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  1. Default Minot, ND to Palm Harbor, FL - what to see?

    So... I quit my job up north and decided to go somewhere nearer to civilization. To help you help me, here are some specifics:

    I will be driving a Nissan Murano and towing an 8-foot U-Haul trailer with my stuff.

    Departure is December 31, and I have until Jan 7 to get to my destination. No need to get there sooner since the lease on my new apartment starts on Jan 7.

    Would like to keep spending under some sort of control; no need to travel like a pauper but also no need to splurge.

    Would greatly appreciate suggestions on where to meet the New Year and what to see and do on the way. Would prefer to be somewhat social on my trip, if that is at all possible.

    Thank you in advance for your help:)

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    I see you are moving from a cold climate to a warmer climate. That's probably smart!

    One thing that jumps out at me is your plan to tow a U-Haul trailer (probably weighing in the neighborhood of 1000 lbs) with a Nissan Murano (which has a towing capacity of about 3500 lbs WHEN adequately equipped. It doesn't take much to add 2500 lbs to the trailer unless one is hauling only tissues. You will definitely want to ensure that you have your vehicle adequately prepared -- tranny cooler, and more -- or you risk major damage and breakdowns to your Murano. You may want to consider an alternative: Rent a small U-Haul truck, put the car up on a 4-wheels-up trailer and tow that. This is much less hassle on your own vehicle and probably around the same price except for the fuel.

    Traveling like a person on a budget isn't difficult. Your lodging will cost you about $40-60 per night depending on what you demand....use coupon deals if you can. Carry snacks and a cooler of drinks in the vehicle with you, to save convenience store prices; stock up if needed at a grocery store or Wal-Mart. As for fuel, if you have a smart phone, download the GasBuddy app which will give you local fuel prices; fuel up where the price is good (usually around the edges of the big cities). If you don't have a smart phone, and you do have a laptop or similar, you can check fuel prices each night for the following day, and plan accordingly.

    As for being social, many folks love to check out the small local restaurants which are notoriously filled with locals. They will be a font of information about the area.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Plenty of Time

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    Mid-winter is not a particularly 'social' time of the year to be traveling, particularly in the northern portions of the country. Nevertheless, you have plenty of time for the journey and can take advantage of the early evenings and being off the road by sundown to join the locals at some neighborhood pubs. Since you'll be leaving on New Year's eve, you'll be looking to celebrate the holiday at your first stop. That would be roughly in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area. Mall of America has had celebrations in the past and has a large enough parking lot to accommodate your rig.

    To keep costs down on your trip, you can stay at any number of relatively low-cost motel chains such as Red Roof, Super 8, Motel 6, Travelodge, Econo Lodge and others. You will typically find lower prices away from the big cities as well. There is no need to make reservations during the creatively quiet season that you'll be on the road, and in fact maintaining flexibility to go only as far each day as your rig and the weather allow is far more important.

    As you get farther south, you can start looking for some outdoor sites to visit. Those will depend on both your interests and your choice of routes. The most direct mostly-Interstate route is to take US-52/US-281 down to I-94 near Jamestown ND, follow I-94 east to where it joins I-90 in Wisconsin and then stay on I-39 south at Madison. Use I-74 to jog over from Bloomington to Champaign and pick up I-57 south to southern Illinois and then take I-24 through Nashville to Chattanooga. I-75 will then take you the rest of the way down to the Tampa Bay area. That route is also fairly level, although you will see some modest grades in the Chattanooga area as you just skirt the southern end of the Appalachian Mountains.

    Given your time frame, you only have to cover 275-300 miles a day. In the northern portions of your trip that allows plenty of time to sit out any winter weather which would be beyond the capabilities of your car/trailer rig. In the southern portions it allows you time to stop at a few parks, wildlife refuges, and/or historic sites as the weather and your interests permit.


  4. Default

    Thank you for your replies!

    Donna, the trailer I intend to rent weighs 900 lbs and its maximum load is 1800 lbs, for a total of 2700 lbs, leaving me with the margin of safety of around 800 lbs. I am not hauling heavy stuff, meaning no furniture - mainly my belongings and I will make sure I only take what's necessary. I also intend to make frequent stops and to have the car inspected and serviced just before the trip.

    Buck, I should tell you that I will be leaving at around 6 pm on Dec 31, fact being that I work that day. Can't avoid that. So... likely won't make it to Minneapolis in time for New Year. Maybe Fargo...

    So in the southern portion of my route, any particular stops you recommend?

    EDIT: Actually the route is beginning to look like this:

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default In the Absence...

    ...of any further knowledge about what you'd like to see, all anyone can really do is point you t some general compilations of sites along your route. If you enter your route into our Map Wizard, you can then see a number of attractions within say 50 miles of that route. Another source of free to low-cost attractions is this listing of parks and other restful sites along major Interstates. Again, if you have a specific interest, hobby, or avocation, then we can probably help you find attractions more to your taste.


  6. Default

    Hey Buck,

    MapWizard is perfect. Thank you! I have no more questions:)


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