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  1. Default Charlotte, NC to West Coast AND BACK

    I am in the early stages of planning a May roadtrip from Charlotte, NC to the West Coast and back. Below, please find my tentative locations/stops. I intend for the entire trip to take about 30 days; however, would definitely appreciate feedback as to whether you think this is actually possible given my stops. Also, please suggest better stops/routes as well great restaurants/campsites/B&Bs/breweries/back roads/etc along the way... I will have a co-pilot, so long driving days are possible. We plan mostly to camp, but will probably want 4-5 nights in motels/B&B's.

    Goal: To experience funky/eclectic/real/out-of-the way/original America.
    Budget: a/b $2500

    *Each stop is for 1-2 nights
    *First three stops are to see friends/family, need no advice.
    -Charlotte, NC
    -Nashville, TN
    -New Orleans, LA (via Natchez Trace)
    -Austin, TX
    -Big Bend National Park
    -Albuquerque/Santa Fe, NM
    -CanyonLands National Park
    -Las Vegas, NV
    -Los Angeles, CA (only to do quick sight-seeing)
    -Los Padres National Forest
    -San Francisco, CA (Via Highway 1)
    -Salt Lake City, UT
    -Grand Teton/Yellowstone
    -Mount Rushmore/Badlands, SD
    -LaCrosse, WI (camp along Mississippi River)
    -Chicago, IL
    -Cleveland, OH
    -Washington, DC
    --Park car and take train to Boston/NYC
    -Back to Charlotte, NC

    Any/all thoughts are greatly appreciated. This is my first road trip and I am looking to experience some VERY UNIQUE aspects of American regional culture. THANKS FOR YOUR HELP!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,064

    Default a few oddities

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    I think your trip is within the range of being possible, although when you list 21 stops that you want to spend 1-2 days at each, it doesn't leave much flexability on a 30 day trip. I will also say the biggest concern with much of what you've laid out is that many of the places are at least a full days drive apart, so you'd basically be arriving at night and have to leave the next morning.

    -Albuquerque/Santa Fe, NM
    -CanyonLands National Park
    -Las Vegas, NV
    This is kind of an odd choice, simply because it is a fair extra distance to add this to your trip. Again, it would fall under the you could do it, but without any time to spare, category. Out of the nearly dozen National Parks in this area, how did you choose Canyonlands?

    -LaCrosse, WI (camp along Mississippi River)
    Out of curiosity, where exactly are you planning to camp. Without a boat, I can't think of many places to camp here that are along the river.
    This is my first road trip and I am looking to experience some VERY UNIQUE aspects of American regional culture.
    I think I would look seriously at cutting NYC, Boston, and DC off of this trip. The trip you've laid out right now would allow you to skim the surface of american culture, but if you really want to dig in to see things that are unique or different, and spend time driving on the back roads and doing brewery tours, you're going to need more time. The cities in the Northeast are still close enough to you that you can return on a shorter trip in the future.

  3. Default

    Michael,

    Thank you for your quick and thoughtful response. To answer a few of your questions:

    "This is kind of an odd choice, simply because it is a fair extra distance to add this to your trip. Again, it would fall under the you could do it, but without any time to spare, category. Out of the nearly dozen National Parks in this area, how did you choose Canyonlands?"
    --I have heard great things about Santa Fe and have a strong desire to spend an entire day experiencing it; however, agree with your sentiment that the rest of that leg is a little out of the way. I had read good things about Canyonlands, so thought it was worth an out of the way trip, but I guess it is best to drive straight through to LA and hit one of the parks along the way.

    "Out of curiosity, where exactly are you planning to camp. Without a boat, I can't think of many places to camp here that are along the river."
    --I was planning to camp at Great River Bluffs State Park (formerly OL Kipp State Park, and actually in Dakota, MN, a few miles north of LaCrosse).

    "I think I would look seriously at cutting NYC, Boston, and DC off of this trip. The trip you've laid out right now would allow you to skim the surface of american culture, but if you really want to dig in to see things that are unique or different, and spend time driving on the back roads and doing brewery tours, you're going to need more time. The cities in the Northeast are still close enough to you that you can return on a shorter trip in the future."
    ---After considering your comments it appears that I may be a little too ambitious, one of my initial fears. I am hesitant about cutting out the Northeast, as I have a number of friends in each city that will soon be leaving and would like to experience those areas with them; however, I guess certain sacrifices do have to be made given a timeline.

    Your help is sincerely appreciated. Do you happen to have any advice about specific activities (cultural/gastrointestinal/religious/unique) to pursue in any locations?
    Last edited by Southwest Dave; 02-07-2009 at 03:46 AM. Reason: Fixed quote format

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,064

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by hall.jb0 View Post
    --I was planning to camp at Great River Bluffs State Park (formerly OL Kipp State Park, and actually in Dakota, MN, a few miles north of LaCrosse).
    This state park is actually located in the bluffs that overlook the river. It is quite easy to get to from I-90, but there really isn't any water access there, if that is what you were looking for. Alcohol also isn't allowed in Minnesota state parks, which you might want to keep in mind if you like to have a few beers around the campfire.

    If you want to actually camp near the river, Perrot State Park on the Wisconsin side is on the river, although the campsites themselves are a little farther back and aren't directly on the water. There is also Goose Island County Park with camping just to the South of LaCrosse, which is also located along the river.

    If you are in the area, you probably want to stop and view the Worlds Largest 6 Pack and tour the Brewery, which at one point was one of the largest in the US.

  5. Default

    Michael,


    Goose Island looks great and I have added it to my tentative itinerary. Anyone else out there have any suggestions?

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