Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 24
  1. #1

    Default From New York City to San Francisco in 21 days/Coast to Coast

    Hi everybody! I'm turning to this forum for some advice and useful information for our summer road trip through the United States. We, that's me and my girlfriend (25 and 24 years old, from Germany), plan on flying to Newark on August 21st and back from San Francisco on September 10th.

    I'll just post an itinerary and would love to get any additional information that you guys might have to share with us, especially any oddball attractions that we won't find in guide books. The places scheduled for us to visit each day are rough figures, there's a few must-sees, but apart from those destinations, pretty much everything is on a would-be-nice-to-see-if-there's-enough-time-for-it basis..

    Here goes:

    8/21: Arrival at Newark airport at around 1PM, pick up rental car, go to Liberty State Park, leave the car there, take the ferry to Manhattan and stroll around Manhattan until evening. Take the ferry back and drive to our hotel in New Jersey.

    8/22: Drive to Philadelphia, go see the Independence National Historic Park and Reading Terminal Market, continue on to Baltimore where we plan to arrive in the late afternoon. Pay Fort McHenry a brief visit and take the watertaxi to the USS Constellation. Drive on to Washington where we want to be in our hotel room no later than midnight.

    8/23: Visit the Mall until noon/early afternoon, the rest of the day: shopping at Potomac Mills.

    8/24: Leave Washington in the morning, drive the entire Skyline Drive through Shenandoah NP, pay Staunton, VA a short visit and be in Salem, VA at 7PM where we have tickets for a minor league baseball game. Spend the night in Roanoke, VA.

    8/25: Drive from Roanoke to Great Smoky Mountains NP and spend the rest of the day there.

    8/26: From the Great Smokeys, drive to Chattanooga and visit Lookout Mountain, continue on to Huntsville, AL and visit Space&Rocket Center (a must for me, even if we'll end up having only an hour so to spend there). Continue to Nashville, TN, hopefully arriving there early enough to grab some dinner.

    8/27: Go to Memphis, TN, possibly taking Natchez Trace Parkway for a bit.

    8/28: From Memphis, drive through Mississippi Delta to Vicksburg, MS, go sight-seeing there, continue to New Orleans via Jackson.

    8/29: Spend the day in New Orleans.

    8/30: Drive from New Orleans to Austin, hopefully arriving by late afternoon/early evening to meet friends there. I doubt we'll have enough time to visit Houston Space Center?

    8/31: From Austin, drive to San Antonio (via San Marcos' outlet malls), visit the Alamo, King Williams Historic District and spend the evening strolling aside the Riverwalk.

    9/1: From San Antonio, drive to Carlsbad Caverns and be there early enough to get into the caves and have a look around before they close for the day.

    9/2: From Carlsbad, NM, go to White Sands NM and from there to Santa Fé, NM. Spend the evening strolling around Santa Fé.

    9/3: From Santa Fé to Monument Valley, possibly visit Canyon de Chelly before spending the night in Window Rock, AZ. Is Four Corners worth a visit?

    9/4 From Window Rock, AZ drive through Petrified Forest NP to Sedona, AZ. Maybe see Walnut Canyon on the way? From Sedona continue to Grand Canyon village (possibly visiting Sunset Crater and Wupatki National Monument on the way). Window Rock, Sedona and Grand Cayon are givens, do you think we'll have enough time see the other sights mentioned on the way?

    9/5 See sunrise at Grand Canyon, leave for Page, AZ before noon. See two or possibly all three of: Horseshoe Bend, Lake Powell, Lower Antelope Canyon. What would be the best order to see them in on this day? In the evening, drive back to Grand Canyon village to spend the night.

    9/6 From Grand Canyon village to Las Vegas, visiting Grand Canyon Caverns on the way. Arrive in Las Vegas in the late afternoon/early evening, spend the rest of the evening on the strip.

    9/7 From Las Vegas, drive through Death Valley to Bakersfield, CA.

    9/8 From Bakersfield to Yosemite NP, be there as early as possible, leave for Modesto, CA as late as possible. Spend the night in Modesto.

    9/9 From Modesto to San Francisco via Golden Gate Bridge. Spend the day and the night in San Francisco.

    9/10 Drop off rental car and board plane back to Munich.

    I'd absolutely appreciate it if someone took the time and effort to reality-check our trips for each day and let me know if there's something wrong with any planned route. All the hotels have already been booked, though, so we can't change those. Any additional information about places to go or things to do would be more than welcome.

    Thanks!

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

    Default aggressive

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    Your trip plan isn't completely impossible, but it is pretty aggressive and I think you'll either have a hard time fitting everything in or you'll end up being exhausted.

