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  1. Default ! first time road trip !

    Hi! I have dreamt about this for a very long time, years. I finally have the opportunity to take off for a while for a roadtrip. I have 3 weeks. We are not very athletic, we don't mind a non-strenuous enjoyable long walk, but no difficult hiking. We want to site see, and want to see quaint towns and pretty surroundings. We initially wanted to go for 3 months but that is definitely not possible. We wanted to go to California and back but that appears to not be possible either in our time frame. :) I can get off of work for 3 weeks, including weekends that is about 18 nights. I tried to map it out in different ways and it seems we can't get to California at all or Florida - which is fine because we go all the time to FL. but never been to CA. Someday we can take a plane and spend a week in California.

    Here are some places I thought we'd go to:
    Washington DC
    Horse Cave KY - I hear there are non-strenuous cave tours
    st Louis MO - I want to see that arch
    Window Rock, AZ - 4 corners- this sounds so cool but is it too far to make it back within 3 weeks and enjoy this trip? Is it worth it?
    colorado- I hear its beautiful state - colorado springs? other ?
    keystone SD - Mt Rushmore- is this something that we have to climb and hike to see or is it a fairly easy walk up - oh look kind of thing?
    chicago IL

    Some of these are long distances inbetween so some stop betweens I was thinking of are the following:

    harrisburg, pa
    summersville, wv
    chardon, oh
    shipshewana, in
    waterloo, wi
    atchison, ks
    oklahoma city
    santa fe, new mexico

    Ideally we don't want to drive more than 5 hours a day and I'd like to stay 2 nights at some places but not sure which.

    We have an 1999 honda civic in good shape but almost 100,000 miles on it- can it make it or should we 1) rent or 2) its time to buy ? Any new car should be good right?

    I am so excited! We plan to go late april/beginning may.

    Any advice appreciated!!

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

    Default First-time road trips ARE exciting

    Quote Originally Posted by Long Islander View Post
    Hi! I have dreamt about this for a very long time, years.
    Glad that you're finally ready to jump into roadtripping. Welcome to the Great American RoadTrip Forum!
    Ideally we don't want to drive more than 5 hours a day and I'd like to stay 2 nights at some places but not sure which.
    Those parameters would make it tough to reach California and return, so it's wise you've decided to pace yourselves a bit. It would take 10 days of driving 8-10 hours per day to go from Long Island to Los Angeles and back...

    OK, so five hours per day is between 275 and 300 miles. And if you want to spend some a couple of nights at some of these places -- you might look at 2000 miles as being the maximum radius for your trip. Denver, Colorado is about 2000 miles from Long Island. Assuming that of the 21 days, you'll be sightseeing and hanging around a few of the destinations -- you probably have an effective net of 15 days of travel or about 4500 miles. And you could make a pretty good arc, by starting south to Washington DC and into Kentucky and then swinging north through the plains up to eastern Colorado, Wyoming and over to the Dakotas before swinging east to Chicago and St Louis and home. I don't think that on this trip you can really swing as far south as New Mexico if you also want to reach the Dakotas. But it's all about choices.

    Perhaps you could share a little more about the places that intrigue you. Your car should be fine -- as long as it is maintained and ready to go.

    Mark

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,749

    Default Colorado.

    colorado- I hear its beautiful state - colorado springs? other ?
    It is indeed and there is so much to see and do as well as the Colorado springs area.
    You could take some ideas from our recent trip. [warning ! picture heavy] Extending a little further West you could visit Arches and Canyonlands in Utah, and the little mountain towns of Silverton and Ouray plus the drive along the "Milion dollar highway" in Colorado are spectacular.

    There is certainly more than enough in this area to keep you busy but as Mark said, it's all about what intrigues you and how you want to spend your time.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Washington DC Suburbs
    Posts
    7

    Default

    From Long Island, Washington DC is only about a 5 hour drive. There is more to do in the DC Metro region than I can even begin to mention in this space. If you continue south through Virginia however, you'll get through a region that is absolutely steeped in history, not to mention GREAT hiking in the Shenandoah National Park and wonderful mountain biking out in the George Washington National Forest. If you head toward the Shenandoah Valley, there's also a lot of Civil War history, where in the central Virginia and Eastern Shore we've got Thomas Jefferson's Monticello, James Madison's Montpelier, Colonial Williamsburg, Jamestown, and a LOT more. If shopping is your thing, around the DC Metro region we've got the Leesburg Corner Premium Outlets (right in the middle of Virginia's Horse and Wine Country) Tysons Corner, Georgetown (in DC) and quite a bit more.

