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  1. Default Charlotte to LA in a Week

    Hi! I'm driving from Charlotte, NC to Los Angeles, CA mostly via I-40 the last week of October. I was wondering if anyone had any suggestions on touristy / historical places along the way.

    I'm currently planning to stop in Nashville, Memphis, Oklahoma City, Albuquerque, Grand Canyon, Las Vegas, and LA. I have a week to make the trip.

    I'm originally from the north, so any southern travel tips would be helpful as well.

    Thanks!

  2. #2

    Default Btdt

    Hello Lan,

    I took the trip you're planning exactly a year before your upcoming drive, late October 2007. But, it was a speed run to co-drive with and deliver my son's pickup truck to his California base, so we took only two side trips: The Grand Canyon and Hoover Dam.

    The Grand Canyon is readily accessed from the eastern border by leaving I-40 at Flagstaff, thence up US 89 to Cameron, thence AZ 64 to the Park, thence along the south rim to the Village (the main tourist center for GCNP. We only wanted to take time to do a "drive through" and we departed I-40 at around noon and were out of the park by around 4pm, headed back down to Williams and I-40.

    We approached Hoover Dam from Kingman, AZ the next morning. We wanted to take the "inside the dam" tour and the first of those is at 9am each day. We departed Kingman at around 7am and were at the dam a little over an hour later. We took the walking tour for a while and then the inside tour, seeing everything we wanted to see and leaving for LA around noon, via Las Vegas.

    "Southern Travel Tips" would include stopping at some of the hometowns of country musicians in Oklahoma (it seems that most country music stars of the 1960s were born and raised in OK), the Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo, spend an hour or two just taking in the Route 66 kitsch in Tucumcari, NM, and then have a long look into the "Blue Hole" just up the road at Santa Rosa, NM.

    You're traveling at a great time of year. Enjoy!

    Foy

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

    Default How many days?

    If you're making this trip in 5 days, you won't have a lot of time to do any side-trips that take you too far from the interstate. A couple of extra days will give you a lot more leeway.

    We generally recommend people limit their driving to no more than 500-550 miles each day in order to have a good mix of burning miles and time to sight-see. Your route is about 2500 miles so, if you're doing this in five days, you're right in that range. Figure about 9 hours on the road so you'll want to get up early in order to have time to make stops along the way.

    Of course, with 7 days, you will have a lot more time to explore each day.

    Amarillo TX has the Big Texan Steakhouse where folks can try to get a free meal by eating a huge steak in an hour, Cadillac Ranch, Palo Duro Canyon

    Tucumcari and Gallup, NM, have lots of great old Route 66 kitsch

    In Arizona - Petrified Forest NP and Meteor Crater

  4. Default

    I am planning to go to both the Grand Canyon and Hoover Dam, thanks for the additional tips, Foy!

    I'm making the trip in 7 days.. but have an eighth day cushion if need be.

    I don't think I could eat a big steak in an hour, so I will probably plan to pay for that meal :) How much time do you recommend planning to spend at the petrified forest? Also have you found driving in the morning is better than at night? I can drive during any hour, but try to avoid traffic as much as possible.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    The Great Midwest, Illinois to be precise
    Posts
    527

    Default Route 66

    From Oklahoma City on, you'll be right next to historic Route 66. Easy on and easy off the interstate.

    There is Cadillac Ranch of the vintage caddies nose-down west of Amarillo.

    You can "Stand on the Corner" in Winslow,Arizona, as the Eagles sang about in "Take It Easy."

    The Blue Swallow Motel in Tucumcari and the El Rancho Hotel in Gallup, New Mexico are great places to spend the night and a trip back into history.

  6. #6

    Default Steaks and mornings

    Quote Originally Posted by Lan 2008 View Post
    I am planning to go to both the Grand Canyon and Hoover Dam, thanks for the additional tips, Foy!

    I'm making the trip in 7 days.. but have an eighth day cushion if need be.

    I don't think I could eat a big steak in an hour, so I will probably plan to pay for that meal :) How much time do you recommend planning to spend at the petrified forest? Also have you found driving in the morning is better than at night? I can drive during any hour, but try to avoid traffic as much as possible.

    Lan,

    If I'm not mistaken, the steak involved in the "challenge" is a 72 oz monster. I doubt many are able to down it, and I'd sure hate to have to pay for one!

    The trip my son and I made featured pre-dawn starts each day (0430 to 0530), with an hour or two's drive before a breakfast stop. That put us on "schedule" for a late morning fuel + lunch stop and a late afternoon, pre-dusk fuel, food, and motel stop. By doing so, we essentially avoided the "rush" periods at food/fuel plazas.

    Foy

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