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  1. Default West to East - Road trip planning...

    Hello RTA,

    My friend and I are from the UK, planning our first US road trip. We're planning about 3 weeks and looking to fly into San Francisco.

    Our thoughts, thus far are....

    San Francisco - (3nights)
    Yosemite
    <stop between Yosemite & Death Valley>
    Death Valley
    Las Vegas - (2-3nights)
    Hoover Dam
    Grand Canyon
    Flagstaff (1night stopover)

    From there we're looking to get to the east coast... not sure where yet, we've both been to NYC already so not bothered about going back yet.

    Possibly to Washington D.C or Orlando/Miami way?

    We'd like to try and stick to the smaller roads where possible, nice scenery and not too busy!

    What are you thoughts?

    Many Thanks,

    Sean

    EDIT:

    Looking to leave the UK late April for approx 3 weeks.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,747

    Default Many options.

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

    Regarding the first part of your trip, if you were hoping to go from Yosemite to Death valley via the Tioga pass [HWY120] it won't be possible. The pass will still be closed because of snow. The valley floor is accessible but you will then have to head South towards Bakersfield and around the southern edge and back up into Death valley. I would recommend a couple of nights minimum to do this trip.

    If you were to spend 10 nights between S/F and Flagstaff you are in good shape to get across the country for the second half of your trip. We generally use 500 -550 miles a day as doable without being to exhausting. This puts you on the road for 9-10 hours a day and to cover the 2200 odd miles between Flagstaff and Washington would require 4 days minimum, so it leaves you a bit of time for sight seeing along the way.

    You could explore a bit of New Mexico and head through Memphis and Nashville on I-40 and then slow up again and explore the Smokey mountains, Blueridge parkwayand Shenandoah NP on the way to Washington.

    You could head South for New Orleans and Florida if you wished. Search the forums and roadtrip planning pages for more ideas, they are full of info. Don't hesitate to ask more questions.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default sorting out the details

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    You've got the start of planning a really nice trip. 3 weeks will give you a nice amount of time to make a tour across the US. Having said that, there really is so much that you could see, I think you'll need to do more work to figure out what it is that you want to do once you get past the major highlights of the west. Certainly picking a final destination is one big step of that, but what else do you hope to see or accomplish? What sorts of things would you consider to be interesting?

  4. Default

    Thanks for the input....

    Very disapointed to hear the Tioga Pass (120) is shut during that period, I'd have thought it would be re-opened by April/May? The website appears to imply it's open all year - careful driving and snow chains permitting!

    Michael,

    Not 100% sure yet to be honest... stupid as it may sound but, what is there? Route 66 to Chicago then to Washington DC sounds appealing!

    Oh yes, by the way, probably only one person driving due to cost (both under 25)

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,747

    Default Afraid so.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gr44 View Post
    Thanks for the input....

    Very disapointed to hear the Tioga Pass (120) is shut during that period, I'd have thought it would be re-opened by April/May? The website appears to imply it's open all year - careful driving and snow chains permitting

    From the official NPS Yosemite website you can view the Opening and closing dates for the Tioga pass and Glacier point.

    Not 100% sure yet to be honest... stupid as it may sound but, what is there? Route 66 to Chicago then to Washington DC sounds appealing!
    It's what appeals to you that counts ! Although little of the original '66 exists and has become I-40. From Vegas to G/C you can pick up part of it at Kingman through Seligman and back on I-40 to Williams. Some great little stores along the way selling '66 memorabilia.

  6. Default

    Ah brilliant, thanks for the link... Like you said it looks unlikely to be open around that time! :( Is the southern route a nice drive though?

    I was under the impression you could still travel along route66 most of the way with only a few sections that link onto newer roads... sounds like this isn't the case though!

    Are there are other, more traditional, quiet roads with nice scenery around that neck of the woods heading to the east coast?

    I don't want to spend too much time on the big highways, which I assume the I-40 is?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default Car rental costs

    You state that there will only be one driver, due to costs, since both of you are under 25. In that case, have you factored in the cost of one way rental. Check it out. You may find that there will be a fair whack on top of the rental for driving the car across country.

    Two thoughts come to mind:

    Check out Adventures on Wheels. Their age limit is 21. It appears that they may not charge for one way trips.

    The other is, have you thought of doing a circuit of the south western States (where you can spend a year and not see it all) and fly in and out of San Francisco? Leave the other side of the country for another trip.

    Lifey's tuppence worth

  8. Default

    Hmmmm....

    Interesting point Lifey!

    Maybe I should start the thread again with 'we have 3 weeks and really want to see Las Vegas, Grand Canyon, Hoover Dam.

    What else we do (and even where we fly into and from) is all debatable still. We'd like to hit a couple of other big cities and would like to see the really rural side of the US, mountains, forests, lakes and just great views in general!

    Plently of driving of course because I'm a driving nut :)

    In terms of the one way fee, yes all be accounted for. The reason it's one way is it worked out at $750 EXTRA to add another young person to the car... and my friend didn't really enjoy driving when we went to Canada/NYC/Montreal last year so probably not worth the extra expense. Once we confirm a route though I'll get a quote from that place, thanks ;)

    Money isn't really too much of an issue for the trip, we both have pretty reasonable budgets.

    What other routes could you suggest? I'm quite disapointed about the Tioga Pass still being shut & Route66 being some what less than expected; I'd imagined LV to Chicago being one windy road with very little on it bar the scenary! Can we find something similar else where?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default

    I hear what you are saying, as a retired professional driver, I am never happier than when I am on the road.

    Frankly, I don't think you can beat I-70 through Utah, if you do a search, Mark has done an article on just that road.

    The other, which is windy and scenic is Route 160 through southern Colorado.

    Great roads to drive. Lots of diversity in scenery and photo opportunity and places to stay. The little known Great Sand Dunes National Park is not far off 160 near Alamosa, and definitely worth a visit.

    You could then take I-25 down to Taos, Santa Fe and Albuquerque. (I could spend a month in that area.)

    p.s. I should have added that you can take the million dollar highway down from I-70 at Grand Junction, to Durango on 160. Now there is a road you will love driving on.... just be careful!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,747

    Default Research.

    It sounds as though it's a case of getting the map out, searching the forums and road trip planning pages and decide on whether to cross country or do a trip in the Southwest. The Southwest is very diverse and offers everything from coast to Glacial valleys to Deserts and red rock country and aewsome scenery that you won't see here in the UK.
    As well as all ready mentioned you have the great parks of Utah such as Zion and Bryce canyon, Capitol reef, Arches and Mesa Verde.
    A drive through Monument valley, famous for being the location of cowboy movies, Lake Powell and the list goes on, you could spend years here and not see everything !

    Having said that there is something to see wherever you go.

    Here are some links to Route 66 [please note it doesn't follow I-40 all the way as I may have accidently misled you] and agreat '66 field report and here are thousands of suggestions from every state and a huge list of R@R places just off every Interstate.

    Once you have researched and decide on the things that appeal to you we can help you "fine tune" your trip.
    Last edited by Southwest Dave; 02-16-2009 at 11:26 AM. Reason: Clarity.

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