I am new to the forum and also to the great American road trip, so please bear with me and excuse my naïveté! I have been perusing this great site for about a week or more now and I would greatly appreciate any advice.
I'm at the extremely early stages of planning a trip to the USA from Ireland with my new bride in March or April 2015. We hope to be able to do a grand 3-week road trip, culminating in 7 days of relaxation in Florida (Gulf Coast) and flying home from there. The goal of our trip is to see as many natural wonders (national parks etc) as possible, while experiencing real American culture along the way, giving ourselves time to relax for a few days in some places and soak up the world. Basically this would be our "trip of a lifetime".
At this early stage we have come up with a couple of sketchy potential route options;
(a) Our original idea was to fly into in Portland, Oregon for a couple of days and make our way East along the Columbia River toward Yellowstone, Big Horn and the Black Hills/Badlands.
(b) Head across South Dakota and down into Omaha, Kansas City, Memphis, and through Mississippi (taking in Natchez) to New Orleans.
(c) Then East to Florida via Mobile, Alabama and down the Gulf Coast.
We considered that this might be completely undoable given our time frame, so we came up with Option 2;
(a) Begin in Portland for a few days and make our way East along the Columbia River toward Yellowstone and Big Horn.
(b) Head South into Colorado to the Rockys and Denver.
(c) Fly from Denver to New Orleans, and rent another car for the drive to Florida.
Or a very different option;
(a) Fly into San Francisco, and spend a few days. Drive toward Lake Tahoe, Yosemite and Mono Lake before heading toward Las Vegas.
(b) Head towards Grand Canyon and Lake Powell and Mesa Verde and on to Albuquerque.
(c) Fly from Albuquerque to New Orleans, and rent another car for the drive to Florida.
That's all I've got for the moment, and I look forward to your thoughts. As I mentioned, these ideas are very raw at this stage. I have a feeling you might say that none of these trips are realistic unless we spend 3 weeks on the road, so I'm open to any and all suggestions at the moment. Portland v San Fran? Yellowstone v Yosemite? Great Plains v Grand Canyon?