    A couple things specifically, trying to see NY in a day is a pretty big goal anytime, but when you throw in a trans-atlantic flight, jetlag, time to get your car, and then having to deal with ferry's you could be looking at a real killer day here. I'd also really double check your Ferry Plan. The ferry goes to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island and really is not designed as a commuter option. I've looked into it in the past myself, and I could never get it to work out right, and if you make a mistake, you'll have a tough time getting back to NJ.

    You've got a lot of other days where you plan to drive very long distances and hope to fit in some attractions and activities. Much of your trip through the southwest is going to be whistle stop, at best. I would recommend planning a bit less, and throw in a "rest day" or two for two reasons. One, it will keep you from burning out because of your pace, and two, it will give you room to make changes for when you find those unexpected gems along the road.

    I'd rework your section in California. There is no reason to go all the way to Bakersfield, instead go through the park via Tioga Pass. Instead you could spend the night around Bishop or elsewhere along US=395. I'd also really recommend giving yourself some time here! Trying to race through Yosemite in 2-3 hours, and rush onto your next destination just doesn't show the appreciation for this amazing place that it deserves. There are several other places where you this could also be said, but this leg is particularly bad.

    Finally, screw the hotel reservations! Seriously, locking yourself into this plan because of reservations doesn't make much sense, and you should be able to cancel them at this point without penalty. I'm not saying you need to cancel all of them now, but saying this is the trip you have to do because that's what you've booked, really is putting the cart before the horse.

  3. #3

    Default

    Thanks for the advice!

    We got the whole trip as a pre-planned package for a killer price, so ditching single hotel reservations is sadly not an option, we'll just have to squeeze the lemonade out of this lemon.

    As I said, at this moment the itinerary really is an "would-be-nice-if" kind of thing, more like a list of what we would like to do if time suffices. If it doesn't, we're not really the kind of people who'd feel forced to visit everything on the list if we don't feel comfortable about doing it on that day. And the whole trip is not meant to be all about sight-seeing, it's as least as much about the joy of driving from coast to coast, which has always been a dream of mine.

    As for New York, we're not out for the whole experience, I've been there before and seen most of the important sights, so Wall Street (for the girl friend) and a very specific comic shop (for me) is all we'll be there for. And I was felt pretty positive about the ferry, if you look at the ferry map at nywaterway.com, they have a route that takes you from Liberty Harbor to Pier 11 and back.

    I'm aware that a few hours at Yosemite isn't anywhere near enough for that beautiful place, but it's one of the caveats of this trip that we'll just have to live with. We'd both love to spend more time there, but that just won't be possible - this year. A big reason for doing the coast to coast trip (apart from the mythic appeal of going from sea to shining sea in the first place) is that we couldn't agree on any specific region of the US to spend our vacation in. My girlfriend, a geography/geology major, really wanted to see the Southwest, I teach high school history and wanted to explore the Old South a bit, I've been fascinated by it ever since I went to college in Kentucky in 2004. So we figured, we'd take this trip to get a first impression of a lot of different places and figure where we'd like to spend more time next year or the year after that.

    I know that trip's not perfect, but I'm still convinced that we'll have a lot of fun or interesting experiences at the very least.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,749

    Default I'm sure you will !

    As Michael pointed out, your trip is not impossible to do but you are going at it at a fast and possibly tiring pace. I am sure you will have a fun and interesting experience and you seem to have done quite a bit of research on possibility's along the way so you are travelling with the info you need and which bits in between you visit can be decided upon on the road.
    Four corners has not got much to offer other than the token photo of standing in Four states at one time. As great as Horseshoe bend, Antelope canyon is, I can't see the advantage of using the only full day you have at the GC [and the chance to catch your breath] in taking an excursion away from it. Enjoy this wonder of the world and soak up the atmosphere.
    I understand you can't cancel reservations but I would consider paying out for a nights lodging from your own pocket and as Michael suggested, head North on the 395 from Death valley and enter Yosemite from the East on the 120 [Tioga pass] The drive is spectacular and it will give you a bit more time in Yosemite, and that's precious ! Staying between Bishop and and as near to Lee Vining as poss would set you up nicely for a drive through Yosemite.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,060

    Default One more comment

    It isn't the sightseeing of attractions that concerns us about this schedule -- it's the physical impossibility of covering the distance between several of your stops in the allotted time.
    We got the whole trip as a pre-planned package for a killer price, so ditching single hotel reservations is sadly not an option, we'll just have to squeeze the lemonade out of this lemon
    Can you share how this worked? Whom did you make reservations with? A pre-planned package for this scale of a trip? Can you tell us what your paying for this package?
    I teach high school history and wanted to explore the Old South a bit, I've been fascinated by it ever since I went to college in Kentucky in 2004
    It's very challenging to rush anywhere in the south -- but you'll find that out soon enough. In the meantime, you might enjoy reading this on-going series of roadtrips through the American South now underway by UK-writer, Peter Thody.

