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  1. Default Suggestions to fine-tune my Boston to Cali Roadtrip...

    I would love some help fine-tuning my roadtrip that starts in a few weeks, and this seems like the place to go for such the thing. I am driving one way from Boston to California from July 2 – August 6. And would love some help on my itinerary. I have some friends I am meeting, which is noted on the list itself.

    Main questions: Are there any places on the list you would definitely take off/add on? Any cool places in Arkansas to stop at (since I’m mainly driving through)? Would you stay at White Sands for two days or Santa Fe/Albaquerque? Where in regards to Zion, the Arches, Bryce, canyonlands, and glen canyon would you concentrate on? Where with regards to Joshua Tree, Mojave, and Death Valley would you concentrate on? I am staying in Whiskeytown to break up the drive form Yosemite to Redwoods, is this a good idea? Any food/places to enjoy suggestions in the major cities?

    I have rented a car to drive (one way), and am also looking for camping suggestions. I would prefer to mostly camp, but do not mind hotels, motels, and even sleeping in the car when options are limited. I am hoping I can still get some camp grounds at some national parks but think I have missed the boat on that one (I can still hope!!!). Thank you all very much in advance!

    July 2 – maryland/washington DC
    3 (Friday) – norfolk, virginia (virginia beach) – VISITING A FRIEND
    4 – kentucky (cumberland gap)
    5 – kentucky (mammouth caves)
    6 – memphis, TN
    7 – dallas; drive through AK (hot springs and central high school)
    8 – austin
    9 (Friday) - austin
    10 – big bend, tx
    11 – carlsbad, NM
    12 – white sands, NM
    13 – white sands, NM? Good enough to stay 2 days?
    14 – NM (Alburqurque and Santa Fe)
    15 – durango, CO (mesa verde) – VISITING A FRIEND
    16 – CO (Black canyon of gunnison)
    17 (Friday) – Denver, CO (coors brewery) – VISITING A FRIEND
    18 – Denver, CO (rocky mountains) – VISITING A FRIEND
    19 – UT (arches)
    20 – UT (glen canyon/canyonlands)/bryce (which to go to?)
    July 21 – UT (zion)
    22 – UT (Zion)
    23 – grand canyon, AZ
    24 (Friday) – Grand canyon, AZ
    25 – Phoenix, AZ (Sedona) – VISITING A FRIEND
    26 – San Diego, CA – VISITING A FRIEND
    27 – Joshua Tree, CA (& Mojave)
    28 – Joshua Tree, CA (& Mojave) or go to Death?
    29 – Death Valley, CA
    30 – Yosemite Park, CA
    31 (Friday) – Yosemite Park, CA

    August 1 – Whiskeytown, CA
    2 – Redwoods CA
    3 – Redwoods, CA
    4 – Napa Valley, CA – VISITING A FRIEND
    5 – Napa Valley, CA – VISITING A FRIEND
    6 – San Fran (leave for Boston in morning)

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

    Default At This Level

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    The best advice anyone can give you once you've already gotten to this level of detail in planning a RoadTrip is to do those things that appeal to you. Yo seem to have things well under control and know where you're going and what you're doing. I see no major flaws in your itinerary, no 700 mile days or 5 national parks in an afternoon as we sometimes see. 'Fine tuning' is always best left to the participant(s) and you're doing just fine. As far as camping goes, your best bets are usually state parks and national forests both for price and availability. The only warning would be that if you're planning on staying near a major national park or over a major holiday weekend, you'd be well advised to make reservations before departure.

    AZBuck

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default Wow! This is a lot of driving!

