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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Sydney - Australia
    Posts
    24

    Default LA to Dallas by car in 2 weeks

    Hello folks

    This is my first post here and I'm looking to familiarise myself with this site. It looks to be an excellent resource.

    Anyway, my partner and I are planning a 3 week US holiday from mid November and my hope is to rent a car and spend 2 weeks driving from LA to Dallas via Vegas and Friedricksburg.

    Destinations we intend to visit include to see the major sights, Grand Canyon, Hoover Dam and the Pacific War museum in Friedricksburg Texas but I'm also tempted to check out the Atomic Museum in New Mexico and see parts of Arizona. I'm a bit of a WW2 buff and am looking to experience some Americana from that period.

    I'm a little worried if 2 weeks is enough time to see the places I want to see. Ideally I'd like to see out of the way places like Monument Valley and Pima Air Museum so there would be much ground to cover. My partner is also worried about the costs (car rental + accomodation). As someone who wants to take in the beauty of South Western USA, are there any other must sees and is the car the only way to experience it? Any advice on budgeting/planning for such a trip?

    From Dallas we'll be flying to DC & NYC then back to Sydney Australia.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,546

    Default

    You mentioned two places that are not the usual things to see, but we've done. First was the Atomic Museum in NM. If you're speaking of the one in Albuquerque, it's superb - - plan to spend a half day there if you can fit it into your schedule. There are a number of very interesting displays, if you are interested in the history of the A-bomb and in nuclear science. My husband and I spent 4 hours there one day last July, and were so glad that we had gone there instead of making the 160 mile round trip to Los Alamos.

    The Pima Air Museum is also worth seeing. Bear in mind I was there years ago, and I've heard it got better and better.

    It seems to me that your routing could be LA to Vegas (6 hour drive via I-10 and I-15), US 95/93 down to I-40 where you pick up the route to the Grand Canyon and can swing across the Hoover Dam on your way. If you need to include the Pima Air Museum, which is at Marana near Tucson, you'd then have to swing way out of your way I-40/I-17/I-10 south, then back north to go to Albuquerque to the Atomic Museum. Then swing south again to catch the museum at Fredericksburg TX before moving into Texas.

    If, when calculating travel time and days, maybe it would make more sense for you to choose either Pima Air Museum or the Atomic Museum at Abq this trip, and save the other for another trip.

    Budgeting and planning - - there are some good helps on this particular website. Once you figure out your estimated mileage, you can use the Fuel Cost Calculator on the site. For overnights, if you are using motels, you can go cheap to expensive, from under $50/nite for Motel 6 and mom-and-pops, to over $150 for expensive. Food - - well, we usually budget $30 a person per day for two meals out. If you can take advantage of a hotel continental breakfast, that may save $ too. It also depends on whether you are planning to pack a little cooler with drinks and snacks in it - something we do all the time. It's cheaper to do that, than to stop at a convenience store and buy something every time.

    Car vs other ways - - I couldn't say, I don't have the experience with much else other than flying. I would rather drive than fly, unless I'm in a real hurry to get someplace.


    Donna

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,748

    Default Lot's of options.

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    You could possibly cover the miles from LA >LV> GC [via Hoover dam]>MV> Fredericksburg > Dallas in 4 days of driving, so you certainly have some time to enjoy the sights !

    I would say that the best and only realistic way to do the trip is by car. Although we don't do 'must See's' as everyone's tastes are different, there is certainly plenty for all through this area. The Southern Utah NP's of Zion and Bryce canyon, Mesa Verde in SW Colorado, Taos Pueblo in New Mexico would be a few options North of I40. South in NM you have the likes of Carlsbad caverns and White sands and there is so much more !

    Search around the forums and use the planning resources in the tool bars above, such as the Map centre where you can find recommended attractions, then once you have some more ideas down we can help piece your trip together and fill in the blanks.

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

    Default minor correction/other options

    Quote Originally Posted by DonnaR57 View Post
    If you need to include the Pima Air Museum, which is at Marana near Tucson,
    Just to avoid confusion, The Pima Museum in located near Davis Monthan AFB, on the Southeast Side of town. Marana is a suburb just Northwest of Tucson.

    The larger point is very true, there really isn't any way to visit Tucson without a pretty significant detour from the rest of your stops.

    However, if the idea of seeing old airplanes - like those stored at the Tucson Boneyard near the Pima Museum - is what you are going for, you might instead look at driving through Mojave, where there is also a boneyard at the Mojave Airport. You could perhaps also stop at the Air Force Test Center Museum at Edwards AFB (you should probably check to see what restrictions there are to enter the base, especially as an international visitor.)

    From there continue to Inyokern for a stop at the China Lake Museum, and then head to Vegas via Death Valley.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default Budgeting

    Quote Originally Posted by Julz View Post
    Any advice on budgeting/planning for such a trip?
    Check out the Planning articles from the green bar above, and the Saving Money on a Road Trip Forum, which are full of helpful information.

    Do you have a large map of the US? I think this could be helpful for you, as you research all the suggestions above. However, one unavoidable cost on the route you have outlined, is the one way drop off fee for a rental car. Looking at your interests, I wonder if you have considered doing a loop trip? You could fly into Las Vegas or Phoenix. The extra air fare is most likely quite a bit less than the drop off fee. When you lay it all out on a map, see if this would work for you.

    Lifey in Melbourne

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Sydney - Australia
    Posts
    24

    Default

    Thanks for the tips guys. Very useful and much appreciated. I love this site

    I don't think I can avoid the drop of fee since driving back west from Dallas might be too much.

    My partner and I just had a discussion and we're considering using public transport to get from LA to Vegas and then renting from Vegas to do the one way trip to Dallas via Albuquerque and Friedricksburg.

    I've decided I will catch a Planes of Fame museum air show in Chino on the way to Vegas though.

    Sadly the Pima boneyard is off the itinerary. Now looking for places interesting between Albuquerque and Friendricksburg.

    Still some planning ahead but a big driving map is something I'm going to get ASAP.

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

    Default So do we

    Quote Originally Posted by Julz View Post
    I love this site
    We do too, and what we love even more, is reading about your experiences on the road. Would be great if you could leave a report in the RoadTrip Field Reports forum, telling us all about how it all went.

    Lifey

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Sydney - Australia
    Posts
    24

    Default

    For sure. Hopefully some gorgeous photos too.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    My partner and I just had a discussion and we're considering using public transport to get from LA to Vegas
    Why? Compare your costs and the time.

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

    Default Is there any?

    I think you'll find there is precious little public transport, and as glc indicated, it may cost you more in both time and money.

    Why do you not just extend your flight to LV? I think you'll find it is not much more than your SYD / LAX.

    I have found that MEL to BOS is very little more than MEL / LAX. Why not consult one (or more) travel consultants, and see what sort of deals you can get. You cannot book that over the internet.

    Lifey

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