I am a Singaporean (where we do right hand drive in a really small country: 31 miles from east to west) driver whose longest driving time has thus far been 2h at a stretch. I have never done a left hand drive before.
I am planning a longish trip in the US to visit friends I have not seen for years and am considering driving in between - a road trip is on my bucket list and so is driving a muscle car - so I'd like to check both off.
Thus far this is the itinerary I have planned:
- Day 1 - land in SFO from Austria (where I will be attending a work related course) and visit a friend in SF
- Day 2 and 3 - pick up a rental car (looking at the Dodge Challenger from Hertz) and drive Highway 1 over 2 days to LA/Riverside, with a night stopover at San Simeon. Return muscle car at Riverside
- Day 4 - stay with a friend at Riverside for a day to catch up
- Day 5 and 6 - pick up a car and drive from Riverside to Tusayan (will try to drive the old Route 66 if possible), which will be my base to explore the Grand Canyon. Probably a one night stopover midway.
- Day 7 and 8 - explore the Grand Canyon
- Day 9 - drive from Tusayan to the Petrified Forest/Painted Desert. Half a day there, followed by a drive down to Phoenix where I will return the car and fly from Phoenix to North Carolina
- Day 10 and 11 - meet another friend in North Carolina. We might rent another car and drive to Disneyworld in Florida from there.
- Day 12 - flight to New York from either North Carolina or Florida
- Day 13 and 14 - meet up with friend in Brooklyn
- Day 15 - fly home to Singapore
This will be in the last 2 weeks of September, going to the first few days of October.
I am using up all my allotted leave for this trip - so I might have one or two more days to play with, but not very much more than that. I will be mainly travelling and driving solo, except for the bit between North Carolina and Florida. My Riverside friend might be meeting me for the drive down Hwy-1, but that is unconfirmed, and I will definitely be driving from Riverside to Tusayan solo.
I have some questions:
- Does this itinerary sound doable, especially given my inexperience with driving in the US and on long drives in particular?
- Do you guys think I should keep the Grand Canyon time at 2 days, or shorten it to 1?
- I have been driving the same small car for 10 years in Singapore - which would be a compact car in the US, and therefore am more comfortable with driving and parking (!) a compact. I have read some forum posts on this and other forums advising travellers not to drive subcompact or compact cars on the highway. Is there a reason for that? Should I stick to what I am more comfortable with, or rent an intermediate size car for the trip?
- Does anyone have any suggestions on where to stop for a night between Riverside and Tusayan?
- How difficult is the terrain in the Mohave Desert and are there special precautions I should take?
Thanks very much in advance! Would also appreciate any tips from anyone more seasoned than I (ie, everyone on this forum).