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  1. Default Criticize my X-C trip!

    Hi all, first post here. I'm relocating from NYC to San Fran at the end of the month and plan to see some of my beloved motherland along the way. Never visited anything between State College, PA and Vegas. I've seen much of the east coast (esp. northeast), FL, and TX, so I'm generally interested in a NE-to-SW route. New England is old hat, so I'll just be hitting favorites and always-meant-tos there. Otherwise it's all new until I reach Oakland.

    I'm 32, male, single, traveling via Jeep Cherokee w/ mountain bike on board, and like both cities and outdoors stuff--especially mountains, water, scenic byways. Really looking forward to seeing our great national parks and all the unique American places I've never seen before: deserts, canyons, Indian reservations, architecture, Rockies, man-made wonders, etc. Oh, and a taste of Canada (never been). Dry historical tours and luxury travel are not priority.

    Did I mention I'm poor, too? I plan a mix of primarily car-camping, car-sleeping, and budget motels. I hope to intersperse city/sightseeing days, day hikes, and mountain bike rides between long road days. That said, here's a preliminary dream itinerary. Next step is actual route planning and eliminating destinations too far off the path (CO/UT/AZ especially) or time consuming. Want to get there in 2, max 3 weeks.
    Would LOVE to get your comments, suggestions, etc.


    Mystic CT
    Providence RI
    Boston MA
    Mt. Washington NH
    Portland ME
    Penobscot bay/Camden/Rockport ME
    Acadia/Bar Harbor ME
    Deer and/or other Isles ME
    Quebec CD
    Lake Willoughby VT
    Lake Memphremagog VT
    Burlington VT
    Montreal CD
    Niagara Falls CD
    Fallingwater PA
    Pittsburgh PA
    Rock n Roll HOF OH
    Chicago IL
    Milwaukee WI
    Minneapolis MN
    Badlands SD
    Mt. Rushmore SD
    Yellowstone WY
    Grand Tetons WY
    Devilís Tower WY
    Boulder CO
    Mesa Verde National Park CO
    I-70 in CO CO
    Independence Pass CO
    Pikeís Peak CO
    Santa Fe, Taos NM
    Albequerque NM
    Carlsbad Caverns NM
    Grand Canyon AZ
    I-40 AZ
    Painted Desert AZ
    Canyon De Chelles AZ
    Four Corners AZ
    Petrified Forest AZ
    Moab UT
    Bryce National Canyon UT
    Wasatch Mountains UT
    Zion National Park UT
    Arches National Park UT
    Canyonlands National Park UT
    Monument Valley UT
    Hoover Dam NV
    Death Valley CA
    San Francisco CA

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Western/Central Massachusetts
    Posts
    1,703

    Default Welcome!

    Welcome to the RoadTrip America Forum!

    I think your plan is a bit too ambitious to pull off in the time you have allotted. National Parks generally take at least a day to become familiar with and to enjoy, especially when that's what you're there for, versus the pull up to the scenic overlook, take a picture, and move on type.

    I would figure that your Northeast excursion would be about a week of this trip by itself. The bulk of this trip would be in the 4-corners states (CO,UT,AZ,NM). That said, those states offer an incredible contrast to what you are used to seeing for landscape, especially if you consider New England "old hat". There is nothing quite like Bryce Canyon to really put the emphasis on that contrast.

    The question is will you be able to explore that area on a future roadtrip? Granted, you could fly to anywhere to start a trip. Once you've answered that question, you'll be able to come up with a more solid route.

    Sometimes having so many choices makes it hard to pick!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default More than a mouthful

    I'm going to have to agree with Tim that your dream trip is really far more than you can chew with your current time constraints.

    Your biggest problem is that you've got about 50 things you want to see but you want to do this trip in 14 to 21 days max. Many of the places you've listed will take a day to see, and many of them are a day or more apart.

    Driving straight across, you'll need about 5 days just to cover the miles, but that doesn't include time for detours to New England and Canada or to zig zag through the Mountain West.

    So the key will be focus. With a tight timeframe, I'd think eliminating the really big detours will be key. So New England, which is just in the wrong direction is out. Then I think you'll need to put some focus on what you want to see in the west. Putting some focus on either more northern stops, like South Dakota and Wyoming or more Southern spots like New Mexico and Utah.

    I'd start thinking about a general timeline for your trip. You don't need to get into specifics, but at least plot out some ballpark areas so you can have a feel of how much country you can see during the time you have for your trip.

  4. Default Thanks

    Thanks guys; yeah, I realize it's an ambitious list for 3 weeks, hence the "dream" part of the itinerary. There's so much I want to see that I just need to hear "Milwaukee? Why? Skip it! Ditto Death Valley!" to rationalize condensing the list. I thought about eliminating the northeasterly circuit and just shooting straight for Niagara. Then again, I won't be able to visit Maine for probably years...yup, it is hard to eliminate places, isn't it? I suspected the best parts of the trip (for me) will be SD to the 4 corners and between, so thanks for basically confirming that. Guess I'll have to hit the road and let things work themselves out.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Central California
    Posts
    378

    Default Fun problem

    Howdy,

    This looks like a fun problem to solve. Assuming this is more a driving trip and less a visiting trip, and you'll not be back to the east coast soon, and you are single and can find ways to take a couple of weeks once or twice a year after you are settled in SF, here are my best picks, in roughly this order.

    Mystic CT
    Providence RI
    Plymouth MA (I know you said no dry historical stuff, but Plimoth Plantation is not dry if you can get into the spirit of the reenactment)
    Boston MA
    Mt. Washington NH
    Acadia/Bar Harbor ME
    Deer and/or other Isles ME (haven't been there, but might be better than
    Acadia/Bar Harbor) the photos look great, and less touristy. On the other hand, you might save it for a trip to the Candian Maritimes some day.
    Quebec CD
    Montreal CD
    Niagara Falls CD
    Fallingwater PA
    Pittsburgh PA
    Rock n Roll HOF OH
    Chicago IL
    Badlands SD
    Mt. Rushmore SD
    Devilís Tower WY
    Boulder, CO
    Pikes's Peak
    Ouray, CO (Million Dollar Highway)
    Mesa Verde National Park CO
    Santa Fe, Taos NM
    Albuquerque NM
    I-40 NM-AZ
    Acoma Pueblo NM
    Painted Desert AZ
    Petrified Forest AZ
    Grand Canyon (south rim) AZ
    San Francisco CA

    I know this leaves out a lot, but I'm thinking that you could do a SW loop through Utah and northen Arizona, Death Valley, Yosemite, later. And you will want to spend some time in the northern Rockies (Yellowstone, Tetons, Glacier, Sawtooths) so that could be a separate trip, too.

    As it is, this trip is probably too ambitious for 3 weeks but I'd focus on the remote, distant places and save the ones that are grouped together and closer to your new home for later.

    Check back when you've decided what you'll do. Should be fun, and challenging.

    Craig Sheumaker
    co-author of the travel guide: America's Living History-The Early Years

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