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  1. Default 38 days for USA road trip.

    We are planning a 38 day road trip (Aug/Sep 2016), wishing where possible, to avoid major centres and where practical stay on two lane highways. Would like to conclude our trip with a 3 day train trip on Rocky Mountaineer ending up on Vancouver. Would like to see Yosemite/Death Valley/ Grand Canyon, experience the Mississippi, visit Nashville, see part of the Appalachians ( Blue Ridge Parkway), New England, we are from Australia and driving long distances is not an issue. We are keen to experience aspects of your history/culture/lifestyles. Any suggestions/ideas would be greatly appreciated..
    Dave Moffatt

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,546

    Default

    Welcome to RTA!

    First question -- do you have a good USA paper map or a road atlas? If you don't, and you can't get one locally, scroll down and order one from the RTA store. That should be the first thing you do, and you have plenty of time to get one. BTW, if you are a member of your local auto club, be sure to bring your membership card with you, as it should have reciprocity with the AAA club here in the states, and you'll get new free individual state maps.


    Donna

  3. Default

    Cheers Donna, thanks for early advice,
    Davr

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,748

    Default

    Hello and welcome !

    Quite often a loop trip works well on a long road trip when you want to see things spread out around the country. Starting and ending in the same city can also save having to pay significant one way drop off charges on your rental. As you continue with planning and specific questions come up, just keep asking questions, but at the moment it's a little broad to give meaningful advice on routes and places.

    Don't forget that driving long distances in the US is different to OZ, there are things to see and do at what seems to be every turn.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default Long distances are so different in the US.

    Dave, don't equate 'long distances' with driving in the US. You can't go for miles without a town or city.

    I understand you wanting to travel on the two lane roads but you will find at times that it is just not practical. Besides there are one or two interstate highways which are in places stunningly scenic.

    Be sure to get the Rand McNally road atlas, it is invaluable during the planning stage. Besides the wealth of information these maps have, they grade the roads with the scenic routes being hilighted. You'll have it within a couple of weeks of ordering it.

    All Australian automobile clubs have the reciprocal arrangement with the AAA, so if you are a member of the RACV, NRMA or similar, take your membership with you. Many of us like to travel with AAA maps as well as the road atlas and gps. Gps is fine for finding addresses in rural areas, but not recommended as a guide for the larger parts of the trip. Be sure you have the maps with you on the road, and know how to read them.

    As well as all the above, I always make sure I have our flag in the rear window of the vehicle. Let the others know that you are not a local. Hopefully they will forgive any minor indiscretion on the road.

    Lifey

  6. Default Most suitable hire vehicle for Road Trip?

    Hi there,
    We are 3 couples from Australia looking to hire a vehicle for an American road trip over a four week period, from San Francisco to Washington DC. We are all in our early 60s, two of us are 6ft plus....any recommendations and best hire companies...we have been looking at a Dodge Grand Caravan and also a Ford Expedition....any ideas would be gratefully appreciated.Hopefully we can restrict our luggage to to one 23k per couple!
    Regards,
    Dave Moffatt

    Moderator Note: Please keep all questions about this trip in the same thread.
    Last edited by Midwest Michael; 11-23-2015 at 05:16 PM. Reason: Merged Threads

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default Think Bigger

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    Speaking from experience, a Grand Caravan is not going to be big enough for six adults and roughly 150 pounds of luggage. Then there's the fact that even getting into the last row of seats requires a bit of nimbleness that those of us in our 60's may be able to accomplish only with difficulty. And that back row both isn't really comfortable for six-footers and takes up of most of the 'extended' room that makes the Grand Caravan 'grand', leaving little in the way of boot behind the third seat.

    Yes, I know that the rental company will bill this as a seven seater (There are technically seven seats.) AND capable of taking five bags (they don't say how large the bags are). But you'll be spending a lot of time in this vehicle, and you want to be comfortable not just 'fit'. I'd strongly suggest that you go at least one size bigger and get a full-sized van (Ford Transit, Chevy Express or Suburban, or similar) rated for nine to twelve passengers. It may cost a bit (OK - quite a bit) more, but in the end I think you'll all be much happier.

    AZBuck

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default For a comfortable trip.

    I have driven a Dodge Caravan - albeit not a 'grand' - a Suburban and a Yukon. over long distances. My first thoughts were, you are going to need either a Suburban or a Yukon.. I have always been on my own, but I can assure you if you are going to have a comfortable trip, it won't be in a Dodge. Get the larger vehicle. They are beautiful vehicles to drive and ride in - the height of luxury and very spacious. I have not driven the Ford mentioned

    The only other alternative is that you get three cars, but, besides being inconvenient, that would probably work out the same, if not more expensive.

    Have a great trip.

    Lifey

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    A Suburban is an extended SUV - the GMC equivalent is the Yukon XL. The standard Yukon is the same as a Tahoe, a shorter vehicle. The Ford equivalent to the Suburban is the Expedition EL. The standard Expedition is a shorter vehicle.

    A Grand Caravan is an extended Caravan, it might be big enough, but the extended SUV's are definitely more roomy. Either way, put the smallest people in the 3rd seat, none of them are particularly easy to get in and out of.

    Luggage is going to be an issue even in a Suburban.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,748

    Default

    We have recently rented both a Grand caravan and a Suburban and both were big although there was only 4 of us with luggage. Both took 4 large cases, 4 carry on size bags with the back seats up quite comfortably although I could see it getting quite tight to fit 2 more of each in, but I would say possible with a bit of care. As we did not use the extra seats I didn't pay much attention to them but I would guess that the Grand caravan may have easier access to the rear seats and be slightly more comfortable with the Suburban having slightly more luggage room. The 'Grand' has a sunken luggage area so that the first large case is only just above the floor area and has the effect of giving more height. I would say that the new Caravan's are much improved over the version Lifemagician commented on above and comfort would not be an issue comparing 'like for like' vehicles. Having said that and considering the fact you are considering driving long distances I would agree with Buck when he says to consider a full size van so you don't only 'fit' into it, you have some room as well.

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