    As far as your Honda Civic with 100,000 miles...you're just breaking it in! Just be sure to get it checked over before you head out. My 1996 Volvo has 125,000 miles and is still going strong!

  5. Default Thank you

    Thank you ! !! I love all these tips! Thank you!!!

    Do you think its worth and makes sense to rent a car to go to California and then dropping it off and getting on a plane to go home? Or is it still too close on time?

    Glad to hear my honda can probably make the trip though if we go that route :)

  6. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Southwest Dave View Post
    It is indeed and there is so much to see and do as well as the Colorado springs area.
    You could take some ideas from our recent trip. [warning ! picture heavy] Extending a little further West you could visit Arches and Canyonlands in Utah, and the little mountain towns of Silverton and Ouray plus the drive along the "Milion dollar highway" in Colorado are spectacular.

    There is certainly more than enough in this area to keep you busy but as Mark said, it's all about what intrigues you and how you want to spend your time.
    wow!!!! I enjoyed looking at your review!! Beautiful pictures!!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Washington DC Suburbs
    Posts
    7

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Long Islander View Post

    Do you think its worth and makes sense to rent a car to go to California and then dropping it off and getting on a plane to go home? Or is it still too close on time?

    Glad to hear my honda can probably make the trip though if we go that route :)
    Short answer...don't rent. You'll pay between $2000-3000 to do a one-way rental for that distance. If, on the other hand, you bought some cheap used car (but still newer than your current Civic) you could probably sell it at a CarMax or other used car superstore somewhere in California still get to drive the entire trip, and spend less money in the end than getting a rental (Depending on what you buy of course). I still think the Civic would be your best bet...just get it checked over before you leave.

  8. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by 2nd100k View Post
    Short answer...don't rent. You'll pay between $2000-3000 to do a one-way rental for that distance. If, on the other hand, you bought some cheap used car (but still newer than your current Civic) you could probably sell it at a CarMax or other used car superstore somewhere in California still get to drive the entire trip, and spend less money in the end than getting a rental (Depending on what you buy of course). I still think the Civic would be your best bet...just get it checked over before you leave.
    yeah, i just tried doing a search. i am reading terrible things about Hertz and so many company choices it is overwhelming. i hear you can rent 8-25$ a day but from what i see it seems to be 80$ a day at least.
    i guess california will have to be another time. unless someone here can recommend a good company to rent a car from? i think we'd be most comfortable in my own honda. We'd get it checked out first. so exciting!

  9. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Sedenquist View Post
    Glad that you're finally ready to jump into roadtripping. Welcome to the Great American RoadTrip Forum! Those parameters would make it tough to reach California and return, so it's wise you've decided to pace yourselves a bit. It would take 10 days of driving 8-10 hours per day to go from Long Island to Los Angeles and back...

    OK, so five hours per day is between 275 and 300 miles. And if you want to spend some a couple of nights at some of these places -- you might look at 2000 miles as being the maximum radius for your trip. Denver, Colorado is about 2000 miles from Long Island. Assuming that of the 21 days, you'll be sightseeing and hanging around a few of the destinations -- you probably have an effective net of 15 days of travel or about 4500 miles. And you could make a pretty good arc, by starting south to Washington DC and into Kentucky and then swinging north through the plains up to eastern Colorado, Wyoming and over to the Dakotas before swinging east to Chicago and St Louis and home. I don't think that on this trip you can really swing as far south as New Mexico if you also want to reach the Dakotas. But it's all about choices.

    Perhaps you could share a little more about the places that intrigue you. Your car should be fine -- as long as it is maintained and ready to go.

    Mark

    Thanks Mark for all these numbers- its a great help! ::::thinking:::::

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

    Default Transport.

    Quote Originally Posted by Long Islander View Post
    Do you think its worth and makes sense to rent a car to go to California and then dropping it off and getting on a plane to go home? Or is it still too close on time?
    With the one way drop off fees, no I don't think it would be your best option. But depending on your budget and desire to see the West you could fly in and out of one of the City's such as Denver, Vegas, LA or San Fran and do a loop trip of part of the West and maximise your time out there.

    Glad to hear my honda can probably make the trip though if we go that route :)
    Unless either of you are mechanically minded it is always worth getting your car checked over properly before making a long trip, making sure it's servicing is up to date and fluids and belts etc are in good shape. Safety features such as tyre, brake, wiper blades etc are in good order prior to leaving.

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