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  1. #1

    Default Savannah, GA to San Diego, CA - 11/30 to 12/14

    My husband and I, both in our mid-twenties, were originally planning on going on an extended cross country roadtrip to find a new place to live. Unfortunately, those plans aren't going to work out this year, but we have decided to do at least PART of the trip instead of giving it up entirely.

    We would like to leave around November 30th. We do not want to run into any snow and so were thinking of leaving from Savannah, GA (where we currently live) to head over to San Diego, CA and back.

    The tentative route would go from Savannah, GA to Dallas, TX, to the Grand Canyon in Arizona, to San Diego, then back along the southern border to San Antonio, TX, Houston, TX, and New Orleans, LA back to Savannah.

    Is two weeks a good time frame to do that? We're not sure what our budget is yet - the lower the better, of course, but we do not like to camp and we will be staying in hotels every night (hoping to keep it to $60-80 a night). We also like to eat out.

    We're debating whether to bring our dogs or not. We have two huskies. Reasons for bringing them: they LOVE to ride, it's fun to bring them on hikes, if we stay at Red Roof Inns & La Quintas they do not cost extra (which also ironically keeps us closer to our budget, as it prevents us from splurging on nicer hotels), might be cheaper to bring them with us than have to pay $30-40 a night to get them boarded, great for protection... Reasons against bringing them: harder to do stuff with them along, finding a hotel is not always easy, generally forget about staying at cool hotels & inns (which I love)... Do you think we'd get more out of the trip by just getting them boarded?

    We are HORRIBLE at trip planning. We've gone on several mini trips but end up getting frustrated cuz we never do enough stuff, just a lot of driving! Here are some things we know we like: awesome little cafes, yummy food (love finding great breakfast spots especially; for dinner, we prefer to keep it at $20-40 for two, but the occasional splurge for awesome food is ok), zoos & aquariums, scenic drives, some museums like nautical, historic or animal related, some festivals like renaissance festivals or food festivals, visiting castle-like houses, stuff like that...

    We know we want to go to the Grand Canyon in Arizona, and the San Diego Zoo. To be honest, we're not sure what else yet... the southern part of the U.S. isn't what we were most looking forward to (next spring/summer we hope to do the west coast & also Montana, Wyoming and Colorado - those are the parts we're really excited about and that I did most of my research on so far earlier this year).

    Any suggestions based on what I've mentioned here? I have only about a month to put together this trip so any help would be appreciated. Thank you in advance! :)

    -Niki

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,060

    Default Too far for that pace!

    Quote Originally Posted by nikithetiger View Post
    We do not want to run into any snow and so were thinking of leaving from Savannah, GA (where we currently live) to head over to San Diego, CA and back.
    Depending upon the activity in the gulf of Mexico you could well see snow at that route. In fact, any place west of New Orleans and east of Tucson will subject to snow storms in early December. It could be a dry early winter -- but I wouldn't count on it!

    Given your interests, I think two weeks is too far to drive from Savannah to San Diego and back. Just the driving would require 10 full days of driving and so I think you should consider focusing on the area east of the Mississippi River and allow you time to find those intimate inns. You could make a fun circuit by traveling north on a section of the Great River Road and then loop back through Tennesse and the Carolinas.

    I love traveling with dogs, but given that there are two of them and their size, I think you might be wise to have them stay home this time.

    If you don't mind extending drive times (10+ hours per day) you could certainly do the the longer route -- but I think you will find ample reason to be frustrated...
    .We've gone on several mini trips but end up getting frustrated cuz we never do enough stuff, just a lot of driving!
    Mark

  3. #3

    Default

    Hi, thanks for the advice!

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Sedenquist View Post
    Depending upon the activity in the gulf of Mexico you could well see snow at that route. In fact, any place west of New Orleans and east of Tucson will subject to snow storms in early December. It could be a dry early winter -- but I wouldn't count on it!
    Bummer... guess that shows how ignorant I am... always assumed it didn't snow that far south (and in our two years in Savannah, GA it hasn't snowed more than a few melting snowflakes either). I was hoping that in December it would still be fairly decent weather - cool but not too cold.

    We spent most of our lives in Quebec, New Hampshire & Vermont, so we are no strangers to snow. I don't mind running into a few snowflakes or snow that melts within a few hours. But I don't want to run into treacherous driving conditions as we don't have snow tires on our truck and as there is absolutely no snow in Savannah, have no reason to buy any. Do you think it would snow enough to be a pain?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Sedenquist View Post
    You could make a fun circuit by traveling north on a section of the Great River Road and then loop back through Tennesse and the Carolinas.
    I appreciate this suggestion, however, what I didn't mention in my previous post is that we actually were able to tour GA, TN, SC, and NC a few months ago so would rather go somewhere new. :) (we've also been up and down the east coast several times)

    One thing we were thinking of doing was flying out to San Diego, CA and buying a Toyota Yaris there (a purchase we plan on making in the near future anyway), then driving back. It would save on a lot of time. However, we're not quite ready to purchase the Yaris (would love to save & pay cash for it) and the airplane tickets would probably add at least $700, which would eat up the "gas savings" we would have using the Yaris vs our truck.

