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  1. Default East to West Coast, 4 Lads from the UK!

    Hey guys, just want to thank you for the site as it has given us a load of information to help us put together our road trip for this summer. Bit of background there's 4 of us who are graduating this year from uni in the UK and want to do something this summer so thought to go east to west coast of America. We're trying to fit it in after our last exams, before graduation (about a 28 day period give or take a few days) but I think we're just going to stick to 28 days to keep it safe.

    What I’d like advice on is how our route is looking so far, some places have quite long drives in between and I’m trying to find us some decent stopping places, so I’ve underlined what we have so far, and then we're open to suggestions to others as we're not too sure of any decent places to stop.

    We’re not sure whether we're trying to do too much in the little periods we have as there’s a lot of 1 dayers in places, not sure whether that’s good or bad. But yeah, here's our route, would be great to hear what you guys think and any advice on any aspect would be greatly appreciated!

    11/06/2012- Leave Manchester Airport. Arrive Washington DC Collect Car.
    See white house, Nelsons Column, Lincoln Memorial, National Mall

    12/06/2012- Day in Washington DC. Drive to New York around 4-5ish (4 hours 30)

    13/06/2012- New York
    Central Park, Times Square, Broadway, NBA/NHL

    14/06/2012- New York
    Empire State Building, Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island

    15/06/2012- Leave NY morning. Drive to Niagara Falls (7 hours 22 mins) Perhaps stop in Syracuse for food (4 hours 30 into journey) Arrive Niagara Falls in the evening, find somewhere to stay

    16/06/2012- Niagara Falls
    Go see waterfall etc.

    17/06/2012- Niagara Falls - Chicago (9 hours8 mins) Stop off Detroit MI (4 hours 30 into journey)
    Food, maybe hit up the Ford Field (Held Superbowl XL in 2006) tour the stadium for a break. Arrive Chicago in evening, find somewhere to stay.

    18/06/2012- Chicago to Kansas City (Or somewhere else to break up the drive to Colorado)
    (8 hours 35 mins) just spend the night here. Open to suggestions of places to stop off.

    19/06/2012 - Kansas City to Colorado (9 Hours26 mins) suggestions of stop off points

    20/06/2012- Colorado
    White water rafting, lakes, Denver Zoo, any midweek sports games? they have football, baseball, basketball, hockey, soccer or lacrosse.

    21/06/2012- Colorado to Rapid City (7 Hours30) Suggestions of stop off point
    Mount Rushmore, Devils Mound

    22/06/2012- Rapid City to Thermopolis (5hours 30)
    Thermopolis Springs

    23/06/2012- Thermopolis to Old faithful (3hours 40)
    Old Faithful Geyser, Rafting, Bear Watching, Rodeo, Waterfall, Grand Prismatic Spring, Grand Loop Road, Mount Washburn

    24/06/2012- Old Faithful to Salt Lake City (6hours 15)

    25/06/2012- Salt Lake City26/06/2012- Leave Salt Lake City. Drive to Grand Canyon (9 hours 30) Suggestions of stop off point

    27/06/2012- Leave Grand Canyon. Drive to Las Vegas (Hoover Dam on the way) (4 hours 45)
    Grand Canyon, Hoover Dam

    28/06/2102- Las Vegas

    29/06/2012- Las Vegas

    30/06/2012- Leave Las Vegas. Drive to San Diego (5 hours 15)
    San Diego Bridge

    01/07/2012- Leave San Diego. Drive to LA (2Hours)

    02/07/2012- LA
    Hollywood, BEACH

    03/07/2012- LA

    04/07/2012- Leave LA. Drive to San Francisco (6 Hours 30)
    Alcatraz Prison

    05/07/2012- San Francisco
    San Francisco Bay (Golden Gate Bridge), San Andreas Fault line

    07/07/2012- Fly from San Francisco to Manchester Airport

    All times are rough estimates from Google maps. We're going to just rent a car to save time at the end if we needed to sell a car on our tight schedule.

    Thanks guys

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default questions and concerns

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    I'll start with the very last thing you said. You will not be able to purchase a car for this trip. Its nearly impossible for a non-resident to purchase a car, and even if you could, it would not be cost effective for just a month long trip, and would require you to spend several days of your plans dealing with the issues that go along with purchasing, licensing, insuring, etc a car.

    Going back to the start, I'd suggest you would be best off waiting until you are ready to leave NY to pick up a rental car. Both DC and NYC are places that are actually much easier to get around via public transit, and having a car will be expensive and really more of a hassle than a help.

    Finally, looking at the details of the trip itself, it doesn't appear that you really have an appreciation for how large the US is and/or how much you can actually do in a day. I will start with the warning that google maps typically overestimate just how far you can get. Once you factor in a bare minimum of stops, your actually travel times will typically increase by about 20%. Even said that, most of your drives are obtainable, but they just don't leave hardly any time to do the things you say you want to do.

