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  1. Default Summer 2013 - Southeast Mass to LA and Back

    Hey Guys! First post here. I am a 21 year old college student who will be graduating next may and I started looking into this trip about 2 weeks ago. I really have a great route mapped out, but wanted some opinions from some people who may know more than me about obstacles, time, etc. I will be doing this with my girlfriend, so there will be 2 drivers. If you see anything that you don't think I am dedicating enough time to, let me know! The trip is planning on lasting 2.5 weeks, but hopefully by next winter, it may be bumped up to 3 weeks.

    Day 1 - Leave MA at Midnight, drive to DC, spend the day there sightseeing monuments, and drive to Harrisonburg, VA to sleep for the night.
    Day 2 - Leave Harrisonburg, 8.5 hours to Nashville, spend the night in Nashville sightseeing the city
    Day 3 - Leave Nashville, drive 6 hours to Hot Springs National park in Arkansas, spend the day/night there
    Day 4 - Take the day to get to Abilene, TX stopping at any sights/towns on the way that look intriguing, stay in Abilene for the night (8 hours)
    Day 5 - Leave Abilene, go to Carlsbad National Park, drive to El Paso, TX for the night (7 hours total)
    Day 6 - Sightsee in El Paso, head to white sand national monument, then to Tucson ( 6 hours total)
    Day 7 - Tucson to Hollywood (7 hours)
    Day 8 - Disneyland
    Day 9 - Either Disneyland or sightseeing in LA
    Day 10 - Hollywood to Vegas, spend afternoon/night in Vegas (4 hrs)
    Day 11 - Vegas to Sedona, spend afternoon/night in Sedona (4 hrs)
    Day 12 - Sedona to Roswell, NM (8 hrs)
    Day 13-17- Leave Roswell later in day, drive towards MA, probably stop in St. Louis

    Questions
    1. Is this good pacing for a trip? Too packed? I figure hitting the road by 6-6:30 on most days would be good.
    2. Is there a lot to do in Roswell? The Bottomless Lake State park looks intriguing, as well as all the alien stuff, but I didn't know if an afternoon and night would suffice there.
    3. Is a night in Vegas enough to just see all the hotels and sights on the strip? We won't have the money to gamble/drink, so it would just be to see it.
    4. Albuquerque looks really interesting, but is it a few hour stop or a day stop? I was thinking of maybe axing something else for it.
    5. How much is there to do in El Paso?
    6. Is Hot Springs National Park worth a day? Interesting? Scenic?

    Any and all information/help would be greatly appreciated! With any luck, we'll be able to spend the 3 weeks because I feel that would allow us a little more breathing room. It would also be a great graduation present! Between hotwire and tenting, lodging shouldn't be too pricey.

    Thanks in advance!
    Corey

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,748

    Default Starting out all wrong.

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    I think you need to have a re-think for the first two days of your trip before moving forward anymore. Leaving at midnight, driving through the small hours and then spending a day sight seeing in Washington before embarking on another 2.5 hour drive, really is a recipe for disaster. On day 2 you will be exhausted yet have to drive another 9-10 hours to Nashville.

    Your drive times are too optimistic and although when glancing over them the drives look doable, you won't have much time to visit the places on your list. That can be worked on, but day one is a bad way to start out and has the potential to ruin your trip with your bodies never catching up. Leave at 5-6am after a good nights sleep and stay in DC would work.

    The direct drive LA and back would be 6000 miles, which, is a good 12 days of solid driving without the detours. They could easily add another 6-700 miles and a couple of days of driving, so if possible I would try to secure those 3 weeks. I would also consider going back through AZ, Utah and Colorado and if Roswell and Sedona are a 'must see' for you, try and hit them up on the way out.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default You don't have to gamble or drink in Vegas.

    Quote Originally Posted by cjh1991 View Post
    3. Is a night in Vegas enough to just see all the hotels and sights on the strip? We won't have the money to gamble/drink, so it would just be to see it.
    You don't have to spend a cent to enjoy the casinos. Just because you can't afford to, and don't want to gamble and drink, does not mean you can't enjoy yourself there.

    Like you I neither gamble nor drink, but I have spent many hours watching the skill of the blackjack players, watching their fortunes grow and vanish. Likewise it is interesting to watch the strategies of repeat players at roulette. And there are many other interesting games you can watch (and learn) while being entertained by those who enjoy the risk.

    It's the best free entertainment in town!

    Lifey

  4. Default

    I hear what you're saying Southwest Dave. After taking a second to step back and think, I'm thinking California may be too big of an undertaking for the amount of stuff we want to see on the ways to and from in the time we have.

