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  1. Default summer roadtrip...1 month and no idea what to do

    Hello all,

    So I'm planning a road trip with a few friends. We basically have a month for the trip but have no idea where to go and what to do. We'll be starting in Seattle and we'd like to spend some time in Cali and then head East but that's all we've figured out. We're just not sure how far East we could make it and still be back in Seattle within a month. For instance, is making it to Tennesee a long shot?
    I would greatly appreciate any advice.

    Thanks,
    K

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default Free time and free money?

    Quote Originally Posted by k5000 View Post
    So I'm planning a road trip with a few friends. We basically have a month for the trip but have no idea where to go
    Sounds like an ideal kind of problem to have to me! I would just about kill (something) for a 30-day window for an "open" roadtrip. Welcome to the Great American RoadTrip Forum! Just curious -- how are you funding this adventure and what kind of budget have you put together? To get you started thinking about the wherefore --
    Here is a compatibility quiz you and your mates ought to take to make sure you are talking about the same "kind" of a roadtrip.
    Here is an overview of the kinds of expenses that arise on a roadtrip
    Here are a couple of threads that might assist in the early planning:
    Seattle to LA
    Seattle and Portland attractions
    Oregon Coast and beyond
    Northern California Coast.

    As to where to go -- Rule of thumb:
    It takes 2-3 days to drive from the northern states to the southern boundaries and 5-6 days to drive from the west to the east coast. With a month, you could zig-zag around quite a bit.
    Thanks for the reply. Just wondering, when you say east to west coast in 5-6 days how many stops does that include and how much driving each day?
    That is straight-thru driving (8-10 hours per day) (This reply was sent to me in PM and posted here)

    Once you know more about what kinds of things interest you and how much time/money you will have, please come back and we can help narrow the focus down somewhat.

    Mark
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 05-01-2007 at 09:10 PM. Reason: navigation

  3. Default

    So we started planning the trip and made a rough plan for the first half and then got sort of stuck.
    We plan to make our way from Seattle to California and spend about 4 days in California. We haven't planned this part very much yet because my friend's parents have done the trip numerous times and are going to help us out.
    We'll leave Cali via the 40 and go to the Grand Canyon. From there we'll take the scenic drive on the 89A (in Arizona) then take the 17 and the 10 to Tucson and spend a day or two? there. Next we'll get back on the 10 and pretty much skip thru New Mexico except maybe a stop in Mesilla then continue on the 10 to Austin and spend some time there. Next we'll go to Houston stop there and then go on to Baton Rouge and New Orleans.
    I guess where we're stuck is we're not sure how much time to allot to each place. We have ~32 days for the whole trip and we need to get back to Seattle. Also, we're not sure what would be the best route back from New Orleans.
    Thanks in advance.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula
    Posts
    3,318

    Default You're missing one of my favorite states!

    Hello, fellow Washingtonians!

    You might want to think about stopping longer in New Mexico. It is a very cool state. Great scenery and lots of interesting stuff to see and do.
    * Carlsbad Caverns - amazing caves and stay for dusk to watch millions of bats fly
    * Roswell - alien central, lots of fun
    * Lincoln County - lots of Billy the Kidd history
    * White Sands - amazing white sands in the middle of nowhere
    * Very Large Array - ever see Contact with Jodie Foster? Well, this is where they filmed it
    * Taos & Santa Fe - 2 lovely towns with a lot of culture, old Spanish architecture, and nightlife
    * Albuquerque - beautiful setting under a large mesa
    * Gallup & Tucumcari - invoke the era of old Route 66

    And this is just off the top of my head. There's much, much more. I could spend the whole month just in New Mexico.

    The quickest way back from New Orleans is probably:
    From New Orleans to Shreveport on I-10, I-49
    to Dallas on I-20
    through Oklahoma City and Wichita to the I-70 junction on I-35
    to Denver on I-70
    to Cheyenne on I-25
    to Salt Lake City on I-80, I-84, I-15
    through Idaho and NE Oregon (cities of Boise, Pendleton) on I-84
    to Ellensburg on I-82
    then I-90 to Seattle

    This is about 2720 miles. Figure about 48 hours to drive this. This includes time for very short fuel/food breaks but no time for sightseeing. You could do this portion in 4 very long days but it wouldn't be much fun. I would figure the last week for this section of the trip, at least. 10 days would be better and would allow you some time to stop and explore along the way.

