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  1. Default Coast to coast roadtrip: From New York to San Francisco

    Hello, guys! I'm really excited to do my first road trip in the States.

    So, our first plan is to go from New York to San Francisco while paying a visit to the following cities:

    • Philadelphia
    • Cleveland
    • Chicago
    • Denver
    • Albuquerque
    • Las Vegas
    • Los Angeles


    Our trip is set to begin in Dec 30th '14, and, at first, we plan on leaving San Francisco by plane at Jan 23 '15. I'm from Brazil, and although I have driven in several roads around here (some in really bad shape), the only time I've driven in wintery conditions was from Regina, SK to Calgary, AB in Canada, sometime in Feb this year. I really have no clue of how are the road conditions this time of year, how many days this trip would require (visiting time included) or how many days should I reserve for bad winter. Does anybody have any on which car to get, route, attractions, time planning and so on?

    Thanks in advance!

    EDIT: tips about some oddball attractions along the way are really appreciated, since I love to know places that locals love. :)

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

    Default You have to allow for weather disruption.

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    The weather really is totally unpredictable at the exact time you travel and so far ahead, but travelling in the middle of winter means you have a higher risk of getting travel disruption from Storms, wind, snow and ice. With fair weather you could drive the route in 6 days at a pretty brisk pace so you need to decide how much time and money you can spare for sight seeing along the way. A lot of natural wonders will have limited access, especially around the mountains if you are interested in anything other than the Cities you have listed. Is there any way you could take the trip later in the year ? I think it would be less risky and more beneficial to travel in the Spring, the later in the Spring the better.

    You don't say how many people are travelling so recommending which class of car to hire is difficult, other than to say a Mid-size sedan can offer a good combination of comfort, economy, size and competitve rental fees. Now you have an outline of the route you want to take you should get some good paper maps and use RTA as a research centre where you will find lots of info by diigging around and using the search function. With around 3 weeks to travel you have time to spare, but where and how you spend it really comes down to your interests. The advantage of travelling this time of year is you will have little problem finding a room for the night and you could just 'wing it' and see where the road takes you. If you are planning New years eve in NY, it might be wise to book up well in advance though. Once you have a few ideas and/or specific questions, we can help fill in the blanks and answer them.

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

    Default Hard to plan. Easy to ask.

    Quote Originally Posted by ceduardo.melo View Post
    ... since I love to know places that locals love. :)
    That is not really something you can plan ahead. It is something you ask when you get to any given place.

    When you arrive in a place, you ask the 'locals' where they like to dine, where they like to go for a day out. Or even, what they have which is unique to their town. Of course, I say 'town'. This is much harder in the large cities, and I notice that your list of places to visit is just cities. To fulfill your wish quoted above you may have to get out into the country.

    Lifey

  4. Default

    Hello, guys! I really appreciate your answers. Unfortunatelly, I can't postpone my trip because my brother is studying in Canada, and going back to Brazil in december. As so, we decided to take advantage of this and embrace a big travel around America. :)

    I'm still not sure of how many people are going to be, but I figure that all my siblings are going with me, which would sum up to 6 people. I like the big cities, but I'm not really a fan of those mainstream "must-see" places. All I like to do is to know a little bit of the locals routine, meet new people at parties and go to places they like to frequent. Basically, I like to get into a city's soul. I don't really know if that's something plausible, but is just how I feel.

    Something I really would like to do is to snowboard in Colorado. After a few searches, I saw a lot of people talking good stuff about those mountains. What do you guys recommend in this matter, I mean, what's the best place near Denver to snowboard?

    About NY, we are going to spend the New Year's Eve there, but I already have the hotel booked. We are leaving at Jan 02. That said, how many days should I reserve to the traveling itself? 6 days is good enough or should I spare a few days for the unexpected?

    Are there any national parks open this time of year?

    And finally, since I'm in the planning phase, which towns do you guys recommend me to spend some time? As I said before, I really like to know different cultures (being in the US is, for me, a new experience by itself).

    Again, thank you very much for your attention. :)

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

    Default

    NYC to LA via the cities you have listed is 3200 miles, which is 6 days of driving - driving ALL day with very little time to enjoy or even DO anything. You need to figure one day between each city, 2 days between Chicago and Denver. That's 8 days right there, plus more days for any kind of activities and weather delays. If you don't have at least 2 weeks, this is going to be a very rushed trip.

    Drive times via fastest routes:

    NYC to Phila can be driven in 2 hours or so, depending on traffic, via toll roads.
    Phila to Cleveland is about 7 hours via toll roads.
    Cleveland to Chicago is about 6 hours via toll roads.
    Chicago to Denver is two 9+ hour days.
    Denver to ABQ is about 7 hours.
    ABQ to LV is about 11 hours.
    LV to LA is 5+ hours.

    National parks you will be near:

    Rocky Mountain National Park (partially open in winter)
    Grand Canyon (South Rim)
    Zion
    Bryce Canyon
    Joshua Tree

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

    Default

    I'm still not sure of how many people are going to be, but I figure that all my siblings are going with me, which would sum up to 6 people.
    6 people is kind of a tough number. It will be hard to find a rental vehicle to fit everyone, plus luggage. Your best bet will likely be to rent two cars. Of course, being that this is a one way trip, that's going to be pretty expensive.

    Quote Originally Posted by ceduardo.melo View Post
    Something I really would like to do is to snowboard in Colorado. After a few searches, I saw a lot of people talking good stuff about those mountains. What do you guys recommend in this matter, I mean, what's the best place near Denver to snowboard?
    Is there a reason you have to stay near Denver? There are world-class ski resorts all over Colorado. The closest major ones are going to be 1 to 2 hours away. Places like Vail, Breckenridge, and Keystone would be a few to look at.

    Are there any national parks open this time of year?
    All the National Parks are open year round. Some of the parks, especially in the mountains, may have road closures, and more limited access - but if you want to visit national parks, you will have lots to pick from.

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