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  1. Default March road trip advice?

    My friend and I are planning on going on a road trip this March. Our plan is to be away for about a month. We start in Albany, NY and plan on driving to SC and staying with my family for a bit. After that, we're planning on going to New Orleans, up through Nashville, to Chicago, then make it Buffalo, then back to Albany. This is our first road trip. We're still planning it, and we'd love some feedback, advice, suggestions on routes, things to see, etc.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default A good way to start.

    Hi, and Welcome to the Great American Roadtrip Forum.

    First step is to get some good detailed maps of the States through which you'll be travelling, such as those produced by AAA (free to members) Or you may prefer a road atlas such as the Rand McNally

    Mark the places you have already decided to visit, and see which roads and routes will take you there.... including scenic routes. Then go ahead and see how many attractions which interest you there are on the map along the chosen route.

    Good detailed maps will show you so much more than a little screen ever will. They are invaluable during the planning, and essential when on the road. (Don't leave home without them!)

    Don't be tempted to rely solely on your electronics. Many have done so at their peril - some fatal.

    Enjoy the planning, and as questions arise, feel free to ask.


  3. Default

    Thank you! I think I'll make good use of this forum. Bringing physical maps is a great idea, will definitely do that.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    Don't just bring them - plan with them!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default In the Meantime...

    Your stated plan is a bit scattershot, covering many regions of the country. So until you get things a bit more focused the best we can do is offer you general advice. Specific sites are just as likely to be off your final route or outside your sphere of interest as otherwise. But what you can do here to see what has been suggested to/for others is to mine past discussions. Look up at the top right of this page and you'll see a search box currently containing the phrase "Google Custom Search". If you enter one or two word phrases in there describing various parts of your trip, like 'Mississippi River' or 'East Coast', you will be presented with several past threads dealing with trips that are at least in part like the one you are contemplating. You'll find lots of ideas that way.


  6. Default

    Yeah, I realize now it does seem a bit scattered. Here is the actual route we have planned:

    I've started reading through older threads, a lot of interesting stories and great advice. If you or anyone else has a suggestion for my route, please let me know! Also, keep in mind that we'll be in SC for at least a week with my family.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Check These

    Here are a few routes and sites for you to consider adding to your RoadTrip. First I'd take a very hard look at your initial run down to South Carolina. If you have no interest in stopping in New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore or Washington (you've stated none) then I'd avoid driving through their traffic messes at almost any cost. Fortunately the 'cost' of avoiding them is less than an hour of extra driving on quite scenic roads over two days. Instead of heading down to NYC and following I-95 (ugh!), take I-88 out of Albany down to Binghamton, pick up I-81, and follow that all the way down to southwestern Virginia where I-77/I-85 via Charlotte will get you the rest of the way to Greenville. That would still eave you essentially the same half day for sight-seeing as your I-95 route (with far lass chance of getting stuck in traffic) while still arriving at a reasonable hour in the early evening of your second day. Possible stops include Gettysburg, Shenandoah National Park, and Monticello.

    The next leg, down to New Orleans can be done pretty much as the computer has laid out for you, but only because almost any reasonable departure time from Greenville will put you through Atlanta (another ugh!) during mid-day rather than at rush hour. Still, I'd strongly recommend taking the beltway, I-285, around the city to the north and west rather than staying on I-85 through the heart of the city. At just over 600 miles, you could possibly drive this whole leg in a single day, but you'd be very tired at the end of it and driving into New Orleans after dark. If you want to take a day and a half, there are certainly roads and sites to use that extra half day to your advantage such as FDR's Little White House, Talladega Scenic Drive, and Gulf Islands National Seashore.

    From New Orleans up to Nashville, your map has you going through Memphis yet there is no mention of that city as a part of your trip. If it is a destination, then the suggested route would be the Blues Highway/Great River Road up along the Mississippi with stops to see the antebellum homes in Natchez and the civil War Battlefield in Vicksburg, Mud Island and Beale Street in Memphis, and then use US-64 across southern Tennessee past Shiloh National Military Park to the Natchez Trace Parkway and take that up to Nashville. If Memphis is not a destination, then just head from New Orleans up to Jackson MS, get on the Natchez Trace there, and follow that all the way up to Nashville stopping at the historic interpretation centers on that route as well as Elvis' birthplace in Tupelo MS and President Polk's home in Columbia TN.

    Nashville to Chicago is another leg where you can make it in a single day if you just drive up I-65. If you want to stop and see anything en route, you'll need to add another day to the drive. Places that I think would be worth that extra day would include Mammoth Cave National Park, and either a series of Lincoln sites in Kentucky and Illinois or the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

    Between Chicago and Niagara Falls, the deciding factor will be whether you all have your passports in order. If you do, than I'd suggest heading up through central Michigan on I-94/I-69, crossing into Canada at Sarnia, and then taking ON-402/ON-401/ON-2/QEW to Niagara Falls, Ontario with possible stops at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, Warren Dunes State Park, Kellog's Cereal City in Battle Creek, and Niagara-on-the-Lake north of Niagara Falls. If you decide instead to stay in the US, then it's essentially just I-90 almost all the way, but Indiana Dunes is still on route as well as possibly taking OH-2 along the shores of Lake Erie and/or stopping in Cleveland to see the Natural History Museum, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, or Cuyahoga Valley National Park. And yet again, this is a leg that can be driven in a single full day of driving, while making stops would require part or all of another day.

    Finally, I think you can find your way home from Albany, but let me suggest US-20 instead of the New York State Thruway, with stops at various points along the Erie Canal and at the Women's Rights National Historical Park in Seneca Falls.


  8. Default

    So we're gearing up to leave a week from Tuesday, and we've axed going to New Orleans. I know physical maps were mentioned as essential, but what else should we bring along for the ride just in case? Stuff we wouldn't normally think to bring I guess.

  9. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by AZBuck View Post

    Thank you so much for this reply, very helpful.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default Do we have some ideas for you!

    Quote Originally Posted by connorclockwise View Post
    So we're gearing up to leave a week from Tuesday, and we've axed going to New Orleans. I know physical maps were mentioned as essential, but what else should we bring along for the ride just in case? Stuff we wouldn't normally think to bring I guess.
    As you might guess we have pages of lists of such things you might consider bringing on a road trip. But in order:
    1) Extra water
    2) Cooler for fresh vegetables and fruit
    3) Tools
    4) A rescue bear -- cuddly soft toy you share with someone who needs it
    Other ideas here....


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