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  1. Default August-September West-East Road Trip

    Hello all,

    I've decided that a US road trip is something I'd like to do in the next 18 month or so, and I'm thinking that the best time for me would the August-September 2012 period. So this is a later summer, early autumn time frame - I figured I'd put it in this forum :)

    You'll be happy to know I've done a bit of research first, and think that I'll hire a small car with my girlfriend, and take 30 or so days to get from Los Angeles or San Francisco to New York or Boston. This would hopefully take the form of a 'smell the roses' tour, and for that reason I'll be trying to avoid Interstates.

    I've been using as a bit of a rough guide to 'two-lane' roads, and after having a read of most of the site, and looking at Google Maps, I think I'd like to do a hybrid of Route 9 (a San Fran, CA to Ocean City, MD Route 50 trip, going through Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia, Virginia and Maryland, ~3000 miles) and Route 5 (a Maine to Georgia journey that shadows the Appalachian Trail). I would probably leave Route 50 in West Virginia or Virginia, as I don't have much interest in DC or Maryland, and then travel north through Pennsylvania and New York (with a stop in NYC at some point), and possibly into Massachusetts and Boston.

    I guess my biggest question is; will 30 days be enough time to do this? I'm Australian, and have had experience driving long distances (up to 14 hours alone in one stretch, and regular monthly 5 hour drives on my own), will have my girlfriend who can do some of the driving. I don't want to rush, but I'd be happy to drive at least 2-3 hours every day, and up to 6-8 on some stretches. I read somewhere that a direct trip on the Interstates LA -> NY would be 43-46 hours, or 5-6 days of 10 hour driving days.

    Another question - accommodation, I figure I can get $75-100 double rooms most of the way there, if not cheaper, with more expensive ones in the major cities? And food, I'm interested in the small town experience, hearty food along the way, with splurging on better food in the bigger cities - would $35-40 per person per day for food be a decent average amount to budget for, with maybe 60-70 for bigger cities if we wanted to splurge?

    Also, what would the weather be like in these months? I'm used to temperatures in Australia from 37oF to 95oF, having lived all over the country. Would the West be unbearable? Would the trees in New England have started to get some autumn colour by the time we reach there in early to mid September?

    Anyway, lots of questions there. Hope to get some responses :)


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Well done!!

    Hi and Welcome,

    You certainly have done a lot of homework and laid out a nice route. As you already know, it is a 6 day drive, coast to coast, so you have ample time to 'smell the roses'.

    The route you have chosen is basically a good one. But have you considered that this does not take in many of the major and great national parks?

    Do you have a map of the US? The best one is the National Geographics wall map. It is available in all capital cities, as well as online. With a map of this size you can see where the route takes you, and where the national parks are, in relation to that route, and maybe help you to incorporate some of them into your itenary. It would be a shame if you travel all that way, and miss out on the jewels in the crown.

    As for your budget, looks pretty good at first glance. Of course, no one knows how much fuel will be by then, so leave a bit of flexibility. [And maybe we will meet up on the road. I will be on the east coast in those months.]

    Lifey in Melbourne

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Nice.

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    You would actually have time to do a complete loop of the country in 30 days and have time to 'smell the roses'. As well as being able to take 2 different routes out and back to see more great places, the other advantage of starting and ending in the same place is no 'One way drop off' rental fees and possibly a better flight deal. I just thought I would put it 'out there' in case it is something you haven't considered. What you have so far has the makings of a really memorable trip and with plenty of time for planning prior to departure, you will find a million and one options along your route to choose from.

    September into October is my favourite time to travel as the crowds start to go home and the Fall colours start to come alive. It will be extremely hot in the desert Southwest in August.

    Carry on looking around the RTA site and make use of all the road trip planning resources [found in the tool bars above] as well as the forums and ask any questions as and when.

    Enjoy the planning !

  4. #4

    Default Kudos!

    You're off to a great start in your planning process. A couple of thoughts to add to the excellent advice above:

    With 30 days to work with, I'd probably choose approx 7 Sept to 7 October rather than mid-August to mid-September. Schools, colleges, and universities are all in session by around Labor Day (first Monday in September) so peak crowds are gone. Most of the extended, days-on-end hot weather here in the South is over by mid- to late September, too.

    Your weather out West, whether in August or September, will be primarily elevation dependent, with elevations above, say, 4,000' likely do be warm to hot by day but nice and cool at night. Elevations above, say, 8,000' can see snow flurries or squalls from late August forward.

    Reaching the central to northern Appalachians (Virginia to New England) along about the last week in September to first week in October should put you directly into the sweet spot for Autumn colors. This is also elevation-dependent, where lower elevations in VA will still be wholly green in late Sept with the Skyline Drive and Blue Ridge Parkway just starting to turn. The Poconos in PA, the Catskills in NY, and the Berkshires in MA should be very nice by then.

    Enjoy the planning and the RoadTrip!


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