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  1. #1

    Default College Bound: Mom and Daughter --Carlsbad, CA to Washington, DC

    I am grateful for all the advice I've gotten from this forum as I've planned our upcoming trip. I thought I'd finally 'jump in' to the conversation and share our itinerary and solicit some of your comments.

    I am somewhat of a veteran long distance traveler. However, it's been a long time since my own cross country college trips that I've undertaken such a journey (and those were the days when a friend and I would drive non-stop, 36 hours, from St. Louis to Bakersfield -- ah youth). I've looked forward to the opportunity to make another cross country road trip. My daughter's acceptance to Georgetown University (and her enthusiasm to go along) was the perfect 'excuse' to indulge my long dormant wanderlust.

    Since my daughter will not need a car in DC, I am renting a car, a medium sized SUV, to drop at Dulles Airport. I found a great rate through AAA and by plugging in as many local car rental outlets as possible I saved $330 from an initial quote on an 11 day, one way rental: total = $560 from Hertz.

    We plan to follow the highlights of Rte. 66 through St. Louis and then take I-64 to I- 81 in Virginia. Here is our itinerary -- please chime in with 'not to be missed' sights.

    8/13 (Late afternoon) Carlsbad, CA - Barstow, CA
    8/14 Barstow, CA - Rte. 66 thru Oatman, Peach Springs, etc.-Williams, AZ
    8/15 Williams, AZ - Grand Canyon - Holbrook, AZ (Wigwam Motel)
    8/16 Holbrook, AZ - Albuquerque - Tucumcari, NM (Blue Swallows Motel)
    8/17 Tucumcari, NM - OK City, OK
    8/18 OK City - Tulsa, OK (visit Georgetown roommate)-Lebanon, MO (Munger Moss Motel)
    8/19 Lebanon, MO - St. Louis, Mo - Evansville, IN
    8/20 Evansville, IN - Louisville, KY - Harrodsburg, KY (Shaker Village)
    8/21 Harrodsburg, KY -Beckley, WV - Lewisburg, WV
    8/22 Lewisburg, WV - Lexington, VA - Washington, DC

    I intend to blog our trip so we'll have a record of our adventures. What method have y'all found to capture the essence of your trip? Do you journal every night? Do you have rules for picture taking? i.e. do you start snapping as soon as you open your car door? What are your 'not to be missed' photo opportunities?

    Thank you in advance for your insight and advice.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default Great Rate!

    Quote Originally Posted by Jane View Post
    I thought I'd finally 'jump in' to the conversation and share our itinerary and solicit some of your comments.
    It's always great when our "lurkers" join and jump in here!
    ... I would drive non-stop, 36 hours, from St. Louis to Bakersfield -- ah youth).
    Yikes! I have three cross country drives under 40 hours LA to Washington DC -- equally stupid youthful behavior.... Glad I finally wised up (at least a little).
    I've looked forward to the opportunity to make another cross country road trip. My daughter's acceptance to Georgetown University (and her enthusiasm to go along) was the perfect 'excuse' to indulge my long dormant wanderlust.
    Sounds perfect and you certainly managed to get an outstanding rental rate!
    We plan to follow the highlights of Rte. 66 through St. Louis and then take I-64 to I- 81 in Virginia. Here is our itinerary -- please chime in with 'not to be missed' sights.
    Your route looks great to me and very reasonable as well!
    I intend to blog our trip so we'll have a record of our adventures. What method have y'all found to capture the essence of your trip? Do you journal every night?
    Since I rarely road trip anymore when I am not working, I am not the best role model -- but I keep notes about the photos I am shooting throughout the day but I don't tend to write journals and/or blog posts until I am working on the article.
    Do you have rules for picture taking? i.e. do you start snapping as soon as you open your car door?
    If I see a Funny Sign -- I go back and get it no matter what. I also like road shots and so if I see some appealing light I will often spend an hour or so capturing shadows and patterns on road surfaces.

    Mark

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

    Default Good job....

    A very well-planned trip. Thanks for sharing. I hope you'll come back here and share some highlights of your trip.

    I take pictures of anything and everything that strikes my fancy. Sometimes I'm forced to delete the least of these when my memory card fills. Besides that, no rules.

    I always intend to take good notes and rarely do it. I'm just too busy enjoying myself to write things down. I'm actually pretty bad about doing write-ups of my trip. I request roadtrip reports from others and am awful about doing my own. So, sorry, no tips from me on that.

    I have actually had more fun using a program that makes slide-show videos with special effects, captions, etc. and setting it to music, I really should invest in a good microphone so I could do voice-over comments, too.

    I think you just have to find a groove that works best for you.

  4. #4

    Default It means a lot...

    to get the blessing on my itinerary from the RTA community :). I read (i.e. lurked) all those posts in which y'all urged the trip planner to slow it down.

