Firstly, apologies for the long intro.
Having trolled through a few planning threads I thought I might as well add my own and get advice and support specific to our proposed trip. We're Australians in our mid 50's. We visited the US in October for 3 weeks, which corresponded exactly with the US government close down. Lets just say we missed out on a lot that we wanted to see because of that!
Car Hire or Motorhome
Our intentions are to return (hopefully without any impediments as to where we can go) and do a lap of North America over 10 weeks, either in 2015 or 2016. Arriving early/mid August and departing mid/late October. Hopefully the weather conditions will be such that we don't encounter any severe wintry conditions.
We're unsure whether to hire a motorhome (and use campgrounds) or hire a car (and use motels). Does anyone have compelling reasons to choose either option.
Each has advantages and disadvantages. We are wanting to "freestyle" somewhat without having to follow a strict daily itinerary. We've tried defining weekly waypoints which will ensure we maintain our schedule - we either speed up or slow down depending on where we should be at weeks end.
Our concerns is finding last minute accommodation. We would probably decide sometime after lunch where we will end each day. Are such concerns real, or will we find good budget (I know the two probably are mutually exclusive) accommodation along the way.
Initial costings are that whichever mode of travel we adopt the total costs are comparable. We either save on preparing our own meals and on accommodation costs which is then put into additional hire costs for a motorhome and fuel costs, or we save on car hire costs and less fuel costs, but then spend that saving on accommodation costs and having to use restaurants/takeaways for food.
The Proposed "Lap" (Subject to Change)
- Week 1 : Los Angeles - Needles - Oatman - Klingman - Route 66 - Seligman - Route 66 - Grand Canyon.
- Week 2 : Grand Canyon - Flagstaff - Winslow - Albuquerque - Amarillo - Fort Worth - Dallas.
- Week 3 : Dallas - Austin - San Antonio - Houston - New Orleans.
- Week 4 : New Orleans - Nashville - Louisville - Columbus - Pittsburgh.
- Week 5 : Pittsburg - Washington DC - Baltimore - Philadelphia - New York - Niagra Falls.
- Week 6 : Niagra Falls - Toronto - Detroit - Chicago - Milwaukee - Minneapolis
- Week 7 : Minneapolis - Winipeg - Regina - Calgary
- Week 8 : Calgary - Banff - Kamloops - Whistler - Vancouver
- Week 9 : Vancouver - Seattle - Portland - Highway 101 - San Francisco
- Week 10 : San Francisco - CA 1 - Highway 101 - Los Angeles
We've broken down the trip into weekly parts, which apart from Route 66, the Grand Canyon and Niagra Falls are must do's. We are realist and know that we can't experience everything, but hope that the planned itinerary provides opportunities to see and visit what interests us which are natural wonders, historical sites and quirky places along our proposed route.
Optimum Weekly Distance
We have tried to limit our travelling to a maximum of 1,000 miles per week, place names are not necessarily where we plan to stay overnight. Are any of our weekly plans over optimistic having regard to potential points of interest along the way?
Where to Stay
We would appreciate forum members suggesting which places to stay at, bearing in mind our schedule, and which places are worth staying for a few days.
Are there any motel chains that provide discount vouchers for pre-paid nights? Are there any motel chains that provide a loyalty discount? Are there any motel chains to avoid?
As usual, all feedback is welcomed, and I'm sure I'll be asking lots of further questions between now and when we finally get to go.