My partner (22), Georgia, and I (26) have now committed to one of our life goals - to road trip around the USA! We are to fly in to Washington DC in mid-September and out in mid-December, 89 days total. Washington DC is our start point as we have family there who are kindly lending us their car for the trip, a 2010 Honda Accord, which should give us 22 City, 31 Highway MPG. With these costs arranged, we are aiming to take at least $15,000 for fuel, accommodation, food and other expenses.
The only two commitments we have for dates are to spend Thanksgiving in Dallas, TX as we have family there, and somewhere nice for Georgia's birthday on November 10th. We are happy to camp across the journey but would like to break up camping with motel/hotel stays every 3/4 days. We get family rate discounts at Marriott hotels across the country due to another family connection.
We are both restaurant managers, and one day aim to open our own place, so a major interest for us is food and hospitality wherever we go; we would also like to include at least one big restaurant experience, The French Laundry is top of my list. Physical Geography is another keen interest, so we are looking to get the NP pass and do many of them, camping and hiking as we go along. We are also very keen to fit in a handful of sporting events both franchised and at university level in some of the cities that we travel through.
Our draft route, with a contingency day each week post-Washington DC, is currently as follows:
Day 1-4: Washington DC
Day 4-8: Skyline Drive/Blue Ridge Parkway, Shenandoah & Great Smoky Mountains NPs
Day 9: Asheville, NC
Day 10: Nashville, TN
Day 11-12: Memphis, TN
Day 13: Contingency
Day 14: Springfield, IL
Day 15-19: Chicago, IL
Day 20: Milwauke, IL
Day 21: Contingency
Day 22: Driving to Rapid City, SD
Day 23-25: Black Hills, Badlands & Devil's Tower NPs
Day 26-27: Denver, CO
Day 28: Contingency
Day 29-31: Moab, UT (Canyonlands & Arches NPs)
Day 32: Salt Lake City, UT
Day 33-38: Yellowstone NP
Day 39: Contingency
Day 40: Boise, ID
Day 41: Crater Lake NP
Day 42: Redwood NP
Day 43-44: California State Route 1
Day 45: Contingency
Day 46-50: San Francisco, CA & Wine country
Day 51-53: Yosemite, Sequoia, Kings Canyon NPs (too much?)
Day 54-55: Las Vegas, NV (via. Death Valley NP)
Day 56-59: Grand Canyon NP (via Hoover Dam)
Day 60: Contingency
Day 61: Petrified Forest NP
Day 62-63: Santa Fe, NM
Day 64: Driving to TX, anywhere good to stop this way?
Day 65-68: San Antonio, Austin TX
Day 69: Contingency
Day 70-75: Dallas, TX (We could move a few days out of this into somewhere else!)
Day 76: Driving to New Orleans, LA
Day 77-79: New Orleans, LA
We need to be back in Washington DC by day 87 so days 80-86 are in the South but we don't know much around here. Very keen to go to Athens, GA (probably for University sports as my brother used to work there), Savannah, GA & Charleston, NC. Any suggestions how to link this up/what is good to see in the South? We're aiming for a more cultural/historical experience here & lots of good BBQ, I hope!
We realise that we are starting with a full plate and recognise that we may need to trim off some edges to avoid the risk of burn out. Having family across the UK we are used to regular 4/5 hours drives as a starting point.
I have lots of questions but we'll start with this: what are your impressions and considerations?
Really look forward to hearing from you all,