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  1. Default Australian RV Virgins drive across America

    Designing an RV road trip isn’t easy, especially for a couple of Australians who have never done anything like this before; we had no idea how popular this sort of treks was? But the last 3 weeks we have been on our computers at least 5 hours a night, reading blogs, google mapping pictures, reviews of RV camp sites and buying e-books about boon docking, a term I had never heard of before.

    So, the RV is booked, 30ft and a route is being worked out, we have booked only a few spots that our target dates. The trip is 7 weeks and it begins in 2 weeks from LA, yikes!!!

    Every one of our Australian friends are green with envy when we tell them of our plans, it seems to be the one thing they all want to do. The only thing any of us know about a cross-country trek around America is from Chevy Chase in National Lampoon’s Vacation. It has been on my list of things to do for countless years and now we are off and I’m looking forward to turning every corner and experiencing something more magical than the next.

    I have read Southwest Dave’s travel blog, which has been most informative and very entertaining, in fact I was rather pleased with myself when I realized that I had chosen a few of the routes he had already taken and raved about. As a result his blog I have now included Ouray CO, which look fantastic, exactly what we are looking for.

    Below I will list a few details about the “Plan” and us so far, again if anyone has any suggestions it would be most appreciated.


    My Partner and I, Pippa have been living in China now for 4 month working on the Australian Pavilion for World Expo, As much as we have explored, eaten and experienced China we are dying to get out. No more cities, apart from, LA, San Fran, New York. We would love to stay away from cities and would rather picturesque small towns, those ones that nobody has ever heard of.
    We fly directly from China to LA in about 2 weeks with my son, Zach, who is 15, already a seasoned traveler. Both Zach and I are also Disney Junkies so the trip will pretty much end at Disneyworld Orlando.

    Below I would like to list our proposed route, it is in no way set in stone, in fact the reason for this post is to get some feedback or suggestions, the part I am struggling with is Colorado Springs to New Orleans, it seems like a long way, I’m thinking a 3 day venture, but I don’t have a route in mind, only what google maps suggests. Also From New Orleans to New York.

    Day 1 LA-San Fran
    Day 2 San Fran
    Day 3 San Fran
    Day 4 San Fran-Yosemite
    Day 5 Yosemite
    Day 6 Yosemite-Mammoth Lakes
    Day 7 Mammoth Lakes-Las Vegas
    Day 8 Las Vegas- (Day trip to Valley of Fire)
    Day 9 Las Vegas-Zion National Park
    Day 10 Zion-Bryce Canyon
    Day 11 Bryce Canyon-Arches National Park
    Day 12 Arches National Park
    Day 13 Arches-Monument Valley
    Day 14 Monument Valley-Mesa Verde
    Day 15 Mesa Verde-Ouray CO
    Day 16 Ouray CO-Silverton
    Day 17 Silverton-Pegosa Springs
    Day 18 Pegosa Springs-Taos Pueblo
    Day 19 Taos Pueblo-Great Sand Dunes National Park
    Day 20 Great Sand Dunes-Buena Vista CO
    Day 21 Buena Vista CO-Colorado Springs
    Day 22,23,24 Colorado Springs (Suggestions or Detours here) New Orleans
    Day 25 New Orleans
    Day 26,27,28 New Orleans (Suggestions or Detours here) New York
    Day 29,30,31,32 New York
    Day 33 New York-Washington DC
    Day 34 Washington DC-Rocky Mt NC
    Day 35 Rocky Mt-Savannah
    Day 36 Savannah-Orlando
    Day 37,38,39,40,41 Orlando
    Day 42 Orlando-Atlanta (RV Drop off)
    Day 43 Fly Atlanta to LA
    Day 44,45 LA
    Day 46 LA-Australia

    I have about 3 days up my sleeve at the moment to play with as we are actually away 49 days.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Wow !

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    I'm glad you enjoyed the report, if only I could get the time you have, brilliant ! If you have the time here's another that covers parts earlier in your trip and might have some useful info.