    If two weeks doesn't seem like enough time, we could go only as far as Arizona (a MUST on the trip) and leave California for next year, as we'd love to go up the coast anyway. Though it would be cool to make it all the way the West Coast (have never been). :)

    -Niki

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,060

    Default Texas and Ice Storms

    Some of the worst ice conditions (anywhere in the USA) I have ever seen are along I-40 in Texas. I have also been in ice storms in November along I-10 in western Texas. Snow is real possibility in Texas, New Mexico and Arizona in winter months. As a refresher here are some tips for Winter driving.

    Fly and Drive road trips can be very efficient. How about flying to either Las Vegas or Phoenix and doing a circuit of the southwest for those two weeks and then flying home?

    Mark

  5. #5

    Default

    I'm assuming that in early December there's a *chance* of a winter storm, and not actually snow sticking to the ground til spring?

    If there is a bad storm, would it be the kind of thing that would last a day then be gone the next day? We don't mind holing up in a hotel to let a storm pass.

    What about sticking more to the I-10 the whole way - is the weather more likely to be nice there? I'd been thinking we could go west via the I-20 and then to have a different route we could take the I-10 on the way back?

    I was reading on a few websites about the old US-80 highway. Can you sort of follow that all the way out west?

    Flying out is an option, but while it saves time, it also costs more in tickets & car rental. And it's less flexible... you get there and you have to leave by a certain point. Whereas, by driving, if on the day before we leave we check the weather forecast and it predicts horrible weather, we can always cancel or postpone our trip without losing money.

    Weather concerns aside... advice on any of the other stuff? :)

    -Niki

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,060

    Default That "never" happens

    Quote Originally Posted by nikithetiger View Post
    I'm assuming that in early December there's a *chance* of a winter storm, and not actually snow sticking to the ground til spring?
    We are talking about the desert southwest -- snow doesn't stick to the ground anywhere in the SW except on the tallest mountains.
    If there is a bad storm, would it be the kind of thing that would last a day then be gone the next day? We don't mind holing up in a hotel to let a storm pass.
    Storms rarely last more than a few hours -- but if it is an ice storm the effects can last for 2-3 days.
    What about sticking more to the I-10 the whole way - is the weather more likely to be nice there?
    There is still a chance of snow in southwestern Texas, New Mexico and Arizona on I-10.
    I was reading on a few websites about the old US-80 highway. Can you sort of follow that all the way out west?
    Yes, but not in your time frame. If you stay on the Interstates and the roads are relatively dry with good weather, it will require 10 full days to drive back and forth -- that only gives you four days to spread over interesting attractions -- if you were to follow US-80 (which is tricky, because it is not continious) you would probably need 15 full days of travel to accomplish the trip....

    Mark

  7. #7

    Default Us-80

    We wouldn't want to take the US-80 the whole way anyway. We would like to mix it up a bit though between the more scenic highways and the interstate.

    The two week period is our ideal timeframe. We work for ourselves, so if we're having a really awesome time, we could stretch it a bit longer...

    That said, we do not really care much about Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana so we could just drive straight through those - would that help make the two weeks more do-able?

    I would really love to take a lot more time to do this trip. Our original plan involved selling our house & belongings, and living & working out of an RV indefinitely as we toured the U.S. and found a new area to move to. We even bought the RV... but long story short, things got busy and plans changed... and this two week trip is my attempt to salvage SOMETHING for the near future). :)

    -Niki

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,272

    Default

    I-20 and I-10 through West Texas is one of the most boring drives on Earth. There is so little to see I did a speed run from Dallas to Lordsburg NM in one day last year. All you see are oil derricks, phone poles, and tumbleweeds.

  9. #9

    Default

    We went on a little daytrip yesterday along the Florida coast - and it made us even more excited about going on this roadtrip out West. We'd like to go ASAP so we're working on getting stuff paid off. With gas prices so low, it would save us a lot of money from what they were at just a few days ago.

    I'm trying to figure out a budget for the trip. We're probably going to use our truck, which gets about 14mpg. I estimated 6000 miles (does that sound right for what we want to do?) and using the calculator at $2.75/gallon for gas (hoping they go lower than today's $2.09/gallon price we saw, but would rather budget for more), came up with approx $1200.

    Food... let's say $100/day with meals, snacks & coffee breaks for two x 14 = $1400.

    Lodging... $100/day x 14 = $1400.

    Activities... $50/day x 14 = $700.

    Dogs (boarding)... $30/day x 14 = $420.

    As for potential breakdowns and stuff like that... to me that could happen here anyway and that's what we have an emergency fund for.

    So the total comes to... $5120.00. Am I forgetting anything? Does that sound right? I'm hoping I'm overestimating (especially foodwise!), but I would really rather overestimate than come short.

    Thanks!

    -Niki

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,060

    Default A little knowledge opens up worlds

    Quote Originally Posted by glc View Post
    All you see are oil derricks, phone poles, and tumbleweeds.
    That region is rich with history -- you do have to want to see beyond the obvious stuff tho. This site has more options for exploring West Texas that most of us could ever hope to complete in lifetime of travel....

    Mark

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