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  1. Default I know that I can get there, but have no idea where to start.

    I'm new to forums in general, but I'm pretty desperate for good advice on where to go.
    My class is going on a trip to Europe next summer, but seeing as though I have no savings from when I fell asleep behind the wheel coming home from work a month ago and totaled my car, I'm looking for something cheaper but very fun to do, in attempts to dull the sting of seeing all my friends experience the cultural wonders of Europe without me. I'm a little nervous, though, being only 17 going on 18, and taking a road trip without my parents. I know I'll be able to afford it (I work 30-40 hours a week), I'm good at packing, planning, and organizing, and I know I've got some friends who will be down for a good time, and who will share the price and driving burdens. But I'm wary of going across country, and simply being so far away from home.

    I suppose my main concerns/questions are:
    -Finding something close to North Carolina, preferably out of state, where we can camp (hotels are for wussies), hike, and maybe see some beaches.
    -Finding places that aren't too touristy, but where we can still do a little shopping.
    -What are some critical tips for young, inexperienced travelers?

    And another thing: I originally had my hopes up for planning a road trip to the Grand Canyon (I'm itching to go rafting and hiking on the North Rim). But it's around thirty hours away from where I live, and practically across country. I realize that the do-ability of this trip would depend on my car's gas mileage, and the maturity of the friends I decide to bring, but assuming that my next car gets around 30mpg and I have some really good friends to go with me, would this be a good idea? The farthest I've ever driven in one shot was four hours long, and I'm thinking that my friends and I would take turns driving in shifts. But please be honest. I'd rather do a trip maybe 10-15 hours away and get back in one piece than a thirty hour trip that leaves me scarred. Is this destination practical?

    Thanks so much for your time!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default real life limitations

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    The first thing you really need to know is that trips from NC to the Grand Canyon really can't be measured in hours - they need to be measured in days. Even the western most point of NC is a solid 3 day drive to the Grand Canyon, and if you are starting farther east like Charlotte, Winston-Salem or beyond you'd need 4 days each way. You already know first hand the dangers of driving drowsy, and trying to push beyond that would be a very good way to repeat your past mistakes.

    Also keep in mind that even when you are talking about going 10-15 hours away, that time estimates that google and mapquest provide aren't realistic over long distances because they don't account for the basic stops required for every trip (food, fuel, restrooms, etc).

    A good day on the road with few stops is about 600 miles, if you want to explore along the way 500 miles is a good daily max.

    Otherwise, I think your instinct of not starting by trying to do a cross country trip is a good one. Starting by doing a trip a day or two from home will give you a good feel for what you like while on the road.

    Then its just a matter of figuring out what strikes your interest. A day's drive away could include the beaches of Northern Florida (Atlantic or Gulf Coast), Land Between the Lakes/Mammoth Cave in Kentucky, or the West Virginia or Pennsylvania Mountains. If you want to push into 2 days you could look at New England, the UP of Michigan, or if you want to replicate some of the culture you'll be missing while your friends are in Europe, you could look at Montreal or New Orleans.

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