    You have done a good job with your planning but one thing you may have overlooked is that you won't get from Yosemite to Mammoth via the Tioga pass [CA120] from Yosemite as it will still be closed due to winter snow accumulation so you will have to head North or South around the far end of the Sierra mountain range. If Mammoth is a definite I would head North to Tahoe and maybe stop over on route as it would be a long day in the RV, but if it's just an overnight stop you could head South, maybe drive through Sequoia NP [check road conditions] and stop at Three rivers and continue to Vegas. Either way I would recommend taking a drive across Death valley, an amazing landscape.

    It's a surprise there is no Grand canyon there as in some senses you are so close. A 6 hour drive from LV to the South rim and then you would have to drive through Page to Zion and then you are back on track, but it would be 2 or 3 days to enjoy, what's that up your sleeve ? Lol !

    The rest of your trip works but another option would be to go to the Sand dunes and Taos after Colorado Springs towards N. Orleans and from Silverton head North to Montrose and then take US 50 past Black canyon and Currecanti to Poncha springs. It would appear to save some miles by not going South /North/South. If you were to head for GC you could visit MV before heading through Page towards Zion and from Bryce take scenic byway 12 to Torrey and onto Moab.

    You could consider heading further South to N Orleans to Carlsbad caverns and then to I 20 to Shreveport, but someone might be able offer alternatives here. [No bats this time of year].

    On the way to New York [a part I am not familiar with] the Great smokey mountains and Blue park ridgeway are popular, but you will have consider certain aspects. I think some areas are closed untill April on the Ridgeway, it's very slow going and you are in an RV and as things stand [3 days for the journey] you won't have much time availabe other than to cover the miles.

    I am sure someone who knows the area will come along with some great ideas but don't forget to use the search function [top right of page] and check out RTA's other pages for pages and pages of info.

    Don't forget to buy an annual pass for the National parks, it's $80 and available at the first park you visit and will save you money.
    Last edited by Southwest Dave; 03-05-2010 at 03:41 AM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default more ideas

    I do agree with Dave that its a little surprising that you're skipping the Grand Canyon, but you're hitting almost every other attraction in that area. I'd also plan for at least 2, if not 3, days to make the drive from LA-SF if you want to enjoy the scenic coastal highway.

    With the exception of the Yosemite/Mammoth issue that Dave mentioned, nothing you've listed so far looks problematic. However, it is very busy in the sense that you are doing something every single day. Its easy to want to make the most out of a trip like this, but its also often very valuable to have a couple days of downtime worked into things where you can just sit, relax, and not feel like you have to do anything. That also can act as a buffer if you discover some things take more time than you were expecting.

    I'd also look at making a rather large change on your east coast leg. Rather than Driving from New Orleans all the way up to NY and DC and then back down to Orlando, and then back up again to Atlanta, I would really look at just driving straight from New Orleans to Orlando. Then either drop the RV in Atlanta and fly/train to DC or just drive to DC and drop the RV there. There are a couple of big advantages to that - first you're going to save nearly a full week of driving by eliminating the repeated North/South trips. Second, the DC/NY area is very congested and parking is expensive even if you just have a car, so having an RV there might not be in your best interest. It will likely be cheaper and easier to get around and between those two cities by sticking to mass transit.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    Another option if you are dropping the RV in Atlanta is rent a standard car for the rest of your trip and stay in motels/hotels - then drop the car in NYC and fly back to LA from there.

  5. Default Getting there is half the fun

    Thanks for your input, I have had another look at the route and have come up with a few additions and changes.
    The decision to exclude the Grand Canyon was made after taking with some Americans on our team over here in China; they suggested Zion, Bryce and Arches. I also love going to places I have never heard of, it feels a little less touristy.
    Also after looking at our schedule we actually don’t have any spare days, I was counting the days away which included flying back to LA and a few days there….Doh!

    There are so many places that were on the wish list, like Devils Tower, but I just could not work it in.
    As far as flying anywhere, I’m over airports and believe that half the fun is getting there, so we will stick to the RV, but thanks for your suggestions.
    Below is an amended schedule.