    Enjoy the planning and I'd love to know more about this "package".

    Mark

  6. #6

    Default

    Thanks for all the input, it's been infinitely valuable to us.

    Bakersfield, even though it might be out of the way, is actually convenient because I'm also meeting friends there.

    Okay, we've been talking the whole thing over and we're leaning towards cutting out almost all the detours that we added to the original trip.

    We booked the trip via one of the big German travel companies, FTI, all the travel companies here offer a large variety of these pre-planned packages. They'll book hotels for you and a rental car and you just pick up the car and drive the your chosen route. I'll link you to their page/catalog, but it's all in German, I don't know how helpful that would be for you. It might not be the perfect way to travel as you lose a lot of flexibility, but I didn't feel adventurous enough to get rooms on a day-to-day basis, especially since this is our first trip like this and I quite like the carefree feeling of not having to care about lodging. At least for a beginner's trip.

    We paid almost exactly 1000€ each for the hotels (2.5-3 stars) and the rental car, plus 560€ each for the flight and we've given us a budget of 1500$ each to cover gas, admittance, food, souvenirs, etc.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,060

    Default That is amazing!

    Quote Originally Posted by GalaxyRanger View Post
    We paid almost exactly 1000€ each for the hotels (2.5-3 stars) and the rental car,
    Wow, if my math is correct, that would be less than $150 USD per day for lodging and car rental and the company fees, of course. That does seem rather astonishing. I would love to hear how this works out for you! I really hope you can update us about your experience as this plays out.
    we've given us a budget of 1500$ each to cover gas, admittance, food, souvenirs, etc.
    Yes, that's a reasonable budget. I still worry about the distances you'll have to cover each day to actually use these motel bookings, but it will be an adventure to try!

    Mark

  8. #8

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Sedenquist View Post
    Wow, if my math is correct, that would be less than $150 USD per day for lodging and car rental and the company fees, of course. That does seem rather astonishing. I would love to hear how this works out for you! I really hope you can update us about your experience as this plays out.
    Your math is definitely correct, my calculation is roughly 130$ per day. Which also includes a not inconsiderable one-way fee, additional insurances, a free tank of gas and a voucher good for a full meal for two at any Hard Rock Cafe. We've rented a small car, though, nothing fancy.

    I still worry about the distances you'll have to cover each day to actually use these motel bookings, but it will be an adventure to try!
    We'll find out in just under two months. :-)

    Yeah, sure, if you guys are interested, I could write a small travelogue, maybe not live on the road, but after we're back home. We plan on keeping a road journal anyway, if you'll be okay with my attempts at translating it, I'll be happy to tell our story.

    Chris

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,060

    Default Sounds great

    Would you like a free blog here on RTA? We are still in beta -- so that blogs are not really linked with anything substantial -- but you could upload your photos and load the text in German and we could try and translate it for you.

    Mark

  10. #10

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Sedenquist View Post
    Would you like a free blog here on RTA? We are still in beta -- so that blogs are not really linked with anything substantial -- but you could upload your photos and load the text in German and we could try and translate it for you.

    Mark
    That would be cool, I guess. I'll just post when we're back from the trip, if that's okay?

    I'll probably come up with a thousand more questions before we leave, anyway.

Similar Threads

  1. New York - San Francisco
    By Steven in forum Planning Summer RoadTrips
    Replies: 14
    Last Post: 04-15-2009, 04:40 AM
  2. San Francisco to New York City and back
    By neep in forum Gear-Up!
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 03-20-2009, 08:21 PM
  3. New York - San Francisco - Los Angeles: It's possible!!
    By jawks in forum RoadTrip Field Reports
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 10-14-2008, 05:12 AM
  4. San Francisco (SFO) to New York City (JFK)
    By russen80 in forum Planning Summer RoadTrips
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 10-08-2008, 09:20 AM
  5. Baseball Trip
    By SK2 in forum Planning Summer RoadTrips
    Replies: 9
    Last Post: 11-21-2006, 12:20 AM

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
  • Find the Perfect Hotel
    Search RoadTrip Motels
    Enter city name

    Loading...



  • MORE STORIES