    Quote Originally Posted by lafayette03 View Post
    Main questions: Are there any places on the list you would definitely take off/add on?
    You've clearly done some good pre-planning and you certainly have an excellent span of time. Everyone here wishes they could take that long a road trip right now. Welcome to the Great American RoadTrip Forum! Some of your planned driving days are a bit long. The Memphis to Dallas leg, for instance, will easily require 11+ hours in the saddle and some of your other days are pretty long too. The biggest advice I would make is to allow a full day resting and taking it easy at least every 5-6 days -- Even a professional driver couldn't keep up your pace for 30+ days.
    Any cool places in Arkansas to stop at (since I’m mainly driving through)?
    Arkansas is one of my favorite states for sheer scenic beauty. But you don't have time if you are really going to push on to Dallas the same day!
    Would you stay at White Sands for two days or Santa Fe/Albaquerque?
    White Sands is too bright for me in the summer time. Forum member, Howard, is our local expert for Albuquerque and the greater area. Check out these ideas and these for more explorations.
    Where in regards to Zion, the Arches, Bryce, canyonlands, and glen canyon would you concentrate on?
    It would be easy to spend 2-3 months in each park. If I had to pick one region -- and given the proximity of some of the other places you want to go -- I would suggest focusing on Zion and Bryce.
    Where with regards to Joshua Tree, Mojave, and Death Valley would you concentrate on?
    Since you'll be in San Diego, the only park you could have any chance of seeing in your time frame is Joshua Tree, but seriously, if you really stick to this schedule -- you'll spend most of 10 hours per day in the car and your experience of the national parks will be through the windshield only. It can be done, but if it were me, I would cut the destinations in half (or at least a third) and really spend some time exploring the regions you are driving through.

    Mark

  4. #4

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by lafayette03 View Post
    Would you stay at White Sands for two days or Santa Fe/Albaquerque?
    White Sands is going to be really hot in July. It's worth a visit, early in the morning if possible instead of mid-day. Two days in Santa Fe will be much more comfortable.

    For your visit to Carlsbad Caverns make sure and stick around to watch the bats leave at sunset. Two of the cave tours are self guided. For the ranger guided tours, make reservations online before you leave.

  5. Default Follow-up

    When I mapped out from Memphis to Dallas, google maps said it was about 6-7 hours. Should i not be going by these estimates? And with respect to the beautiful scenery in Arkansas, is it mostly something you see while driving through or do you recommend stopping at certain locations.

    I am going to concentrate taking off a few more destinations off my list, so I can take it all in in certain areas. In additon, in New Mexico Ill focus on Santa Fe/Albaquerque and maybe just make a quick morning stop at the White Sands...

    Great tips! Thanks so much!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default underestimating

    Well, the Google Estimate from Memphis to Dallas, with a stop in Hot Springs comes up at nearly 8 hours, but yes, that is beyond a best case outcome. As we frequently mention on this forum, online map programs assume you can drive for a million miles before stopping. In the real world, you'll need to stop every couple of hours for food, fuel, and other necessities. Realistically, you'd be looking at about 8 hours just to drive directly from Memphis to Dallas, but when you factor in time driving in Little Rock and Hot Springs, you'll pretty easily be up past the 10 hour mark before you've even done much, if any exploring of those places.

    In general, I agree with much of what has been written already. There are no single days where you're going to be doing something impossible, but I think the strain of trying to do so much every day for a full month will wear on you. I'd factor in a handful more of "nothing" days where you can simply have time where you haven't scheduled anything. You might end up just resting, you might find things you'd really want to do with that day, or you might find that there are places that you want to spend more time, and then you can add in that time without throwing your entire schedule out of whack.

  7. Default Altering the Route...

    So im trying my hardest to alter the route a bit. The thing thats hard is that if I take something off, then I might have a long drive to get to the next destination. Thats what it seems anyways...

    What seems to be peoples favorite park out of Joshua Tree, Mojave, and Death Valley? Can you camp at all those parks?

    I think a good idea, is taking off my second Napa Valley day and adding an Arkansas stop. That would solve some problems there...is there any good sites in Arkansas for scenery?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default lost along the way

    Certainly there are lots and lots of great scenic areas in Arkansas, and you can camp in any of the parks in California that you've mentioned.

    I think you're bigger problem is that you continue to schedule your trip to death, to the point where you aren't going to be taking a roadtrip to get out their and see new things, you're going to be on a month long march to endlessly check things off a schedule. I can understand wanting to have a plan and an idea, but you'll always find things on the road that you can never expect to find even with hours upon hours of research. But you've got to give yourself an opportunity to do that. It doesn't matter how long you have, there just is no way to see everything, so don't force yourself to build a trip trying to meet an impossible goal.

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