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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Bristol, United Kingdom
    Posts
    11

    Default East or West for Honeymooners?

    Hi there all you road trippers
    I am new to the forum and wondered if you could help me.

    I am getting married in the UK in September this year and have been considering different possibilities for our honeymoon in late September / October.
    So far we have been looking at the Seychelles / Mauritius but yesterday both my partner and I starting talking about searching for a little more adventure. The idea of a road trip in America seemed like an amazing idea. I have never been to America so am very open to any ideas. I guess as it is a honeymoon we would like to take it at a relaxed pace rather than have to travel 15 hours a day to reach the next marker. We like the idea of being able to travel as the mood takes us but also I guess we will need a fixed start and finish point as well as some rough plan of some places to visit.

    My first question would be which would be best the West coast or East coast?

    Also seeing as we are considering turning down a paradise Island in exchange for a road trip it would be nice to include some beach element to the trip for a little relaxation. Where are the best spots?

    Being used to the British Autumn which is usually very wet and fairly cold, what sort of weather can I expect at that time of year? Is the weather much different between the East and West coast? If we were to hire a convertible would we just get constantly soaked! (This would be likely in the UK!!)

    At the moment the paradise that is the Seychelles seems very, very tempting, but as both of us could get bored after a couple of days a road trip seems like a fantastic alternative idea. At this point the trip would probably be around 2 to 3 weeks depending on the cost.

    On that note and from all your experience do you know how many dollars we would need to allow for per day for this type of trip?

    I would welcome any suggestions as the level of knowledge amongst people on the site seems vast. Please excuse my ignorance about the whole subject. This would be my first road trip.

    Both myself and my FiancÚ work very long hours and very rarely get a chance to have a holiday (this will be the 3rd in 11 years!!) so I want to make it something very special, romantic and unforgettable as well.

    Cat x

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,067

    Default options not answers

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    A roadtrip is very different from a trip to an all-inclusive resort, because you get to personalize the trip to exactly what you want it to be. Because of that, the options are endless and there is never a single "best" when it comes to planning a trip.

    No one can tell you which is best between the east and west coast, because the is no way to say that one is better than the other. It depends upon what you are looking for.

    The west (and we're talking about a target that could be as big as Western Europe here) has some remarkable landscapes, both mountains and oceans that you won't find anywhere else on earth. the east (again, another huge target) has some of the world's most amazing cities, it also has mountains but they are far more muted than the rockies and sierras of the west, and of course it also has the ocean as well.

    September and October is one of the best times to travel amost anywhere in the US, as its in the not too hot, not too cold, not too crowded time of year. The only big potential problem is that it is also hurricane season in the Atlantic, so there is the possibility of a storm impacting your trip. On the flip side of that, if playing in the ocean is a priority, then the east coast is a better bet because the water off the California coast will be quite cold by fall.

    Budgetwise, again, that runs depends upon you. $100 a day per person could be a good starting point, but if your frugal you could go less than that, and if you want to rent a convertable and stay in luxury hotels, you could spend far far more.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,749

    Default Or both?

    Congratulations on your up coming wedding and welcome!

    To be honest I am a sucker for the Southwest, it has everything you could want. The bright lights of Vegas to the charm of San Francisco. The amazing diversity of the landscape from the Pacific coast to Yosemite to Death valley and the wonders of the Grand canyon. It's an amazing area to explore for fun and romance and I would give it a big thumbs up !
    Of course with 3 weeks you would have time to do a coast to coast trip and dip your toes in the water on both sides of the country.

    Have a look around the forums and road trip planning pages for more ideas and when you have decided what appeals to you [which is the important thing] let us know and we can help "fine tune your trip"

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Bristol, United Kingdom
    Posts
    11

    Default Options reply

    Hi Midwest Michael

    Thank you for your quick and very helpful reply.

    I guess I need to look further into what is available to see and do on both coasts in order to make a better decision. So probably a good starting point will be a good long hard look at some maps.

    It sounds like you are saying that the East will be better for the beaches, however the hurricane season does put me off some what. I guess there would be no point travelling into Florida only to be hiding somewhere looking at sideways palm trees!!

    When you say that west coast water may be quite cold by fall, this may still be pretty warm by our standards here in the UK, it's difficult to say! Are people still swimming at the beaches then? Maybe just the mad brits! Would a convertible be a bad idea at this time of year?

    Your budget estimate is very helpful and I realise we could swing it in either direction depending on what we are after. I guess a little bit of luxury here and there would be great to make the most of being honeymooners, but perhaps followed by some frugal spending for the next few days to even it back out!

    It would be fantasic to rent a convertible if the weather allows. I have a little Mk1 Eunos Roadster myself and used to own an old MGB so the fresh air would be a shame to miss out on. I suppose the main issue will be to find one cheap enough to rent. From the little I have looked it appears you pay a lot more to have no roof!

    If we were to take the west coast route do you have any personal must see places?

