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  1. Default planning a road trip through n. az, new mexico,utah to arrive in s.f. for turkey day

    Hi, I'm new to the site, found it googling. I'm a photographer and have been wanting to take a road trip w/ my dog through (see title). I live in Long beach, ca. I've heard Oct, Nov., is the best time to get great sunset pics. I plan on leaving the eve of the 14th of Nov. that will give me 11 days before landing in San Francisco, and drive back home the following day. I have never done this kind of trip, especialy not by myself.
    My question is this: How can I navigate my trip to find pet friendly hotels in populated areas (concerns about traveling alone), and to make my drive time not so long that I am to tired to check in & go back out to see sites etc.
    Is there a web site that includes all this kind of info?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula

    Default Here has arrived!

    Is there a web site that includes all this kind of info?
    Yes, this one! Welcome to the Roadtrip America forums.

    Eleven days should give you plenty of time to make this into a nice loop drive and have time to explore along the way.

    Don't worry about traveling solo. Many of us do it all the time, both men and women, and stay safe doing it. Lodging in unpopulated areas is generally just as safe as those in populated areas. And ones in areas with lesser population are usually closer to the type of areas where you might want to get those sunset pictures. So don't let that dissuade you. Here's a discussion with a solo traveler who started out intimidated about doing and ended up reporting back about what a great experience it was. Have a read and be assured.

    This discussion has helpful links to find out more about pet-friendly motels and other pet-travel needs. (go to post #4)

    Generally, over the course of a day, a person can comfortably average about 57mph on the highway. This allows for short stops for food/fuel/bio breaks, brief sightseeing stops (like at a scenic overlook), and for any congestion, etc. So figure your miles per day and plan accordingly, dividing the miles by 57 to get a rough idea of the hours it will take to travel that day's route. Of course, if you know you want to stop for 2 hours here or there, you will need to add on that time.

    We generally recommend that people limit there driving to about 500-550 miles per day. Of course, if you have time, less is better for more playing along the way. This is a maximum recommendation.

    It sounds like you will want to get checked into your hotel relatively early, have dinner, and then find locales for sunset photos. Unless you get a crack-of-dawn start, you might want to plan for lesser miles.

    Example, if your day is going to be about 400 miles, and you leave your hotel at 8am, figure your arrival will be at around 3-3:30pm. But if you know that you're going to be stopping at a good restaurant for a long, lingering meal and/or stopping at a museum for about an hour or so, you might want to add two hours to that day's time estimate which would get you to the hotel about 5-5:30pm.

    So it's relatively easy to make these guesstimates. I tend to over-estimate my travel times. I'd rather find I'm making better time than expected and be able to meander a bit and explore along the way, or possibly get to my destination early, then find I've under-estimated and have to rush.

    We have several avid photographers here who should be able to pop in with tips on good locations. And we are very helpful with routing questions and offering other suggestions to help you tweak your trip to make it a fantastic one. So, keep asking questions and let us help you out. Happy planning.

  3. Default

    Hi, thanks for the info, but please understand I'm a total right brainer. My calculative skills are less than perfect.
    I am also a product of the 70's and am not use to having to plan out my trip in such a way as to be so carefull of all things that might be detrimental to my safe being.
    So, let me ask all you that are more experianced than I, could I just go for it without having reservations etc,? Is it still possible to just hit the road and stop wherever?
    I have this image in my mind of just traveling and stopping where ever & by night time finding a hotel to get some sleep. Hell, I'd sleep in a camp ground if I still had all my camping gear, but then again being solo I'm not comfortable with that idea.
    Any of you, woman especially, please give me some input.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Great colors


    Hi, I'm new to the site, found it googling. I'm a photographer and have been wanting to take a road trip w/ my dog through (see title). I live in Long beach, ca. I've heard Oct, Nov., is the best time to get great sunset pics.
    October and November offer great light for photography and the sunset and sunrises we witnessed were amazing this time of year. When we visited the temps were still good for the time of year and some of the fall colors were an added bonus, fantastic!

    So, let me ask all you that are more experienced than I, could I just go for it without having reservations etc,? Is it still possible to just hit the road and stop wherever?
    Ordinarily I would of thought you would be fine this time of year, but I'm not sure how limited this will become with the dog so I guess it wouldn't hurt to have a list of "dog friendly" places and phone ahead of your arrival.
    Last edited by Southwest Dave; 08-02-2008 at 10:50 AM. Reason: typo

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula

    Default Safe? You bet!

