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  1. Default Cross Country Road Trip

    Hello all,

    My boyfriend and I are from Australia, and we are planning to fly over to New York City around the 7th September. We will be spending about 6 days in New York, before jumping in a car and spending approximately 16 days travelling, with our final destination being L.A. We have been to America before, so have already visited most of the California area, as well as having already driven from L.A to Las Vegas - however have not seen the Grand Canyon. On another trip before that, we have also visited Boston and areas around there - as you can see, we have loved visiting your country and are looking forward to coming over for a bigger road trip.

    Since we'll be starting in New York, i am interested in seeing more of the New Engalnd area, but i really dont know where to even start, or whether it is practical to spend 4 or 5 days driving around in a circle in that area before starting to head west. My boyfriend says he'd love to see Texas - but they seem in opposite area's of the country completely!

    Do you have any suggestions of a route that cover both within the time frame we are working towards?

    Is there any area's of particular value that we should see on your recommendation? It seems a daunting task to plan a road trip this long, and i think we need some ideas about where to stop so that we can start mapping out a more definate route.

    We are also concerned about not booking accomodation along the way - would it be hard to get places to stay on a nightly basis, or is it better to plan this in advance?

    Thank you in advance for your help on this one - i know its a big trip, and i may not have covered information you need to know.


    Nell :)

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

    Default all things are possible

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    The great thing about roadtrips is that if you've got enough time and money, most everything else is possible.

    Right now, it looks like time should be manageable. It takes about 5 days to make a sprint from NY to LA, you've got an extra 11 days to work with.

    Yes, New England is distinctly the wrong direction from NY if you are heading to LA, but if you spend 4 or 5 days there, you still have another 6-7 to play with as you head back west across the country, and Texas and the Grand Canyon could both be fit into that sort of roadtrip.

    As far as motels, in most cases its not hard to find a room somewhere, but if you want to build a very regimented trip where you know exactly where you'll be every night that is ok too. I would probably book a room at the Grand Canyon, since that area can fill up pretty easily, otherwise I would likely wing it and find places to stay as you go.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Eight Days of Driving Leaves Eight Days of Sight-Seeing

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    Yes, you can see both some of New England and some of Texas with 16 days to drive from New York to Los Angeles. In fact, you could drive the route I'm going to lay out for you in around 8 days of fairly relaxed, if steady, driving. So you will have about 8 days to use to see things that pique your fancy on the road.

    From New York, first make sure that you are over any jet lag, and then head up I-684, I-84 and I-90. Take I-495 around Boston and I-95 to Portsmouth NH. From there take NH-16 up the east side of that state. If you want a good back road, look at NH-153. Your goal is North Conway, NH and the eastern end of the Kancamagus Highway (NH-112) over to Lincoln and Franconia Notch. Then turn south along either the Connecticut River Valley (US-5) or through central Vermont (VT-100). Either way will take you through scenic countryside and picturesque towns. In any event, from southern Vermont, use VT-9/NY-7 to get over to Albany, NY and I-88 southwest to I-81 in Binghamton. I-88 and I-81 are two of the more scenic Interstates and afford you the chance to make a slight detour on I-83 from Harrisburg to Washington, DC, returning to I-81 via I-66. As you get down into Virginia and Tennessee, you'll be following the Appalachian Mountains, with more places to explore, particularly Great Smoky Mountain National Park. I-40 and I-30 will then take you to Texas. You do have time to explore here a bit too. Two of the most visitor friendly cities are Austin and San Antonio. If you visit those, then I-10 and US-180 will return you to I-40 for your visit to the Grand Canyon. You can finish off with a stopover in Las Vegas before completing your drive to Los Angeles.

    You will need to keep an eye on the calendar as you go, and I wouldn't spend 4 or 5 days driving around New England, but you can certainly do everything on your plate at a fairly relaxed, albeit steady pace. I have only touched on the highlights of a possible route here. Be sure to search through the forums for discussions of similar trips or of areas through which you'll be driving. You can start by checking the "Similar Thread" links at the bottom of this page, and the A to Z lists for each of the states you'll be driving through for more ideas.


