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  1. Default First timers from Europe NY->CA


    We are two guys from Europe planning a road trip across the US. I'm glad we found this website, since we're new timers and could use any advice we get.

    The plan is to rent a car from Avis in New York and finish of in San Francisco (time frame is June 4 - June 30).

    This is the rough plan we have so far:

    NY - Washington D.C. 228
    Washington - Miami 1054
    Miami - Texas 1351
    Texas - Colorado 1064
    Colorado - Vegas 748
    Vegas - LA 270
    LA - San Francisco 364
    5079 (~127h pure driving)

    Places to see

    New York
    - July 4th celebrations
    - Statue of Liberty
    - Times Square/Manhattan
    - Wall Street
    - Central Park

    Six Flags Great Adventure
    - Kingda Ka roller coaster

    Washington D.C.
    - White House
    - Lincoln monument

    - Diving? Lots of shipwrecks for divers
    - Little Havanah (Cuban district)

    - Cā d'Zan

    - John F. Kennedy Space Center (NASA)

    - 6th street
    - Stock show + rodeo


    Las Vegas

    San Diego
    - Disney world
    - Old Town (historical)
    - Pacific beach
    - Downtown (gas lamp walk)
    - Blue Agave Tequila bar

    Los Angeles
    - Santa Monica
    - Hollywood

    We'd like to cover a lot of ground to get the feel of how diverse the US is.
    Here are some questions we hope you could answer:

    1. Is this plan reasonable within the given time frame?
    2. Is it a suicide to get a convertible for such a trip (we'd love to get a Mustang), considered it's going to get pretty hot?
    3. What to expect in terms of overnight stays? Meaning pricing, where to look and what to look for.

    Also, we would be grateful if you have any recommendations along the way we're going. There are still plenty blank spots on the plan to fill.

    Thank you,

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default You're Already Pretty Well Prepared

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    And Welcome to America. Let's answer your general questions first.

    1) I'm not sure of your time frame. You say you'll be here from June 4 to June 30, but plan to see Fourth of July celebrations in New York, presumably just after you arrive. So I'm guessing you mean that you'll be here from July 4 to July 30. 3 weeks is sufficient time to cover the distance you want and to see a lot, but you will have to keep an eye on the calendar,

    2) A convertible would not be any warmer than any other kind of car, in general. On those days when it's appropriate, there's nothing like driving down the open road with the wind in your hair and the sun in your face. If it gets a little warm, you can run the air conditioner with the top down for a cool breeze. about the only time you'll absolutely have to have the top up is when it's raining. They do cost a fair bit more to rent, but you haven't mentioned that your budget will be placing large constraints on you.

    3) There is, of course, a wide range of what you could spend on overnight stays. If you camp out in state parks, you could spend as little as $15-20. A Night in a fancy resort could cost you $200 a night and up. But in general, if you just go to a standard issue motel, you should expect to pay around $50-80 for a double room. Often that will come with a free, if not terribly extensive, breakfast.

    There is an awful lot to see in crossing the continent, and you already have more places listed than I think you can really include in three weeks, so I'm not going to suggest additions. Just try to retain some free time so that you can respond to the odd opportunity that may present itself as you travel. And plan to spend some time on the smaller highways (those thin blue or black lines on your maps) at a slower pace. You're going to have a great time.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula

    Default Some quirks in your route

    AZBuck beat me to it. I would have given you virtually the same answers to those questions. So I'll just point out a few things in your route.

    Disneyworld: You have this in San Diego. Disneyworld is in Orlando. Since you're going there anyway, you might want to spend some time in Disneyworld while you're there. But, gosh, we spent a week in Disneyworld and didn't see it all so I'm not sure how much you'll be able to do with just a quick stop. It's huge. In California, Disneyland is in Anaheim which is in the Los Angeles area, not San Diego. It is a lot smaller than Orlando's Disneyworld so it would be easier to hit the highlights in a day at the California park.

