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  1. Default NJ to San Diego up the West Coast and back, 2 days to plan!

    My commute involves the Easternmost end of Route 80, and everyday on the way back it pains me to take the exit ramp to get home. I've never been west of Ohio, and it's always boggled my mind that the same strip of road ends up on the other coast.

    I found out today that all the stars have lined up and I can effectively disappear for 2 weeks with little to no repercussions! Since this will never happen again, on my way home from work Monday I'm going to drive past that exit ramp into the great unknown!

    Sorry for being cheesy, I can barely contain my excitement. Since 15 I'm dreamed about road tripping solo cross country.

    My gut is telling not to plan at all, don't bring the GPS, just head towards the setting sun and see what happens! I know 2 weeks is a short time to cram a circumlocation of the U.S., but it's all the time I have and I enjoy driving 10-12 hours per day.

    The places I need to see are New Orleans, San Antonio, San Diego, Seattle, and hopefully Denver. What I want to AVOID is depending on the Google map and taking boring roads.

    Does anyone have any suggestions for what path to take? I am literally 100% open to any suggestions and only have 48 hours to plan! If you've made a similiar trip in the past, what roads did you enjoy? If it helps, I am 24 and enjoy seeing all sorts of things, especially natural scenery, local towns/culture. I am going by myself. I'd really like to get a taste of Cajun food and experience the desert.

    Thanks for any suggestions!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Do the Same Thing Long Enough...

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    ...and it's going to be boring. The problem with your 'dream' trip is that it's really a nightmare in disguise. In order to simply drive to the cities you've listed you'd have to be on the road about ten hours a day every day for your two weeks, all of it on Interstate Highways. It would be little more than your daily commute magnified a thousand times. So the first thing you'll have to do is to scale back considerably to something where you can actually have some fun in the time available to you.


  3. Default

    10 hours per day driving sounds perfect to me. I know that's wierd =) I'm probably going to have to cross Denver off the list though. It really is all about the journey for me. Driving up beautiful Rt-17 into upstate NY is as much fun as I'm going to have. Anyway, I don't mean to be lazy, I am searching the forum for others who've taken similiar trips. But if there's particularly nice way to get to New Orleans and then San Antonio from NJ, I'd love to hear about it here.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default you've missed the point

    Sorry, but you've just really missed the point of Buck's spot on post.

    The shear number of miles you would have to cover to hit all four corners of the country (Northeast, to Gulf Coast, to Southern California, to the Pacific Northwest, and back) in 2 weeks means you would have to do exactly what you say you don't want to do. You would have to stick to the most direct/google-recommended freeways, leaving yourself basically no time to stop, see, or explore any of it.

    Right now, you're not building a trip that's about the journey, you're building a trip that's about the drive. There's just simply no way to hit all the places you've listed in the time you have and also journey off onto those 2 lane roads and off the beaten path places - its just not possible to make the math work. I know you're excited about this trip, and I'm sure this isn't what you are hoping to hear, but its reality.

    It doesn't mean you can't have a great trip, it doesn't mean you can't have the journey you want to have, but something is going to have to give or you're going to end up being very disappointed at the end of what will have been a very long commute.

  5. Default

    Wow what a bummer.


    Thanks for the advice guys. I hear what you're saying. I guess I didn't mention that I'm a car person, and I've got myself a sweet ride for these 2 weeks. Seriously, I would drive this thing up and down the Garden State Parkway all day if I could. The fact that I get to take it around the country is such a bonus for me.

    That being said, you guys have a lot of experience and I respect what you're trying to tell me. I'm considering cutting the trip down a bit. Getting to the West Coast and driving up it is an absolute must. I'm willing to give up sightseeing in most other places. Here's my tentative schedule:

    Day 1: New Jersey -> Nashville (900 miles)

    Day 2: Nashville -> New Orleans (530 miles)

    Day 3: New Orleans -> San Antonio (540 miles)

    Day 4: San Antonio -> Tuscon (860 miles)

    Day 5: Tuscon -> San Diego (400 miles)

    Day 6: Enjoy San Diego

    Day 7: San Diego -> San Francisco (550 miles)

    Day 8: San Francisco -> Las Vegas (600 miles)

    Day 9: Las Vegas -> Grand Canyon (250 miles)

    Day 10: Grand Canyon -> Petrified Forest (120 miles)

    Day 11: Petrified Forest -> Oklahoma City (850 miles)

    Day 12: OK City -> Chicago (800 miles)

    Day 13: Chicago -> Akron, OH (360 miles)

    Day 14: Akron, OH -> NJ (450 miles)

    That leaves me with an extra day that I'll sprinkle in somewhere in the middle of that for rest.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Absolutely Not

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    You can NOT drive 800-900 mile days under ANY circumstances and you've got 4 of them scheduled. Your itinerary is a fantasy where you only have time for visiting any sites by assuming that you can perform superhuman feats at will. For the third and LAST time: The only way you can make this drive in 14 days is to drive all day, every day on the Interstates. NO Grand Canyon. NO enjoying San Diego. NO extra day to 'sprinkle' at your pleasure. You asked for suggestions and advice form those with more experience than you. You've gotten it. Now the question is: Will you take it or will you get halfway into this death march before you realize that you have no choice but to keep it up just to get home and not have had any of the fun you're fantasizing about?


