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  1. Default East coast to west: NC to CA

    My husband and I are moving to California from North Carolina this June. We have several people to stay with as we drive across, but it kind of limits our options for routes and tourism.

    We have never driven west of Oklahoma, so we are totally unaware of the geography, traffic, tourist spots, or hidden gems that lie between Oklahoma City and LA.

    Here are the places we're staying. Any ideas of what we should try to see along the way?

    Winston-Salem, NC to Searcy, AR
    Searcy, AR to OKC, OK
    OKC, OK to Tucson, AZ
    Tucson to Santa Ana, CA

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
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    Joplin MO
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    9,270

    Default

    Welcome to RTA!

    Start off by getting some good paper maps. This will help you visualize what's in between all those points. Also, use our Map Center to plot a route, it will show you points of interest on and near the route.

    The most efficient route is going to be I-40 to West Memphis, then US-64 to Searcy and on to Conway, then I-40 to Albuquerque, I-25 to Hatch, NM-26 to Deming, I-10 to Tucson and on in to the LA area.

    This is going to require 2 overnight stops in between your places you are already staying. You will need to stop somewhere around Nashville and around Albuquerque. Winston-Salem to Searcy is too much for 1 day, as is OKC to Tucson.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default the high cost of free

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    I'm curious, are the places you've listed places you want to stop because you are looking to visit with friends, or is your primary goal to stop there because you can get a free place to sleep?

    If you are doing this to save money, then you might want to rethink your plan a bit. As GLC mentioned, getting to Searcy is more than you can safely do in a single day of a multi-day trip, and an overnight stop along the way would be strongly recommended. On the other hand, Searcy to OKC would make for a pretty short day on the road. You could safely make it to OKC in 2 full days on the road, but if you were going to do that, you'd need to stop someplace like Jackson, TN for the night.

    After OKC, it would be a full 2 days to get to Tucson - as GLC mentioned, Albuquerque is a place to look to spend the night. Here again, is a place where Tucson is a detour that does add about 100 extra miles. After Albq, you'd need to stop at least one more time before getting to SoCal either way for a safe trip, but if you're trying to save money by stopping in Tucson, keep in mind that you'll be spending an extra $20 in fuel (depending upon what you drive) to avoid spending $50 on a motel room.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
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    4,546

    Default

    It's also polite to bring a gift or buy dinner or similar, for people who are putting you up for a night. So that would be an extra cost to save a few bucks on a motel room, too.


    Donna

  5. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Lyndseyrnuckols View Post
    We have never driven west of Oklahoma, so we are totally unaware of the geography, traffic, tourist spots, or hidden gems that lie between Oklahoma City and LA.
    Google Maps in terrain mode will show you where the mountains are. As a general principle it gets more arid as you head further west, especially at lower elevations. (Sorry if that's obvious.)

    Near Amarillo TX, Palo Duro Canyon State Park is the second largest canyon in the USA and you can view it from both the rim and the bottom. There's an entrance fee so it would probably only be worthwhile if you've got enough time to give it several hours.

    Casa Grande Ruins National Monument is in the small town of the same name south of Phoenix. It's not on the scale of Mesa Verde, just a single building that you can view but not enter, but it's worth a visit of a couple of hours, especially if you have an annual national parks pass.

    Nearer your destination there's Joshua Tree National Park but I guess that would be better seen on a separate local trip once you've got yourself settled down on the west coast.

    Now the most important piece of information of all: according to Google Maps, the first In-n-Out on your route is in Tucson :)

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2011
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    Southern California
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    Actually, John, Casa Grande National Monument is nearer to Coolidge, AZ, than it is to Casa Grande.


    Donna, CGUHS grad :-)

  7. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by DonnaR57 View Post
    Actually, John, Casa Grande National Monument is nearer to Coolidge, AZ, than it is to Casa Grande.


    Donna, CGUHS grad :-)
    Aha, sneaky those American colonists, putting things in devious places just so we Brits can't find them. Just like they hid Fort Laramie scores of miles from Laramie. :)

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
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    Default

    Following on from Michael's point (if his assumption is correct), It is like people driving miles out of their way because the hotel is $5 cheaper.... without realising they are probably spending all that (or more) on fuel. I did that once in my very early days, and quickly learned the lesson.

    Lifey

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Albuquerque, New Mexico
    Posts
    209

    Default White Sands

    Quote Originally Posted by Midwest Michael
    Quote Originally Posted by Lyndseyrnuckols
    We have never driven west of Oklahoma, so we are totally unaware of the geography, traffic, tourist spots, or hidden gems that lie between Oklahoma City and LA.
    After OKC, it would be a full 2 days to get to Tucson - as GLC mentioned, Albuquerque is a place to look to spend the night.
    Going from OKC all the way to Albuquerque would work just fine, but there are other possible routes. One would be to leave I-40 when you reach Santa Rosa, NM, and head south to Alamogordo, White Sands National Monument, and Las Cruces, NM. From Las Cruces you would go west on I-10 to Tucson.


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