    I came of age in the 70's and have been roadtripping off-and-on ever since. I have done many solo trips and, as a woman, have also camped solo. I've never had a problem. Neither have numerous other women traveling/camping solo. The links I gave you in my first response lead you to discussions about that. I suggest you scroll back to the post and read through those links. Really, there's no need to worry too much about this. I always advise people to use the same "personal safety radar" they use in their own hometowns cranked up just a notch or two. In other words, don't be paranoid but do be aware.

    The dog complicates things a tad. I also gave you a link to a post with numerous resources about traveling with pets. Many hotels allow dogs but, quite often, they will have restrictions. Some only allow small dogs, for example. So, like SW Dave suggested, you will want to have a list of dog-friendly hotels. There's no reason you can't still just pull over on a whim when you're ready at a dog-friendly hotel. You can still be spontaneous. You will just need to more information on where you can spontaneously stop for the night. Hope that makes sense.

    The only places where hotel reservations are a must will be in very popular tourist areas like Grand Canyon, etc.

    I have, on occasion, called ahead the day of for a reservation. If by mid- or late-afternoon I know where about I'm going to end up for the night, I might call a motel or campground for a reservation that night. My main reason for doing that is that I'm cheap. I don't want the less expensive motel at my destination being filled and end up spending $20-30 more for another motel in the same area. And I'll do it for campsites because, quite often, there are more limited options so I get concerned they will be full. It's a good way to still have flexibility while you travel but not have to spend too much time that night looking for lodging.

    Hope that helps a bit. But, really, don't be overly concerned about traveling safely while solo. In fact, you're not really solo. You have a dog. That, in and of itself, offers a bit of protection. Most bad folks bent on thievery or harm aren't going to want to deal with a barking dog.

  6. Default to: judy & sd

    Thanks for your input.
    On the one hand my dog will be easy for hotels, he's a chichuahua pekingese mix 12 years old about 11 lbs. On the other hand he's not much of a protector to anyone who would mean do to harm.
    But it is nice to hear that is it relatively save to travel solo.
    I think I will have no problems (Judy) I grew on the mean streets of east L.A. and do know that "posture & glare" to give anyone who I feel needs it.
    I guess I just needed some encouregement from others who have done what I have wanted to do for a long time.
    My mom is the soul provider of negativity in this trip. Understandably so, she & I are all we have & she is afraid for me.
    I would like to have some kind of security advice to give her so she will not go crazy with worry.
    I'm not young "in years" but I'm still young at heart & want to life out some of my dreams, this being one that I can do now.
    So thanks for your advise & input, if you have any other input please let me know, the encouragement is great.
    Thanks again,

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

    Default I'm glad you feel encouraged

    I really think those links about solo travel say it all. BirdyBird was very unsure about it, was a bit timid, and had many people telling her she was crazy to do it. So that whole discussion would probably be great for your mom to read. And make sure you read the link when BirdBird gave her post-trip report about how wonderful it was to travel solo. And she was also a mature woman.

    Well, your little doggy might not be a protector in the usual sense like a bigger dog would be. But anyone wanting to cause you trouble still isn't going to want to bring attention due to the yapping/barking of a dog. So, between doggy and your "posture & glare", you should be fine.

    Of course, there are never guarantees but you could be mugged or assaulted in front of your own house, too. Travel doesn't really raise the stakes much, if at all. Just don't do stupid things like going down dark alleys, going someplace private with a stranger, yada yada.

    And don't hesitate to ask for help if you feel you need it. I had an incident once at a hotel that made me feel uncomfortable. I called the desk clerk and he had the security guard escort me to my car and back to my room again after I returned for the night. I felt safe in my room but was hesitant to walk to my car because of something that was rather strange and, probably, a mistake but I felt better not being alone at night in the parking area.

    Would your mom feel better if you had a system to communicate? Like maybe a call to her each morning to tell her you're heading out and the general direction and roads you'll be traveling that day. And another one to tell her where you're staying for the night. With a cellphone, she could also call you whenever she felt anxious and needed to be assured you're OK. Just a thought. I do something like that with my husband when I'm traevling without him. Actually, I sometimes call him several times a day just to share something really cool. I love to travel solo but sometimes I just can't wait to share something with someone.

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