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  1. Default NYC-LA: need more stops, + some other Q's

    Thanks to AZBuck, Arizona Bob and a load of others who gave great advice in the archives, I have planned out a few stops, but could use some help in between.

    [start] New York
    1) Pittsburgh, PA
    2) Cleveland, OH
    3) Sandusky, OH
    4) Chicago, IL
    5) St. Louis, MO
    6) Oklahoma City, OK
    7) Grand Canyon, AZ
    8) Las Vegas, NV
    [finish] Los Angeles, CA

    Please recommend some additional places for us to see, especially along Route 66.
    A friend and I are leaving on Tuesday and hope to get to LA within 7-10 days. Our focus is to visit national monuments and eat great food along the way.

    CAMPING question: we don't have any of our own equipment. Are there rentals on site usually, or should we abandon the idea of camping altogether?

    COOLER question: I have a cooler bag. I've found links on Google that recommend using ice packs rather than ice cubes, because ice cubes make the cooler heavier and may cause rips in the lining. What's the consensus on this? I know ice packs are pretty expensive ($3-4 each) relative to regular bags of ice cubes. Are they really worth it?

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

    Default Cooler rules & other tips

    Quote Originally Posted by paulboogie
    I have planned out a few stops, but could use some help in between.
    Welcome to the Great American RoadTrip Forum!
    Please recommend some additional places for us to see, especially along Route 66.
    We maintain a web resources page for Route 66 and I think the best online resource is this one. Also there is a brand new book covering attractions and history to be found along Route 66 -- here is my review.
    A friend and I are leaving on Tuesday and hope to get to LA within 7-10 days. Our focus is to visit national monuments and eat great food along the way.
    Your over-all route is doable in ten days, but you are still going to have some long days.
    CAMPING question: we don't have any of our own equipment.
    There are scores and scores of posts on this Forum that address this issue (look in the Gear-Up Section) but in general, there are no places that come to mind that provide camping gear (unless you are booking high-end $$ trips)
    COOLER question: I have a cooler bag. I've found links on Google that recommend using ice packs rather than ice cubes, because ice cubes make the cooler heavier and may cause rips in the lining. What's the consensus on this? I know ice packs are pretty expensive ($3-4 each) relative to regular bags of ice cubes.
    I use both, but greatly prefer the artifical cooler paks, because of the chance of water contamination of the food stuffs. Here is an excellent article about cooler safety rules and another on roadtrip snacks.

    Mark

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,064

    Default Camping and Coolers

    CAMPING question: we don't have any of our own equipment. Are there rentals on site usually, or should we abandon the idea of camping altogether?


    You'll have a hard time finding places to rent camping gear, but that doesn't mean you need to abandon the idea. You could pretty easily get a low-end set of basic gear for $100 at any major discount store.

    COOLER question: I have a cooler bag. I've found links on Google that recommend using ice packs rather than ice cubes, because ice cubes make the cooler heavier and may cause rips in the lining. What's the consensus on this? I know ice packs are pretty expensive ($3-4 each) relative to regular bags of ice cubes. Are they really worth it?


    How much use are you planning to get out of your cooler? From what I've seen, the cooler bags are ok for a picnic or if you need to transport food long distances, but if you are looking to seriously eat out of a cooler during your trip, I would recommend going out and getting a real, hardsided cooler.

    I could see where the ice packs would be the best option when you are dealing with a cooler bag, and they certainly have advantages particularly where cross contamination is concerned. However, I find that just going with bags of ice tend to be much simpler and more practical when on a longer roadtrip.

  4. Default

    Just a note on camping..

    How many of you are going to be camping? For 2, the set up cost for camping should be around $150-170 if you buy OK and not superb quality car-camping supplies. That'll pay for itself in a couple of nights of camping.

    I would recommend a good reasonably sized hard shell ice chest. Why? Ice blocks work well, but when I'm traveling I find it hard to fine places to refreeze the blocks. Most hotels and many campgrounds have ice machines and I've never had one object if you get a ziplock bag of ice to toss in the ice chest. (Loading up 30 lbs of ice and monoplizing an ice machine for an hour -- that would be rude..). I'm not sure how waterproof a cooler bag is, and ice does melt.. Plus just about any grocery store will sell you 10 lbs of ice for a few dollars and in my inexpensive ($20) hard shell ice chest that'll last me 2-3 days.

    For places to stop along old route 66? My familarity is with the western part of the route -- make sure you stop in Albquerque and get some "New Mexico Style" soutwest cooking. Hot (spicy) but realllllyy good. Gallup NM is a good place to shop for Navho silver, turquoise, rugs and handicrafts. West of there is the Pretrified Forest National Park, right on Route 66. There's the meteor crater west of their, but its very touristy and somewhat expensive -- but a unique natural feature.

    Lots of the towns along this route have Route 66 themes.. including Williams, Flagstaff, Benson (including the old Eagles song...), Holbrook, and etc.

    When you get to Flagstaff, head north and come in the east entrance to the Grand Canyon -- stop at Desert View and drive along the south rim. A very beautiful drive and lets you appreciate the scale of the GC.

    If you continue west into California on 66, take the "national scenic trails" byway through Amboy -- its the old route 66 and takes you past Amboy volcanic crater.

  5. Default

    I think we're gonna skip camping. The main reason was to experience the "wilderness" and to save on hotel $$ for a couple of nights. But equipment won't fit in my car and financially it doesn't make sense anymore if equipment costs $100-150. So nevermind that.

    As far as the cooler goes, I'm torn between buying a hard cooler and winging it with my cooler bag. A hard cooler is cheap and would save a lot of hassle, but I'm not sure if there will be enough room in the back seat... we'll have to see. If not, I'm hoping that putting ice cubes in air-tight plastic bags will do the trick. We just need to store cold cuts, a jar of PB&J and drinks.

