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  1. Default NY to San Francisco - 23 days, 3 guys, $4350 total. Can it be done?

    We (three friends) just bought an old 1992 Chrysler Lebaron convertible and are looking to make a road trip from NY to San francisco (one way, flight back already booked). We have 23 days, and $1450 each = $4350 total. We plan on camping whenever we can, and prefer to sleep in motels or other cheap posibilities. Not looking for luxury.

    From NY, leaving May 20th, we were thinking driving south a little, hop on route 66 and drive that down to the Grand Canyon in about 7 days. Maybe 1 or 2 stops along the way in cool cities near route 66 (any suggestions?).

    We plan to camp in the grand canyon national park for two days before heading to Las Vegas where we want to stay 2 days as well. After Las Vegas we want to see Los Angeles and from there on drive to San Francisco along the Big Sur. If at all possible, we would like to visit another national park that's not to far out of our directions. Our flight back leaves on June 13 from San Francisco.

    Is this a realistic plan in regards to the following:
    Money: will $4350 total be enough for food, gas, tolls, sleeping and fun (visit some attractions and stuff)?
    Time: are 22/23 days enough time visit all these cities at the least (New Mexico, Grand CAnyon, Las Vegas, LA, San Fancisco), while maintaining a pleasant drive/sightseeing ratio?

    Last but not least: does anyone per haps have any tips for the best route to choose, having a combination of attractive places to stop but also being able to speed up the trip when necesarry so we get to Cali in time? Does route 66 make any sense? We can also fly back from La or Las Vegas if that would be more convenient.

    Please give me some advise for our first ever roadtrip through America!

    Thanks a lot!

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

    Default '66

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    The first thing that you need to know is that route 66 was decommissioned many years ago and replaced largely by Interstate, and although you can find parts of the old route it would be quite difficult to follow it the whole way and you shouldn't necessarily create your trip around it. For instance there are many great roads and National parks in Colorado and Southern Utah that would be an alternative. There is nothing wrong with your plan either but you can choose from many options. I think your budget is reasonable as you are prepared to camp and cook along the way. You have enough time to make it an enjoyable trip, but I would recommend doing some research and find things that appeal to you and work your route around them. There simply is no one 'best route' so you need to sit down together with a good map to hand, look around the forums and road trip planning pages above [you can find lots of attractions while creating routes using the Map Centre] and create your own trip, we can then help to fill in the blanks.

    If you have just bought the car it would be worth getting it checked over and serviced if needed/due, prior to leaving and perhaps join a roadside recovery group such as AAA.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    An aside - what are you planning to do with the car when you get to California? Selling or even disposing of a car in California that came from out of state isn't as easy as you may think.

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


    I'd certainly say your car is the biggest potential problem with your budget.

    I think it should be possible for you to complete the trip with the funds you have, but when your mode of transportation is a 20 year old car - and one that has never had great reliability record in the first place - I'd say there is a pretty high likelihood that you have a mechanical issue. If you've got a serious repair, it wouldn't be shocking at all for you to need to spend at least several hundred, if not more than $1000 to get back on the road.

    And GLC's issue is certainly a big one too. Was the car built to pass California Emmission standards (it should say under the hood), and even if it was, will it really pass a smog test? If not, you may have to pay someone to take it off your hands - if you can even do that!

  5. Default

    When you get out to the Southwest, I see you do have the Grand Canyon as one stop. What you may want to do is include other spectacular parks in southern Utah such as Bryce Canyon and Zion. You could also go from Las Vegas through Death Valley and over Tioga Pass (if it's open) into Yosemite, then head to the coast and take CA-1 from Monterey down to LA.

  6. Default

    a good reason to go to Lake Havasu. No, London Bridge isn't worth the trouble. It isn't an interesting drive, and a lake in the desert is a lake in the desert.

    Spend that few extra hours at the Grand Canyon, or in Yosemite, or even in Las Vegas.

    Regarding the drive from SF to Monterey, be sure to drive down Highway 1 through Half Moon Bay, not 101 through San Jose. A classic lunch stop is Barbara's Fishtrap in Princeton-by-the-Sea, just north of Half Moon Bay. After you go through Montara and Moss Beach you'll see a small airport on the right. A little further, at the stop light, turn right and go a couple of blocks until you see the orange building on the left. Park across the street. If the line is just too long, the Half Moon Bay Brewing Company is good, as is Meza Luna, just a little further down the road. Another good place to eat, with a view of the ocean, is the Miramar Beach Inn, just a mile or two south. Keep an eye out to the right for the building a block off the highway.

    If you aren't hungry yet, go on to Davenport, another 40 miles. There is a funky, but very good restaurant there.

    Monterey is OK but, except for the aquarium, its not worth a lot of time. 19-mile Drive from Monterey to Carmel is worth whatever they are charging these days. In Carmel, visit the Mission and browse the art galleries. Cute town and nice restaurants.

    Near Monterey you'll see artichoke fields, which are pretty intresting if you haven't seen them before. And the drive east toward Yosemite takes you through lots of crop land. You may even smell garlic roasting near Gilroy, depending on your route. Note that highway 140 east of Mariposa is down to 1 lane (controlled access both ways) because of a rock slide. Highway 120 may be your better bet

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    Is there a reason you are answering your own thread?

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