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  1. #1

    Default Driving from New York to California Summer 2011

    Hi fellow drivers
    I am an a Norwegian planning to drive across USA this summer together with my girlfriend.
    It is 10 years since me and my girlfriend had a car holiday in USA. (then it was New York, Washington, the keys and Miami) So it is time now to do it again :-)

    We started to work on this idea today and we are am planning to use 3 weeks on this holiday.
    We will start in New York and end in Los Angeles or San Francisco (depending what is best driving wise)(we are planning to fly back to New York and then Europe/Norway since it is cheaper to buy a return ticket for the same place)

    We have been looking on the map today and the places we currently have put on the map is. [Update last 01.09]
    1. Chicago (Been there many times without my girlfriend, fantastic city that I want to show here)
    2. St. Charles - The home of Cadillac Ranch :-) (!/group.php?gid=2249549723) (been there many times)(just gonna drive through)
    2. Minneapolis (Mall of America
    3. Mount Rushmore National Memorial (I guess this is something we have to see)
    4. Denver (No specific reason)
    5. Monument Valley
    6. Grand Canyon Village
    7. Grand Canyon Skywalk (This is something we have to see)
    8. Hoover Dam, AZ, United States (This is something we have to see)
    9. Las Vegas
    10. Santa Barbara
    11. San Francisco

    I have been checking car rental companies and I see that I can rent a Cadillac STS for around $2800 for three weeks at Hertz (with pickup La Guardia New York and Return San Fransisco). They don't sell this car in Norway but I guess it is ok. I see I can save some few dollars taking a Toyota, but living in a country where the government hate cars and tax everything so a little family car costs $80.000 - $90.000 I want to drive a OK car for once in my life. :-)

    1. What time is the best time to drive in the summer. We are thinking about august.
    2. What places should I see in addition. (Denver/Santa Fee is not important at all an can be replaced with something else) . (other parts can also be replaced if there is good enough reasons, I am really a novice here so any suggestions are highly appreciated)
    3. Giving 2-3 days in New York and some days in LA/San Francisco/LAS Vegas gives me around 14 days with driving. Is that ok? I see the distance is only 4000 miles. This summer I drove around 2800 miles in Norway in 5 days on much worse roads. This should give me some time for some sightseeing.
    4. What kind of hotel chain is recommended. It has to be ok, but price is important.
    5. Is Cadilac STS an OK car. Do you know of other companies that have better cars for same price?

    The current map can be found here: [Updated after tips from members]

    Thanks in advance for any suggestions.

    Norwegian Driver :-)
    Last edited by NorwegianDriver; 01-09-2011 at 01:11 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO



    1. August will be the hottest time of the year. It will also be the busiest at the major attractions as all the schools will be on holiday.

    3. We recommend driving a maximum of around 550 miles a day when you are simply driving from point to point on Interstate highways with no detours or diversions.

    4. "OK" is very subjective. "Price" is also very subjective. You may be satisfied with Motel 6, or you may want something more like Hampton Inn. You can research hotels in any particular city or area on sites such as

    5. A STS is one of our high end luxury cars. It's more than just "OK"! I would compare it to something like an "E" class Mercedes or maybe a Volvo S80.

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

    Default additionally

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    2 weeks is a nice amount of time to go across country (subtracting your time on the coasts), but once you factor in your stops, it will be busy. You need a good 5 days just to drive from NY to CA, so once you throw in the places you know you want to visit, and the additional miles from a little bit of zig-zagging (up to MN, down to AZ) you will have to budget your time fairly carefully.

    A couple thoughts on your route. Denver and Santa Fe are pefectly good cities, and if you just want to explore cities they are fine. However, I don't see that you've really included any national parks in your planning. You could certainly go over from the Black Hills to Yellowstone, and down through the parks of Utah, or you could go down to Denver and spend time in the mountains and parks in Colorado and Utah, on your way to the Grand Canyon. There are lots to choose from, but that's a place you might want to spend a little time researching based on your interests.

    Speaking of the Grand Canyon - the skywalk is not part of the National Park. It is a completely different attraction located on the "west rim" which is Native American Reservation land. It is a rather expensive attraction, you can't bring your camera onto the skywalk, and the views aren't quite the same as the actual national park.

    As far as car rental goes, one big thing to remember is the phrase "or similar." used by all the major car rental chains. While the Caddy may be the example car they provide for that particular class (assuming luxury?), it does not mean that is certainly the make and/or model you will get. You could get anyone of a variety of luxury cars in the same class, depending upon what they have available.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default So much more

    I would urge you to take a look around the forums and other RTA pages that you can find in the tool bars above and see what it is that appeals to you. The Map centre is a good tool for trying different routes and seein what attractions are along them.

    You have a list of City's such as Denver [for no specific reason] yet just a short drive away is Rocky mountain National park. Colorado, Utah and Arizona have a high concentration of National parks and the scenery is amazing. There are State parks, Forests, Deserts, small towns and so much more to consider. Even if you "must see" the 'Skywalk' I would also recommend that you visit the National park area of the Grand canyon at the North or South rim, this is where you will find those wonderful views that are made famous by pictures all over the world !

    August will be hot and busy and given the option I much prefer to travel from September into October.

    The car rental will usually come with a one way drop off fee either built into the price or added on seperately, so make sure your quote includes all charges.

    Have a look around and enjoy the planning !

  5. #5


    Thanks very much for good feedback.

    I have now removed Santa Fee on the route and added Grand Canyon Village and Monument Valley. Looking at the pictures at google maps that people had posted made me realize that this has to be seen. :-)

    Folluw up. Questions. Driving from Denver to Las Vegas cant be done in one (or two) days. Are there any motels along this roads. It seems like there are not many cities (exept maybe Grand Canyon Village)

    This is a really greate web site with helpful people.
    Thanks again :-)

    The updated map:
    Last edited by NorwegianDriver; 01-09-2011 at 01:12 PM. Reason: added map

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    No, Denver to Vegas is too much to do in a day regardless, but the big question is what do you want to see? Even doing this section in 2 days, with one stop at the grand canyon (not including the skywalk which is a good 4 hour drive from the Village) is too much. When you have a better idea of which things you want to explore along this leg, it will be much more obvious where you should stay.

    There may not be any large cities in between, but there are plenty of small cities with plenty of motels and other services that cater the the many tourist in this area.

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