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  1. #1

    Default Combined east- and westcoast roadtrip

    Hello roadtrippers!

    I have been lurking this forum for a couple of years now and have finally decided to register.
    I have recently inherited some money so I'm finally starting to plan a roadtrip for next year when I've got enough vacationdays.
    What I am trying to figure out right now is when the best time would be to do this trip.
    I dont like extreme heat or extreme cold nor do I like large crowds of people.
    So I'm wondering if it would be best to do this trip in the late spring/early summer or in the late summer/early fall.
    But since I have read that Tioga pass usually opens late May/early June I probably will have to take this trip in late august/september/early october.

    Anyway here is my first draft for an itinerary:

    Day 1 Arrive at Newark International Airport. Take shuttle to hotel on Manhattan.
    Day 2 Sightseeing and shopping in New York.
    Day 3 Sightseeing in New York. (Empire state building, Statue of Liberty)
    Day 4 Pick up rental car at Newark International Airport. Drive to Woodbury Common Premium Outlets. Do some shopping then drive to motel in Lake George, NY.
    Day 5 Drive to motel in Watertown, NY via Fort Ticonderoga.
    Day 6 Drive to hotel in Toronto, Canada.
    Day 7 Sightseeing in Toronto. (Hockey HOF, CN Tower)
    Day 8 Drive to hotel in Cleveland, Ohio via Niagara Falls. Visit Rock And Roll HOF.
    Day 9 Drive to motel in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
    Day 10 Drive to motel in Washington, D.C.
    Day 11 Sightseeing in Washington. (National Mall, Smithsonian)
    Day 12 Sightseeing in Washington. (Smithsonian)
    Day 13 Drive to motel in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
    Day 14 Drive to Newark International Airport, return car. Fly to LAX. Pick up convertible at LAX. Drive to hotel in Hollywood.
    Day 15 Sightseeing in LA. (Walk of fame, La Brea tar pits)
    Day 16 Sightseeing and shopping in LA.
    Day 17 Drive to motel in San Diego, CA. Visit Seaworld.
    Day 18 Drive to motel in Palm Springs, CA via Salton Sea.
    Day 19 Drive to motel in Phoenix, Arizona via Joshua Tree NP.
    Day 20 Drive to motel in Williams, Arizona via Sedona.
    Day 21 Drive to motel in Kayenta, Arizona via Grand Canyon.
    Day 22 Drive to motel in Green River, Utah via Monument Valley and Arches NP.
    Day 23 Drive to motel in Cedar City, Utah via Capitol Reef NP and Bryce Canyon NP.
    Day 24 Drive to Hotel in Las Vegas via Zion NP.
    Day 25 Drive to Hoover Dam and back. Do some gambling at casino. Maybe see a show.
    Day 26 Fire various weapons at GunStore. Do some gambling at casino. Maybe see a show.
    Day 27 Drive to motel in Lone Pine, CA via Death Valley NP.
    Day 28 Drive to motel in Fresno, CA via Yosemite NP.
    Day 29 Drive to Sequoia NP then back to motel in Fresno.
    Day 30 Drive to hotel in San Francisco.
    Day 31 Sightseeing in San Francisco. (Golden Gate bridge, Alcatraz)
    Day 32 Drive to motel in Monterey, CA. Visit Aquarium.
    Day 33 Drive down Pacific Highway 1 to motel in Buellton, CA.
    Day 34 Drive to LAX, return convertible. Fly to Newark International Airport. Fly home.

    So I would like you experienced roadtripper to take a look at this and tell me what you would have done differently.
    I have a couple of extra vacation days I could extend the trip by so if you think there is something I shouldn't miss feel free to tell me.

    Thanks in advance!
    Beren

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,060

    Default October is about the perfect month on both coasts

    Quote Originally Posted by Beren View Post
    I have been lurking this forum for a couple of years now and have finally decided to register.
    Cool, nice to see you here and welcome to the Great American RoadTrip Forum! Will this be a solo road trip? I moved this thread from Summer roadtrips to Fall on the basis of my response (but we can move it back again, if you prefer a summer trip).
    I have recently inherited some money so I'm finally starting to plan a roadtrip for next year when I've got enough vacationdays.
    You've been doing some serious planning! The first thing I would suggest is that you do NOT book these motels prior to arrival -- with possible exceptions in Washington and Las Vegas. Your trips is pretty well organized -- but there are extraordinarily long days and given the pace, you may want to build in some resting days...
    What I am trying to figure out right now is when the best time would be to do this trip.
    October is just about the perfect month for roadtripping in North America.
    But since I have read that Tioga pass usually opens late May/early June I probably will have to take this trip in late august/september/early october.
    As lined out -- your trip doesn't include going over Tioga Pass...
    Day 27 Drive to motel in Lone Pine, CA via Death Valley NP.
    Day 28 Drive to motel in Fresno, CA via Yosemite
    If you want to go over Tioga Pass you would head north on US-395 and I would suggest staying overnight at Bishop in stead of Lone Pine. I would drop Sequoia NP from this trip -- there's no way you can do both Yosemite and Sequoia in this allotted time. It's physically impossible to cover that much distance...

    Other than that -- generally I recommend one "slow" kicking back by the pool day for every 6-7 spent on the road. This is going to start to feel like "work" it will be fun work -- but you are going to get exhausted.

