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  1. #1

    Default 5 week round trip from Tampa, Nov/Dec 2014

    Hey all, flights have been booked for this year's road trip and Tampa worked out to be the cheapest place to start and finish once flights from the UK and car rental costs had been combined.

    There are 2 of us on this trip but I will be the only driver. This will be my 5th trip to the US but my partner's first. As my previous trips have all been between Texas and the West Coast, this trip is hopefully going to be a nice balance between new places for me to see and going over some old ground that my girlfriend really wants to see for herself.

    A 1st draft is as follows (with rough mileages and some places marked as a stopover just down to distance and will be flexible as nothing is booked other than the flights and car yet).

    Tuesday 11th Nov – Land in Tampa, FL

    Wednesday 12th -Tampa – Kendall, FL. 260m

    Thursday 13th- Kendall – Key West, FL. 150m

    Friday 14th- Key West – Miami, FL. 160m

    Saturday 15th- Miami – Jacksonville, FL. 360m

    Sunday 16th - Jacksonville – Savannah, GA. 140m

    Monday 17th-Day in Savannah.

    Tuesday 18th-Savannah – Atlanta, GA. 260m

    Wed 19th-Atlanta – Nashville, TN. 250m

    Thursday 20th-Nashville

    Friday 21st-Nashville – Memphis, TN. 220m

    Saturday 22nd -Memphis – Fort Smith, AR. 300m

    Sunday 23rd -Fort Smith – Amarillo, TX. 440m

    Monday 24th -Amarillo – Albuquerque, NM. 290m

    Tuesday 25th-Albuquerque – Santa Fe, NM. 60m

    Wed 26th- Santa Fe - Taos, NM. 70m

    Thursday27th-Taos - Kayenta, AZ. 340m

    Friday 28th-Kayenta – Grand Canyon Village, AZ. 170m

    Saturday 29th- Grand Canyon – 29 Palms, CA. 360m

    Sunday 30th-29 Palms – Palm Springs, CA. 60m

    Mon 1st Dec - Palm Springs

    Tues 2nd - Palm Springs – San Diego, CA. 140m

    Wed 3rd-San Diego – Yuma, AZ. 200m

    Thurs 4th-Yuma – Tucson, AZ. 240m

    Fri 5th-Tucson – Las Cruces, NM. 280m

    Saturday 6th- Las Cruces – Guadalupe MNP. 280m

    Sunday 7th - Guadalupe, TX – Big Bend NP. 200m

    Monday 8th-Big Bend – Austin, TX. 450m

    Tuesday 9th- Austin

    Wed 10th-Austin – Lake Charles, LA. 300m

    Thursday 11th-Lake Charles – New Orleans. 200m

    Friday 12th - New Orleans

    Saturday 13th-New Orleans – Tallahassee, FL. 385m

    Sunday 14th- Tallahassee – Tampa. 280m

    Monday 15th - Spare day

    Tuesday 16th-Fly home.

    The "days off" are also flexible except for Palm Springs as we are staying with friends there.

    Now it's a long haul for one driver, probably going to end up at 7500 miles approx, but I have done a 5000 mile solo trip in 3 weeks a few years back so I'm confident that it's not too much.

    One variable I haven't got much experience with is the winter weather, all my previous trips have been between May and October so I guess we'll be keeping our eyes on the weather forecasts every day and keep our options open.

    As the outward leg west from Nashville is going to be roughly following I-40, any tips on alternative highways would be welcomed, also for the easterly route from San Diego and I-10 alternatives.

    Should I expect to struggle for lodging and eating options over Thanksgiving?

    Think that is all for the time being, sorry for the long post but thanks for reading. Exciting times, roll on November.

    Tim

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default do you have time for the Fire Tree Inn?

    Tim,

    Looks like a very well-designed plan. No too-long days.

    I don't think that Thanksgiving will cause you a lot of issues for lodging around Kayenta, but it might be good to pre-book that location. By the way, I highly recommend Goulding's Lodge -- the views from the restaurant and the rooms are great.

    Nearby is a place that, if available would be memorable. I am a big fan of the Firetree Inn -- an authentic Navajo Hogan...

    Mark

  3. #3

    Default

    Mark, thanks for the tip on the Firetree Inn, looks wonderful and in such a fantastic setting. It would be our whole days budget ($200 for us both) but would be well worth a couple of "cheap" days to make up for it. I'll drop them an email.
    Goulding's Lodge looks a superb alternative as well.

