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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Wellington, Florida, United States
    Posts
    5

    Default Adventure is Out There!

    Hi y'all!

    I am in the very beginning stages of planning a road trip for my family. We are leaving West Palm Beach the first week of June. I have tons of friends all over the eastern seaboard, through Chicago, and down into the central part of the country. Our current itinerary looks like this.

    West Palm Beach, FL- Christmas, FL (pit stop)- Jacksonville, Fl (Sleep over)- Savannah, GA (pit stop)-Charleston, SC (pit stop)- Jacksonville, NC (sleep over)- Richmond, VA (pit stop)- Washington, DC (pit stop)- Philadelphia, PA (sleep over)- New York City (Day in city)- Pittsburgh, PA (sleep over)-Chicago, IL (5 days sleep over)- Springfield, IL (pit stop)- Kansas City, KS (sleep over)- Joplin, MO (pit stop)- Little Rock, AK (sleep over)- Nashville, TN (sleep over)- Cleveland, GA (pit stop)- Atlanta, GA (pit stop)- West Palm Beach, FL.

    This is our full itinerary including small pit stops to stretch and get out of the car for a little bit. The last leg of the trip hasn't been decided on yet, I have to figure out timing for the first part to see how much time I have to spend on the later part of the trip. My idea is to stop every 2.5-4 hours for a little fun sight seeing or whatever to just get out of the car. Sleep at night and drive during the day.

    Anyone do this run before? Tips, tricks, pointers? Any suggestions on weird fun things to see off the road?

    Im doing this over 18 days.

    Thanks for any responses! We are excited to go on this great adventure! [/FONT]

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,545

    Default

    Welcome to RTA!!

    Every road trip is different, so probably a few of us have done parts of your trip and can offer suggestions. I'm glad you defined what you plan for "pit stops" because that means just a bathroom stop, for us. :-) For the most part, your drives per day seemed well planned, with one exception: Nashville to West Palm Beach is 845 miles, which is about 245 miles too long for one day -- especially considering you have to traverse Atlanta! So you should plan to break up that drive into two shorter days. (We use 600 miles as the maximum drive for one day, but really -- less is better if there are children involved!)

    Washington DC might be a nice place for longer than 2-1/2 hours. Otherwise, I think I'd take a wide berth around it (I-81 comes to mind) and head for Philadelphia. The heart of American Independence is in Philadelphia's historical district, well worth 4-5 hours. Springfield IL has a lot of Abraham Lincoln places -- his tomb is outside of the city, the State Capitol Bldg, New Salem isn't all that far away. Kansas City -- well, lots of great BBQ there as well as the Negro baseball museum, Worlds of Fun (amusement park), and more. GLC can tell you all about Joplin. Little Rock AR (AK is Alaska's abbreviation) has a bit to offer, too, and in between Joplin and Little Rock is Bentonville AR (home of Wal-Mart, where there's a big visitor center).


    Donna

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Wellington, Florida, United States
    Posts
    5

    Default

    Thanks Donna for the reply!

    I really didn't want to tour Washington DC per se, just do a pass through and see the white house and other major things in the area. Do you think that is do-able or is it better to just skip it and do Washington DC when we have more time to dedicate. For my 6 year old just seeing the White house is good enough and honestly for me too. I would love to do a better tour of the city when she is older and can appreciate the city for what it is.

    The Nashville to West Palm leg is a struggle and in it's very beginning stages of trying to map out. I thought stopping in Cleveland, GA for the cabbage patch doll place would be a great little stop for us. From what I've understood its an 1-2 hour thing so just enough to get us out of the car. Also, Stone Mountain is right there and we could potentially picnic before getting back on the road too. Id be open to staying at a hotel or a friends house midway through (maybe Jacksonville or even Tallahassee).

    Whats GLC? The major cities of sleep overs I have friends there so we will be connecting with them and spending the night before getting on the road the next morning. Not much time spent with anyone other then family in Chicago which I allocated 5 days for, but the more I discover about all the places we could potentially see I keep wanting to shorten the stay there. On the flip side though, I think it would be great to have 5 days out of the car straight.

    Since you seem very experienced in road trip travels do you think this is too aggressive of a timeline to do?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    I'm GLC! I live in Joplin.

    I personally think this may be a bit aggressive. When you are traveling to sightsee - do anything except pile on the miles to get to your next destination - things can always come up and you may see or experience something where you want to spend some more time enjoying it. Planning out a trip in the detail you are trying to do can put you in the situation of saying "Hurry up, get back in the car, we have to get going NOW!"

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Wellington, Florida, United States
    Posts
    5

    Default

    Hey GLC! Thanks for the reply!

    Is it too aggressive just because its planned. The pit stops are mere suggestions on what to do if we decide to stop in that area. Id like to just have a general idea of what is going to be around so when time comes to stop, I know where to go and what to do.