    For example, while you are going to Chicago, you'll have a very long day to get there, and a very long 2 days to get to Denver, which means you haven't left any time at all to see the city. You've listed "Colorado" as a place you want to see in a day - and getting beyond the fact that Colorado is a state that's actually bigger than all of the UK with enough different parks and places where you could easily spend a full week here alone - you've also listed several things you want to do, and in reality you most likely would only have time for at most one or two of them. You've given yourself less than a day to see Yellowstone, a location that takes at least 2-3 days just to see the highlights, and no time at all to see any of the several more national parks in between SLC and the Grand Canyon.

    There are several more cases of this throughout your plan, but what it really comes down to is that when you are planning to spend 500-600 miles on the road, you aren't going to have time left to do much siteseeing that day. Between the number of days you want to spend on the east and west coasts (BTW, if you want to drive the scenic coast highway, you'll need 2 days to get from LA to SF), and the zig-zagging in your plans, you just don't have much time to enjoy your trip.

    I would strongly recommend you take a step back and focus in a bit more on the high points of what you want to do, and give yourself a chance to enjoy them. That may means doing Colorado or Yellowstone and not both, or doing other cuts from your current plans, or your really going to finish your trip looking back at all the things you drove by rather than all the things you actually saw.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Busy middle.

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    To be honest I think you are attempting too much and are going to end up spending way to much time with 4 lads couped up in a car together for it to be as much fun as you may hope.

    To start with, Googles estimated drive times are way optimistic on long journeys. They do not allow for Fuel, bathroom and food stops or simply to take an hour out of the car, never mind 'real world' delays like traffic congestion and construction.

    Right of the bat I think you might be expecting a bit much. By the time you clear customs, collect baggae and get checked into yuor Hotel you might not have a lot of energy left, or day ? The excitement will keep you going, but next day you plan on a day in Washington before driving to NY through a highly travelled area.

    In a similar fashion you have days where you just won't have time to do the things you want, a prime example is on the 20th where you want to do White water rafting, go to Denver zoo, visit 'Lakes' [RMNP ?] and try and take in a game ! [Similar on the 23rd]

    From LA to SF you can make it same day, but you will miss the spectacular coastal highway and trying to visit Alcatraz same day [even the night tour] would be a push.

    On paper you can cover the distance but in my opinion you are stretching things in the middle of your trip where you have no time to 'smell the roses'. I would consider 'straightening' your line across the country and take a northerly route through Rapid City/Yellowstone or a more southerly through Colorado and Grand canyon and gain a little time out of the car to explore these amazing places.

    I would also consider ending in LA and heading south down the coast from SF giving yourself a couple of days to enjoy the scenic coastal highway.

  4. Default

    I noticed that you're planning to leave DC for New York late in the afternoon. I'd really advise against that. DC has some bad traffic issues, and if you leave at the time you are planning to, you'll probably be sitting in traffic for quite some time. If you are leaving from DC itself (not the MD and VA suburbs), I'd leave either before 3 or after 6:30.

  5. #5


    I can see what you are thinking in mind as other folks from UK/EIRE (as i have lived in EIRE for 12 years), you want to cover as much as you can-have fun as you can and cover the ATLAS too. But some of the points in your plan is way too awkword.
    I think what you really shoot is to break the journey in 3~4 sections and cut some of it,
    The main thing you should cover is like this

    1) NY, DC and sorrounding area
    2) Niagra fall/Yellow stone
    3) Las Vegas and Grand Canyon
    4) SAN DIEGO, LA and SFO

    Now, tavel is really getting too much here. I think you should leave DC/Niagra fall for some other time as you are spending almost 7 days there. You guys are close to east coast and can cover DC and Niagra some other time. Concentrate more on roadtrip rather local site seing of NY and DC, it will take a long time.
    Also, leave NY early morning (3:00 am or something to avoid traffic)

    I will add more to this later.
    A good peice of advice, book the rental car from UK (online only) showing yourself NON-US resident, you will save approx $500 in doing that. rental company may want to see your UK license and flight tickets (if so, it will be mention in renatl agreement during the online booking.
    since you are in June traveling south, get ready for extreme heat near Arizona and Vegas, so bring light cloth for sure and no big heavy jacket :-)

    I may write more later...

  6. Default

    Thanks for the replies so far guys, been a real help. Some of the things we put down to do in certain places are just thoughts, so we just dont get to a place and be like what the heck do we do here, we know we wont have time to do them all. But totally agree on the fact we're trying to do too much and there's a lot of time spent in the car. Guess we just got excited by the idea of trying to see as many places as possible!

    We'll have a look at breaking places down, taking a few out etc. Any more advice would be great

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

    Default Common theme.

    Guess we just got excited by the idea of trying to see as many places as possible!
    That happens a lot, more often than you might think, but thats what the planning/discussion stage is all about.

    Any more advice would be great
    Keep checking out all the RTA planning resources and talking thing over, it's early days ! As and when you have new questions don't hesitate to ask.

    One thing to keep in mind though, is that sometimes, less is more. ;-)

    Enjoy the planning !

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