    Blue Agave Tequila Bar: This cracked me up! I googled it to see what it's all about but couldn't find it. What's so intriguing about this particular bar that you'd come half-way around the world to go there? Just curious.

    The route itself: I plugged your route into a routing program and you're pretty right-on with the total miles and your trip hours is pretty generous. Most people think it will take less time than it will so it's good you're being realistic. Are your destinations set in stone? I ask because it looks like you're not visiting any of our fantastic national parks that most people target. Is that intentional?

    You have an eclectic mix of places to go see. I would love to hear about your trip when you return. It sounds like it's going to be a hoot.

  4. Default Thanks for your answers!

    Thanks for the quick reply.

    I've typed the months wrong. The trip will start July 4th and finish July 30th.
    The trip budget is not really an issue for us, since we both have been saving money for quite a while to be able to do this.

    Of course we are not interested in staying in expensive, fancy places. We want to get the feel of the road, so we will be aiming for these little motels with neon lights. Although we haven't considered camping...
    Am I right to think that sleeping in a car is illegal in the US? Just in case we run out of options in some hopefully rare cases.

    And Judy, the idea for Blue Agave bar is after asking a friend from California about what to see in San Diego. He said that it's a great place that has hundreds of different types of Tequila. I'm just getting whatever information I can.

    As for national parks, I used to work in Zion during the summer of 2004, so I know that seeing that places is rewarding but really takes a lot of time. We will definitely add some parks to our schedule but they will have to be 'on reserve', as we don't want to go beyond the planned month.

    Do you have any activity recommendations for Carolina, Georgia or Alabama?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Central California

    Default Southern suggestions

    First, I agree with everything above. With driving over 200 miles per day average (about 4 hours), you'll be lucky to see everything you have planned. And while it is a little unconventional, it should be fun.

    For a unique American experience, an evening in Atlanta at the Stone Mountain laser light show should give you a sense of the residual Confederate patriotism that still lives in the South. Frankly, it was a little hard for us northerners to swallow, but the sentiments they express are genuine.

    If you happen to be coming up the the west coast of Florida and need a place to stay that is interesting and on the water, swing over to Cedar Key, west of Ocala. It is a quiet coastal town with some nice motels, good seafood, and it is a great place for a sunset.

    While Aspen in the summer is nice, it is much more spectacular in winter. and it is a quite a side trip. If you are feeling pressed for time, skip it and stop in Santa Fe or Taos (Taos Pueblo, or a tour of Acoma Pueblo, south of Grants, New Mexico,) either would be different and uniquely American as well.

    And do go for the convertible!

  6. Default First Timers from Europe

    Hi Jacek -

    I think you'll have a wonderful trip. What about visiting the Outer Banks and Asheville in NC? If you plan to visit 6th St. in Austin then I think you must like music. If that's the case then a stop in New Orleans might be fun. There's a big push by the Louisana tourist board to get visitors back to the city. I've only been there once, many years ago but absolutely loved the character and charm of the French Quarter.

    Speaking of Texas, a visit to Austin is an excellent idea and San Antonio would be a good stop, too. For stockyards and rodeos and all things cowboy then Fort Worth is the place to be.

    I agree with RedCorral about bypassing Aspen, CO at this time of year and would recommend a visit to the Grand Canyon and Sedona in AZ. I've made the trip from there to Las Vegas and it's an easy drive. Be advised that in July it will be HOT in the desert and most everywhere else.

    If in San Diego why not pop over to Tiajuana? From LA to San Fransisco the drive up Hwy 101/Hwy 1 is amazing. I especially like it from Santa Barbara to Monterey and of course, one the crown jewels of CA is Yosemite National Park although in July it will be very crowded. The Redwoods and Napa Valley aren't too far from San Francisco...!!

    WOW there is so much to see that although 3 weeks sounds like a long time I think you'll probably have to make a 2nd trip!

    Wishing you a happy journey.

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