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  1. Default NY to West Coast trip - Help a novice out

    Hey, how you guys doing. So here's the story. I've planned a road trip this June that would take me (and my girl) from Long Island, NY all the way to the west coast, then back through the Midwest. It's a round trip that we're gonna do in about 35 days. I'll admit, I'm only 20, and I've got limited traveling experience (furthest I've driven is about 400 miles to Buffalo), especially compared to all of you guys. But then that's why I'm on here asking for advice.

    Basically, I wanna show you guys my planned route, and hopefully you could make some recommendations and suggestions. One of my main concerns is whether or not I'm leaving enough time to see the cities, parks, and other attractions along the way. Also, I'm not sure if money could be a problem - we're leaving with about 4000 to 5000 bucks, I would think that should be fine, especially since we have no problems camping or staying at hostels. My car is an Oldsmobile Regency, and while it's no Corvette, I know it can handle long trips.

    Here's my basic route. I should note that for now, the basic plan is to spend a day at each stop, but I'd certainly be willing to spend more time at places that are really interesting/fun. The max amount of days we can spend is around 35 though, as I've got work/school obligations to return to.

    And if you have any suggestions on great places to visit in these states, please let me know!

    1. Leave Long Island, NY and drive to Pittsburgh, PA - I heard it's a nice city, and I've already been to Philly, so..

    2. Drive to Cleveland, OH. I'd like to check out the Rock n Roll hall of fame.

    3. Drive to Fort Wayne, IN. Honestly, I don't know anything about this city, but I wanted to at least to stop somewhere in Indiana.

    4. Drive to Chicago, IL. Defintely excited to check this city out. Is it tough to get tickets to a Cubs game?

    5. Drive to Milwaukee and later Green Bay, WI. I'd spend more time in Milwaukee, but I haven't heard great things about the city (bad race relations and whatnot). No disrespect meant.

    6. Drive to St. Paul, MN. My girl would kill me if we didn't stop at the Mall of America.

    7. Drive to Sioux Falls, SD. Just a rest stop more than anything else, as I don't wanna drive too much in one day.

    8. Drive to Mount Rushmore, and later Deadwood, SD. Gotta see Mount Rushmore with my own eyes.

    9. Drive to Yellowstone Park, WY. I got the camping gear ready..

    10. Drive to Helena, MT. Just a rest stop for now.

    11. Drive to Spokane, WA. I hate to just blow by Idaho, but I don't know of anything to see there?

    12. Drive to Seattle, WA. I love this city for some reason, even though I've never been there. Looking forward to it.

    13. Drive to Portland, OR. Just a rest stop (No disrespect to any Oregon people here - I'd love to hear some suggestions on what to do!)

    14. Drive to San Francisco, CA. This seems like a pretty long drive - I'll probably break it into two days.

    15. Drive to Los Angeles, CA. Again, I'll probably break this trip up into 2-3 days.

    16. Drive to Las Vegas, NV. It's Vegas, enough said.

    17. Drive to the Grand Canyon, AZ. I'd love to see the Grand Canyon, but if for any reason I'm low on cash/motivation, this is a detour I could probably skip.

    18. Drive to Utah. I don't know have an exact destination in this state, but I'll at least be stopping for rest.

    19. Drive to Denver, CO. I'd love to do some hiking in the Rockies, then check out Denver before moving on.

    20. Drive to Topeka, Kansas. Rest.

    21. Drive to St. Louis, MO. We'll check out the Arch.

    22. Drive to Louisville, KY. Seems like a cool enough city to stop at.

    23. Drive to Charleston, WV. Rest, etc

    24. Drive to Washington, DC. No reason not to stop by the capital and check out the monuments.

    25. Drive to Atlantic City, NJ. If there's anything must-see in Delaware or New Jersey, feel free to let me know. Otherwise, we'll relax a bit in Atlantic City before finally..

    26. Drive home to Long Island, NY.


    Sorry if I'm not clear enough on anything. So is this route reasonable in 30-35 days on 4-5 thousand dollars? Let me know. I'm open to any critiques, and I'd appreciate them.

