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Thread: Road Trip

  1. Default Road Trip

    Hello everyone,

    I'm after abit of advice really, in the summer myself and the wife flew to California and did a 3 week road trip around California and Nevada and loved every second of it.
    For our first trip I got alot of advice on routes and places to stay at on this site and was spot on. For our next adventure we are wanting to travel across America (Coast to Coast) but not really sure where to start really, just wondering if people could advise me on the following:

    i) How long should we be looking at, can it be done in 2 weeks or will it take longer.
    ii) Not sure if to travel East to West or West to East
    iii) Don't really know where to start

    If anyone has any experience of a similar road trip I'd love to hear about it. Or would it be best to concentrate on a part of America then travel around there.



  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default definitions

    Welcome back to the forum!

    The answers to your questions are going to depend on a large number of factors. First of all, when you mean coast to coast, do you mean driving from NY to California in a straight line, only stopping at what is on that line, or do you mean NY to Florida, up to Chicago, swinging through Texas and Colorado on your way towards Seattle? It takes about 5-7 days to make a straight line trip with time for a couple of stops along the way, so if that's what you were thinking, then 2 weeks would be ok. If you wanted to do a lot of zig zagging and/or spending much time in each place, then you'd certainly need more time.

    Direction also can depend on a variety of things. Typically I'd prefer going east to west. The way does follow the development of the US, so you can kind of get a feel for how the US changed as it expanded westward. You also get the element of chasing the sun, so you'll actually gain a couple of hours on your trip. On the other hand, if you like to sleep in, driving east would mean that you wouldn't be driving into the sun in the evening. The weather could also be a factor, if you are traveling in the spring, you might want to take advantage of the warmer weather in the west, although the difference wouldn't be that significant on a two week trip.

  3. Default

    Hi Midwest Michael, thanks for your response. If I'm honest it will more than likely be 3 weeks that we've got to travel...As I mentioned I've driven the PCH route and loved every second of it, in all honestly with the coast to coast been very vast I wasn't sure where to start as I don't know anyone that's done this.
    I was thinking of Seattle-Boston possibly sticking to the north of the US, we will be travelling in July or August time..hope the additional information is of use to people.
    One thing that did cross my mind would be instead of coast to coast possibly travelling around the east coast this time and again don't know places or points of interest.
    Any information or advice on the matter would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks in advance

    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 12-19-2007 at 11:40 AM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula

    Default Three weeks gives you lots of options

    Seattle to Boston would be a nice trip. However, I agree with Micheal that I'd probably go Boston-Seattle just so you could see the historical progression and expansion he mentioned. Also, you will find far more congestion in the East. I'd rather get that out of the way and then enjoy the wide-open spaces rather than the other way around.

    But, then again, exploring the Eastern coast would also make a lovely trip. I've often wanted to drive from Maine to Florida and hope to so it someday.

    Really, only you can answer which area you'd rather see. Both have merit. It depends on what interests you most. Both are do-able in three weeks. Did I just muddy the waters for you?

    I suggest that you get a good atlas of the United States and pour over the maps to see what kind of sights there are along the way. Mark the areas that really intrigue you and see if you can create a route that would be do-able in 3 weeks. Once you've gotten some more specific ideas, come on back here and ask for further advice so we can help you narrow things down.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Central California

    Default All the way, or round about?


    Good question, and either are great ways to see sizeable sections of the country.

    If you are more of an "in-depth" kind of guy, I'd suggest Boston, Philadelphia, New York and Washington DC as a nice tour of the civilized northeast. Of course, there are enough historic sites alone to keep you busy the whole time, but add to that all the scenic, cultural and commercial (shopping) opportunities and you could spend a year. If you are less interested in cities but more of an outdoors person, the scenery from Boston north into Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont, and west into NY state and back to Massachusettes, is spectacular (as well as historic) any time of year. It is a fun area to just wander without a plan, and there are guidebooks for New England that do a great job of describing the region.

    Now, if you want the Sea to Shining Sea tour. Boston or New York or Washington DC are all great places to start and San Francisco, Portland or Seattle, or Vancouver, are great places to stop. And the array of things to see and do in between is mind boggling.

    From my point of view (which includes mostly history and scenery, but not so much big cities, except for great art museums) these are AMONG my favorite places along the northern tier of states:

    Assuming a start in Boston,

    The Freedom Trail in Boston
    Plymouth Plantation in Plymouth, MA,
    Hancock Shaker Village, Pittsfield, MA
    Niagara Falls, and Old Fort Niagara, NY,
    Chicago's great art and natural history museums
    Abe Lincoln sites in Springfield, IL and Petersburg, IL
    Cahokia Indian Mounds, Collinsville, IL (east St. Louis)
    Gateway Arch and Museum of Westward Expansion, St. Louis, MO,
    Wineries and Stone Hill restaurant in Hermann, MO
    Country Club Plaza (shopping) in Kansas City, MO
    Pony Express and Jesse James sites in St. Joseph, MO
    Harold Warp Pioneer Village in Minden, NE,
    The Badlands and Black Hills of South Dakota,
    Devil's Tower, WY
    The Buffalo Bill Museum in Cody, WY,
    Yellowstone and Grand Tetons National Parks,
    Charlie Russell Museum in Great Falls, MT
    Grand Coulee Dam, WA
    Glacier National Park, MT,
    Mt. Ranier and Mt. St. Helens National Parks,
    Olympic National Park,
    Victoria, BC

    As layed out here, this trip is about 4,200 miles, not counting side trips, getting lost, etc. Your experience will vary considerably!

    Again, a good guide book, or the series of tour books from AAA, will keep you more than entertained on a 3 week trip. We did a 4 week trip from Orlando to Tacoma (about 4,000 miles planned, but 6,004 miles of actual driving), and we felt like we were running every day to get in all we wanted to see (loved every minute). So, C to C in 3 weeks, assuming you want to do more than just drive, could be busy, busy, busy.

    Have fun,

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

  6. Default

    Thanks for all the advice guys, I've been having a thinking and a talk to the missus and what do you think of driving the east coast down from Maine to Florida?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula

    Default Sounds good to me!

    Does it sound good to your and your wife? If so, go for it. And then you will have done both coasts. I have no experience with that but I'm sure someone will pop in here with some good ideas to help kickstart you.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Central California

    Default Well, that's another...

    ...kettle of fish.


    There is a bunch of great stuff going that way, too. In fact, there is so much on so many different routes that it is hard to make a list.

    The only caveat...the terrain doesn't change that much, lots of farms, trees and hills and interesting coastal areas, and much of it is very scenic.

    Definitely a shorter route, but personally, I prefer the east to west trip.

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

  9. #9

    Default my two cents!

    I've done the Maine to Florida coastline, in steps, but i've also done the east to west trip, and I have to agree with RedCorral, the east to west route is much more exciting. For me, not so much in the historic as in the terrain changes. You get most everything, beaches, plains, desert, mountains- wait, you get everything in the way of scenery.

    Plus there's always a lot to see along that route- the national parks, quirky places, and the plan RedCorral laid out includes most everything that I would recommend also (except he forgot Wall Drug! :)

    If you do the Maine to Florida... I guess you can skip the NYC part because I think you did that before? Check out Dover, the Outer Banks, Cheasapeake Bay area, Virginia beach area, Murrell's Inlet (skip Myrtle Beach), Huntington Beach State Park, Charleston, Savannah, Amelia Island, Everglades and the Florida Keys.

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