    Ya know, you all sound young with lots of roadtrippin' years ahead of you. Why don't you just meander and go with no set destination or itinerary? Just go wherever your fancy strikes you. Allow yourself about a week to get back from wherever you end up. You can get to Seattle from just about anywhere in the US in a week...of course, you may or may not be able to explore on the way home, depending on how far you've traveled, but you could make your deadline.

  5. #5
    gorn256 Guest

    Default

    Buy a National Geographic Map of America and a USA tour guide published by DK. Read both publications. You'll have a better idea of what to tour. I think you should drive to Key West, Florida. I've done it and from Seattle and its fun.

  6. Default

    Hi Judy,
    Thanks for your input. We're feeling sort of short on time and other places took more priority but maybe we'll add a few things in New Mexico. How does Mesilla compare to Santa Fe and Taos? Is it worth seeing? Also, where are the white sands?

    gorn 256
    -ya we'd love to see florida and georgia but we're worried we'll be way to rushed on the way back..how long did this take you and how long did you stop in each place?
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 05-16-2007 at 12:27 PM. Reason: navigation

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Central California
    Posts
    378

    Default Creeping travelitis

    I can see that this disease is working its way into your plans. It is easy to see how close you are to another intresting place and try to squeeze it in, but at some point you must resist.

    There is no real way to organize a trip like this without asking yourselves two questions, collectively,

    1. What kind of trip do we want this to be. All the famous, iconic spots in America...or

    2. A fun time to just explore and see what is out there.

    Of course, you can mix some of each, but you need to make a list of absolute must see places that are non-negotiable (each person should get to pick 3 or 4). Then look for what is accessible in between.

    You can use Google, or Yahoo, or AAA online maps to find out how long it will take to get from place to place to place to home. Then you'll have an idea how much time you have to fill with other things (there should be quite a lot). I recommend AAA Tourbooks because they have lots of small interesting places listed, but there are others that are good as well. The good thing about AAA is that for one membership you get free maps, tourbooks and road service (which can be very valuable) anywhere in the country.

    Let us know what your rough itinerary turns out to be, and I'm sure you'll get more ideas than you know what to do with.

    One more for New Mexico - Acoma Pueblo near Grants. White Sands is south of Albuquerque, and quite a ways out of your way unless you are thinking about Carlsbad Caverns.

    You have quite a luxury with 32 days to play with.

  8. #8
    gorn256 Guest

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by k5000 View Post
    gorn 256
    -ya we'd love to see florida and georgia but we're worried we'll be way to rushed on the way back..how long did this take you and how long did you stop in each place?
    You can make it from New Orleans to Miami in two days. Stay a few nights in Miami and make Key West a day trip. When I drove solo from Key West to Seattle, it took me five hard days to get to San Diego from Miami. From San Diego, it took me two days to reach Seattle. You have plenty of time to travel if you have 32 days at your disposal, especially if you devote a couple days to hardcore driving.
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 05-16-2007 at 12:28 PM. Reason: navigation

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula
    Posts
    3,318

    Default Mesilla is new to me!

    Quote Originally Posted by k5000 View Post
    Hi Judy,
    Thanks for your input. We're feeling sort of short on time and other places took more priority but maybe we'll add a few things in New Mexico. How does Mesilla compare to Santa Fe and Taos? Is it worth seeing? Also, where are the white sands?
    Sorry I can't help you with Mesilla. I've never even heard of it but, after looking on a map, I realize that I have driven through it a couple of times. I guess it didn't make much of an impression. Why are you going there? Friends?

    White Sands is only about 60 miles east of Mesilla so, if you're going there anyway, it would be a shame to miss it when it's so close.

    I'm chuckling at "travelitis"....so true. Good work, Red Corral.

    To add to your travelitis, I imagine you're planning on taking I-10 from Tucson to Mesilla. It would be a shame to miss Tombstone, scene of The Gunfight at OK Corral, and the charming western town of Bisbee. In southeast Arizona a few hours off of I-10.

    Seriously, unless you just want a whistle-stop tour of the US with no time to explore, drop anything east of Texas. Forget Florida for now. In fact, I even question going to Texas. I think there's more than enough to fill your time if you just focus on Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah. Amazing places!

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