  7. Default

    I have to disagree with buck, I actually live in Jersey as well, and when I commute to college, Vanderbuilt, which is in Nashville, I always do it in one day, and I have taken many road trips in which i travel 800+ miles a day, for me driving relaxes me, i'm a car guy, and when I get in a great car you literally have to pry me out of the seat. And actually this summer me and some friends are doing a cross country and back trip in a week. So John i have complete faith in you, and your itinerary looks great, smaller distance days will be a little slower and allow great time to check out some sites. Good luck and God bless


  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default beyond homicidal

    A few thing. Doing a one day 800 mile sprint is a whole lot different than trying to include multiple 800-900 mile days as part of a 2 week trip. Those kind of miles on a multiple day trip with a solo driver are beyond not fun, they are not safe. There simply is no way for a single person to maintain the focus needed to safely operate a 2 ton vehicle at 70 miles per hour for that many hours. There are very good reasons why professional drivers are forbidden by law from doing such things.

    Second, In addition to being unsafe, this trip itinerary goes completely against the goals of having a journey and exploring things more than what's along the side of the interstate. For someone to build this itinerary after saying they quote "want to AVOID depending on google maps and boring roads" is just kind of silly. There is no ways to AVOID those very things while doing the trip as currently laid out.

    Having said that, now that you've eliminated Seattle from your list, you're much closer to being able to make this trip work. You've got a few days where you are driving much less than a full day. If you work to balance things out more (shoot for days that are about 500 miles on the road), you should be able to come up with an itinerary where you are driving about 10 hours almost every day, but still have time to get off the beaten path once and a while and find things to enjoy that are far more fun than sitting behind the wheel on the interstate for 16 hours at a time.

    Finally, I suspect what I say will have zero impact on "distancedriver" but trying to drive cross country and back in one week, even with mulitple drivers on a shift is perhaps the single most homicidal thing I have read on this forum since I first joined nearly a decade ago. I would actually feel safer if you told me that you and your friends were going to slam an entire keg of beer and then go drive around for a day - make no mistake about it - such a plan is every bit as dangerous as driving extremely drunk and in fact just because of the sheer amount of time you will be threatening others on the road I'd say its worse.

  9. Default

    Well it is 5 guys in a conversion van, but after reading a lot on this site i think that there are more things to roadtrips than just covering visiting the sites...but still the trip cant be more than 13 days...

  10. Default

    Thanks distancedriver, I was getting seriously discouraged there :)

    All kidding aside, I appreciate your honest opinions, Buck and Michael. I want to clarify that when I said: "AVOID depending on google maps and boring roads", I meant that I was looking for interesting roads (nice scenery, or curvy, or a little dangerous). What I'm NOT looking for is to get off the highway for a whole day (except in sunny San Diego and maybe Arizona).

    In my (brief) experience, some of the nicest roads are actually interstates. I'm really looking forward to driving down I-81, especially the Western Virginia portion which I've heard good things about. But often there's a side road that parallels an interstate which is prettier but a little slower. That's a tradeoff I'd gladly make.

    As far as a 900 mile day, I've done it before and know what it feels like. In the right car (like the souped up Miata I've been blessed with for 2 weeks with UNLIMITED MILEAGE BABY) with some good music it flys by. I do tend to drive a little fast (though nothing insane). You bring up a good point in that back-to-back 800+ mile days are probably a bad idea. It's a tough decision but I'm going to rule out New Orleans from the iternery as well. Now it's pretty much a straight speed run to the Coast, then enjoy Cali for a few days, enjoy Arizona for a few days, then speed run home. I won't bother posting the revised iternery but there's only one 900 mile day and that's the first day (I'll have the adrenaline going). After that, max is 750 miles and there are not back to back days with 700+.

    I do think it's a good thing I came to this site. Though I gotta admit I was a little turned off at first by the kind-of-judgemental tone of some of the replies.

    Anyways, happy road tripping to all. And if you have any suggestions for some roads in the Texas/AZ/NM area, lemme know!
    Last edited by AZBuck; 02-14-2010 at 08:08 AM.

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