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  1. Default Washington DC To San Francisco over Christmas!

    Hello everyone.

    I've been reading this site for a while now and my trip is now booked- well sort of! My girlfrind and I are flying from London on the 19th December to Washington and plan to spend 6 weeks driving across the country. Although we need to be in San Fran for a week at the end. i have worked out a basic trip which includes about 3 nights in Washington just to settle in. I am thinking of spending christmas in New York although we have both been there before and its very expensive. I would also like to visit the Amish in Lancaster County before I turn back and head south.

    The rest of the trip would be heading south through Virginia (she wants to see the Dirty Dancing hotel at Mountain Lake), through North Caroline, and South Carolina. If I dont spend Christmas in New York then I would possibly like to spend it in Charleston - or any other places if people have any ideas.
    Which, if I did would want to spend new years in Orlando - been there before too, but she loves Disney.

    After that, the plan is to head back through Georgia keeping south towards Alabama, through Mississippi and then on to New Orleans. Then I would be travelling roughly towards Houston then northwards towards Amarillo and carry on along the old Route 66 stopping at many places. I would carry on on Route 66 until I get to Las Vegas where I want about 4 nights. I would visit the Grand canyon seperatly. After that I would be off the Los Angeles for some time and then up the coast to San Fran.

    I dont want to plan anything other the very begining and end which are the most important especially as its Christmas. Any ideas on the best place. If I did go for New york then I wouldnt hire a car until I had finished there. All of the other nights I will be staying at motels and probably a decent hotel maybe every 5 nights, but obviously I wont know where that is until the day.

    What I need to know is if there are any places that I should definitly see along that route (i know its seems a broad question) but anything of interest. I like the old wild west towns if they exist! Small villages - the old way of life. I dont mind big cities too

    Also, im a truck driver in England and I would probably want to visit some truck stops, which actually sounds quite sad now I have written that down! Will I be spending too much time on the East Coast if i Go to New York, leaving there on the 27th December? Where would I go for New Years Eve?

    Sorry If I have gone a bit but I cant believe I am Actually going now.
    Thanks in advance for any help you can give me.

    Ben

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula
    Posts
    3,318

    Default Christmas in Washington DC?

    Sounds like a wonderful trip! I like your go-with-the-flow attitude of not over-planning. Welcome to the Roadtrip America forums!

    I love Washington DC. Absolutely love it. It's one of the most beautiful cities I've ever seen and, as a history buff, I have not seen everything I want to see there even though I've made two 1-week trips there. I think I could use another week or two to see it all. That said...if you enjoy history and art, I think you're short-changing your time there. One of my trips to DC was in mid-December and it was gorgeous. The Christmas trees and decorations at the White House and in front of Congress, the way the buildings were be-decked, etc. added to the fun. I'm wondering if you might enjoy Christmas there. And this would give you a few extra days to explore all the great stuff there. Just a thought.

    For New Years, I would tend to want to be in DisneyWorld myself but, if you're itching to spend some time in NYC, then you could join the mob at Times Square and watch the ball drop. Not my cup of tea but it sure seems to get people in NYC excited.

    I don't think you'll be spending too much time on the East Coast if you spend Christmas in DC or NYC. With 6 weeks, you can easily spend a week or more in this area before heading south.

    With six weeks, I would figure about where I want to be at the end of each week in terms of miles traveled/sights seen. This way you eliminate the problem of rushing too fast at first to find that you have extra time at the end of your trip and wish you had spent more time lingering places found at the start. And, vice-versa, dawdling too much at the beginning and being rushed at the end.

    If you're looking for the charm of small-town America, it's easy to find. Just get off the interstate and take secondary roads which will take you through rural America and small towns. It's easy to do this for just a few hours each day or for days at a time and still pick up an interstate if you decide you want to burn some miles.

    Nothing wrong with truck stops. I enjoy them myself. They're usually easily spotted along any interstate.

    If you want to let us know what types of things you are specifically looking for, we can give you more specific advice. Let us help you plan a terrific holiday! Happy planning.

  3. #3

    Default Dirty Dancing, Travel Plazas (truck stops)

    Hello Ben,

    I am not a movie-goer but faintly recall a "Dirty Dancing" film location at Lake Lure in North Carolina. Perhaps there are locales in neighboring Virginia, too.