    The Route 66 links were great. It seems more like a "drive until you see something interesting" type road, so I don't think we're gonna be doing much planning for that... except for the Petrified Forest, meteor crater(s) and Wigwam Motel - those are just rad.

    Anyhow thanks for the great input so far. I will be checking back on this thread until our departure just in case someone has more advice for us :)

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,064

    Default Car-Go

    What kind of car are you taking and how many people are going on this trip that you will have so little room? My first thought here is that if you don't have enough room to fit a small cooler, you probably aren't going to have enough room to be even remotely comfortable on a 10 day cross country trip.

    I think you'll end up wanting/needing a hard side cooler for your trip, but you can always try the bag first and then upgrade along the road if/when you come to that conclusion.

    Otherwise, I think you are on the right path for your overall trip planning. Have a few priorities, but keep things loose so you can make decisions along the way.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula
    Posts
    3,318

    Default Skip camping? Whatever for?

    Quote Originally Posted by paulboogie
    I think we're gonna skip camping. The main reason was to experience the "wilderness" and to save on hotel $$ for a couple of nights. But equipment won't fit in my car and financially it doesn't make sense anymore if equipment costs $100-150. So nevermind that.
    Most campgrounds will charge you about $15-25 per night. Most hotels will charge you, at the very minimum $40-70 per night. You can easily end up paying far more. And you can easily buy a tent for 2-3 people for $30, a sleeping bag for $12, a sleeping pad for about $10, a pillow for $10, and a couple of flashlights and sets of batteries for $10. What more do you need for camping? So, this comes to about $105 for 2 people to camp. How many of you are there? Anyway, as you can see, you can save enough on hotels costs vs. campground costs in just 3-5 nights (depending on hotel costs) to pay for the camping gear.

    I much prefer camping while on the road. Everybody here has heard me state this numerous times but I'll say it again for your benefit. Advantages of camping: (1) it's good to move around a lot after sitting in the car and the simple act of setting up your campsite, 10 minutes max once you get the hang of your tent, involves a lot of stretching and bending and this is good for you after sitting so long; (2) walking before hitting the sack is also good for you after sitting so long and there are many great places to walk in a campground vs. the option of walking around a hotel parking lot (yuck), and you will also get lots of good opportunities to talk to other campers which just adds to the fun; (3) and as noted above, it's cheaper so you have more money to spend on other fun things along the way. I highly recommend it. Most campgrounds will also have nice amenities: showers, laundry rooms, swimming pools, hot tubs, etc. I really encourage you to reconsider this.

    If your car is a tad crowded, these items shouldn't take up too terribly much room either. I have done 2-week roadtrips with 1 companion in my car where we have had all the above camping gear PLUS camping chairs PLUS cooking gear PLUS extra stuff (decorations for my car for car shows) PLUS numerous other doo-dads that you likely won't have to deal with PLUS our clothes and had room left over. And I just drive a little VW New Beetle with a teensy trunk. What kind of car are you renting?

    As far as the cooler goes, I'm torn between buying a hard cooler and winging it with my cooler bag. A hard cooler is cheap and would save a lot of hassle, but I'm not sure if there will be enough room in the back seat... we'll have to see. If not, I'm hoping that putting ice cubes in air-tight plastic bags will do the trick. We just need to store cold cuts, a jar of PB&J and drinks.
    I usually use a soft cooler bag myself. It's just easier to carry. You can buy a fresh bag of ice each day for $1 at most grocery stores and mini-marts. If it's a small cooler, you can easily get enough fresh ice from an ice machine. I often go into mini-marts and get a huge cup of ice to replenish without any problem. And you can buy very inexpensive products like Gladware for about $2-3 for a set of 2-4 containers. These are wonderful to put ice into if you want so your food doesn't get wet OR put your food into them instead so the food doesn't get wet. Your choice.

    If you do buy a hard-sided cooler, they come in all shapes in sizes from sizes that will just fit a 6-pack of pop, or 9 cans of pop, to much bigger sizes. You don't need to get one that takes up too much room.

  8. #8

    Default Route 66 - AZ

    Paulboogie,
    Some additional ideas for your Arizona portion of Route 66.

    We took a trip a couple of years ago to Arizona and western New Mexico. We didn't plan on making it a Route 66 trip, but couldn't help but stop at a number of Route 66 towns.

    Gallup, NM has quite a few Trading Posts. If you're interested in Native American crafts, Gallup is the place.

    Holbrook, AZ, is where you can sleep in a Wigwam.

    Winslow, AZ had the best lodging of the trip at La Posada Hotel. Designed by Mary Jane Colter and built in 1929. A wonderful historical building and interesting art hanging on the walls.

    We also made a stop at the Hubbell Trading Post. I was surprised at how interesting it was. The trading post is still in operation.

    We drove mostly along I-40 through Arizona, making stops
    at places like the Jack Rabbit Trading Post where you can get your picture taken sitting atop a large plastic jack rabbit. That alone is worth the stop.

    We also stopped at the remnants of the Twin Arrows Trading post.

    The town of Seligman is filled with kitsch. Check out Delgadillo's Snow Cap and the Thunderbird Trading Post.

    Another cool stop is Cool Springs. The old gas station has been rebuilt from it's ashes.

    The town of Oatman (which has been mentioned in many forum postings) is also fun to visit. The "wild"
    burros pretty much own the town. A carrot in hand is all that it takes to draw a crowd of burros.

    Trip pictures from Route 66.

    Trip pictures from Grand Canyon, Hubbell Trading Post,Monument Valley, Shiprock, Bisti Badlands.

    Have a great trip.
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 07-17-2006 at 11:05 PM. Reason: re-worked the format

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