    Thank you
    Cat

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,749

    Default South west

    In Sept/Oct the Southwest is usually dry with clear skys and temps vary from the coast, which could be compared to our weather [and as unpredictable] to temps that could see 100 in Death valley/Vegas. The nights are cooler and on high ground such as Grand canyon could see "cold", but not like the damp feel you get here, more crisp.
    You do pay a premium for a convertible, but if you want one then why not!

    If we were to take the west coast route do you have any personal must see places?
    You may have missed my post above but it lists some of the highlights and LA and San Diego are another two popular spots, especially for the beaches.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,067

    Default pacific waters

    When you say that west coast water may be quite cold by fall, this may still be pretty warm by our standards here in the UK, it's difficult to say! Are people still swimming at the beaches then?
    The pacific is quite cool even in the summer months, even in the peak season, water temps rarely go above 70F/21C range. Depending upon where along the California coast you're looking at, they'd probably be down into the 60/15 range by October. Other than surfers in wetsuits, you probably won't find anyone going for a swim in those conditions. Florida, for contrast, has water temperatures that would likely be in the 75-80F range (25C), if not warmer in the months you're looking to travel.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Bristol, United Kingdom
    Posts
    11

    Default Maybe the West then

    Hi Southwest Dave

    Thanks for the warm welcome and advice. Yes I did miss your first post we must have crossed as I was writing.

    I think I may be getting more swayed by the West coast. I must admit it would be amazing to see Las Vegas, although I am a little nervous I could have a couple of drinks and lose my house in a card game!!
    I am not sure I am brave enough to do coast to coast but I will take a look at that option. I wanted to make sure we could take it at a relaxed pace to see interesting places and people that catch our fancy along the way.
    San Francisco would be cool just from the 'Bullet' Steve McQueen thing.

    I am not one for overly tourist filled spots but as Michael said the crowds should have died down a bit by then. I like the idea of stumbling across unique places and meeting people which would be hard to experience if you are trying to cover too many miles in a short space of time.

    I must admit the whole idea is beginning to excite me more than the beach in Seychelles despite the fact that it does look like Paradise! I have never been too good at just doing nothing all day.

    I guess if I can get the budget figured out then it does sound really exciting.

    Thank you for your advice so far. It has helped to point me in the starting direction

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Bristol, United Kingdom
    Posts
    11

    Default

    Hi All

    Getting closer to a decision now. We are thinking of heading for the West Coast and having a convertible car booked. The potential route over 21 days starting on October 1st is roughly as follows:

    Fly in San Francisco
    Take the coast road down to LA via Monterey, Santa Maria, Santa Barbara, Malibu and Santa Monica
    Down to San Diego
    Drive over to Phoenix
    Then either to the Grand Canyon and onto Las Vegas or straight to Las Vegas and take a day trip out to the Grand Canyon?
    Then onto Death Valley
    Then Yosemite National Park
    Finish back in San Francisco

    My questions to all you experienced road trippers would be

    Is this achievable in a relaxed/romantic manner?

    Will the Tioga Pass be closed when we get round to it in the last few days of the trip?
    I
    s there any places I am missing which are a must see along the way or a worthwhile detour for this special trip?

    My fiance is a Canadian and mad about hockey, do any of you know if there will be any games on around the route at this time and if you are also a hockey fan how much do those precious tickets cost?

    What is the best way to find out the distances between the places? Do you all head to google maps or is there a clever route planner on this site which I cannot seem to find?

    It's starting to come together! I am now far more excited than I would be to sit on a beach for a couple of weeks, this is way better!!

    Thank you

    Cat

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,749

    Default Looks good !

    Hi Cat, welcome back !

    Your trip is taking shape and with 21 days I think you could find a nice relaxed pace.
    To answer a couple of your questions; The Grand canyon is more than just a day trip from Vegas so I would highly recommend going there from Phoenix and having at least one night if not two nights there. From Flagstaff head North on the 89 and then the 64 through the East entrance of the canyon. [Desert view drive]. You will get some amazing wide open views of the Colorado heading towards the canyon from the Old Watchtower and along the drive to the village area. When you depart head South on the 64 to I-40 which creates a nice loop through the South rim area.
    The Tioga pass should be open mid Oct but it is also possible that it could be closed in the mornings if there is ice about untill mid day or so when day time temps will make it OK to cross as it thaws.

    Google maps are fine for distances but the time to cover them is mostly way to optimistic and allows no time for food, fuel or any other type of break. With no sight seeing and short breaks we reckon an average of 57mph can be achieved which should give you an idea of times. However this will lower considerably through National parks and back roads.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,067

    Default A few things

    A couple things, first it would be very unlikely for Tioga to be closed at any point during your trip. Its not totally out of the question, but in the past 30 years, there has only been one year where it closed before October 30th.

    If you are going to the Grand Canyon it wouldn't make any sense to do it as a daytrip from Las Vegas, since you'd have to back track much of your route from Phoenix. Not to mention that the canyon is closer to Phoenix, but its really too far from either to do much of a daytrip.

    Hockey season is just getting started in October. Along your route there would be teams in San Jose, Los Angeles, Aneheim, and Phoenix. I'm not sure exactly what NHL tickets are going for, but I believe you can get in the door for around $20, but you'd be looking at $50-75 each to get a decent seat.

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