    You'll have no trouble finding truck stops galore, too, especially on the major Interstates, and even on the minor ones. You'll have a ball at our "Travel Plazas" and good old-fashioned truck stops.

    Welcome to the States!

    Foy

  4. #4

    Default

    Hi Ben........Sounds like a fun trip you have planned. I am a retired truck driver so I can give you some insights on truck stops. Petro, Flying J, TA are nationwide and are full service truck stops. Pilot and Love's are also truckstops, but are more oriented towards fast food and convenience stores. If you google truck stops in the US you can get a list of locations from each chain. They are plentifull and easy to find all along our interstate system. There are also plenty of independently owned truck stops as well. You can find a listing for those if you google NATSO, or NATSN. If you decide to stop at the Grand Canyon be aware that north of Flagstaff AZ they do get some heavy snow there in the winter due to the elevation, apx 7000 ft above sea level. After you get on I 40 in Amarillo just watch for the old rt 66 signs. I 40 follows old rt 66 most of the way from Amarillo to Calif.
    You can get off I 40 in Seligman Az and drive the actual old rd from there to Kingman Az. And just because your a truck driver I had to add this pic of one of the many trucks I drove over the years. Smelling those deisel fumes can become addictive.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  5. Default

    Ok, thanks for the quick replies. I think I will be spending Christmas in New York then I will hire the car just across in New Jersey where it will be a lot cheaper for me. I'll be leaving New york on the 27th so my next question will be where to spend New Years Eve. I was thinking maybe Charleston SC, or even stretching to Orlando. Would I be driving too quickly down the East coast or would the timing be about right?

    In theory, I would now have about 3 and a half weeks to get from there to San Francisco which Im sure will be enough time, but if anyone thinks I need more time I'll be more than greatful.

    Is there a certain amount of time I need to spend in places like New Orleans, Las Vegas etc - I was thinking maybe 3 days in each big city and maybe 4 in Vegas and Los Angeles each. Are there any other places that would be worth taking a detour for?

    Thanks again for all the help you have already given me.


    Ben

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula
    Posts
    3,318

    Default Just some generalities

    It's very hard to give you specific answers because it all depends on your personal interests.

    Ok, thanks for the quick replies. I think I will be spending Christmas in New York then I will hire the car just across in New Jersey where it will be a lot cheaper for me. I'll be leaving New york on the 27th so my next question will be where to spend New Years Eve. I was thinking maybe Charleston SC, or even stretching to Orlando. Would I be driving too quickly down the East coast or would the timing be about right?
    We generally recommend two days to drive from the New York area to Florida. This doesn't give you much time for sightseeing. So, with an extra day or two to get to Orlando, you'll be able to enjoy a few sights down the coast and still get to Orlando by New Years.

    In theory, I would now have about 3 and a half weeks to get from there to San Francisco which Im sure will be enough time, but if anyone thinks I need more time I'll be more than greatful.
    It takes about 5 days to drive from Florida to California. This is just for the drive with little sightseeing besides what you can see from the car. So this gives you about 3 weeks to sightsee which is enough for the highlights. People can travel the US for years and still not see it all so, obviously, this won't be a super in-depth trip but you should have time to see the highlights without being rushed.

    Is there a certain amount of time I need to spend in places like New Orleans, Las Vegas etc - I was thinking maybe 3 days in each big city and maybe 4 in Vegas and Los Angeles each. Are there any other places that would be worth taking a detour for?
    The amount of time for each city depends on you and your interests. Because of my tastes and preferences, I could easily spend 2 weeks in New Orleans and Los Angeles, but 2-3 days is more than enough for Las Vegas. I'm not a gambler and the glitz gets old to me quickly. Of course, if I was using Las Vegas as a base for daytrips to other places, I would easily spend a week or more there.

    So, really, only you can answer that. If you give us an idea of the types of things you want to see and do in each of those cities, we could probably give you a better estimate of how much time you'd need there.

    Thanks again for all the help you have already given me.
    That's what we're here for. :) Keep asking questions and we'll keep trying to help.

  7. #7

    Default

    You mentioned you like the old wild west. Tombstone Az would be an interesting place. I was there years ago. Wyatt Earp, Boothill Graveyard, the gunfight at the ok corral. Lots of history there.

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