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  1. Default Moving bases - Philadelphia to San Diego

    Hi all,
    I'm helping my brother move next week. He is currently living in Willow Grove, PA and will be moving bases to Camp Pendleton in San Diego. We leave on Monday, May 16th. Unfortunately, we are both limited on time and have a huge desire to visit many places (May 16th - June 5th). Our routes are not well defined, but we have a few locations on our "have to do" list.

    1. Our first set destination is to visit our cousin in Nashville, TN. We may take the I81 through Virginia, but both of us love bluegrass and were thinking of driving through West Virginia and Kentucky instead. Our time expected on the road would be 3 days (May 16th-19th)
    2. The next leg of the journey will be to Yellowstone. We would like to visit the Grand Tetons first if we have the time. We are unsure if we'll be taking the 80 through Nebraska or the 70 through Kansas. We were thinking of doing some long drives through this area to save time. We were thinking another 3 days (May 21st-May 24th).
    3. After Yellowstone we have a couple hour drive to Montana where I'm going to drop off my brother so he can spend time with his girlfriend. He'll stay there and purchase a flight to CA. I'll will be driving the rest of the way with a buddy of mine. The route to CA from MT is completely in the air. We just plan to be in southern CA by June 5th at the latest.


    This is our first road trip and any advice would be greatly appreciated! The times in different states are very flexible as long as we arrive back in CA around June 5th. We plan to keep it as cheap as possible (lots of camping, less expensive attractions). I've noticed that the NPS and groups like KOA have season passes and membership deals... any advice or feedback on them or others? We love everything local (history, food, music, etc.)... any advice on routes, local foods, fairs, events, roadside attractions (yes, even the cheesy giant balls of twine)?

    I want to thank everyone in advance! I wish I knew about this site a month ago. It looks like a pretty cool community!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Western/Central Massachusetts
    Posts
    1,703

    Default Welcome!

    Welcome to the RoadTrip America Forum!

    Three weeks gives you a good amount of time to explore the country. It takes five days to go from coast to coast, so you've got an additional two weeks within your timeframe to get out there and look around.

    You could take I-81 through Virginia, then I-64 through West Virginia and Kentucky, and then the Bluegrass Parkway to I-65 and on into Nashville.

    As far as other legs of the trip, I don't see anywhere you'd need to "save time." Get out there and explore, and if at all possible, get off the Interstates and travel a couple of the two-lanes, if for nothing else than a change of pace.

  3. Default

    Thanks for the welcome and reply!

    It's good to know that a couple weeks is enough time. Have you been to Virginia and Kentucky? Are there any locations on that route you would recommend stopping?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default this and that

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    The good news is that while you have a firm deadline, you've really got a nice amount of time to make this trip.

    3 days to get to Nashville is a very nice amount of time. 3 days from there to Yellowstone can be done, but for comparison sake, the distance is about twice as far as Philly to Nashville.

    On a trip of this size, it really isn't possible for us to list all of the millions of possible things you could stop and do along the way, but if you check out the RTA Map Center you can get a lot of ideas for things that would be along the way.

    Regarding membership, and camping, etc.
    The National Parks Service has a annual pass for $80, however that only covers admission and does not include camping fees, guided tours, etc. Basically, you'd need to visit 4-5 major parks for it to pay for itself.

    Other memberships aren't quite as simple, you really need to look if you are actually saving money or are just paying money for the chance to pay more money later. KOA for example, it one of the most expensive camping options out there. Unless you are looking for resort style amenities, even with the membership, there would be cheaper options, plus you'd have to look at how many times you'd actually have to stay at a KOA before you'd get enough of a discount to pay for the membership cost.

  5. Default

    I started checking the National Park sites for entrance fees. You are definitely right about having to go to a lot! Its also good to know it doesn't count for camping; I couldn't seem to find that information anywhere and had trouble contacting the NPS regarding it.

