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  1. Default RT from NYC to Portland

    Hi, new here.
    I am planning a long roadtrip with my +1 coast to coast I have a month and a half (mid july to end of august) and I want to visit many places
    Main places:
    detroit, chicago, memphis, new orleans, marfa tx, vegas, , LA (5 days), SF (5 days), portland. (route 66?)
    My main intrest is can it be done?
    which national parks are on my way (not a big detour) I know grand canyon and joshua tree are on the road, yosemite is a bit far is it a must?
    what would you think my budget should be?
    My main intrests apart from national parks are art galleries, and a bit of night life.
    ofcourse any help regarding lodging and roads can be useful

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default A good way to start.

    Welcome to the Great American Roadtrip Forum.

    You will find that many on this forum have done something like that, so yes, it can be done. Even as you indicate you want to go via the GC. In that case the route could potentially take you past most of the great NPs in the west.

    You should also be aware that Rte 66 actually no longer exist, has not for decades, and would have you missing out on a large number of NPs.

    By far the best thing you can do to start with is get hold of some really good detailed maps (such as AAA maps) or a road atlas (such as Rand McNally). Good maps show the myriad of routes from which you can choose, and with a month and a half to do a trip which could be done in six days, you have ample time to detour and/or take the scenic route.

    These maps also show all the natural attractions such as State and National Parks, Wildlife refuges and Recreation Areas, as well as historical sites and touristy attractions. Your route could include RMNP, Arches, Canyonlands, Monument Valley, GC, Zion, Bryce, Death Valley, Yosemite, (not to be missed) and many more. Even Yellowstone could be worked in there.

    Spend a little time to study good maps, and when you have marked some of your interests listed, other than cities, the experts here will be able to help you refine your route.


  3. #3


    I've been planning a vaguely similar trip - we are leaving this week - although we only have 3 weeks instead of 6. 6 weeks will give you plenty of time and the chance to have driving days that are not overly long.

    Is this a one-way trip and are you renting a car? If you're renting, the one-way drop-off will likely be very high - take that into account when looking at the rental quotes.

    Re: lodging. If you want to experience 'night life' (as we do), the cheapest motels around the cities are not the best option. They are typically on the highway exits, often miles from the centre. We have tried to find motels/hotels in downtown or other interesting areas, but these tend to be more expensive - we are looking at $100+ per night on average.

    National Parks: if you want to stay INSIDE the parks, you will need to start looking at bookings immediately. We only managed to find an available room inside Death Valley NP. Also note that staying in the nearby towns, accommodation can be more expensive than usual. Near GC, Williams and Flagstaff are pretty cheap, Tusayan is pricey. Anything around Monument Valley is quite expensive and you would probably have to book. Moab (for Arches, Canyonlands and Dead Horse SP) is not particularly cheap either, in my experience. There is some value to be found in Page, AZ.

    As for other expenses, it really depends on your 'life-style' and the level of restaurants you want to eat in, etc. (Our trip will probably be more expensive than most, but that's a choice we were happy to make.)

    Hope this is of some help. Enjoy the planning with some paper maps - it's fun! When planning, by the way, if you're using Google maps, you need to know that the drive times it gives you are totally unrealistic - add at least 20% to them. But whatever you decide to do, you will surely have an amazing trip.


  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    Welcome to RTA! Yes, of course this can be done. My husband and I have taken two trips of that length and managed to get around the country quite well. It will, of course, depend a lot on your "driving style".

    which national parks are on my way (not a big detour) I know grand canyon and joshua tree are on the road, yosemite is a bit far is it a must?
    My husband and I figure that if someone labels something as a "national park", it is worth going to see, if for no other reason than to figure out why it's labeled a "national park". We have rarely been disappointed. Grand Canyon is, of course, one of the "big parks" and definitely worth time -- so much that we've been there two or three times over the years. Joshua Tree is interesting, because we loved not only the trees, but our daughters loved climbing on the rocks! Yosemite is another one we've enjoyed so much that we've been there several times (but never when the Tioga Pass is open, not even one June!). So yes, I'd say, WORTH IT.

    what would you think my budget should be?
    Here's an area where everyone is going to be different. You can be as thrifty or as spendy as you can afford. You can stay in budget lodgings or in the ritzy hotels. You can get your gas when you need it and not worry about planning ahead to get the best price, if that's what you can afford. You can eat out at the nice restaurants all the time, eat at fast food a lot (not recommended), or bring your own food -- or a combination of all. So setting a budget for you isn't within our realm.

    What we CAN do is give you some ideas. Lodging -- in most areas, you can get a room for two anywhere from $45 on up. If you're on a budget, you can use a coupon, or an online booking service (RTA has one), or join a chain such as Choice or Wyndham and build points for future stays. Food -- figure out what you'd spend at home by going out for lunch and dinner, add 20%, and set that for your food budget. (Breakfasts are often included in chain lodging, if you want to indulge.) Gasoline -- there's a fuel cost calculator on this site, just look for it to your right. Figure $3.50/gallon for regular unleaded, though it could be cheaper (or more expensive) when you make your trip. Then there's sundries such as souvenirs, tolls, etc.

    My main intrests apart from national parks are art galleries, and a bit of night life.
    ofcourse any help regarding lodging and roads can be useful
    A good road atlas or set of maps will help you. If you are a AAA member, you can get maps and tour books free at the local office. Most of your larger cities will have good art galleries.


  5. Default

    did any of you try out the Rand mcnally app for Iphone?
    looking for a nice app to use as a guide.
    apart from that I'm looking for recommendations on how much time I should allocate to the grand canyon?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    I haven't tried out the Rand McNally App, although it bares reminding that no app can ever replace good paper maps.

    I'd recommend at least a full day for the Grand Canyon.

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