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  1. Default Advice from the experts...

    Hello all,

    My name is Aaron and I am currently deployed to Iraq with the military, and for a reward to both myself and my wife we are going to treat ourselves to something we have always wanted to do. We live in New Jersey and have always wanted to pack the car and drive across the states. We both are extremely new to the whole Road Trip and are looking for advice. Does anyone have a good Plan/Itinerary from East to West coast, possibly from Jersey to west coast. We are looking for all the best stops, and a different route for the trip home. Any help would be much appreciated. Thanks All!

  2. #2

    Default I-90 Out

    Hey Aaron,

    Hope all is well in Iraq. I'm in Afghanistan myself and trying to plan my trip...

    How long are you going to use?

    I did I-90 Out, with a dip down to San Fran at the end. I did it in 10 days and got plenty of good stops and good times in.

    The Badlands, Mt. Rushmore and Lead/Deadwood, SD are must stops if you're on 90. There is some unbelievable history, scenery and all the activities you'll find anywhere else. Jackson Hole is a nice stop too and would be a good place for the weekend if you want to chill with all the amenities and great people.

    Good luck and God speed.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default How long indeed!

    Welcome to the RTA Forum, and thanks for making a commitment to serve this country!

    For the basics on planning a roadtrip, you can't do much better than RTA's planning section, but in terms of where you should go, we'll need a bit more help.

    How long do you want this trip to last, and do you already have some ideas about the places you want to go and the things you want to do?

    Doing a loop around the country is a pretty easy and common way to do a trip like you've envisioned, but there are several options there. While you certainly don't have to stick to interstates, I would look at each of the five major east west cross country options (I-10, 40, 70, 80, and 90) and build a loop around 2 or more of them. Each of them has a lot of different things to offer, and narrowing to at least the general regions you want should help you focus your planning.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default I make No Claims to Expertise

    First off, Thank You.

    Now, as far as setting up the perfect RoadTrip for you and your wife... The second thing you'll need to do, after wandering through the Planning section, is to carve yourselves out a significant chunk of time for your double-cross-continent adventure. I'd recommend at least three weeks with more if you can possibly manage it.

    The hard part is the route and itinerary. There are more possibilities than we can possibly cover here. But more important, this is really up to you and your wife. Michael is right in that you can get a very good idea of what's available by just getting a good map and following the Interstates. Not that you'd stay on one the whole way across, but they will form the backbones of your crossings and will let you pick your basic routes. Just to get you started, here are a couple of the 'classic' east-west crossings (with modifications). Just keep in mind that you can't, in one trip, hit "all the best stops", but you can hit quite a few. Starting from New Jersey, head for the Pennsylvania Turnpike to Bedford and then use US-220 to drop down to I-68 west, I-79 south and I-64 west out of Charleston, WV. This is your first Appalachian Mountain section, but there will be much more on the return. Continue west to Lexington, KY where you'll pick up the Blue Grass Parkway over to Elizabethtown and I-65 down to Mammoth Cave National Park, then use the Green River Parkway and I-164 to return to I-64 to St. Louis. From there I-70 crosses Missouri to Kansas City and a personal favorite of mine, the Harry Truman National Historic Site. Continue across Kansas to Denver and head on up through Bolder to Rocky Mountain National Park. After enjoying the park, come back out to the east a bit on US-34 to catch I-25 north to I-80 west and such great western towns as Cheyenne and Laramie while you head for the Great Salt Lake. Then it's on across Nevada to Reno, its under appreciated Virginia City, and Lake Tahoe. Finally cross the Sierra Nevadas, through Sacramento, and on into San Francisco.

    After Spending some time in San Francisco, head down the Pacific Coast Highway (CA-1) through Monterey, and along the Big Sur Coast down to Los Angeles. There must be literally hundreds if not thousands of posts discussing that highway on these forums - try the Search function on the toolbar above. For the trip back, head up I-15 to Las Vegas, then south on US-93 over Hoover dam to I-40 east. Of course, make the small detour from Williams, AZ north and east on AZ-64, then south on US-89 to visit the Grand Canyon National Park. While in this area, check out some of the other places to visit. Back on I-40, you'll be passing Meteor Crater, Petrified Forest National Park, Petroglyph National Monument, and Cadillac Ranch, just to name a few. Then it's on across the Ozarks to Memphis and then across Tennessee through Nashville and on to Knoxville from which you'll cut south on US-411 through Great Smoky Mountains National Park. On the east side of the park, pick up the Blue Ridge Parkway and Skyline Drive through Shenandoah National Park. in Northern Virginia, hop on I-66 for the run into Washington, DC and the run up through Baltimore, Philadelphia and finally home.

    Last edited by AZBuck; 02-26-2007 at 09:35 AM. Reason: Fixed a Couple of Links

  5. Default Everyone has an opinion...

    *Grins* Well everyone has an opinion...

    My opinion is that a perfect cross country road trip would be a big loop trip. Start in New Jersey and make your way down along the Eastern seaboard, towards Florida. This gives you the chance to stop and visit lots of the places important in US history, such as Washington DC, Gettysburg, Jamestown and Williamsburg and ends you up in Florida. Then from Florida I'd head west -- along the Gulf coast and its beaches, through New Oreleans to Texas and out west through Carlsbad Caverns, White Sands, and Albuquerque. Heading for LA I'd go old route 66 through the Petrified Forest and the Grand Canyon and Vegas, to end up at Disneyland and Hollywood and the surfing beaches of LA.

    From the LA area, I'd head north up Pacific Coast Highway through Big Sur to San Francisco, and from there detour inland to Napa/ Sonoma Wine Country before heading back to the coast through the Redwoods, and work my way up towards the Olympic Penninsula and Olympic National Park in Washington state. From there I'd head East -- through Vancouver Canada, Jasper and Baniff, and/ or through Yellowstone and Mt Rushmore and the northern tier of the US. Eventually I'd end up back at Chicago, and then back to the New Jersey area from there.

    A long trip, and the devil is in the details here in what you'd like to see, and where you'd like to go in specific. But it would be a reallllyyyy coooollll trip to make!

    Only thing I'd add is it would be really cool to do both hoteling at some nice places, and camping as well to really get into some of the backcountry where there are few people.

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