    As for KOA, I didn't really know what to expect. I'm use to backcountry camping with just a bivy or tarp. I definitely don't need a fancy RV park! Does anyone know of a season camping pass that is worth a damn? I tried connecting to the AAA campground site, but it said it does not work in my area.

    I've been trying out the RTA map but the content seemed a little sparse. However, it has provided me some interesting finds!

    Thanks for the help guys! I'm slowly finding some good info by searching the web, but your help is very much appreciated!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default

    I really wouldn't worry about trying to find a "discount" for camping. Your best values for basic camping are often state parks, national forest lands, and other public parks that by their very nature aren't going to offer discount.

    On the flip side, places that do offer a discount card or membership are likely going to be KOA-type places that cost much more to start, and often are more focused on the high profit RV customer.

    The RTA Map Center is one of our newest features and is certainly still a work in progress. We "only" have a little over 1,000 attractions listed so far, and the number of things and events that could be included on a cross country roadtrip is somewhere in the millions, if not billions.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default AAA camping books

    Quote Originally Posted by crabb View Post
    I tried connecting to the AAA campground site, but it said it does not work in my area.
    If you are already a member of AAA, go to their office (forget about the website), and ask for the free camping books for each State through which you will be travelling, and where you are considering camping. These books have a huge list of campgrounds, from the high end RV parks, to the State Parks and Forests, and dry camping opportunities. All of them state their fees and facilities, though ocassionally I found them a little out of date - but only by a little bit.

    And if you do not have time to visit the local office before you leave, just call into any AAA along the way.

    And if you are not already a member of AAA, now seems like a pretty good time to join. You never know when you are going to need them, on a journey like this. And while you are on it, make good use of their extensive range of free maps for every State and every urban centre through which you will be passing. It is going to leave you with the ability to adjust your trip while on the road. Nothing, but nothing, beats a good map.
    Last edited by Lifemagician; 05-12-2011 at 01:37 AM. Reason: typo

  8. #8

    Default Bluegrass territory or bluegrass music?

    crabb,

    First, please extend my thanks to your brother for his service. One of my sons is a Navy Seabee and his battalion supports the 2nd Marine Division down here at Camp LeJeune, NC. The Marines and the Seabees have been partners since the Seabees were formed in 1942, and Navy corpsmen and Seabees are about the only Navy boys the Marines have any tolerance for.

    I imagine you're a fan of bluegrass MUSIC as opposed to having a fondness for the bluegrass countryside of central Kentucky. If that's the case, you should spend a little time with Mr. Google looking at "The Crooked Road: Virginia's Music Heritage Trail" (www.thecrookedroad.org). Under venues and events, you'll find a wealth of performances all over southwest VA and at all times of the week. Both bluegrass and traditional country music claim roots in southwestern VA and nearby parts of TN, WV, and NC. The best part of all of that is the proximity of these venues to I-81, which conveniently runs right down the Great Valley between the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Allegehnies and Cumberlands, right through Abingdon and Bristol. What might be available in terms of bluegrass music in WV and KY I haven't a clue, but I do know southwest VA is flat-out ate up with it.

    Have a fun and safe RoadTrip!

    Foy

  9. Default

    Thanks again everyone!

    I fly out tomorrow to Philly and will be hitting the road Monday morning! I've gathered a lot of great stuff from this site, AAA, and random websurfing.

    Foy, thanks for the advice and the link! I think I might stop off in Radford for a bluegrass jam session. My brother is actually in the Navy too. He's a field corpsman so he works closely with the marines.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default RoadTrip Field Report

    Quote Originally Posted by crabb View Post
    Thanks again everyone!

    I fly out tomorrow to Philly and will be hitting the road Monday morning! I've gathered a lot of great stuff from this site, AAA, and random websurfing.
    Great!!

    We look forward to hearing how it all goes / went. Either while you are on the road, or at the end of your journey.

    Stay safe.

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