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  1. Default Our Great American Road Trip - Summer 2009


    We are currently in the planning stages of our Great American Road Trip that will be taking place next Summer.

    We will purchase a vehicle of some description in Vancouver, leaving town on 1 July to drive down the west coast, across to New Orleans, down to Florida and then up the East Coast before a quick cross over to Montreal, Niagara Falls, and then back across to Nevada for the Burning Man Festival in late August.

    We realise we are being ambitious with the ground to cover and while we have a semi-itinerary, we want to make sure we don't miss any essential sites along the way, so are asking for your help to guide us.

    We are all for quirky, eccentric landmarks, amazing scenery, national parks, great food and good old fashioned fun.

    So far the big stops we have planned, but are far from finalised, are:
    San Francisco
    Los Angeles
    Las Vegas
    New Orleans
    Mobile, Alabama
    Virginia Beach
    New York
    Niagara Falls
    Salt Lake City
    Black Rock Desert, Nevada

    My questions are
    1. Is there a better route? There are reasons for most of these stops (friends, always wanted to go, sites we want to see...)
    2. Are there things we should see along the way
    3. Have you done a trip like this, or any part of it, before and do you have any tips?

    There will be a group of us hailing fom various parts of the world - Australia, New Zealand and Canada primarily and we are all in our mid 20's. We have lived together so compatibility will not be a problem. We are willing to take cheap options and will be camping or living in our RV for most of the trip.

    Any hints, tips or advice are welcome!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    That's definitely the right order for all those stops. Point to point is right around 10,000 miles (returning to Vancouver), so you need to plan for around 13,000 miles or so by the time you get done. You have allotted about 60 days between the start and the festival, so you are only looking at having to cover an average of about 200 miles a day.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tustin, California, United States

    Default Try and hit some of New Mexico

    If you have some time between Phoenix and Austin, you may want to cut across some of southern New Mexico. It should only add an extra 150 miles or so to your original route.

    Once you get to Las Cruces, NM via I-10 (assuming that's the road you're taking) you can cut up Hwy 70 and check out White Sands National Monument with miles of white dunes. If your idea of quirky is sliding down steep slopes on plastic trash can lids then you're in luck. :)

    If you keep heading east from there through Alamogordo, NM on Hwy 82 -> 265 -> 62 you can also stop by Carlsbad Caverns National Park for their magnificent caverns and early evening Bat Flight.

    From there you can head south and use the minor highways to work your way back to I-10 and continue on to Austin, TX. If you plan to spend a night there in Austin make sure to check out 6th street downtown. Plenty of pubs and venues all around.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    Well, you cannot go from Las Vegas to Phoenix without seeing the Grand Canyon. There are 2 ways to get from SF to LA - the coast or through the Sierras. Don't even think about just droning down I-5 or CA-99.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default A million and one options

    Hello and welcome to the R.T.A. forums.

    That's one hell of a trip you got planned there ! [I'm not jealous] ;-)

    You can search the forums and the Roadtrip planning pages [in the green tool bar at top of page] for loads of info as there are a million and one possibilities.

    Here is a great link an A-Z guide of the States that's full of ideas.

    The National parks site has info on all the parks in the U.S.A. which you can link to by clicking on the map. You will notice in the bottom left hand corner of the page that you can purchase an annual pass for entrance to all parks and Fed lands which has unlimited use for the year. It pays for itself after 4 visits so it's great value.
    There is also info on camping at the parks [extra charge] but the popular ones like Yosemite, Grand canyon and so on will get booked up quickly so if you don't want to be tied to a schedule you will have to camp outside unless you get lucky.

    On the first parts of your journey there is the PCH down the coast, Yosemite, Sequoias, Death valley, Grand canyon, Monument valley, and it's worth going into Utah for Zion N.P and Bryce canyon to name a few. There are many other great attractions in Utah including Arches N.P, Canyonlands that could be visited between Denver and Salt lake. Denver has rocky N.P right on it's doorstep with great Alpine scenery and there is also the highest paved road in America that will take you to the top of Mount Evans[toll charged]. If you do venture across Death Valley [to Vegas] you can also visit the lowest point in the U.S.A. at Badwater.

    Have a look around and as you build your trip keep asking questions and we can help you piece it together.


  6. #6

    Default Just four words

    Death Valley - must see.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia


    Quote Originally Posted by glc View Post
    There are 2 ways to get from SF to LA - the coast or through the Sierras. Don't even think about just droning down I-5 or CA-99.
    I concur!!

    From SF take highway 1 - the coastal road - to San Luis Obispo. Stunning scenery, magnificent wildlife, UNMISSABLE!!

    As a professional driver I often drove visitors from North America along the Great Ocean Road, west of Melbourne in Victoria. And most of these had never bothered to visit their own magnificent coastline in California.

    Lifey who would have liked two days to do that road

  8. Default thankyou

    Thanks everyone for your ideas and input. We will continue to plan and am sure we will have many more questions for you all. Just one for now - do you think a side trip to Nashville will be too hard to squeeze in?

    We will definitely be doing the coast road, as an aussie I have done the great ocean road and it is beautiful...and should be savoured!

    We had planned to do the Grand Canyon, I just forgot to put it on the list... the list that never stops growing!! Any ideas on other things we should add?

    Thanks in advance!

  9. Default

    (comments removed as per policy of this forum) The best way is to cut through the Sierras (you can stop by Death Valley as well).

    The Ocean route is beautiful, too.

    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 01-09-2009 at 08:44 PM. Reason: No such thing as a boring route -- that's a human characteristic

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