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  1. Default Spring Road Trip NJ to NV

    Hello All, I am new to the forum. I am planning a spring road trip cross country. I created a tentative route from NJ to NV. Please see below and note I used google to break up the time of the route. We are not necessarily going to stop at all these places unless needed.

    Here are a few points to note:
    - Purpose = Gain a better perspective of America by
    1.) observing the culture and history of the deep South and South West
    2.) learn about the various cuisines of the regions
    3.) observe different biological ecosystems (landscapes, flora and fauna)
    - First cross country road trip for all of us (we have been on other long trips together)
    - Traveling with two friends
    - One of my friends time may be limited due to work (14 to 18 days max)
    - Have a 2005 Base Chevy Colbalt with 30,000 miles on it (new tires, regular oil changes and maintenance)
    - We want to be frugal on the trip. We are not interested in purchasing anything but food (fresh local cuisine), alcohol and tickets to parks/sights/camping areas.
    - Have a free furnished house in Vegas (we are considering this base camp for the west coast)
    - Home trip will be along 70/80 for now through Utah, Colorado, Nebraska, Iowa etc. Stops will be minimal going home.
    - We leave when money runs out/time becomes a factor.

    Questions:
    - What do you think overall? Please comments and provide any pertinent advice. It is much appreciated!
    - Can anyone provide any information on great local food joints along interstate 95 (NJ to Florida), 10 (Florida to New Mexico), 25 (New Mexico) and 40 (formerly 66)? I am somewhat of a foodie and an advocate of fresh non industrial local cuisine.
    - Can anyone recommend great cheap hotels in Savannah, New Orleans and San Antonio?
    - Can anyone recommend any camp sites? We are prepared to camp if needed.
    - Can you suggest any parks or sights on the way there or back?
    - Should we take 80 or 70 back? Is there a lot of snow in Colorado the beginning of April?
    - Anything else you think is important

    Thanks!


    Day 1

    Start time 8:30 am Saturday morning

    NJ to Washington dc – 3 hours 16 minutes

    Est arrival 1:00 pm

    Washington dc to Fayetteville, NC – 4 hours 55 minutes

    Est arrival 6:30 pm

    Fayetteville, NC to Savannah, GA – 4 hours 15 minutes

    Est arrival 11.30 pm

    Sleep in hotel/motel

    Day 2

    Start time 9:00 am Sunday morning

    Savannah, GA to Tallahassee, FL – 4 hours 46 minutes

    (note Fort Pulaski National Monument)

    Est arrival 3:00 pm

    Tallahassee, FL to Mobile, AL – 3 hours 52 minutes

    (note Apalachicola National Forest)

    Est arrival 7:00 pm

    Mobile, AL to New Orleans, LA – 2 hours 17 minutes

    Est arrival 9:00 pm

    Sleep in hotel/motel

    (note jazz, French quarter, Cajun food etc)

    Day 5

    Start time 9:00 am Wednesday morning

    New Orleans, LA to San Antonio, TX – 8 hours 25 minutes

    Est arrival 6:00 pm

    Sleep in hotel/motel

    (note Alamo and Riverwalk)

    Day 7

    Start time 7:00 am Friday morning

    San Antonio, TX to Alamogordo, NM – 10 hours 29 minutes

    Est arrival 6:00 pm

    Sleep in hotel/motel

    (note White Sands National Monument, Lincoln National Forest)

    Day 9

    Start time 9:00 am Sunday morning

    Alamogordo, NM to Albuquerque, NM – 4 hours 26 minutes

    Est arrival 1:30 pm

    Albuquerque, NM to Flagstaff, AZ – 5 hours 2 minutes

    Est arrival 7:00 pm

    At this point we can choose to stay or go to Las Vegas to save money if we choose to go

    Flagstaff, AZ to Las Vegas, NV – 4 hours 42 minutes

    Est arrival 12:00 am

    Day 10

    Relax and chill in Vegas

    Day 11, 12, 13, 14, 15?

    Yosemite? Death Valley? Sequoia? LA? Grand Canyon? Palm Springs?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
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    Joplin MO
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    Default

    Add 20% to all those Google times. Computers don't have to slow down for anything and never need gas, food, or potty breaks. Do not attempt to drive more than 550 miles in one day.

  3. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by glc View Post
    Add 20% to all those Google times. Computers don't have to slow down for anything and never need gas, food, or potty breaks. Do not attempt to drive more than 550 miles in one day.
    Yeah, I figured as much. What is your justification for not driving more than 550 miles in one day?

    Thanks for the advice!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default Experience

    As glc pointed out, the silicon and electron based world of computer mapping bears little resemblance to reality for a number of reasons. For any trip beyond a couple of hours duration the time estimates from such routines are just wildly optimistic and cannot be trusted even for gross planning purposes. Our recommendation that you plan on covering no more than about 550 miles a day is based on millions of miles at the feet of the best teacher of all - experience. If you are trying to cover 700-800 miles in a day, you will not have any time to enjoy the drive, or to see things en route, or to complete your drive as planned, and you will simply be exhausted and a danger to your self and others by the end of it. Reasons enough to recommend that you don't try it.

    AZBuck

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
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    Default

    The only exception to the 550 mile recommendation I'd consider on that itinerary is from San Antonio to Alamagordo. It's 640 miles, but a very large portion of that run has a 75 and 80 mph speed limit. There also, frankly, is not that much to see out in West Texas unless you get off the beaten path.

