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  1. Default trip from Austin Tx to Washington DC in May 2016

    Folks, I'm an Aussie and have long dreamed of an American road trip. In May 2016 I will be in Austin for a training program and then in Washington for a conference early June. So I thought this would be a good opportunity for a road trip. I'll have a little under 2 weeks to complete the trip from Austin to DC. My wife and I are very interested in interesting natural sites (parks, lakes, wildlife etc), as well as history and less interested in too much time in cities. We don't want to camp out (we're seniors with a bit of arthritis) and prefer to stay overnights in motels or hotels.
    Any suggested routes from those with local knowledge would be much appreciated to start or thinking and planning.
    cheers, Leigh

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Getting started.

    Hi Leigh, and Welcome to the Great American Roadtrip Forum.

    The best part about your trip is that you have almost 12 months to do your research. First thing I suggest is, that you get hold of a Rand McNally road atlas, which will give you detailed maps of all the States through which you will/can travel on this journey. Best way to get hold of the atlas is to go to the bottom of this page and click on RTA store - atlasses and maps. You will have it in a couple of weeks. You will find it invaluable during your roadtrip planning (it is also essential to have when on the road). These maps will show you most, if not all attractions along any route you choose to follow - natural attractions, historical attractions and touristy attractions. It will also help you choose the route by which you prefer to travel - high speed Interstates, secondary highways, local roads and scenic routes are all marked, as are all the large and small settlements. And don't worry if it makes you change your mind several times. Most trips do not come off on a first plan.

    Other things I have found helpful during my seven trips is a small flag in the rear window of the car, a collections of small souvenirs for folk you meet along the way (maybe also for those you meet at your meetings).

    You do not indicate in which State you live, but if you are a member of RACV, NRMA, or similar, be sure to take your membership card with you. It will give you access to free maps and tourism information from the AAA anywhere in the US. Many of us travel with multiple maps, as well as a gps. You could possibly pick up maps etc. from the AAA in Austin, .

    Have fun planning, and if you have further questions feel free to ask.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Some Other Resources

    As you plan, there are some other notable repositories of knowledge about the beauty and history of the places you'll be driving through. For nature, hiking and wildlife there's the National Forest and National Wildlife Refuge systems. For both history and natural beauty there's both the various state park systems (search on 'statename state parks') and the National Park system. There are also several byways that you should try to include in your travels such as the Natchez Trace, the Blue Ridge Parkway, and Skyline Drive. I'd suggest, too, that you read up a bit on the American Civil War. I'm not suggesting that you dive into the library's worth of books written on the subject, but getting a little background into the causes, players, and major campaigns and battles will give you a framework into which you can fit the various large and small historical sites throughout the South, particularly as you get up into Virginia. And while you're at it take some time to at least look at some of the other things to see in each state.


  4. Default

    tks for this great advice Lifey. I will get hold of a Rand Mcnally. Yes I am a member of the RACV (Victorian) so will certainly take your advice on that too. As the time gets closer, I'll start asking more questions on the forum.

  5. Default

    tks AZBuck. This is more good advice. My wife and I do have an interest in the Civil War and hope to see some good sites accordingly. Will look up the links you have suggested.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Where?

    Quote Originally Posted by leigh.blashki View Post
    Yes I am a member of the RACV (Victorian) ...
    3040 here!

  7. Default

    Hi again Lifey. We are in Pakenham. Are you around Essendon way? How often have you road tripped in the U.S.? I'm have a little trepidation about the driving on the right side - have only done it a couple of times before for a short drive.
    cheers, Leigh

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default What to watch for.

    Leigh, picture yourself driving to Melbourne. There's no way you would drive on the other side of the road, into oncoming traffic. I found it really only took me ten or 15 minutes to get used to it. Had more trouble getting back to the left side once home, after months of driving on the right side. lol

    A flag in the rear window of your vehicle will at least let others know that you are not used to these roads. Hopefully they will forgive minor indiscretions. [Don't be surprised if the flag attract Viet Vets, who want to talk with you about the Aussies beside whom they fought.]

    Be really careful driving early in the morning or late at night, when there is little or no other traffic on the road. Those are times that old habits take over. Also when you are tired. And although they are few and far between, roundabouts can bring out those old habits as well. It has happened to me a few times, though always when going slowly.

    On the high speed interstates just keep to the right lane and travel at the speed with which you feel confident. It really is amazing how quickly it becomes second nature. Don't make any of your days too long. Keep them reasonable and comfortable.

    Yup, I am in Bomber country (don't barrack for them) on your way to the airport.

    Am at present planning my eighth trip for next year, a bit later than your trip, in time for grandson's birthday. Have so far covered almost 200000 miles, including three trips to Alaska and Back. You might like to check a couple of them out in the Road Trip Field Report Forum.

    Enjoy the planning.


  9. Default

    Hi Lifey,
    As you can see I'm nor visiting the RTA pages too often. Thanks for the reassurance about the driving. I'm sure (as you say) it will come together OK at the time. Luckily I've been a passenger in the States a few times in the past few years so right side driving doesn't seem too weird. Cheers, Leigh

  10. Default

    Is it too late? Go to
    We love road trips and try to find designated scenic byways and all american roads. The map works by state so just go to whatever state you're in and see if the roads are in your path.
    Enjoy your travels - Abe

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