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  1. Default Road Trip-New York to Los Angeles

    Hi All!

    I tried searching old threads to try to get as much information as possible before posting, but I would apprecitate any advice you can offer.

    I am planning on moving out to Los Angeles from New York the first week in April. I will be buying a new car and driving with a friend. My friend has 8 days free and I have as much time as I want. I do not have a specific budget set, although I don't want to go too crazy as I do not have a job lined up yet.

    I have not set out a specifc route, but know that I definitely want to stop at Mount Rushmore, The Grand Canyon and possibly Yellowstone if time permits. I also want to stop off at tacky places along the way..biggest ball of twine, etc.

    My questions at this point are as follows:

    Will 8 days will be enough time to do this?

    Can anyone reccommend any specifc routes, or even portions of routes that they enjoy driving?

    Would we be etter off reserving hotels beforehand and then cancelling if our plans change...or just winging it?

    I am sure I will have more questions once I firm up my plans, but I appreciate any help I can get at this point as I start mapping out our trip.

    Happy Holidays!

    Christine

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,060

    Default Shipping your stuff?

    Quote Originally Posted by Xtine74 View Post
    I am planning on moving out to Los Angeles from New York the first week in April.
    Sounds like a real transitional adventure -- will you be shipping your personal stuff or carrying it in the car? Welcome to the Great American RoadTrip Forum!
    I do not have a specific budget set, although I don't want to go too crazy as I do not have a job lined up yet.
    Here is a great overview of road trip budgeting.
    I have not set out a specifc route, but know that I definitely want to stop at Mount Rushmore, The Grand Canyon and possibly Yellowstone if time permits. I also want to stop off at tacky places along the way..biggest ball of twine, etc.
    Here is a field report about South Dakota and starting in December, the writer of the South Dakota article will be profiling 10 states, including all of the ones you are likely to be driving through. One of the very cool things is to take a mule trip into the Grand Canyon -- here is a field report on that.
    Will 8 days will be enough time to do this?
    It takes five days driving 8-10 hours per day to cover the basic route. If you add in a bunch of scenic detours it could easily take three months... You can pretty much make any time period at your disposal work.
    Would we be etter off reserving hotels beforehand and then cancelling if our plans change...or just winging it?
    Most of the time I prefer to "wing it" but here are some tips and ideas.
    I am sure I will have more questions once I firm up my plans, but I appreciate any help I can get at this point as I start mapping out our trip.
    Be sure to look at our trip planning software reviews, and our field tester's comments.

    Happy Planning!

    Mark

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

    Default Happy Motoring

    To hit each of the spots you've mentioned would require a minimum of 3600 miles of driving, which would require a nice steady pace of 450 miles per day in order to cover it all in 8 days. Certainly you can do that, especially with two drivers, and it will leave a few hours (but only a few hours!) each day to see and explore some sights along the way. Basic routing would just be I-80 to Chicago and then I-90 into central Wyoming where US-14 would take you to Yellowstone. For a scenic route south from Yellowstone try US-89 to Salt Lake City and then I-15 south through Utah and US-89 again around the Canyon to the north and east through Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument before hooking west through Grand Canyon National Park. I agree with Mark that, especially in April, there will be no need to make reservations. You should be able to find lodging within a relatively short period after deciding to pull up for the night. Just keep that 450 mile per day pace ticking in the back of your mind and be prepared to boogie if need be.

    AZBuck

  4. Default You Can Do It!

    To further respond to the encouragement from the above, and in the words of the great Cajun character from Adam Sandler movies...

    I agree and recommend the following stops along the way, which you should have more than enough time to see if you do have a few hours each day to check out some cool spots.

