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  1. Default Hello all ! Dallas To Boston via Blues trail

    Hi everyone,

    As our name, we are 4 guys from the UK, planning our second American road trip in August 2017

    We did Route 66 last year and loved it, so we now fancy Dallas to Boston via The Blues trail

    Here is our first thoughts and we invite and pointers or advice you may think may help.

    Day 1 London Heathrow to Dallas Tx
    Day 2 San Antonio (The Alamo)
    Day 3 Houston
    Day 4/5/6 New Orleans
    Day 7/8 Memphis
    Day 9/10 Nashville
    Day 11 Charleston
    Day 12 Washington DC
    Day 13 Philadelphia
    Day 14/15/16 NY
    Day 17/18 Boston

    What do you think guys?

    I know some days have 300 plus miles of driving, but we all drive and will be sharing the wheel.

    Any "must Do's" or "be careful of's" ?

    Thanks in advance for your thoughts

    Cheers
    Dan

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default Car rental could be expensive.

    Hi, and Welcome to the Great American Roadtrip Forum.

    Looks like a great trip, and with some days at only 300 miles, a leisurely pace through a nice part of the countr. Lots of times to see places. (Many roadtrippers do double that in one day.)

    Are you aware that if you are all going to drive there will be a fee for each driver. And if you are under 25, an extra fee on top of that for each driver. Dropping the car essentially at the other end of the country will also carry a hefty one way drop fee.

    You might consider dropping the car in DC and doing the rest of the trip by commuter train/bus. The cities from there on have good public transport - not sure about Philadelphia - and parking is difficult to find and expensive when you do. Certainly DC, NYC and Boston are all best seen by public transport and on foot.

    Lifey

  3. Default

    Thanks Lifey!

    We realise the cost of one way with the car. I think we had to pay 500us to leave it in LA when we did R66. We are all around 50 so not such a problem with insurance.

    The train idea is interesting and I will run that by the others to see if they like that idea.
    Would you do 3 nights in New Orleans or use one of those days elsewhere?
    Thanks again
    Dan

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default I'm not the person to ask.

    Dan, as a septuagenarian grandmother and solo roadtripper whose interests vary greatly from yours, I am not in a position to say.

    I take it you have some good detailed maps or a road atlas to help you plan this trip. That will give you a lot more detail of what there is to do and see in the area, than a small screen ever will.

    Lifey

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default If Music Be...

    Since it seems as though music is going to be a major focus of this trip, I might be tempted to take a day from either or both of New Orleans and New York, and add them to Memphis and/or Nashville instead. My own experience with New Orleans was that the music venues are aimed at the tourists rather than aficionados, but then I was there during Mardi Gras, and New York is simply over-priced for everything.

    As for the highways connecting your destinations, I'd make a couple of suggestions. The only place on your trip where you can actually drive the Blues Highway (US-61) is between New Orleans and Memphis. I'm not that familiar with it, but I would be stopping in as many local stores as possible, looking for flyers advertising local music events, and talking to the locals. Between Memphis and Nashville, you've got a couple of options that are better than just taking I-40. One is to take US-78 to Tupelo MS (and check out Elvis' birthplace if that appeals) then take the Natchez Trace Parkway up to Nashville. The other is to take US=64 across southern Tennessee with perhaps a stop at Shiloh National Military Park and then, again, finishing up on the Natchez Trace into Nashville.

    The other place you might want to change your routing is between Nashville and Washington. Yes, via Charleston is one way to go, basically northeast along the windward side of the Appalachians and then crossing them using the Potomac River Valley. But a somewhat more scenic znd relaxed drive can be had by crossing the mountains first through Great Smoky Mountains National Park and then running up their lee side on either I-81 (if speed is of the essence) or the Blue Ridge Parkway (if a slower-paced scenic route is more to your liking).

