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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,546

    Default West to East Coast with stops -

    I've been poking around this wonderful site for the past month, reading everything I could (particularly regarding destinations we are heading for), and trying to answer some queries on the forums. My husband and I have been road-tripping since we were married 33 years ago, and before that, I traveled extensively with my parents who were both teachers and had summers off. My husband and I have done the motel-restaurant vacation, camping/motel combination vacations, have had both a pop-up tent trailer and a 5th wheel travel trailer, and for right now we're RV-less.

    The upcoming trip is from our home in San Diego County, to my brother's in NJ. (We like to say we each live on the ocean, but in reality, each of us is 30 miles from the ocean!) We're making a stop in Phoenix to see my parents, then hightailing it straight to NJ (no sightseeing outside of what's along the roadside). This trip is motel-restaurant, and staying with family 3x.

    In NJ, we are planning on 9 days. One day is for the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. Another day is for the Metropolitan Museum of Art (which has intrigued me since I first read a fiction book for children, From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler.). A third day will be spent seeing a few other NYC sites that interest us, and ending the day with a Broadway musical (if we can get decent tickets). A fourth day will be for anything we've missed.

    That's our first question: There are tours available, of Carnegie Hall and of Lincoln Center. I LOVE theater, but my chances of seeing a show at either one is nil due to our timing. Backstage is what I'd like to see anyway (I currently direct children's musical theater). WHICH tour is more worthwhile? I don't think we'll have time to do both.

    Another day while in NJ is a day trip down to Philadelphia. Since my husband and I are both into US history, we of course want to do Independence Hall, Liberty Bell, the Constitution Center, and the Betsy Ross House too.

    There's our second question: Is the US Mint Tour worthwhile? Also, I notice they do not allow cameras and cell phones on the tour. Do they have facilities to lock up those items or is it safe to leave them in the trunk in a parking lot?

    Third question: There is a mention of a parking garage nearby Independence Hall. From the map, it looks like the US Mint might be walkable from that garage, or is that a crazy thought?

    On the way west, that's where we're going to do a little more sight-seeing. Our first stop westward is Gettysburg - one full afternoon and two full days. We're confident that will be enough for us there. We already have our hotel reservations, as we were told "get them early if you want a choice." The next stop is in Dayton, OH. Hubby is terrifically interested in planes and flight, so we want one full day at the National Museum of the Air Force. We have hotel reservations there, too, but if we could get into Wright-Patterson's Military lodge, we'd change those. The second day is where we come up with a question:

    Of all the Wright Bros stuff in Dayton, what are the "do not miss" sites? We've seen listings for Carillon Historical Park, Armstrong Air & Space Museum, Wright-Dunbar Interpretive Center and Wright Cycle Co., John Berry Wright Bros Aviation Center, and Huffman Field. We love seeing "this is where it happened" and museums.

    Finally, a general question. With the tornadoes and such that have been taking place this year (Oklahoma, Missouri, etc), would it be worthwhile to get a weather radio and carry it with us? We will be driving through Tornado Alley both ways - both on I-40 eastbound, and I-70 westbound.

    Thanks!

    Donna
    Last edited by DonnaR57; 06-10-2011 at 11:02 AM. Reason: punctuation correction

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default Philly, Planes and Plains

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    Yes, we've all seen your activities in providing help to other RoadTrippers and we are most appreciative of your work. Thank you

    The choice between backstage tours of Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center is, of course, up to you. But from your description of your interests, I would think that you'd get more out of seeing Lincoln Center which is more of a performing arts center (dance and theater) than Carnegie Hall which is both older and more of a concert hall.

    I usually don't hesitate to leave my belongings in a locked trunk of a locked park car, with nothing in view that would indicate that there's anything worth stealing. I would however, even then prefer to park the car in an attended lot rather than on the street. And I would have everything in the trunk before I parked the car and not make a display of putting things in the trunk and then walking off and leaving the car. That's just a sensible level of precaution.

    The Liberty Bell, Constitution Hall (Carpenter Hall) and the US Mint are all located within a 4 block by 3 block area of central Philadelphia, with the Independence National Historic Park Parking located underground smack dab in the middle of it all. That would make an excellent place to park your car (and leave your belongings during your visit to the Mint). Also in that area are Elfreth's Alley, Loxley Court, the Arch Street Meeting House, and the Betsy Ross House. All are within walking distance of the underground parking garage.

    I'm with you on your intentions in Dayton. The Wright Brother's shop on South Williams Street is the only one of the five shops that they had in Dayton that is still completely original, however it pre-dates their work on the aeroplane by a few years. However four of the five shops they operated are now located within a few blocks of each other and would make as good a "this is where it happened" pilgrimage as any museum. By the way, I don't see Washington, DC on this itinerary, but not only is the National Air and Space Museum a must for any aviation enthusiast, but so is the Udvar-Hazy Center at Dulles International Airport where aircraft are restored for exhibition in the museum. In the 'old days' when restoration work was done at the Garber Facility in Suitland, MD, I actually got to stick my head up into the bomb bay of the Enola Gay while it was being worked on.

