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  1. Default Single Mom Planning crossc ountry trip with teenage son - SC to CA and Back

    Hi! This summer I want to take my son on a crosscountry roadtrip from SC to California and back over the course of three weeks. He begins his senior year of high school next year, so this is my last shot at the whole Grand Canyon, San Francisco, Painted Desert trip. I need lots of advice.

    First, is it safe for a single female and a young man to travel that far alone? I've traveled on business a lot but always by plane. I want to go, but I don't want to run into trouble along the way.

    Second, is there a particular route you would recommend? I want to experience as much of the country as possible. I've tried to map it out and I'm afraid I will miss something great. I also want to see the quirky things along the way. My son wants to go to Luchenbach Texas but I don't see that on the map. How do I plan whether or not to go toward Dallas or San Antonio to be closest to such a small random town?

    Thank you for your help!!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default with a k

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    I found a Luckenbach Texas, which is located North of San Antonio and west of Austin. Either city would be close enough to visit. I'm guessing there is some special connection for wanting to visit here, however, I would imagine its a place that you would stop for a little while on your way to the next place.

    Otherwise, I think I would simply do some research and figure out what places you want to see. Certainly, make sure your son continues to be involved in the process. If he could find Luckenbach Texas, I'm sure he'll have no trouble finding other places for you to go. With 3 weeks, you will have to do some picking and choosing, but that's true for trips of almost any length.

    Safety is a problem best cured with common sense, and a roadtrip doesn't have to be any more dangerous than being at home. Here are some more safety ideas.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Good For You

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    First of all, let me deal with the safety issue. The issue of women traveling alone (let alone with a strapping young man) comes up every so often and the general advice is always the same. Everywhere you will be driving will be somebody's hometown or close to it. If you lived there, would you drive alone? Do you drive alone where you live now? Exercise common sense precautions just as you would at home and you will be fine.

    Next up, you just have to resign yourself to one fact. You WILL miss many great things. This country is just too big to see it all on one three week trip. Comfort yourself with the flip side of that same coin. You will SEE a lot of great things, even without half trying. A couple of general route planning 'tricks' to keep in mind. You don't have to line up every place you plan to see on a single route. Indeed, you should plan to take two different routes west and eastbound to maximize the number of different places you can visit. Start with the big things like the Grand Canyon, Painted Desert/Petrified Forest, Albuquerque/Santa Fe, and Graceland which would all fall on a basically I-40 route; and San Diego, Kartchner Caverns, White Sands, the Alamo, and New Orleans which would all fall on a basically I-10 route and then look for smaller attractions not too far off those main routes.

    For example, Luckenbach, TX is just about 20 miles off I-10 and just northwest of San Antonio and so would be an easy addition to the I-10 leg of your trip. So, start marking these kinds of places on the map as you find them and have fun both in the planning and execution of your trip.


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula

    Default Great advice so far

    Let me just add a few things.

    First, as a middle-aged woman who has done solo roadtrips, I can assure you that you and your son will be fine. I use the same common sense, which I tend to refer to as my personal safety radar, as I do at home turned up a notch or so higher to account for unfamiliar surroundings.

    With three weeks, you have time to be flexible and spend extra time here or there. However, to ensure you aren't rushing too much at either the beginning or the end of your trip, have rough guidelines of where you want to be every 5 days, or 7 days. Just something to help keep you on task. But don't fuss too much with daily mileage goals. Some days you will want to stop and explore more. Other days, you may be driving through wide open spaces without a lot of things to stop and see. So just enjoy the view from the road and burn some miles.

    Personally, I like to alternate a day of heavy driving with 1-2 days of lesser driving. But we generally recommend that you drive no more than about 500 miles in a day. This gives you time to do some sightseeing throughout the day while still burning some miles.

    Over the course of the day, you will probably find that you'll average about 55-57mph. This includes time for brief stops to look at scenic viewpoints, refuel, bio-breaks, and for heavy traffic and construction delays.

    It also generally takes about 5 days to get from coast-to-coast. So, with three weeks, this really leaves you the equivalent of about 11 days for more intense sightseeing.

    Hope all this helps a bit. Happy planning and keep asking questions!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia


    I'll second what Judy said... as a female senior solo traveller I have never felt unsafe or insecure, not in rural areas nor in urban surroundings. Use common sense, and calculate all risks carefully. You'll love the experience.

  6. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by AZBuck View Post
    Everywhere you will be driving will be somebody's hometown or close to it. If you lived there, would you drive alone? Do you drive alone where you live now? Exercise common sense precautions just as you would at home and you will be fine.
    I agree with this in part . . . but there are places in my hometown where I don't go, and there are places I'll only go in daylight hours. My husband was attacked by a street person in broad daylight in a "good section" of New Orleans -- I mean really attacked; he had a black eye, multple cuts, blood everywhere. I think this happened on Constitution Ave; anyway, it was right by Jackson Square. The difficulty is that when you're in someone else's hometown, these dodgy places aren't always easily identifiable at first glance; thus, more caution is necessary when traveling.

    Still, traveling with a young man, I'd suspect that the majority of everywhere the OP would visit would be just fine -- especially during the day, and especially with an extra dose of common sense.

  7. Default Thanks!!!

    Wow! You guys are great ! Luckenbach Texas is from a song, but it's a real place where musicians are supposed to congregate for informal sessions. "Let's go to Luckenbach Texas with Waylong, Willie, and the boys..." He's a teenager. That's the only defense I have. : )

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default songs

    There's nothing wrong with going to a place because you heard about it in a song. I'm pretty sure the tourism industry of Winslow Arizona has increased by a billion percent since the Eagles released Take it Easy!

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