    Since I have never done this before, I was banking on the fact that adrenaline and the excitement of seeing new places, even from the car, may make the 4-8 hour daily drives bearable.

    In you guys' expert opinions would Arizona be a better turning point? Concentrating on spending time in AZ and NM? If the trip is cut to less than 3 weeks, California is DEFINITELY out of the question I feel. If I could get the 3 weeks though, it would give a few more days of rest in the midst of the trip.

    Getting home seems to be the hard part to plan though. I feel like I should stop and see things, but at the same time, I know we're just going to want to get home at that point.

    EDIT: Just relaid out the trip for 21 days....DEFINITELY hoping the money can be saved for that! It would make life a lot better!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    Look at it this way. LA to Boston is about 3000 miles, and can be driven in 5 reasonable days (10-12 hours) on Interstates. You have 21 days - see where you are on day 16, turn around, and head home! No need to plan everything to the hour, just see where the road leads you.

  6. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by glc View Post
    Look at it this way. LA to Boston is about 3000 miles, and can be driven in 5 reasonable days (10-12 hours) on Interstates. You have 21 days - see where you are on day 16, turn around, and head home! No need to plan everything to the hour, just see where the road leads you.

    I hear what you're saying, but I plan to try and take advantage of sites like hotwire and priceline to get cheap hotels. There has to be some sort of plan, so that those can be booked. If you start earlier enough with priceline, you can get some really, really phenominal deals.

  7. Default

    Here is my revised routine:

    Day 1: Leave at Midnight after trying to get as much napping/sleeping in that Sunday
    Drive to Washington DC (9 hours)
    Spend the night there

    Day 2: Drive to Nashville TN
    10.5 hours

    Day 3: Drive to Hot Springs, AR
    6.5 hours

    Day 4: Drive to Abilene, TX
    7 hours

    Day 5: Drive to Carlsbad, NM
    4.5 hours

    Day 6: Drive to El Paso, TX
    3 hours

    Day 7: Drive to Las Cruces/White Sands
    3 hours total

    Day 8: Drive to Tucson
    4 hours

    Day 9: Drive to Hollywood
    8.5 hours

    Day 10: Stay in Hollywood/Sight See/Stay close to Disneyland

    Day 11: Go to Disneyland/Stay there for the night

    Day 12: Drive to Las Vegas (4 hours)

    Day 13: Spend day in Vegas

    Day 14: Drive to Sedona/Flagstaff (5 hours)
    Stay for night

    Day 15: Sedona/Flagstaff/Grand Canyon
    Stay for night

    Day 16: Drive to Albuquerque (5 hours)

    Day 17: Drive to Roswell (3 hours)

    Day 18-21: Back to Massachusetts as fast as possible

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default Las Vegas = Official Home of RTA!

    ...And there is plenty to do in Las Vegas...

    Here are just a couple of suggestions for day trips + people watching on the Strip.

    Mark

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,748

    Default Why not leave Sunday?

    I'm still uncertain why you would leave at midnight, especially as you are going to try and nap/sleep as much as possible on Sunday. Why not leave Sunday and get a few hours under your belt and start out at a reasonable hour the following day and keep your body clocks in check. Unless of course you are night workers ?

    With 4 days to get home from Roswell, a first night stop around Tulsa would be a good day on the road. You could have a shorter second day and spend a little time in St Louis [Gateway Arch perhaps?] and then divide the following 2 days equally depending on your actual destination. I would also reconsider Roswell. Why not visit when you are in the Carlsbad area and make tracks home from Albuquerque. Granted, it won't save much time or miles, but it will some.

  10. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Southwest Dave View Post
    I'm still uncertain why you would leave at midnight, especially as you are going to try and nap/sleep as much as possible on Sunday. Why not leave Sunday and get a few hours under your belt and start out at a reasonable hour the following day and keep your body clocks in check. Unless of course you are night workers ?

    With 4 days to get home from Roswell, a first night stop around Tulsa would be a good day on the road. You could have a shorter second day and spend a little time in St Louis [Gateway Arch perhaps?] and then divide the following 2 days equally depending on your actual destination. I would also reconsider Roswell. Why not visit when you are in the Carlsbad area and make tracks home from Albuquerque. Granted, it won't save much time or miles, but it will some.
    In regards to the leaving at midnight: It is just something I have done often all my life when going on roadtrips with my family. My parents would always load me and my brothers into the car and they would take shifts driving through the night, and then next day we would stop somewhere and spend the day. It just seems natural for that reason I suppose. A "habit".

    In regards to Roswell: I kind of have a nerdy fascination with UFO stuff so I want to spend a good chunk of a day there. That's why Roswell has a day dedicated to it.

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