    After Flagstaff, I would definitely do the Grand Canyon before heading to Vegas.

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

    Default your stated goals

    The one thing I will say about your current plan could be said anytime someone tries to plan their trip down to the hour. You really leave yourself no time to gain a perspective of anything beyond what your expectations. Instead of letting the trip "happen" you would constantly have to be watching the clock trying to squeeze everything in already.

    The same basically is true regarding the 550 mile guideline. That distance is a pretty good day on the road, but leaves you a little time left over to do a little exploring. Again, it goes back to your stated goals of "wanting to get a better perspective." You can have a day or two where you just try to cover ground and travel 600-700 miles in a day, but its going to leave almost no time for what you claim to want to do. Pushing beyond 700 miles in a day starts to just be an exhausting slog that will quickly turn into a miserable time where you can easily start turning your frustrations on each other instead of enjoying your trip.

    I'm a little concerned about your trip back. You've say you've got 14-18 days max, but you've already planned out 15 days. Even in your best case sincerio you're only giving yourself 3 days to get back home. It's extremely foolish, even to the point of being reckless/dangerous, to try and cover 2500 miles in 3 days. Even treating it as a speed run, where again, you won't be doing anything that fits with your self-declared purpose of this trip, you need 4 very long days on the road to make this trip safely.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,748

    Default Other thoughts.

    I too would visit the Grand canyon before heading to Vegas and if you have a night or 2 to spare, you could get off Interstate for a while between Albu and GC and through Monument valley and enter the GC from the East entrance along Desert view drive. With a choice of routes you could go to Mesa Verde NP or Canyon De Chelley.
    Between GC and Vegas their is a good section of route 66 that goes through Seligman and Kingman which is pretty cool.
    If you hang out in Vegas for a few day's you might find this list of day trips of use.

    In April you will find that the popular route used to travel to Yosemite from Death valley is via CA 120 [ Tioga pass] but note it will still be closed due to snow accumulation and you would have to go around the Southern end of the Sierra's to get there. On I70 heading back you have the cool little town of Moab and two fabulous National parks, Arches and Canyonlands and further along the Colorado NM near Grand junction. You need to work out how much time you have as you could well be using day's 11 to 15 getting home.

  8. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by AZBuck View Post
    As glc pointed out, the silicon and electron based world of computer mapping bears little resemblance to reality for a number of reasons. For any trip beyond a couple of hours duration the time estimates from such routines are just wildly optimistic and cannot be trusted even for gross planning purposes. Our recommendation that you plan on covering no more than about 550 miles a day is based on millions of miles at the feet of the best teacher of all - experience. If you are trying to cover 700-800 miles in a day, you will not have any time to enjoy the drive, or to see things en route, or to complete your drive as planned, and you will simply be exhausted and a danger to your self and others by the end of it. Reasons enough to recommend that you don't try it.

    AZBuck
    Your explanation is rational. Once, I took a trip from NY to Winstom Salem, NC overnight and I can also attest it was not one of the most pleasant experiences. The only part of the trip we would drive more than 550 miles is down the east coast and from San Antonio to New Mexico. When we arrive in Fayetteville, NC, we can decide if we want to proceed to Savannah.

    glc and Southwest Dave:
    Can we do the GC from Vegas? I am debating which would be best, get to Vegas where we have the house and do day trips or head to the GC and camp.

    Midwest Michael:
    The tentative itinerary is not set. I planned the itinerary to have an idea of time, miles traveled and a general route. We understand the limitations (at this time). However, we want to keep the journey open while still seeing some key places of interest like New Orleans and the White Sands of NM. I would probably like to stop in Mobile, Biloxi, Baton Rouge, etc. Can you suggest any other points of interests along our route? Also note, it could very well take us 14 days to get to our destination. Worst case scenario, if pressed for time, one of my friends can take a flight back from Vegas. That would leave two of us with a slow safe journey back home.

    Yes, those are our ultimate goals and we fully understand our limitations and how it affects said goals. With that in mind, we do not need to see everything at once to gain a better perspective of distant lands. We can still build upon our perspectives of the South and Southwest throughout our life time. For me, personally, this trip is the beginning.

    Thanks for the advice and suggestions. I am going to communicate this info to my party.
    Last edited by raven37457; 10-27-2009 at 11:56 AM.

  9. #9
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    Default

    The Grand Canyon is NOT a day trip from Vegas. It's about 6 hours each way. If you are going to Flagstaff anyway, it's only about an hour from there. What you could do is head out of Flagstaff in the morning to the GC, spend the day there, then either camp or head down to Williams for a reasonably priced hotel room.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
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    Default daytrip limitations

    Vegas can be a nice based for some daytrips, but with the size of the west, it can't really serve as a hub for a lot of the places you've listed.

    The grand canyon, as already has been mentioned a couple times, is too far for a daytrip - and its kind of illogical since you'll be driving right by there (relatively speaking) if you are coming through Flagstaff.

    Similary, the Coast, LA, Palm Springs, Yosemite, and Sequoia are also way too far to do as a daytrip. LA is a 5 hour trip one way, and that's if you don't hit the nearly constant traffic. Yosemite and Sequoia are both full day drives (8+ hours) all by themselves from Vegas.

    Death Valley would be a good choice, as would some of these options. Utah can also be a great choice, with parks like Zion and Bryce - however again, here if you are just going to be heading out on I-70 or I-80 to get home, it may make more sense to stop there on your way home rather than crossing the same ground multiple times.

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