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Thread: Goin' Out West

  1. Default Goin' Out West

    I just graduated from college and want to celebrate by doing what I've been wanting to do since age 13: explore the west by car. Right now, it'll be me, a very good friend of mine who I currently live with, camping equipment including a portable grill and cooler, and my 2003 Toyota Corolla leaving from Bergen County, NJ, very near NYC.

    Although I've been thinking about this for years now, I've only just begun the actual planning and budgeting process. Neither of us have a steadfast financial restriction but we certainly need to keep things inexpensive. I've researched a few hostels on and found several wonderful deals. I don't know what to expect in terms of gas yet.. on a good day, my car gets around 35 highway miles per gallon with a small load. I used the calculator on this site and it says to expect around $700 total for a 7500-mile trip but that'll be on the low end of my expected range because of my sense of spontaneity. :)

    Also, I'm not a complete newbie to road tripping. I've taken various small ones throughout the east coast, mostly in the New England, NY, PA, and VA areas, so this trip will focus more out west. I'm thinking of taking mostly interstates on the east side and US/county roads out there.

    Any advice on interesting routes and must-see things along the way? I'd like to try out some whitewater rafting and mountain biking too. Most major west-coast cities are on the list (Seattle, Portland, SF, LA) just to give an idea of the area i'd like to cover. Advice for the south/midwest areas would be especially helpful because I'm very new to them.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Keithville, LA

    Default Welcome !

    Welcome to Roadtrip America and congratulations on graduating college.

    OK - what kind of time frame are we talking about here. Two weeks, a month, etc. That's going to really shape what we can tell you about your trip. Also, are you looking more for cities in the South like New Orleans and Dallas or attractions like Graceland and Mammoth Caves?


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    The Great Midwest, Illinois to be precise

    Default Route 66 or Lincoln Highway

    If you're going west, take either of these for parts of the way and see America as it used to be.

    Another good place would be Put-in-Bay near Sanduskey and Port Clinton in Ohio. It is an island out in Lake Erie and a great place to have fun.

    Keep on Down that Two Lane Highway. --RoadDog

  4. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by lhuff View Post
    Welcome to Roadtrip America and congratulations on graduating college.

    OK - what kind of time frame are we talking about here. Two weeks, a month, etc.
    Thank you. I'm thinking around 3 weeks. Not sure how I forgot to mention that in my original post.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Once Around the Block

    Three weeks is not a lot of time for a trip of the magnitude you have planned. But it does give you time for a well considered circuit of the country. What you'll need to do is pick one of the major routes across the southern and/or central part of the country that will get you to Los Angeles; decide how you'll come up the west coast; and then pick a route back across the northern Rockies. While I realize that you'd like to stick to more 'local' roads in the west, for initial planning purposes you should pick an Interstate route and then, once you have the outlines of your trip laid out, you can find side roads that fit into both the geographic and time constraints of your trip.

    One possible outline for you trip might go something like this: Take I-81 southeast down the Shenandoah Valley, stopping at some of the quaint towns in Virginia, using the Blue Ridge Parkway on occasion, and visiting Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Turn west on I-40, stop in Memphis, take some back roads through the Ozarks of Missouri and Arkansas. Head across the plains for Pueblo, CO and take US-50 through the Black Canyon of the Gunnison and on up to Grand Junction. Use I-70 through central Utah with a side trip to Arches National Park. Continue to I-15 south which will pass nearby Bryce Canyon and Zion National Parks. If you think you'll have the time head for the north rim of the Grand Canyon at this point before returning to I-15 for Las Vegas and Los Angeles.

    For your drive up the coast, stick as much as you can with CA-1 between Los Angeles and San Francisco, and for at least part of the coast north of there. But you won't have time to take the Pacific Coast Highway all the way, you will have to occasionally come inland to the Central Valley (Napa would be a good place for this) and use some more major highways from time to time. See a bit of the Oregon and Washington coast as well, but absolutely get to the major sites of the Cascades: Crater Lake, Mount Hood, Mount St. Helens, and Mount Ranier. Take a ferry ride in Puget Sound and get over to the Olympic Peninsula.

    When you're ready to head east for home, I-90 will be you main route, taking you by Couer D'Alene (stop), Yellowstone, the Little Bighorn, Devils Tower, the Badlands, Mitchell's Corn Palace, Chicago, etc. I don't think you can pack all of that into three weeks, and it is only one possible route among many, but it should give you an idea of what's available to you.

    Last edited by AZBuck; 06-22-2007 at 12:23 PM.

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