    Thank you for the photo tips -- I tend not to take 'enough' photos (I'm busy enjoying the moment) so that when I go back to recreate the experience, I have holes in my photographic record. I like the idea of looking for shadows and lighting angles. I have aspirations of writing up our trip for some publication or other so will have to figure out how best to record the journey without it interfering with the joy of the journey itself.

    I have been struck by how planning a cross country trip has changed so much since I traveled in the backseat of my grandparents' '71 Monte Carlo. We had the AAA Triptik and the state guides and decided where to stay based on the town coming up (and if the motel had a pool slide!) We loosely planned 5 days for a trip from the Bay Area, CA to Englewood, FL (about 30 miles south of Sarasota.) Our travel days were routinized: up at 7 a.m. with Tang and a danish in the room. On the road by 8 a.m., a brief lunch stop, and then checking in by 2:30 p.m - 3 p.m. A swim in the pool, scotch on the rocks for the grandparents from their travel cocktail kit, dinner and early bedtime. We didn't stop at any tourist/roadside attraction -- except for a 1/2 hour viewing of the Grand Canyon -- we just 'made time,' a very important concept for my grandfather :). But I still remember some of the town's we stopped in: Lordsburg, NM; Bowie, TX (the Bowie knife!); Alexandria, LA; Mobile, AL (still recovering from the devastation of Hurricane Camille) and I knew that I would always love 'the drive.'

    So the internet and the RTA forum make the planning so much more specific. I already have all my motel reservations from here to DC. I admit that I am much more comfortable knowing I have an exact destination with a bed my credit card is holding for me. Will that defeat the idea of cruising the open road? Hmmm, we'll see...

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

    Default Good memories with your grandparents!

    It's nice to have those, isn't it?

    I don't know if travel has changed all that much. I think it just depends on the personality of the people and how much time, money, etc. they have. You can still get in the car and just driving with short 30-min visits at places like the Grand Canyon. You can travel with a tight itinerary with a goal to just burn miles. Or you can meander and explore with no itinerary at all. You can have a motel planned for each night, or you can just wing it.

    I think it is easier to get information now. And, of course, forums like this make it easier to get first-hand reports from people who have been there and can give you "real world" advice rather than just depending on a travel guide. While I think that's great...and if I didn't, I wouldn't even participate here...but, at the same time, I think, as a society, we are also suffering from some information overload. The ability to find information can cause some of us to overplan and stress about missing some key attraction that, if we do, could blow the whole trip. Not! Really, you will never see it all so just enjoy what you do see, right?

    Anyway, enough rambling. We're here to help. Do you have any further questions?

    Oh, I have long pondered the idea of getting a micro-recorder of some kind. I really should do that. I think I'm far more likely to pick it up and comment on photos I've just taken, and other things I've seen so I don't forget details. Maybe something like that would work for you?

  6. #6

    Default The burden of the 'perfect' road trip

    Judy, you bring up a point that resonates with perfectionists such as myself. The idea that the internet and sites such as RTA give so much information on road trips (good) that certain travelers (me) feel an incredible burden to 'do it right.' Especially as I travel Rte. 66: I must get the picture of the Jack Rabbit Trading Post, the Blue Whale in OK, the neon (everywhere-but what if it's not dark?), Cadillac Ranch, and so on....I'm already exhausted and I haven't even started :)

    So here it is: a trip across country with my first born daughter to deliver her to her university and the start of her independent life. Ah....the whole journey is more important than the sum of its parts. However, the planning of the parts keeps me from the bittersweet realization that I will be saying good-bye, soon. We will have this trip...for me as a project -- when I return home to fill the hours that she and I would have shared and for her as a quirky story (your mom did what?) and eventually as a rich memory. The road in this instance provides so much more than the destination.

    And per your post: I like the idea of a handheld recording device to catch your photos as you take them. You'll get the subtleties of observation that are lost when you sit down at the computer some weeks later. A small recording device is much easier to haul around then a laptop, any day.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default One thing I would add

    Since you already have reservations -- I often have a "hot sheet" on a clipboard that sits on the floor directly behind the drivers sheet with driving instructions from the highway of that night's motel location (so I can find it after dark).

    What makes a road trip "perfect" for me is the unexpected and unknown stuff that happens -- no one can pre-plan the perfect road trip. You gotta let it happen, at some point.

    Mark

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula
    Posts
    3,318

    Default Memories

    I usually only see about half of the things I want to see on a trip. There's never enough time or energy to do it all. And I've never had a disappointing trip yet. I enjoy what I've done and don't sweat what I didn't.

    While you can do some prioritizing to see the things you really want the most, don't make this a job with a check-off list. Enjoy any serendipitious finds, embrace the moment, and go with the flow.

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