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  1. #1

    Default Trip of a lifetime - All 48 and in no rush.

    Hi All,

    Just found this site and it has got me thinking about having a major adventure! :)
    I'm a Brit living in the UK. I have just retired from the Royal Navy after 35 years and will eventually have to settle down; but not yet. I have one last major voyage in me and I have decided on a Road Trip USA. I have found a company that will freight my Harley over to New York where I can join it and set off. I have no rush; I have to pop back to the UK a couple of times but will return with the bike before winter sets in in Canada.

    I want to set off from New York in Mid-April, I want to be in Calgary for July and Nova Scotia by Mid-September. After reading several posts on here I think I can use this route (thank you to Kinless) as a template.

    As an ex-service man I shall be using place like the SSMA Club in New York, a tent whenever I can and roadside motels. It has been recommended I join the AAA and will have insurance and medical cover. The hardest bit for me has been what to see and what to leave out. Maybe some of you good people can help?

    Things I know I must see (in no particular order):

    Kennedy Space Centre (visited Florida before and seen most of everything else)
    Grand Canyon
    Giant Redwoods
    Meet First Nations Folk and talk to them
    Meet Amish folk
    4 Corners
    World Trade Centre Memorial
    OK Corral
    Aircraft Storage yards
    Route 66
    West Coast Highway

    Things I do like:

    History - pre Colonial, Colonial, Civil War, Industrial
    Natural Wonders
    Meeting People
    Open Roads
    Bikes and Cars

    I could go on and on! But what I don't know is what I should see that isn't in the UK sourced guide books. Things that only you folks may know about in your states. I will have to limit how far of the core route I will go, say 100 miles, but if somewhere just has to be seen then I can edit my route. :)

    Things I don't like and would avoid unless impossible to do so:

    Cities (I'm a country boy at heart)
    Tourist destinations e.g. Las Vagas
    Constructed destinations (build it and people will come).
    Crowds of camera toting people.

    I want to see the USA and meet its people. I have read Bill Bryson, The Lost Continent: Travels in Small-Town America and would love to do something like this, but still see the big things the US has......
    Any help would be greatly appreciated.


    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 01-30-2012 at 01:02 PM. Reason: added some white space for easier reading

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default A great adventure awaits!

    Quote Originally Posted by Figure11 View Post
    Things I don't like and would avoid unless impossible to do so:
    Cities (I'm a country boy at heart)
    Welcome to the Great American RoadTrip Forum! It's great when a new member has put so much time into thinking about the things they like and want to do a road trip.

    First of all, most Americans now live in cities and so if you want to really meet America's peoples you'll need to be spending time in the cities. I see from your list that about half of the listed attractions are found in cities, so it will be a blend.

    Tourist destinations e.g. Las Vegas
    Las Vegas is the home of RTA, and there are some truly awesome places to explore on a Harley around there.

    I know that you'll not be a speed run, but might get a kick out of this field report where another rider (and RTA member, Rollin) completed a trip to all 50 states in less than 10 days!

    There are lots of tools for finding those out-of-the-way places on any road trip in America on this site. If you go to the Map Center and click on any spot on the map, you'll get a list of attractions that other roadtrippers have deemed extra special. Some of them are also listed here. And some of our favorite routes are described here.

    Happy Planning.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default From the Sublime to the Ridiculous

    One great resource for this stage of your planning would be these listings of 26 (or so) attractions in each state. As you will see, they cover both the major sites that most people would certainly want to see as well as some off-beat locations that may appeal to just a few, perhaps including you.


  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default contradiction

    One thing that stands out to me about your request is that it has the fairly common contradiction that you want to see the best of the US, but you don't want to see the things that are popular!

    For example, you list off places like Yosemite, Grand Canyon and Yellowstone, which are great places no doubt, but they are certainly both "touristy" and will have "Crowds of camera toting people." Route 66, which doesn't actually exist anymore, is another case where it became famous exactly for the "build it and people will come" factor.

    My point isn't that you shouldn't visit any of those places, or that trying to find unique spots is a bad thing. What I'm pointing out is that most of the best spots in America have been found, and they are popular. Sometimes people try so hard to uncover something new that they overlook what's right in front of them. Just keep that in mind as you are filling out your plans.

    Also, rather than following someone else's route - and trying to stick within 100 miles of it - create your own! Kinless's route was built to cross state lines as quickly as possible, which was great for what he was doing - but that seems very much contrary to the goals of your trip. I get the feeling you'd greatly enjoy spending lots of time simply getting onto a 2 lane highway and seeing where it takes you, and trying to follow a strict outline of someone else's trip wouldn't really match up with that.

    Finally, rather than joining AAA, you should look at joining AA while you are still in the UK. They have an agreements in place with the AAA, that will give you the same kind of benefits and discounts while traveling in the US. They will also be able to give you maps and other helpful information before you leave.
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 01-30-2012 at 01:01 PM. Reason: typo on Kinless' handle

  5. #5


    Hey all,

    Thanks for the replies and links; and yes there are contradictions in what I want to do. I think deciding what I want to do is going to be tougher than doing it! :)

    I guess if there has to be a central thread to my trip then it has to be the two lane highway. I just spent a couple of hours typing in about 60% of all the locations I could think of into Google maps and hit 'get directions'. It came back with 7580 miles. I then selected avoid tolls and highways and the mileage went up to 8765. That would be an average of 150 miles a day for 2 days out of three. I'm comfortable with that. Do I decide what my memories are going to be before I go, or do I have a true adventure and see where the road takes with a rough clockwise circumnavigation and not set any targets like visiting all states? More thought, and thought provoking, needed. :D



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    The only "structure" I'd recommend is to try to visit the southern states in spring and fall, and the northern states in summer. Some of the western mountains aren't even accessible with a wheeled vehicle until June and will close again by October.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default Central Theme?

    You'd have to eliminate about half of the things on your To-Do list if you were limited to accessing them by two-lane road. There's still of plenty of two-lane highway out there, but generally if other people have enjoyed seeing something -- you can bet that the locals have built a "four-laner" to get them there.

    At some point, you might consider abandoning the one-size-fits-all mapping program offered by Google and try the RTA Custom Maps program. But there's plenty of time for that.

    The biggest challenge is that you could easily spend 10 years following two-lane roads in single states. My favorite all time favorite style of road trip is the meander -- where I decide on the morning I leave each day -- which direction I'm going that day. But here are some more types of road trips -- Just to give you some more ideas to cogitate upon:

    Challenge Road Trips

    Jaunt and Quest

    And even though you're going to be on-the-road for an extended period (sounds like heaven to us) you might want to think of your journey as a series of interconnected 20-hour road trips...


  8. Default

    With the kinds of history you are interested in, I'd recommend visiting Fredericksburg, VA. You can see George Washington's boyhood home and numerous other sites from the colonial era, along with four nearby Civil War battlefields. Manassas Battlefield isn't too far from there either, and there are some nice back roads through the countryside in between them.

  9. #9


    I wish you a safe trip and a great time. I've made an across the USA trip and loved everyday of it.

  10. Default Mesa Verde

    If you are heading to the Four Corners area I highly recommend checking out the ancient cliff dwellings at Mesa Verde. They are very near four corners! I think you will enjoy seeing the site based on your interest in history. Good luck with your trip, it sounds like a dream!

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