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  1. Default Atlanta to Los Angeles early/mid December

    Hey all! Some friends recommended this site, told me that there are a lot of great folks here that can offer some great advice. I was hoping to get some on a road trip I am trying to plan for next month.

    A friend and I are thinking of driving from Atlanta to Los Angeles sometime around mid-December. Currently, we are slightly flexible in the total duration but are thinking somewhere around 9/10 days. We're both in our late 20s and can go a decent stretch of road if needed, but wouldn't want every day to be jam packed with just driving.

    We are hoping to include these stops along the way - New Orleans (maybe 2 nights here) --> Austin, TX --> Roswell, NM ---> The Grand Canyon ---> Los Angeles.

    There is a lot of road between some of those locations so if you guys can think of some good places to add on to it (or alternates even) any advice would be much appreciated.

    This is going to be our 'last hurrah' before I relocate to the west coast so we are looking to have a lot of fun along the way and take our time (when we want/need to). Any road side attractions, detours for fun stuff (I heard of a cool meteor site in AZ somewhere that could be fun) or advice on where best we could hook up on Route 66 for a little while would be great. I do not believe we are going to book hotels/motels for most of it so we can keep a very loose schedule (except for New Orleans I believe) so hopefully we will have the freedom to do a lot of stuff along the way.

    This will be the first time I have done anything like this so any additional tips would be very appreciated! Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Time to Wander

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    Nine days is a serious amount of time for a trip that could be done in 4 days, so you will have plenty of opportunity to stray off the straight and narrow. The direct route would be I-20 to Birmingham, US-78 to Memphis, I-40 to California, and I-15 into Los Angeles. But you can certainly wander off that if you are of a mind. Along the direct route some highlights should be Elvis' birthplace in Tupelo, MS and Graceland in Memphis; Mud Island (also in Memphis) with its outdoor scale model of the entire Mississippi River system; the Oklahoma City Memorial; Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo; Petroglyph National Monument in Albuquerque, and El Malpais National Monument just west of there; Petrified Forest National Park in northwestern Arizona; Meteor (or Barringer) Crater just west of Winslow; Walnut Canyon National Monument just east of Flagstaff; and Mojave National Preserve as you enter California.

    And those are just the sites right along the highway. With the time you have available you can wander a bit farther afield to nearby places such as Hot Springs National Park in Arkansas; the Talimena Scenic Byway in AR/OK; the Black Kettle National Grassland in western Oklahoma; the Grand Canyon, of course, and Sunset Crater and Wupatki National Monuments on the way there;and a long segment of old 'Route 66' between Seligman and Kingman, Arizona.

    There are tons more as well, but those will do for starters. Get out a good atlas and start seeing what else is on that route that appeals to you, or if you have specific interests which none of the above sites caters to, let me know and I'll see if I can remember some others.


  3. Default

    Great tips! Thank you. I'm going to see about getting in a number of these places, if time and route allows. We're hoping the 9/10 days will give us plenty of time to not only not rush but to actually enjoy all the stuff we're going to be able to see. I'm sure some of those stretches of road are pretty tedious but, at this point, we're planning on making a lot of stops along the way!

    The Petrified Forest (and possibly Painted Desert) might be must sees the more I am looking into them. Also I am reading more about White Sands which seems like another big stop to make. But a lot of the stuff you mentioned I actually don't have too much knowledge of, which is great! This is going to be a great opportunity to explore so this is going to be a great jumping off point for looking up a lot of more potential stops!

    Thanks for the tips. I really appreciate it!

  4. #4

    Default White Sands

    Quote Originally Posted by curtsinger View Post
    Also I am reading more about White Sands which seems like another big stop to make.
    White Sands was one of the real highlights of our trip through the southwest this summer and somewhere you really should try to visit if you're passing that way. If you can, stay the night in Alamogordo just up the road so you can visit the sands at sunrise or sunset.

    If you need any further convincing, there are more photos from our visit to White Sands here.

  5. Default

    Stunning photos! Thank you for sharing. I think a trip there and to the Missile Range Museum (which I assume is fairly close by) are must stops.

  6. Default

    These are great suggestions! I am the co-traveler on this one, and am really looking forward to many of the destinations mentioned.

    Another question - what would you all suggest that we avoid on our trip!?


  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Je Ne Regrette Rien

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    In my travels I've been threatened, groped, arrested, frozen, broiled, tired, lost, broke, stranded ..... You get the idea. And there's not a single adventure that I would not do over again. Yes, avoid or leave areas or settings that make you feel uncomfortable. But to set out to restrict your activities to only those places that are pre-visited, pre-approved, and pre-sanitized is to defeat the very purpose of travel.


  8. Default Going the exact opposite way, same time of the year!

    From San Diego, Ca to Atlanta (and then DC, and back to Atlanta). Thank you for all the great tips. We actually only have 4 days to make the trip, so we can only stop in places close to the freeway. We also need to avoid snow and any other travel conditions that will make the drive harder. I have the smallest car in the world (Toyota Echo). It will probably take half a tank or so till Atlanta (j/k), unless the wind takes the car away. If you have any additional tips based on this, please share :)

    Do you think GPS will be helpful/necessary? I was thinking about getting one before we leave.

    Thank you again!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default 4 day's to Atlanta, right ?

    Hello Anastasia, and welcome to the RTA forums !

    I hope you are only referring to the SD to Atlanta part of your trip in 4 day's, and not Washington ?

    There is no route that is guaranteed to avoid snow, so you will have to check forecasts before travelling. With 4 day's to Atlanta you will be on the road for between 9 and 10 hours a day with time to stop for lunch, and to fill with gas and stretch those limbs.

    My mapping program is showing I 10 to I 20 as the slightly quicker option than heading up to I 40, or keeping to I 10 to 65 to 85, which are all viable options depending on weather.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    Quote Originally Posted by Anastasia View Post
    Do you think GPS will be helpful/necessary? I was thinking about getting one before we leave.
    Its certainly not necessary - a good paper map/atlas is really more important. A GPS can often lead people to "turn their brain off" and get into trouble by blindly follow the computer. That said, as a secondary tool, it can be a very nice addition to a trip. The biggest feature I like is that it can tell you about restaurant/gas/lodging options.

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