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Thread: Newbie Advice?

  1. Default Newbie Advice?

    New to these forums and looking for some advice. My husband will retire in July and my temp position will end in October, so we're contemplating a road trip for about a month to see some of this great country of ours. We live in Mass, will be driving a car and staying in motels, hotels, inns, whatever. We plan to pick some places we'd really like to see and head out for about 2 weeks in one direction and then head back for about 2 weeks. I've been looking around online at different routes and there's so much to choose from! Some of our places of interest are some of the national parks, Nashville, Memphis, San Antonio, maybe San Francisco and/or San Diego, Colorado, Vegas, and we have to hit Atlanta either out or back to visit our daughter. So, any advice on a trip with a fairly loose agenda? Perhaps head out across the middle of the country and return across the southern route since we're planning on a fall trip. We're just in the "talking" stage, so any info from seasoned travelers would be great.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default Talk it Over Over a Map

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    The best piece of advice I can give you at this early 'talking' stage is that when you and your husband do your talking, be sure to do it with a good map of the U.S. in between you or close by. Start by marking the places you have to go to, Atlanta, maybe the Grand Canyon, wherever you want to end up on the west coast, etc. See what's on the way between those points that appeal to you.There is no 'best' route, only what is best for you two. Keeping mind, though, that you're looking at something like 8,000-9,000 miles by the time you're done, and while that's not too much to cover in a month, there's no getting around that it's a lot of driving, and you may want to start with something a bit more manageable for your first serious RoadTrip.

    AZBuck

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula
    Posts
    3,318

    Default Congrats on the upcoming retirement!!

    And welcome to the Roadtrip America forums.

    We generally recommend that people plan for 500-550 miles per day at the top-end. This means being in the car for about 10 hours, give or take a bit, to cover these miles. So, the question is, do you want to drive that much with only time for brief explorations? If so, you could make it to San Francisco or San Diego and back, but not much else. Boston to San Francisco is roughly 3100, or 6 days one-way. A roundtrip takes up 12 days of your planned trip leaving you only 2 days to sightsee.

    Oh, wait, that was before I added in a detour through Atlanta. Now it's closer to 4000 miles, 8 days each way. I guess you can add a couple of days and honk at your daughter as you go by. In other words, it's not possible to make it to the west coast and have any time to enjoy yourselves unless you add more days. Vegas and Colorado are both still too far.

    I would either plan a closer destination or just do a meandering-style roadtrip, i.e. just get in the car and drive. After one-week, take another route home. No destination in mind means you can stop and explore to your hearts content.

    If you did a MA-Nashville-Memphis-San Antonio-Atlanta-MA loop, you're still looking at over 4000 miles. Do-able in two weeks but once you spend a few days visiting with your daughter, and maybe a day in each of these cities, it still might mean more driving per day than you want to do. Hard for me to say. Only you can answer that.

    I'm thinking for your first roadtrip, something like this might be better. At about 2800 miles, it's less taxing with driving and, if you want, you can make a lot of detours to things that intrigue you without feeling rushed, go off the interstates and explore some 2-lane roads, veer over to the coast and enjoy the beach, etc. It just gives you more options; less pushing. Loop drives are great because you can see new roads the whole trip.

    Hope this gives you some food for thought. Keep planning and asking questions and we'll help you tweak things, if wanted, to come up with a trip that suits your needs and interests.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    Judy:

    head out for about 2 weeks in one direction and then head back for about 2 weeks.
    I read that as 2 weeks out and 2 weeks back.

  5. Default

    Yes, we're planning about a month all together. So if I read Judy's post correctly and it's roughly 6 days from Mass to San Francisco it sounds like that's a possibility. We would still have time to do some detours and exploring along the way I think. But in the end, it's really more about the trip itself, and if we didn't actually reach California it would still be an amazing experience.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula
    Posts
    3,318

    Default Ooops!

    Yes, you could easily do a coast-to-coast with 4 weeks, and visit your daughter, too. Sorry.

    You won't be able to linger for long periods of time at multiple stops, but you'll be able to see a lot of interesting things along the way.

    How else can we help you?

  7. Default

    It's been a while, but we've been doing more talking and planning. We're going to leave sometime between the last week in August and the 1st of September, and travel as fast as we can to SD (we should be there by day 3?). We're not too interested in much between MA and there on this trip and want to focus on places we've never been. Our basic plan is to hit SD, MT, WY then into WA, down the coast through OR and CA, then to Vegas and Grand Canyon, and return through AZ, NM, TX, LA, GA (to see my daughter), Nashville, Memphis, into VA/DC to see my brother and then back to MA. Main list of what to see includes Mt Rushmore, Deadwood, Yellowstone, Redwoods, CA coast, Yosemite, Vegas, Grand Canyon, San Antonio, and whatever we happen to come across. We plan to travel with open minds, sense of adventure, no advance reservations, gps and laptop for planning a few days at a time, stay in motels and keep food costs down with a cooler. We've been using AAA's travel planning site, National Parks site, individual state sites, and this forum for information so far. Ambitious? Absolutely! Possible? We think so. Any thoughts?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    Where in MA to where in SD do you want to get in 3 days? That may be pushing it. It's 1550 miles from Boston to Sioux Falls, which is near the limits of a prudent 3 day drive.

  9. Default

    We're on Cape Cod, very close to the Canal, and we're aiming for the Sioux Falls area to begin. 3 days IS pushing it to get that far, but we're aiming for Clarion, PA then Hammond IN and on to Sioux Falls. Long days, but adjustable. If we need to stop sooner we can, but we'd like to get that leg of the trip out of the way quickly. After that we don't plan on doing such long driving days, keeping it well under 500 miles per day.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,064

    Default not bad

    Getting to Sioux Falls shouldn't be bad at all in 3 days, however, personally, I'd try to get to the other side of Chicago on day 2. I just wouldn't want to wake up in Indiana and know I was starting my day by driving into the teeth of Chicago rush hour traffic. I'd be looking to stay around OHare or Schaumburg (Woodfield Mall) areas, or possibly even continuing a bit further to Elgin or Rockford, depending upon how you are feeling. Even at the extreme of going to Rockford, you're only looking at 550-600 miles for each of your first two days, which is the upper end of our recommendations, but its still a reasonable distance to cover in a day.

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