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  1. #1

    Default Driving from Los Angeles to Atlanta in October

    Hey everyone,

    Newbie here. Just wanted to know if anyone has driven from Los Angeles to Atlanta. I am very excited about this road-trip, partly because I will be driving my car, which I have just got from Australia (I will be in the USA for 8 months, and plan to drive my car here, it has Australian number plates and is right hand drive - which I am hoping won't be too much of an issue. I will be shipping the car back to Australia in March-April next year). I have set aside 5 days to complete the journey from LA to Atlanta. Is that sufficient or do I need a few more days? (I will be travelling with my girlfriend and another couple, so we will have 4 drivers).

    I have never driven this route before, although I have driven from Atlanta to New York (and back), and Atlanta to Missoula (MT), Bismarck (ND) and back to Atlanta, so I am familiar with the US road system, rest stops, toll roads etc.

    Anyway..I would really like to know more about where to stop, how many motels/hotels I need to book and the availability of diesel fuel at gas stations along the way (as the car is a ML Class diesel SUV).
    Any help would be greatly appreciated! Thanks guys!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default From One Aussie to Another.

    Hi, and Welcome to the Great American RoadTrip Forum.

    Five days will make for a relaxed journey with the posibility of some sightseeing along the way. You should not have any difficulty getting diesel fuel along the way, especially if you are doing most of your driving on the interstates. There are not many places which do not sell diesel.

    But what I would like to know is, what is involved in taking your own car across the Pacific? As in what paperwork? timeframe? and costs? I would not have thought that it would be worth it for (up to) just eight months.

    And whereabouts in Melbourne??

    Lifey in Essendon

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    You shouldn't need to prebook hotels/motels unless there is a particular one you want to stay in for whatever reason. The Interstate highways have plenty of chain hotels at or near the exits and almost always have room for "walk-ins".

    Just to drive from LA to Atlanta via fastest route would be a 4 day drive. Perhaps you could decide on one major attraction to use the 5th day - the Grand Canyon would fill that bill quite nicely. This is where I might book 2 nights - see if you can get lodging in the park or in Tusayan.

    Your stops for the remainder of the trip would probably be around Amarillo and Little Rock. Take I-40 all the way to Memphis, then US-78 to Birmingham and I-20 to Atlanta.

    You will always find diesel fuel at truck stops - you can't use the truck islands but they will have diesel on the car islands. Major truck stop chains are Flying J, Pilot, Petro, Love's, and TA - and they are very prevalent along the Interstate highways. Diesel is going to be a bit hit-or-miss in other car-only "gas stations". If they do have diesel, it is usually indicated on the big sign out front under the petrol prices.

    All our over-the-road diesel fuel is "ultra low sulfur" for emissions purposes, research compatibility and any special things you may need to do (use of additive, etc.) with M-B before you ship the car over.

  4. #4

    Default

    Thanks for your replies guys. Lifey, I am from Brighton (but have been living in Geelong since 2008).
    I think diesel should not be a problem as I am having no difficulties finding fuel here in LA (I am currently in LA, staying near Hollywood). I am having a blast driving my car here..and getting curious looks from other drivers seeing a right hand drive Merc with Oz number-plates amongst the LA traffic!

    Lifey, it is not very expensive to ship the car here at all, and the paperwork is not that much either. The US does not require a Carnet de Passage, all I had to do was sign paperwork saying I will export the car back to Australia after a specified period of time. In all, it cost around US$2500 to ship the car here, and to ship it back. Took about a month to arrive (I shipped it roll-on-roll-off from Melbourne), and there was an initial inspection to ensure the car meets basic safety standards (this was just a formality). I went through a company called "General Cargo Forwarders Australia", they are based in Sydney, and are recommended by the RACV.
    I have used Hertz, AVIS and Enterprise before, and they turned out to be pretty expensive. Also, I would have to spend more than $2500 to buy a car in the US for the period I will be there, so decided bringing my car here was the best option.

    glc, thanks for your reply. I am planning to take I-40, US-78 and then I-20 to Atlanta, just the way you have mentioned it. I was planning on stopping at the Grand Canyon and Albuquerque, Oklahoma city and Memphis before heading to Atlanta, but your suggestion of Amarillo and Little Rock make more sense. Is it possible to cover Little Rock to Atlanta in one day? Google maps tells me it takes 12 hours, so guess it is possible.

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

    Default Quite doable, and thanks for all that information.

    Quote Originally Posted by Springbok7 View Post
    I am having a blast driving my car here..and getting curious looks from other drivers seeing a right hand drive Merc with Oz number-plates amongst the LA traffic!
    I bet!!

    Quote Originally Posted by Springbok7 View Post
    Lifey, it is not very expensive to ship the car here at all, ....
    Thanks for all that info. I have noted it. May not suit me though, since I will probably be going over for six months almost every year from now on. Think I will need a car here and there. But it would be fun driving with my personalised number plates. lol Do you still have RACV (AAA) roadside cover on the car while over there? And BTW, are you aware that you can get free maps, trip tiks and touring books from the AAA, with your RACV membership. From memory, there is one not all that far away, if you are staying near Hollywood.

    Quote Originally Posted by Springbok7 View Post
    Is it possible to cover Little Rock to Atlanta in one day? Google maps tells me it takes 12 hours, so guess it is possible.
    Quite doable. My google maps tells me it is around 520 miles or around 9 hours. So will probably see you on the road for around 11 hours.

    Lifey

    p.s. If you want a good meal of fish and chips (not fries) I can recommend Mel's Diner, 1650 N Highland Avenue, just south of Hollywood Blvd.
    Last edited by Lifemagician; 07-14-2011 at 05:22 PM.

  6. #6

    Default Thanks for all the info!

    Lifey,
    Thanks for the info! I actually had no idea I could use my RACV membership with the AAA. Cool! Will do that tomorrow morning. I still have RACV cover, but I've had to get additional cover because Allianz (my current insurer) won't cover me here.
    Thanks also for the recommendation for the fish and chips. I'm not so much into seafood in general, but my gf loves it..so will go there too :)

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

    Default Now that you are all set for your trip....

    ... there is one request for you to consider.

    As you go along this (almost) cross country sojourn, in your RHD Aussie registered Merc, how would you like to make some notes and take some pictures. We love to read about how trippers got on. You can post a field report here, either as you go, or at the end of your trip. I am certain that there will be many who are interested to read your adventure (?) and how it all came out in the washup.

    Drive safely.

    Lifey

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    If you want a good steak dinner, I can recommend the Big Texan in Amarillo, the ribeye is particularly good and available in several sizes. They even have a motel on premises that's done up in Old West decor, if you stay there they give you a voucher for a free breakfast buffet in the restaurant. There is wifi in the restaurant but not in the motel, but some rooms can connect to the restaurant's wifi.

    If you want to cut down on your last day's drive, play it by ear. There are hotel choices between Amarillo and OKC, and also between Little Rock and Memphis. However, they are of course considerably more limited than your choices around those cities would be.

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