    Since I am very new to this and this is our first road trip at this length I am open to any suggestions. I don't want to have a hurry up and go vacation, but I also don't think I will need hours to take a look around a town. Our major stop points for entertainment and actual vacation are Philadelphia, NYC, Chicago, and Nashville.

    So provided this information, what do you think?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default

    I think your plan is certainly within reason, but it is also really quite aggressive.

    You are probably underestimating how long your "pit stops" will take, assuming you actually want to stop and see things that are fun. Just getting off the highway, into a town, and looking around a bit can easily soak up an hour really quite quickly before you've really gotten out to do anything fun. Most of your driving days look to be around 8 hours before significant stops, but if you do a couple of 4 hour stops, suddenly you're looking at 16 hours on the road, which makes for a pretty long day, even if it broken up.

    I would say the other thing that makes this pretty aggressive is that other than Chicago, you're not spending more than a day in any one spot. Again, by itself that's not a problem, but when you're planning fairly long drives each day, you really don't have time to spend anytime looking around the cities where you are spending the night.

    Again, its not to say your trip won't work or you are even too far off the path, but I do think you need to be careful that you are giving yourself time to actually see things.

    I do have a couple questions, when you say you are going to spend a day in New York, does that mean you are planning to spend the night? Philly to Pittsburgh via NYC in a day would leave you almost no time to see anything in NYC and wouldn't be worth it, imo.

    Also, What's the reason for your big loop out west to Kansas City and Little Rock? That adds quite a lot of miles. If you want to keep 5 days in Chicago, that might be a place to trim down to give yourself more time at other destinations.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Wellington, Florida, United States
    Posts
    5

    Default

    I think you're right. I have a friend out in Topeka that wanted us to come by for a visit. I also have a friend in St Louis, so if I take out the Kansas and Arkansas leg of the trip and have them meet me in St Louis for an afternoon I think I will feel better about that too.

    Ill be staying in Philly for two nights and three days but one of those days will be spent in NYC.

    Does that make more sense?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,545

    Default

    Topeka to St Louis is about an 8 hour drive one way, for your friend.

    I think you're underestimating traffic in the DC area. You won't be able to see the White House and the Mall in 2 or 2-1/2 hours. It might take you half that time just to find your way into the city and find a place to park! We always recommend that folks park outside of the city and take the Metro into DC. For just a couple of hours, I think I'd pass on it this trip and save it for another time when you can allot at least 2 days for what DC has to offer.

    Seeing NYC in one day depends a lot on WHAT you want to see. If it includes taking the ferry out to Ellis Island and Statue of Liberty, that's about 4-5 hours right there. My husband and I had a one-day whirlwind tour of NYC that did NOT include going to any museums, Ellis or the Statue. We arrived at the Port Authority, saw the Empire State from the street, walked through the "Broadway" area, did some shops, went into St Patrick's Cathedral, walked some more, met an online friend at a cafe for lunch, took the subway down to the Brooklyn Bridge where we walked as far as the first pillar and back, took the subway back and then walked to Lincoln Center (which was jammed that day), had a bite to eat and a drink at my bro's favorite pub, and took the bus back. We didn't stay for a Broadway show, as we had intended to go back another day, get 1/2 price that-day tickets to one, but spend the day at the Metro Museum of Art. (That never happened. My mother-in-law passed away and we had to head west. We also missed Ellis, the Statue, and Philadelphia that trip for the same reason.)

    BTW, Philly to NYC is a couple of hour drive.

    Like others, yes, your plan is aggressive, but doable. Are there children involved? Have you talked to them about what THEY would like to do?


    Donna

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Wellington, Florida, United States
    Posts
    5

    Default

    Ok so maybe DC is out. I know traffic is bad there, but you are right, I do not know precisely how bad. I don't want to get stuck there for several hours when my intention was just to pass through.

    Yes my 6 year old will be coming with, she just wants to see anything. We've been unable to go on a trip for quite sometime. Her and I have the same personality, we just like to see things and explore. She wants to see the Statue of Liberty and go to the American Girl store in every possible city that we can (Im limiting it to just Chicago though). She likes old buildings and really odd, random things on the road.

    I think Im going to cut DC out. I appreciate the advise there. This will also give us a little more time to enjoy Savannah and Charleston.

    Would you suggest going through Richmond, VA from Jacksonville, NC on the way to Philly?

    Also, what areas of this drive are going to be strenuous? Ive been driving in Florida for 18 years, so Im not necessarily used to anything but flat road. Again, Ill be timing it to sleep at night because Im not comfortable with Mountain driving at night. But if anyone has some pointers in regards to that too that would be great.

    Thanks for all the help!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,545

    Default

    Sticking to the interstate should make going through the "mountains" quite easy. You'll hardly know you're going up and down except for the occasional elevation sign. Of course, my husband and I have lived on the west coast where the mountains are lots taller, and we felt that they were just hills in comparison. :-) Still, interstates can't have more than a 6% grade and even that will be marked.


    Donna

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