    A great exit on the way is Perrysburg, OH. Home to not just a Holiday Inn Holidome (indoor mini golf, pool table, whirlpool, and swimming pool), but also a Holiday Inn Express across the street with a huge free breakfast buffet. Across the parking lot is a huge supermarket which'll be good to stock up for road snackin.
    Rt. 80/90 to 280 just south of Toledo

    Also, once you get west of Chicago and the Mississippi River, you'll start seeing a beer with a red bike on its label. It's a great beer out of Colorado called Fat Tire. A great lager that's Yuengling meets Magic Hat #9. I highly recommend it, especially since it's only currently found out west.

    If the below stops along the way work out directionally and timing-wise right, they may be of interest to you as well.

    You'll probably have to decide around Chicago if you're taking 90, 94, or 80 West to get all the way to Seattle. Each route has it charms, each has its boring parts.
    North Dakota is **, but is worth putting up with to enjoy Montana.
    Nebraska is full of **

    I have always wanted to try South Dakota, since it has Wall, SD:
    Wall Drug, Giant Brontosaurus (Pee Wee), Jackalope, and Spearfish.

    But then short of the Devils Tower, Wyoming is pretty **, but Rock Springs, WY is a warm stop in the middle of nowhere.

    Forsyth, MT:
    a great lil' Best Western, “Dogies” DQ, casino, bowling center, M& M Pizza, Howdy Hotel

    If you head through ND
    Fargo, ND- HIL w/indoor water park, HI Express

    Dickenson, ND- comfort Inn w/ water park

    Montana: Missoula, Billings, Butte, Bozeman (C’mon Inn)

    Trementon, UT (near Perry & Logan) Western Inn

    Spokane: Gonzaga, Dick’s Burgers

    Well good luck, those are my random suggestions, based on my journeys. Most may not make sense now, but will once you see them in person!

    [Explanation for these deleted words **]
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 11-19-2007 at 08:57 AM. Reason: Good Neighbor Policy Infractions

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula
    Posts
    3,318

    Default Boring? That word is banned here!

    coreywit, I appreciate your suggestions. You have some great ones. However, you'll find that we here at RTA don't believe there is any such thing as a boring road. I know I've sure never found one. (OK, roads that I've travelled frequently can be boring due to repetition but no new road can possibly be boring. Just not possible.) Even subtle changes in scenery can be fascinating to watch...the roadside architecture, style of homes and other buildings, landscape changes no matter how subtle, types of crops grown, differing trees and shrubs, how the sky looks, yada yada. I sometimes have trouble keeping my eyes on the road!

    Otherwise, great suggestions!

    BTW, I agree with checking out Fat Tire, too!

    Just to throw another tidbit to consider...places like Grand Canyon aren't all that far from LA. You could easily do that on another vacation once you've settled into your new home. I would tend to spend my time exploring the places that you're not as likely to get to again. Illinois, South and North Dakota, Montana and Wyoming would be high on my list if I was doing your trip.

  6. Default Thanks for the advice!

    Thank you all for your suggestions! I really appreciate it.

    As for my stuff, the original plan was going to be to rent a uhaul and lug my stuff with me. The more I thought about it, I realized that it would be easier to have it shipped in a pack it yourself and ship it type company than worry about all the stuff that comes with driving across country in a truck-gas mileage, parking, worrying about my stuff, etc. So, that is the plan unless there is a major cost difference I am not aware of yet.

    I was a little worried about 8 days not being enough, but I suppose we will just have to make it work. I am torn between really wanting to take 2 weeks and do it right, and wanting to be more frugal and watch my money. Hopefully once I start getting a better idea of what I really want to see it will flesh itself out better.

    A lot of the places I really want to see like Redwoods, the pacific coast, Las Vegas, etc are close to LA so I plan on doing those once I get settled...but I know Grand Canyon is something my friend wanted to see as well.

    Thanks again for your suggestions...I am sure I will have more questions soon!

    Christine

  7. Default More questions...

    Okay, so I think I mapped our possible route. We are planning on leaving on Saturday April 5th, and arriving in LA on Satudray April 12.

