My fiance and I are planning to take a road trip as our honeymoon. Right now I live in Raleigh, NC, and he lives in Seattle, WA, so it's also a way for us to move some of my things (clothes mostly) across the country.
We originally planned to rent a large car or SUV for extra packing room, and it wasn't completely unaffordable to do that, but the cost of driving one-way so far is pretty intimidating. Basically, even if we rented a standard or full-size sedan it would be upwards of $1500 just to rent the car.
And that was when I was actually hoping to get rid of my car--a 2003 Ford Focus. In fact, it never even occurred to us to drive my car there, since I was planning to get rid of it. Unfortunately it's waaay upside-down and basically I owe so much more on it than I could sell it for that it's going to take some time before I can part with it. Meanwhile, my parents aren't really interested in keeping it with them--my dad actually suggested driving it to WA for us (because he loves to drive like that) after we move (assuming we'd take a rental.)
But if I took it with us, it'd give us another (spare) car in WA "just in case," it'd save us at least $1500 on a rental car, and give me some time to pay enough on it to be able to sell it and be done with it. In fact, that very same $1500 we'd save would put us much closer to that goal.
So financially the obvious choice seems to just take my car with us. But it's a Focus. That's fine for driving around town or even 300 miles or so, as I've done on several occasions. But I'm not looking forward to spending 2 weeks in it to make the drive.
Firstly it doesn't have cruise control (though my fiance intends to drive and prefers not to use it for some reason.) Secondly the seats aren't so comfortable. (Is there a way to fix that?) And lastly it's just kinda noisy compared to newer better cars (like some I've rented in the past.)
Also, the reason I said two weeks is that we are taking a longer-than-necessary route. We're planning to leave right after Thanksgiving (on Nov. 29 actually, a Sunday.) Basically instead of going north, we'd rather go south. And that is partly because I'd like to see the Grand Canyon on this trip. I'm also thinking that staying south for a large part of the trip (TN, AL, AR, OK, TX) that we won't really see any snow until we get into higher elevations. And while I'd love to see North Dakota and Montana, I'd rather do it while they're not covered with snow in the first place.
So mostly we'd be taking I-40 to Sedona, AZ. But we have to deal with the rock slide at the NC/TN border (probably won't be cleared by then.) Also, I'd like to stop in Huntsville to see the Space & Rocket Center. But before that I would like to see some of Great Smoky Mountains National Park. I don't know how much of the mountains I'd be able to see from the interstates in that area.
It's a problem for us, driving in the winter, since there won't be as much daylight, because we'd really like to see the landscapes we're driving through. How far is it realistic to be able to drive in a day? Or in half a day?
We're planning to stop in Sedona for a few (2-4) days to rest half-way, see the Grand Canyon and such. Then we're planning to drive north from there: fiance wants to see Death Valley, but we might not stop at any other parks in California. Is there a scenic route I could take northward in CA that's not too congested? Would it be worthwhile to drive through or stop in any particular city on our way? (I'm thinking maybe San Francisco, but we can always come back to CA.)
And I would like to drive north up the coast (101) in Oregon and Washington along the coast instead of taking the interstates there.
Any tips for a trip like this? Would it be better to plan ahead and book hotels before we leave, or to stop along the way? In Sedona we'll almost definitely need to book ahead of time since we'll hopefully be staying at a B&B there. But knowing how far we can realistically travel per day (or per half-day, since we'll only be in Hunstville for half a day) would be nice to know so we can anticipate our stopping points. What do folks here do? (When not camping or RVing.) Any ideas on how to make bucket seats more comfy?
My fiance has driven through NV, CA, WA, and OR before, while I've driven I-95 and I-85 from FL to NJ, and I-40 across NC, but neither of us has any experience in the middle of the country.
So any help and advice would really be appreciated. Thanks everyone!