    Is Thanksgiving a long weekend type holiday or is it back to work on the Friday?
    Will lodging inside GCNP be booked up because it's a holiday weekend? Personally it would be preferable to book ahead but just a few days out rather than before we leave the UK.

    I'd quite like to camp more on this trip, maybe twice a week if we can get a tent and 4 seasons sleeping bag for under $200.
    Will be looking out for National Forests and State Parks along the route for campgrounds as well as Guadalupe Mountains NP and Big Bend.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default Might not be so comfortable.

    You're really only looking at less than 500 miles every two days. Still comfortable, even as the only driver..

    Quote Originally Posted by timdalefan View Post
    Is Thanksgiving a long weekend type holiday or is it back to work on the Friday?
    Will lodging inside GCNP be booked up ...
    Some will be back to work on Friday, which is a huge shopping day. If you're really keen to stay within a national park though, I would not risk it.

    ... if we can get a tent and 4 seasons sleeping bag for under $200.
    That could be stretching it. Four season sleeping bags are not cheap.... at least, quaility ones aren't. Will it be worth it for only 10 nights? You'd have to have a decent sleeping mat as well. Nothing worse than being cold and/or wet on the hard ground.

    Lifey

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,546

    Default

    When we do an expensive place and then do "cheap days", one of the things we do is to hit a grocery store and go to the frozen meals dept. Most of the lodging we stay at, have a microwave oven to cook in. You may have to carry some paper plates and utensils, but it's a diversion from restaurants anyway.


    Donna

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

    Default What's in them?

    Quote Originally Posted by DonnaR57 View Post
    When we do an expensive place and then do "cheap days", one of the things we do is to hit a grocery store and go to the frozen meals dept.
    But whatever you do, don't read the ingredients. You might end up going to bed hungry.

    Lifey

  7. #7

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by DonnaR57 View Post
    ...Most of the lodging we stay at, have a microwave oven to cook in...


    Donna
    Home cooking is one thing I do miss a lot when on the road. A Stouffer's quesadilla kinda saved the day at a Super 8 in Twin Falls, ID when I couldn't face another meal out. Definitely avoided reading the back of the packet in too much detail though. Doable though for a couple of days here and there to save cash.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lifemagician View Post
    ...That could be stretching it. Four season sleeping bags are not cheap.... at least, quaility ones aren't. Will it be worth it for only 10 nights? You'd have to have a decent sleeping mat as well. Nothing worse than being cold and/or wet on the hard ground.

    Lifey
    I've always intended to do some tent camping on a road trip but never quite got around to it. Thought that with this trip being longer than I've done before the initial outlay on equipment would be worth it in the long run.

    Had a quick look on Dick's sporting goods site and a double sleeping bag rated for 30F(and that might not be good enough I guess for some places we are going) is $189. We'd probably end up spending the same money on camping gear and site fees for 10 nights as we would in motels. So that'll be down to us to decide which we prefer, camping may be best saved for a summer trip if it's to be seen as a money saver.

  8. #8

    Default

    Is it feasible to get from Key West to St. Augustine using route 1 in 2 days while actually having some time to see things along the way?

    We are also thinking of cutting out Albuquerque to give us an extra day, but undecided whether to use it for a slower pace across Arkansas and Oklahoma, between Big Bend and Austin or from New Orleans to Tallahassee.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default Not a problem.

    Sure. You will not have a great deal of time at each of the attractions, but it is an easy day's drive without sightseeing, so would be comfortable with some sightseeing along the way. You might even like to divert onto A1A at times, and drive along the ocean shore.

    In Fort Pierce, on US-1 there is the Arcade building with some fantastic murals. That definitely would be a great stop. Be aware that US-1 up to about Fort Pierce is a very busy three and four lane road.

    Lifey

  10. #10

    Default

    Cheers, think we'll aim for somewhere just north of Miami as the stopover for that 2 day stint. Was just concerned that while I'd like to avoid interstates, I don't want to spend hours sitting at red lights every 100 yards in what looks like a densely populated part of the country. As for avoiding toll roads, Florida looks like a decent challenge.

    A1A sticks out on the map as a nice scenic route to spend a bit of time on too.

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