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  1. Default 10-Week 7k mile Roadtrip NY-Montreal-Chicago-Dallas-Southwest-CA

    Hi all,

    My brother and I have planned a 10-week roadtrip from 15 April - 23 June 2012 through the US. We have rented a brand new 30ft RV (which is huge given that it's just the two of us, but we like our space) and plan to drive across the states as follows:

    Starting in New York - Boston - Montreal - through Algonquin Park - Toronto - Detroit - Chicago - Indianapolis, then either via Springfield (MI) and Oklahoma City to Dallas OR via Memphis to Dallas - Juarez (or a bit further north to avoid the border) - Tuscon - Phoenix - Flagstaff - Grand Canyon - Monument Valley - Moab - Capitol Reef - possibly up to Salt Lake City/Yellowstone - Zion NP - Las Vegas - San Diego - Los Angeles - Yosemite and finish in San Francisco

    We're both drivers in our mid twenties (from The Netherlands) but have no experience driving through the US, especially not in a massive RV. We will be camping on campgrounds along the way, trying to see and experience as much of the country as possible. We are looking for a nice blend of nature (lakes, parks, mountains), great driving roads, small villages with local scenery, sightseeing in cities, famous sites and must-see landmarks. We selected the above route keeping these goals in mind, although we know little to nothing about the areas/roads in between the main cities/landmarks on our way.

    Budget-wise, we've calculated we will end up with something in the range of USD 3500 for gas and we have budgeted approx USD 500 per person per week on F&B/sightseeing/campgrounds (not including RV rental).

    Does anyone have any advice/thoughts on our trip? Distance, route (any suggestions?), stops/landmarks on the way, method of travel, costs, timing and duration etc..? Any possible issues or restrictions we would need to bear in mind? (for example we know that we cannot bring the RV into some cities, and will have to leave it parked outside the city and take public transport or a car into the city centre). Look forward to your views on this trip.

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Western/Central Massachusetts

    Default Welcome!

    Welcome to the RoadTrip America Forum!

    The New York to Boston corridor should provide just about the most difficult driving experience you are likely to encounter on your trip. This is one of the most heavily trafficked areas of the country. If you can make it through there, you can make it through anywhere! That said, within Boston, you'll want to take the "T" instead of carting around in your RV. Heck, I don't even like driving a regular passenger vehicle in that city!

    Another thing to keep in mind is that many of the campgrounds in the Northeast don't open until mid-May at the earliest, so be sure that you have something arranged for your lodging situation in these areas. In fact, you may want to check around your dates for all of the areas that you are going to visit.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Another way

    As Tim mentioned, if you can drive from NY to Boston, you will be able to drive anywhere. However, as one who does this trip several times, each time I visit, I have to admit, I avoid I-95 at all cost.

    Taking 287 out of NY, and 87 to 90 might be a bit longer, and is a toll road the whole way, but is also a much less stressful drive, through some pleasant countryside.

    Gezellige reis!


  4. Default

    Thanks Tim and Lifey.

    Sounds like we will be better off skipping Boston and head straight to Montreal via Albany on I-87.. I'll work that into our travel route.

    Thanks for the tip on the campgrounds, I didn't realize that it may be more difficult to find camgrounds around mid April.. Any good website I can check to find out if there are any that are open and I can contact in advance?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    Actually, if you can get either a Trailer Life Campground and RV Park Guide, or a Woodall's of the same idea, you're better off than relying on the Internet. It's a good idea to own that, and you can tuck it into your suitcase as you fly in. Each listing will have the dates that the place is open.

    As you get further south, especially around Tucson, you'll find that they're all open year-round. Most of the "snowbirds" that park in Arizona for the winter leave right around Easter or a tad later, so you shouldn't even need reservations there.


  6. Default

    Absolutely - getting a Trailer Life Campground Guide sounds like a much more reliable source of info, especially when we're on the move. Thanks!