  4. Default

    Great (and quick!) info so far - i'm relieved to see we can accomodate both our interests - i love historical sites and that taste of "old world" heritage, whereas Jo, my boyfriend, loves cities and towers and that sort of thing. So its often hard to accomodate what we both want! After doing a couple of American History and Literature courses in the last few years, i have been keen on visiting the New England area just because it seems so historically rich.

    It seems that places like Washington may require more than one day to explore - and incidently, i am a huge literary buff, and have been trying to look up places where either authors i love have based their novels, or lived themselves - such as, Mark Twain, Emily Dickinson, Nathaniel Hawthorne (witches! particlarly fascinating past of New England history that interests me), and i must admit i have this childish dream to visit Concord, Mass. simply because of the descriptions in Little Women! Sounds silly...but i do like that sort of thing, so if there are any sites you might know of that have perhaps a list or some ideas, that would be great too.

    To satisfy Jo - are there any other cities along the way that merit stopping in? Keeping in mind we have done Las Vegas (though this seems like a logical stopping place).

    Question on accomodation - probably unanswerable, but would you recommend B&Bs as a relatively cost friendly way to stop along the way? In Oz, they are everywhere when you drive into the country and are often a much more pleasant experience - not sure how popular they are in the US though.

    Thanks again for the info so far.


    Nell :)

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default More Questions - More Answers

    Many of the places you'd like to see require many, many days to explore in detail. Just because you can't sit down to several seven course gourmet meals doesn't mean that you can't indulge in a once over lightly smorgasbord. Here's a list of literature related sites in New England. The area is also awash in history. Since you've already been to Boston, try Strawbery Banke in Portsmouth, NH or Old Sturbridge Village in Massachusetts, both of which are on the general route I suggested, or Mystic Seaport in Connecticut, which is a bit off that route. For another large, historic city besides Washington, try Philadelphia, PA. Other cities which merit consideration would include Nashville and Memphis for their music scenes, and Dallas just for its size and energy.

    There are lots of B&Bs in America, but they're not really the spur of the moment, budget kind of places you may be used to in Australia. Here they tend to be a bit more upscale in decor and pricier than standard motels, and take a bit of effort to find. So if you know you're going to be staying overnight in a particular area, then you can go online and see what's available. One way to do this as you travel is to stop at local libraries, which tend to have signs telling you where they are once you get in-town, and which usually will let you use their computers for around half an hour for free or for a nominal charge.


  6. Default

    The good good thing about that literary guide to Mass. is that i now know where to go - the bad news is i want to see everything on the list :)

    Thanks though, some great information on there. Its a good starting point to start mapping out a route, something i am hopeless at doing.

    Philidelphia looks amazing too, but is out of the way? Looks like the kind of place you could spend a couple of days in as well.

    Defiantely might have the wrong idea about B&Bs then - it might be just motels or inns along the way. An accomodation guide probably wouldnt go astray, i will have to remember to find one - i wouldnt mind knowing what to budget in per night. The car we have managed to get a good deal on through a local travel agent, but he said to beware the fees you might be charged by dropping off at a different location to where you started.

    One more point of interest - how far out of L.A is San Francisco? I dont want to bottle too much into a short space of time - i'd rather come back another time and see it properly than only get a few hours to explore - but wondering how long it would take to drive there from L.A.


    Nell :)

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default If Only...

    ...we had all the time in the world. Yes, Philadelphia is a great city and like most of the cities that started in early colonial times, the main historic parts of it are all within walking distance of each other. It's not off your route at all if you use I-95 from New England down the east coast through Washington before turning west, but I-95 is one of the most heavily travelled highways in America. The route I suggested (I-88/I-81) avoids most of the larger east coast cities. San Francisco is a full day's drive from Los Angeles if you use I-5, a full two days if you use the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH, CA-1), so a round trip would chew up a minimum of three days if you planned on spending any time there.

    When I travel, I generally am looking to spend around $55-70 per night. You can find motels for less than that if you don't mind bare bones accommodations, and of course you can spend a lot more. I am actually surprised that you have a car without knowing the full cost of it. Your agent should know, or be able to find out, exactly what fees you'll be charged for dropping the car off in Los Angeles. These fees typically run about $300-500 but you should really know what they are before you sign any contract, even before you get on the plane to come over.


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