    The road(s) between Washington and Boston, basically I-95 with a few others) are collectively known to professional drivers as the Ho Chi Minh Trail. It is not a pleasant or scenic drive and can be harrowing to those not used to driving 80 mph bumper-to-bumper. There are ways around that mess if you decide you want to drive, but I agree with Lifey that once you reach Washington you can probably do without the car.

    AZBuck

  6. Default

    Some excellent pointers there AzBuck!

    I think scenic routes are what we will be looking for, if time allows. I think our longest day is about 350 miles (so Mr Google says) I am thinking we will have time on most days to take the slower routes. However, having travelled R66 and religiously stuck to the mother road, this time we won't feel we are cheating if we hit the interstates!

    How is train travel from Washington to Boston? It's not something we usually think of once we get the car. Is it costly? Will it be easy enough for lazy Brits like us? lol

    Also, by travelling mid August into early September is the weather likely to be ok?

    Many thanks for your thoughts, most helpful.
    Dan

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default Commuter trains! not unlike your commuter trains at home.

    Quote Originally Posted by FourGuysFromLondon View Post
    How is train travel from Washington to Boston? It's not something we usually think of once we get the car. Is it costly? Will it be easy enough for lazy Brits like us? lol
    If you travel the Amtrak it is expensive, with few services between the cities. The commuter trains are much more frequent and a lot cheaper, but you have to carry your luggage with you into the carriage. Although I have travelled on all of them, I can't tell you anything about them other than that they get you there. I just went to the station and bought a ticket for the next train. I never bother finding out those things beforehand, just take it as it comes.

    Train travel between those cities is much more relaxing than driving the I-95 corridor, especially since it is the end of your trip, when you might be looking for a relaxing trip.

    Quote Originally Posted by FourGuysFromLondon View Post
    Also, by travelling mid August into early September is the weather likely to be ok?
    From the times I have been in Boston, NYC and DC, if it is a warm summer it can be quite hot and steamy..... especially Boston (where my son lives). Both he and one of his children has a birthday in August, so I am there in August every trip.

    Lifey

  8. #8

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by FourGuysFromLondon View Post
    Thanks Lifey!

    We realise the cost of one way with the car. I think we had to pay 500us to leave it in LA when we did R66. We are all around 50 so not such a problem with insurance.

    The train idea is interesting and I will run that by the others to see if they like that idea.
    Would you do 3 nights in New Orleans or use one of those days elsewhere?
    Thanks again
    Dan
    Given the conditions of the highways on I-95, Charleston to Washington, D.C. and continuing to NYC and Boston, I would seriously consider riding the train beginning in Charleston, SC to D.C. The subway/metro in DC is very good. The Philadelphia area has an active commuter line system going into downtown Philadelphia and there are reasonable hotels not fare from the Amtrak station.

    From Washington, D.C., to Philadelphia and NYC, and Boston, you can ride the Amtrak Northeast Regional. Order tickets far in advance to get the best fares.

    FYI, there is an overnight train from Charleston, SC, to D.C.

    Nashville to Charleston is a long drive, 10 to 11 hrs without any construction traffic, etc. That really does not allow enough time to enjoy Charleston. Asheville, NC, is a nice way point.

  9. #9

    Default

    The Amtrak Northeast Regional isn't very expensive between D.C. and Boston, if you order your tickets in advance. Probably no more expensive for 4 people compared to drop-off/mileage fees, gas and tolls. Depends in part on your rental contract. Acela, the high speed train is expensive. Nonetheless, the train is superior to driving the East Coast I-95.

    FYI, Charleston to D.C. is a full day drive.

    August is steamy along the Atlantic coast from Charleston to Boston. September is nicer. And not as many tourists (most children are back in school beginning around Sept 1).

  10. Default

    Thanks for the pointers guys!

    We are having a "planning" meeting at the pub next week....any excuse! Lol
    I will add your ideas to our agenda.

    Liking the idea of the train, more and more.

    Any places to avoid on route?

    Is The Alamo worth visiting? As its looking more expensive flying into Dallas than Houston.?

    Cheers
    Dan

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