    Mark

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,064

    Default the total

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    Scanning over your plan, nothing stands out as being real problematic by itself. However, any time one has a plan this detailed and this busy, where you are doing something every single day, I would encourage you to make sure you've got some room for flexability. Grand Canyon and Yosemite, for example, are two places where I could easily see you wanting more time. Its also quite possible that you'll want a day or two just to relax and not "do" anything. As long as you keep those things in mind, you should be alright.

    One other point that you'll need to double check, make sure your car rental contract allows you to travel into Canada. It shouldn't be too hard to find someone who will allow it, but you need to make sure you have written permission.

  4. #4

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Sedenquist View Post
    Will this be a solo road trip?
    Yes this will probably be a solo trip.
    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Sedenquist View Post
    I moved this thread from Summer roadtrips to Fall on the basis of my response (but we can move it back again, if you prefer a summer trip).
    Well since I now have decided to go in late september/october the Fall & Winter subforum is probably the best.
    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Sedenquist View Post
    As lined out -- your trip doesn't include going over Tioga Pass...If you want to go over Tioga Pass you would head north on US-395 and I would suggest staying overnight at Bishop in stead of Lone Pine.
    I have decided to take your advice and drive to Bishop instead of Lone Pine.

    But now on to some other questions that I have.

    Here in northern Sweden we don't have tolls on roads so I don't know how you go about paying them. Is there a device you can buy and have in your car and it pays the tolls automatically or do you have to
    have large amounts of pocket change to pay the tolls with. How does this work? And how much does it cost?

    Another thing I'm wondering about is tipping the waiters at restaurants and such. Here in Sweden we expect the restaurant-owners to pay all their employees a fair wage so we don't need to give the waiters a tip. So what I want to know is who to tip and how much should I give them.

    My third question is about sales tax. Here in Sweden its always the price on the pricetag that is the final price i.e. tax is included in that price. I have heard that the price on the pricetag in USA is not always the price at the cash register. How does this work?

    Thats all for now. I might be back with more questions later. :-)

    Beren

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

    Default more tips

    Quote Originally Posted by Beren View Post
    Here in northern Sweden we don't have tolls on roads so I don't know how you go about paying them.
    Just about all toll roads have an "E-Z Pay" system that uses a radio transmitter to automatically deduct the appropriate fare from bank account when you drive under the detectors -- but for a tourist it's not necessary. There are cash toll booths -- some are automatic -- requiring the correct change and that information is provided on signs as you approach the toll booth -- Others have human operators -- It's really very easy once you done it once to see how it all works.
    Another thing I'm wondering about is tipping the waiters at restaurants and such.
    The tradition in the USA is mostly to pay waiters and bar tenders, bus-boys, etc. a wage close to minimum wage the expectation that most of their income will be derived from tips. The logistics of how a tip left on a table is applied to all of the downstream employees affected by that tip is beyond the purview of your question -- but personally, I budget 15 to 20% of the total bill as a tip. Some people go as low as 10%, but the service would have to be dreadful before I would do that. In places like Las Vegas, New York, Seattle and a few other places where restaurant and bar service operates at an extremely level of professionalism, you'll find that wait staff remembers your tip (and upon your return) you will be well treated or not. I've had staff remember me years later....
    My third question is about sales tax. Here in Sweden its always the price on the pricetag that is the final price i.e. tax is included in that price. I have heard that the price on the pricetag in USA is not always the price at the cash register. How does this work?
    In restaurants, the final bill includes the sales tax -- but virtually everywhere else the list price for a product or service does not include sales tax and it is added at the cash register. Sales tax is a bit more complex. Cities, Counties, special districts all add their share in the % of tax charged. In the case of rental cars, the portion of taxes can sometimes almost exceed the cost of the original rental. Click here for some information about that. Sales tax tends to run somewhere between a low of 5% to a high of nearly 9% depending on where you are.

    Mark

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,271

    Default

    I tip 10% at a buffet where service people keep your drinks filled and take away dirty plates and provide you with clean plates. In sitdown restaurants I tip 15 to 20% of the bill. I never tip in fast food and other restaurants where you place your order at a counter and pay for it at the counter.

    I would recommend you have at least $20 in cash at all times to cover tolls, but very few are that expensive.

    Menu prices in restaurants are before tax. Almost all marked and advertised prices anywhere are before tax.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,064

    Default tolls etc

    There are two different styles of tolls. One will be a system where you'll be given a ticket when you enter the tollway and then you'll pay a specific amount when you exit. The other has toll booths set up at intervals and you'll have to keep paying a small amount every so often. The first system is most common for long distance turnpikes, while the other is more common for shorter toll routes, but some of it is simply state by state perferences.

    Sales Tax is something you'll have to account for. As mentioned, it depends upon your specific locality for how much it will be exactly, but 6-7% is pretty common. There are a few places (Oregon being one of them) where there is no sales tax and your price is your price, while I believe Chicago actually has the highest tax, which is a bit over 10%. Making things even harder to figure out is that not every state taxes every item the same. For example, many states exempt groceries (but not prepared foods) from sales tax and some even leave off clothing. Sales Tax is also an issue in Canada, where you'll see both the GST and the Provincial Sales Tax added to your total.

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