, particuarly at the end of your trip, it would be pretty incredible. Its a solid 15 hour drive. And two days in Detroit? That just sticks out as being very odd, after seeing how fast you will be flying through the rest of the country.

    My best advice. Keep things flexable. If you discover you've bitten off a little more than you can chew, adjust your plans. Its better to see fewer things and have more fun than it is to force yourself to keep an artificial timetable.

  7. Default well...

    I trust you are mature for 19. But I also gather you've probably not done a big road trip before. Allow me to share with you my thoughts. :) I'm 23, and I did my first road trip last March. I traveled alone. I went from Jonesboro, AR to New England. I visited all of Connecticut (I lived there as a kid), Rhode Island, and Boston. It was a great trip and I'm glad I did it.'s a lesson I learned the hard way.


    Before you take your first road trip, all you can think of is how cool it'll be to be on the road, seeing sights, being new places, etc. It is fun...otherwise I wouldn't keep road tripping....but it's not all fun and games. Driving is truly exhausting. I personally recommend NOT driving more than 500 or 600 miles a day unless you can avoid it.

    See, my stopping point was in KNoxville, TN. The next day I drove from Knoxville to one day. In my mind, I was like, "yeah, it's about 830 miles, but no big deal." Um...yeah it was. Halfway through the day I was already growing very tired. By the time I arrived in Hartford, I was so exhausted I was seeing spots...seriously. It was NOT safe for me to be on the road for that long.

    You have several very long driving distances per day. I promise, once you're actually on the road, you will probably change your mind about how much you want to drive per day. Even though you're disabled and might not be able to walk much or whatever, I promise you'll want to be out of the car. My advice? Try to squeeze in an extra week, if you can. Or at least a few days. But preferably a week. A road trip always requires lots of driving, but why spend all the time driving rather than seeing the things? You know?

    Just trust me...I'm not a know-it-all, I'm just a young girl who planned a road trip that was too ambitious and now knows to take it easy. :) This all being sounds like a FANTASTIC trip, and I hope you have fun and tell us all the details when you get home!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default DRIVING (can be) VERY EXHAUSTING.

    Quote Originally Posted by Allie
    Allow me to share with you my thoughts. :) I'm 23, and I did my first road trip last March. I traveled alone. I went from Jonesboro, AR to New England.
    Allie, Thanks for the personal insight -- the Moderators all try to talk about the hazards of driving too long solo -- it is great you shared some recent experiences. A single day trip where distance is the goal is fine -- I did a 700'er last week, but if you string too many of those days together it can be very dangerous. As you discovered.

    Thanks again,


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