    Just slightly concerned about the security of the RV's.. especially when we go hiking, exploring etc. Is it common for those to be broken into and which type of campgrounds/parking spots should we avoid? Just a thought..

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Not a major issue.

    No it's not a common thing to have an RV broken into at all, and not something I have experienced or have ever been overly concerned about. As with a car, it's common sense not to leave any valuables, wallets, phones, cameras etc in clear view and to make sure it's all locked up. The big advantage of campgrounds the world over is that they are full of like minded people who tend to watch out for each other. Often do people who are tent camping have to leave stuff out doors when they go hiking and I've never met anyone whos has had the equipment stolen. It's not to say that it never happens, but it shouldn't be a major concern. When parking up for a few hours again just use common sense, I wouldn't park in a run down dark and dingy area to save a few bucks in parking fees. Shopping Mall car parks are usually large and well used, well lit and therefor pretty secure.

    The most enjoyable campgrounds I have stayed in are those within the National parks. These can book out early, especially when travelling in a large RV as there are a limited amount of sites to accomodate them. You can find detailed info on all the parks at
    There are also some great driving roads, mountains and lakes in Colorado that you seem to be driving 'around' rather than 'through'. This was our RV trip in that region that might give you something else to consider.

    Have you already booked the RV ? With 10 weeks available you could have considered a round trip and avoided the one way drop off fees and the need to zig-zag up and down the country.

  8. Default

    Thanks Dave - feels a lot more comfortable knowing break-ins are uncommon. Obviously we will not be leaving our vehicle somewhere deserted making it an easy target - applying common sense will prevent leaving any of our valuables exposed to unnecessary risks.

    We already booked our RV as a one-way NY-SF. We will fly back to NY after dropping off the RV and from there plan to drive or take a sleeper train to Washington DC for a 1-2 day visit before spending the last couple of days in NY prior to our return flight.

    I will check out the campgrounds at NP's - I can certainly imagine those would offer the most enjoyable and memorable experiences. Good point on the route - having looked at the map again, we indeed seem to be skipping that rather huge green patch on the map making up most of Colorado..

    Perhaps a better (probably longer) route would be:- Indianapolis, Belleville, Memphis, Dallas, Oklahoma (or just Memphis - Oklahoma, although I've had in my mind that Dallas would be a great place to visit, plus I want to experience the vastness of Texas), Denver, Yellowstone NP (we are keen to see this too), Salt Lake City and then towards Capitol Reef/Moab, Monument Valley, Grand Canyon, Las Vegas, San Diego, LA, SF.

    Having drawn this down, it seems like a crazy long route! I guess with 9 solid weeks at our disposal a lot is possible - just need to make sure we do not overdo it on the mileage. Any thoughts on the above or alternative route suggestions?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default another option

    Have you considered just doing a full loop of the US? Starting and ending in NY?

    With the amount of time you have, the distance wouldn't be too difficult, and in fact when you factor in the zig-zagging between northern and southern destinations, your total distance might not even change all that much! Instead, you'd hit places like memphis, dallas, Grand Canyon, etc as you head one way, and Yellowstone, Chicago, Montreal, etc the other way. Colorado and Utah could be done either direction, depending upon your other priorities.

    It would likely reduce your RV rental cost significantly, by eliminating the one way fee, and would also let you skip the cost/time of the cross country flight.

    Even if you stick to your one way plan, have you looked into flying directly from LA to DC? I doubt the price would be too different, and would let you do the train just one way to NY. Also, the NY-DC train trip only lasts 3-4 hours, so you really wouldn't need a sleeper, and they won't even be available on most trains since this trip is geared towards commuters.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.


    We already booked our RV as a one-way NY-SF.
    Unless it is a very special deal you have secured on the RV rental stopping you, I doubt that they would mind you changing your booking to return it to your start point. As Michael and I mentioned, it could be more beneficial both financially and logistically.

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