    Thanks for your help,
    Truth

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Salt Lake City, Utah
    Posts
    7

    Default Some stops in Utah

    Wow! Sounds like a great trip. I live in Utah so I can tell you what you HAVE to see here. Sounds like you'll be going through Southern Utah to get to I-70 (the way to Denver). I just responded earlier today and told someone to Google "The Grand Circle". It's a geographical area (including Grand Canyon) of awesome places to visit within the "circle". Google will show you links to sites to show you what to see and do. Some places that you'll like are Zion's National Park, Bryce Canyon, Capital Reef, Arches, and tons of archeological sites. Southern Utah is Red Rock country and you'll see scenery you won't see anywhere else in the world. You'll be sorry if you just pass through. You can also camp at any of these places. The weather will be great too.

    Good luck!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default Square One

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    There is a lot more to setting up a successful RoadTrip than just laying out a list of places to stop for the night. In fact, that's close to the last thing I do when setting up my own (if I do it at all). I think a good place to start for you and your girlfriend would be to take the RoadTrip Comparability Quiz. This should let the two of you work out and agree on the overall tone of the trip. Next sit sown together and discuss your interests. I see no input from her in your routing, just that you are planning to take her to the Mall of America. She may have very different ideas. The pace of your trip is about right and you've budgeted what should be enough money for the time you plan to spend on the road, but there's no meat on the bones. Are you after scenery, museums, history, quaint towns, night life, what? The people who frequent these forums can help you, as slonni already has, but the bulk of the heavy lifting involved in planning, especially the decisions on what to do and where to do it, will ultimately fall to the two of you. Don't take this as trying to discourage you from your plans. Far from it. I'm really trying to seriously encourage you to take the next critical step(s) in setting up a trip that's perfect for you.

    AZBuck

  4. #4

    Default Out here in Montana

    Hey there. Saw that you were going to take a rest stop in Helena. We live about two hours from there in Livingston,MT. The Yellowstone River flows through town and Interstate 90 passes along side of Livingston. Three mountain ranges connect here. There is a lot to do. Cool town with coffee shops,art galleries and mellow people. Drop us a line if you are passing through. We'll show ya the sights. Peace. Matt & Wendy

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default Hey, I would drive to Livingston for that!

    Quote Originally Posted by MattinMT View Post
    Drop us a line if you are passing through. We'll show ya the sights.
    Matt & Wendy -- Welcome to the Great American RoadTrip Forum -- I have always loved the area around Livingston and would drive there now and take advantage of your kind offer except for that pesky little thing known as work!

    Mark

  6. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by slonni View Post
    Some places that you'll like are Zion's National Park, Bryce Canyon, Capital Reef, Arches, and tons of archeological sites. Southern Utah is Red Rock country and you'll see scenery you won't see anywhere else in the world.
    Nice, thanks for the suggestions. Zion sounds like a great park to check out, we'll defintely make time for it.
    Quote Originally Posted by AZBuck View Post
    The people who frequent these forums can help you, as slonni already has, but the bulk of the heavy lifting involved in planning, especially the decisions on what to do and where to do it, will ultimately fall to the two of you.
    Well, I'm pretty confident me and my girl won't have any problems on the road (now I probably jinxed it..). We've taken trips together and had no problems. And we have very similar interests, which is why I didn't mention her much during my route info - I was just speaking for the both of us. As for our interests? In may be hard to believe, but we're interested in just about everything. We both wanna camp in Yellowstone and then later check out the club scene in LA. We'd love to see the museums in Chicago but also go hiking in the Rocky Mountains. About the only we're not interested in is just sitting around all day..

    And believe me, I know I can't ask you guys to plan my trip for me. I'm putting plenty of thinking into that already.
    Quote Originally Posted by MattinMT View Post
    Three mountain ranges connect here. There is a lot to do. Cool town with coffee shops,art galleries and mellow people. Drop us a line if you are passing through. We'll show ya the sights. Peace. Matt & Wendy
    Sounds good. If we're in the area, I'll take you up on that.
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 03-06-2007 at 04:46 PM. Reason: Spacing

  7. #7

    Default

    hey there my fellow long islanders :)

    ok, if you're going to Sioux Falls, you have to check out Wall Drug, believe me, you can't miss the signs and it's a welcome oasis after the dry drive :)

    If you're going to Montana, go to Glacier N.P!!!!
    OR :) you can always go gem huntin' in Sapphire Mountains near Helena and pay for your roadtrip.

    if you're into geological sites, the Badlands near Wall in S.D. is a good stopping place before Rushmore. be prepared to $8 for parking :)

    If you're going to a lot of national parks (which you should!) check out the national park pass.

    you'll save a lot of money if you camp out ( but bring ear plugs- you'll thank me ;) but they tend to fill up fast, so get there early.