    I used to carry a weather radio when I lived in the northeast, was a pilot myself, and wanted all the information I could get on winter weather fronts and storms. Tornadoes, on the other hand, are such localized events that a general warning is not all that useful - although you should certainly check the Weather Channel each morning before setting out on the road. Just keep a weather eye out on your travels and should see a funnel cloud, take off at right angles to its direction of motion.

    AZBuck
    Last edited by AZBuck; 06-10-2011 at 03:19 PM. Reason: typos

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,546

    Default

    We are saving Washington DC for another trip. My brother lives on that coast, after all, and hopefully this won't be our last trip to that side of the country. NEXT time we go, though, we hope we have a truck camper or similar. Yes, we would definitely spend time in the Smithsonian, especially in the National Air and Space Museum. (I understand that this NMAFB at Dayton is part of the Smithsonian system, as was a museum about nuclear science that we went to in Albuquerque last summer.) Just not this time around - due to time constraints. (Hubby is retired, but I'm not.)

    Another place we're going, while visiting family in Missouri, is up to Hannibal. Oh, I've been there two or three times before. However, this year I have a different reason for going: our musical this year is based on the story of Tom Sawyer. I figure I'll go get some stuff that would make a good bulletin board, especially photos and postcards. Plus maybe get something for my stage.

    Thanks for the idea on Lincoln Center. That was something I didn't think of, the differences in the types of shows that are at LC vs Carnegie. Either way, I want to make sure that I actually see the front of whatever one I don't tour.

    If anyone has any tips on navigating the NYC subway system, please jump in. I'm a little nervous about it, on the offchance that my brother won't tag along with us. (He's familiar with the City, but hasn't had to navigate it in 10 years.)


    Donna

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,067

    Default

    I've found the NYC subway system really quite easy to use. The biggest thing that has the potential to cause a problem is that in many sections different trains will use the same set of tracks, but make different stops. Just make sure the train you plan to use actually stops at the station you're trying to start/finish.

    They do sell day passes right with the ticket vending machines, and if you're going to get off/on a few times, that's your best and easiest bet rather than paying for each ride.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,937

    Default

    I agree, the subway is very easy. There is a small map you can get with the streets and the subway, so you actually know where you are. lol

    That said, it is four years since I was there last, so who knows what is available now.

    Lifey

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,546

    Default

    My brother said he'd help as much as he could, but he tries to avoid NYC if he can (after working there for years and years). We're also going to have to figure out how to get into the city from NJ, as there is no way we want to drive, or park, on Manhattan. (Any clues? He lives along I-80.)

    Hubby and I also made the decision, this trip, to try to enjoy local restaurants (when we are eating out) rather than constantly relying on the chains. Maybe that will help us appreciate the need to eat out. I've gotten some recommendations for places in NYC, and along our route. I could use some recommendations for lunch in Philadelphia and in Dayton. Of course we can ask locally, too, but in some motels they just point at the chains outside of their doors and say "there". Our hotel in Dayton has a small kitchenette, which I will take advantage of for a meal or two.

    We are getting very excited about this trip - it's the farthest we've gone since 2000 (when we went up/down the AlCan).


    Donna

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,937

    Default Park at the railway station and take the train

    Quote Originally Posted by DonnaR57 View Post
    My brother said he'd help as much as he could, but he tries to avoid NYC if he can (after working there for years and years). We're also going to have to figure out how to get into the city from NJ, as there is no way we want to drive, or park, on Manhattan. (Any clues? He lives along I-80.)

    Donna
    My daughter lives in Bergen County. Whenever I go into NYC from her place (or for that matter when she goes) I leave my car at the railway station (Ramsey), and catch the train. I have stayed in NYC for three days, came back and paid the three days' parking fee and all was well. I made sure I got there early, as in about 6am, and parked right by the lift where the most traffic passes. Besides, the station was manned, and seemed to be well looked after.

    I am sure there are similar facilities near where your brother lives. Seems all trains from NJ go to NYC. You could probably find something similar in the vicinity of Patterson or Hackensack.

    Lifey

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,272

    Default

    Lunch in Philly? A cheesesteak at Pat's or Geno's! Which one is best will be debated forever, and they are both at the corner of 9th and Passyunk.

    NJ into NYC? The NJ Transit website has maps and schedules. Drive to the closest train station.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,546

    Default

    Another question - is there a website or such that I can use to calculate tolls? Though we have routed ourselves to avoid a lot of turnpike driving in the eastern states, we know we will hit a few miles of PA Turnpike, a few miles of KS Turnpike, and a bunch of bridges across the Delaware (PA to NJ and reverse). I didn't know that the bridges are toll!

    Thanks,


    Donna

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default Unfortunately, No

    There is no single website that lists all tolls for all roads and bridges and can be counted on to be up to date. You'll simply have to visit the site of each toll road and bridge independently. That said, tolls are more common in the northeast than anywhere else. The two major exceptions are kansas (as you discovered) and Oklahoma. This is another advantage of paper maps which almost always display toll roads in a different color than freeways.

    AZBuck

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