    Sat-Leave NYC...stop somewhere in Ohio.
    Sunday-Arrive St Louis.
    Monday-Stay somewhere in Iowa
    Tuesday- Mt. Rushmore
    Wednesday- Stay somwhere in Colorado
    Thursday- Four Corners
    Friday- Grand Canyon & Hoover Damn
    Saturday-LA

    I am basing this on mileage from a website. Does this actually sound doable or is there something I am not taking into consideration?

    I realize we will not have lots of free time to sight see and such. Please let me know your thoughts, as well as any possible other routes. I am willing to skip Mt. Rushmore for time's sake..or if there is someplace else I should see instead. I had also contemplated heading toward Memphis instead of toward SD. Any insight would be greatly appreciated.

    Christine
    Last edited by Xtine74; 11-30-2007 at 12:57 PM.

  8. Default Need Advice on Roadtrip from NYC to LA

    Hi All!

    I am moving to LA in April and planning a road trip on the way out there. I have come up with a schedule and I used various mapping sites to try to estimate mileage and time. I was wondering if anyone might be able to tell me if it is anywhere near accurate (assuming ideal road conditions) as I don't want to get half way through and find out everything is taking twice as long. I have left the last day open just in case we hit any snags along the way.

    There will be two of us driving in a new, small car with minimal luggage...

    Saturday: Leave NYC and Drive to Columbus, OH (9 hours)

    Sunday: Leave Columbus, Topiary French People, World's Largest Ketchup Bottle, St Louis (7 hours)

    Monday: Leave St Louis, World's Largest Shuttlecock, World's Largest Ball of String, Sioux City (9.5 hours)

    Tuesday: Leave Sioux City, Concrete Prairie Dog, Wall Drug, Dinosaur Park, Mt Rushmore (7.5 hours)

    Wednesday: Leave Mt Rushmore, Largest Jackaloupe, Denver (dinner at Casa Bonita) (6 hours)

    Thursday: Leave Denver, Giant Field of Arrows, 4 Corners (8 hours)

    Friday: Leave 4 Corners, Grand Canyon (4.5 hours)

    Saturday: Leave Grand Canyon, Hoover Dam, World's Largest Thermometer, LA! (7.5 hours)

    Sunday: Extra time as well as day to see LA before my friend goes home.

    Any other suggestions or places to see along the way would be greatly appreciated!

    Christine

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

    Default Some might be OK, some not

    We generally recommend that people not rely on the travel times suggested on mapping programs. I know I have had mixed results from them. Sometimes they're close. Sometimes they're way off. Somtimes I get someplace quicker than it recommends but, normally, it takes longer. It really depends on things like traffic conditions and other variables.

    NYC to Columbus is 535 miles. To make it in 9 hours, you would have to average 59.5mph with NO STOPS during the entire trip. These programs do not factor in any time for fuel/food/bio breaks. And you should also factor in time to stop and get out of the car to walk/stretch. You may not need it as much the first day or two but you certainly will as the trip progresses. If you start taking care of yourself in this way at the beginning of your trip, even if you don't feel you need it, you will feel better and enjoy the rest of your trip better.

    We generally recommend that people divide the number of miles to be driven that day by 53mph east of the Mississippi River. When you get to the west of that, you can use 57mph. These figures allow time for very quick gas/food/bio/stretching breaks and should give you more realistic travel times but still don't factor in any time to stop and explore. And it sounds like you do want to do a bit of sight-seeing along the way so remember to factor in time for doing that.

    I think you can quickly see how quickly 9 hours can turn into 10, 11, or even 12 hours on the road.

    It's a good trip plan. You just need more realistic travel times.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,060

    Default +/- 30%

    Actually, I would say that your travel times are pretty consistently under-estimated at about 25%-30%. If you add an average of 30% to each of those travel hour estimates, I think you will be a little closer to reality. Otherwise, sounds like a great adventure!

    Mark

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