    I think you should allot more time for the drive from Oregon to San Fran- if you're going Highway 1/ PCH, it's beautiful!!

  8. Default

    Hey there. I've not posted here before, but reading your itinerary I thought I'd suggest some spots on the West Coast you might not think of (or have heard of).

    Seattle IS a great city. For the 'quintessential' tourist experience, there's always Pike Place Market which is bustling in the summer. Also the first Starbucks located right across the street. However if you want to go where many of Seattle youth go for nightlife head up to Broadway on Capital Hill. Lots of interesting things to see there, good views of the city and fabulous food (are you in the mood for sushi, Ethopian or maybe burgers in a burlesque themed diner? Your choice! They're all within walking distance of each other). If you're into photography, don't miss stopping off at Kerry Park (corner of 2nd and West Highland Dr) to get the views at sunrise or sunset.

    If you like Seattle, you'll probably also going to love Portland. Even if you're there for the night, I would recommend going to the Portland City Grill during Happy Hour. You said you were 20, but not to worry. Grab a couple sodas and enjoy their exquisite selection of appetizers for $2-3 not to mention the best view around. It's gorgeous! The perfect opportunity to dress up and have a "fine dining" experience on a budget. Plus, you get 2.5 hr free downtown parking which is a HUGE convenience. I was taken there on my first trip to Portland and it is truely memorable.

    Good luck on your trip!
    Last edited by Midwest Michael; 03-07-2007 at 09:12 AM. Reason: link format

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default Seattle Eats

    Quote Originally Posted by SJolly View Post
    Hey there. I've not posted here before,
    Welcome to the Great American RoadTrip Forum! Thanks for the local intel!

    In Portland, if you like yummy bread -- check out the Grand Central Bakery!

    Mark

  10. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by mikphire View Post
    hey there my fellow long islanders :)

    ok, if you're going to Sioux Falls, you have to check out Wall Drug, believe me, you can't miss the signs and it's a welcome oasis after the dry drive :)

    If you're going to Montana, go to Glacier N.P!!!!
    OR :) you can always go gem huntin' in Sapphire Mountains near Helena and pay for your roadtrip.

    if you're into geological sites, the Badlands near Wall in S.D. is a good stopping place before Rushmore. be prepared to $8 for parking :)

    If you're going to a lot of national parks (which you should!) check out the national park pass.

    you'll save a lot of money if you camp out ( but bring ear plugs- you'll thank me ;) but they tend to fill up fast, so get there early.

    I think you should allot more time for the drive from Oregon to San Fran- if you're going Highway 1/ PCH, it's beautiful!!

    Thanks for all the great tips! We're defintely gonna check out some national parks and geological sites (Long Island is a bit lacking in both, to say the least), so we'll be picking up a national park pass. The price for that is still about 50 dollars, right?



    Quote Originally Posted by SJolly View Post
    Hey there. I've not posted here before, but reading your itinerary I thought I'd suggest some spots on the West Coast you might not think of (or have heard of).

    Seattle IS a great city. For the 'quintessential' tourist experience, there's always Pike Place Market which is bustling in the summer. Also the first Starbucks located right across the street. However if you want to go where many of Seattle youth go for nightlife head up to Broadway on Capital Hill. Lots of interesting things to see there, good views of the city and fabulous food (are you in the mood for sushi, Ethopian or maybe burgers in a burlesque themed diner? Your choice! They're all within walking distance of each other). If you're into photography, don't miss stopping off at Kerry Park (corner of 2nd and West Highland Dr) to get the views at sunrise or sunset.

    If you like Seattle, you'll probably also going to love Portland. Even if you're there for the night, I would recommend going to the Portland City Grill during Happy Hour. You said you were 20, but not to worry. Grab a couple sodas and enjoy their exquisite selection of appetizers for $2-3 not to mention the best view around. It's gorgeous! The perfect opportunity to dress up and have a "fine dining" experience on a budget. Plus, you get 2.5 hr free downtown parking which is a HUGE convenience. I was taken there on my first trip to Portland and it is truely memorable.

    Good luck on your trip!

    Sounds good! I've never eaten Ethiopian food before...in fact, I don't think I've even met an Ethiopian either, so that could be worth checking out.

    And I appreciate the advice on Portland, as previously we were planning to just blow by that city since we didn't know of anything to do there. I think the free downtown parking sealed the deal - the only way I'd ever see that in NYC is in my wildest dreams.

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