    With a little more research I have also chosen Acoma Pueblo rather than Taos Pueblo, after learning that the people at Taos don’t live in there village, and those at Acoma live more traditionally, it also gives me a chance to get to some another places that was originally on the wish list, White Sands and Roswell NM.
    I have also tried to not zig zag north and south, which bought down my mileage count, less than 7000 at the moment.
    Again any suggestions or advice would be greatly appreciated.

    Day 1 LA-Yosemite
    Day 2 Yosemite
    Day 3 Yosemite-San Francisco
    Day 4 San Francisco
    Day 5 San Francisco
    Day 6 San Francisco-Sth Lake Tahoe
    Day 7 Sth Lake Tahoe-Alabama Hills CA
    Day 8 Alabama Hills-Las Vegas
    Day 9 Las Vegas
    Day 10 Las Vegas-Zion National Park
    Day 11 Zion
    Day 12 Zion-Bryce Canyon
    Day 13 Bryce Canyon
    Day 14 Bryce Canyon-Arches National Park
    Day 15 Arches-Silverton CO
    Day 16 Silverton CO-Mesa Verde
    Day 17 Mesa Verde-Monument Valley
    Day 18 Monument Valley-Acoma Pueblo NM
    Day 19 Acoma Pueblo NM-White Sands NM
    Day 20 White Sands NM-Roswell NM
    Day 21 Roswell NM-Carlsbad Caverns National Park NM
    Day 22 Carlsbad Caverns National Park NM
    Day 23 Carlsbad Caverns National Park NM-San Antonio TX
    Day 24 San Antonio
    Day 25 San Antonio-New Orleans
    Day 26 New Orleans
    Day 27 New Orleans-Selma AL
    Day 28 Selma AL-Colonial Heights TN
    Day 29 Colonial Heights TN-Winchester VA
    Day 30 Winchester VA-New York
    Day 31 New York
    Day 32 New York
    Day 33 New York
    Day 34 New York
    Day 35 New York-Washington DC
    Day 36 Washington DC
    Day 37 Washington DC-Rocky Mt
    Day 38 Rocky Mt-Savannah
    Day 39 Savannah
    Day 40 Savannah-Orlando
    Day 40 Orlando
    Day 41 Orlando
    Day 42 Orlando
    Day 43 Orlando
    Day 45 Orlando
    Day 46 Orlando-Atlanta
    Day 47 Atlanta-LA (Flying)
    Day 48 LA
    Day 49 LA-Australia
    Last edited by RV Virgin; 03-06-2010 at 06:06 PM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Good to go !

    Looks as though you are set for a wonderful trip and if you are happy with the lay out [and there is no reason not to be] then you are set to go. If I were to change 1 thing it would be to take a day from a City and add it to Arches NP as the travel time you have either side of your one night there will leave you little time to explore this fascinating place, not to mention Canyonlands.

    Your "team" done well to suggest such places as Zion, Bryce and Arches they are as wonderful as the GC in there own way but certainly not "less touristy" although crowds will not be a problem as you are travelling early.

    Unless there is anything else we can help with, have a great trip and please drop by to let us know how your trip turned out and share some moments with us, Have fun !


  7. Default Aussie 1st time RV'ers, we have hit the road.......

    Hi Guy,

    Just though I would let you know that we are a week into our road trip and everything is better than expected. Loving the free roaming lifestyle and the unique way of seeing America.

    We are not wanting to wish any of it away but every day I can't wait for the next. So far everything is going to plan.

    If you would like to follow our adventures we have a travel blog at

    Thanks for the advice in the past it has been invaluable.

    J, P & Z

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Yay !

    Great to hear back from you, it sounds as though you are having a great time !

    Please drop by with updates on the forum so that members can see how your trip turned out.

    [I have merged with your other thread so that people can follow it from the planning stages and [hopefully] to the end]

    Have fun !

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