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  1. Default Cross country drive from Central Jersey to San Diego

    Hello All

    I will be driving from NJ to San Diego end of June 2016 and was looking for tips and suggestions.
    I'm relocating there for Grad School at UCSD.

    The route I've chosen is the southern route and have allotted 2 weeks to complete the trip.

    I figure the south route will have the most to see and visit - Tenn, texas, arizona, etc....

    This drive will be done by myself (29 yr old) and my cousin (19 yr old), together we can put in some mileage each.

    Any advice on where to stop and not to stop, best routes to take or avoid?

    I know there are other threads that is similar to this but they are fairly older post. Looking for a more updated thread in case routes have changed. Also one thing that makes this thread slightly different than the rest is that i will be traveling with a mobility scooter, any suggestions on where to stop will need to be handicap accessible.

    Thanks in advance for everyones input!

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

    Default

    Welcome to RTA, and from a San Diegan, welcome to San Diego!

    "the southern route" might mean one thing to you and another to me. The most logical to me, for instance, would be to take the 80 out of NJ, to the 81 south. Take the 81 until you get to the 40, then turn west. Stay on that until you get to the 15. Yes, those are all interstates. We California residents like to call them "the 8", "the 15", "the 10", "the 80", etc.

    Along the 81, you could cut over to the Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park. It's 105 miles, about 5 hours, though. It runs from Front Royal down to Waynesboro, VA.

    The 40 has a LOT of places along it -- Nashville and Memphis with their music roots, Oklahoma City and the memorial there, Texas has Palo Duro Canyon and Cadillac Ranch near Amarillo. Albuquerque has a few things including Petroglyphs National Monument, the Smithsonian's nuclear museum, and the Rio Grande (very muddy river). In Arizona, you could spend 2-3 hours at Petrified Forest National Park, drive a few hours west and spend a full day at the Grand Canyon. Also along the NM/AZ route are several sections of old US 66, if you have any interest in that.

    Every state and national government run place is accessible, and I have yet to run into any motel that doesn't have at least 2 or 3 rooms set aside as "accessible".

    You should also get an atlas, or set of maps, for the trip, and start looking at them now. The points I've mentioned are just the better known ones. You can get an atlas at any big box or book store. If you're a member of AAA, you can get maps for "free" with your membership card.


    Donna

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,271

    Default

    It depends on exactly where in NJ you are how to get to I-81. From central NJ, I-80 may be going too far north, I-78 or even the PA Turnpike would be a lot more efficient.

  4. Default

    Hi DonnaR57 and glc. Thank you both for the inputs!

    My southern route has been tweaked so I can visit some family/friends along the way so I guess its not the most efficient route. Since I am in not really in a rush, I can explore along the way.

    I have never driven from coast to coast before so this will definitely be an experience I can cross off my bucket list.
    Looking at google maps, its estimating roughly 45 hours from Edison to SD with the route I mapped out. How realistic is that time frame? I have heard from other travelers that the estimated time for cross country drive on google maps is very unrealistic. I figure if I break my drive down in over 2 weeks (14 days), each day would be 4 hours give or take. Some areas spend more time and make up time lost through states where I'm not stopping.
    Most time will most likely be spent in Virgina, Tennessee, Dallas, Phoenix.

    Should I be aware of any long stretches of road where theres no gas stations?
    Any recommendation on lodging and restaurants will be greatly appreciated as well.


    Thanks!!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,546

    Default

    Looking at google maps, its estimating roughly 45 hours from Edison to SD with the route I mapped out. How realistic is that time frame? I have heard from other travelers that the estimated time for cross country drive on google maps is very unrealistic.
    While the mileage is probably pretty accurate on Google Maps, Mapquest and similar, the drive times are pure fantasy, as other travelers have mentioned. Electronic maps don't have to stop for fuel, food, to go to the bathroom, to stretch legs and give the eyes a break, nor can they figure out how construction is going to affect you weeks in advance, or predict accidents. What I do is take the mileage, and if driving on interstates, divide the mileage by 55, which gives me a good idea of how many hours it will take to drive. (I.E. 550 miles on interstate may take around 10 hours.) If on 2-lane highways, divide the mileage by 45 or 50. If in a national park, forget it.

    Should I be aware of any long stretches of road where theres no gas stations? Any recommendation on lodging and restaurants will be greatly appreciated as well.
    On the interstate highways, each exit with services will tell you, "Next services, 35 miles". The longest stretch of US interstate that I can think of, with no services, is 108 miles of I-70 in Utah, between Salina and Green River. They let you know ahead of time, too. My rule of thumb is to fuel up when the price is right, and don't let the tank run below 1/2 tank unless there's a good reason. (Of course, we have a huge tank and it costs more to fill when it gets that low!)

    Lodging -- there are various types, from mom-and-pops to the chain motels/hotels, b&b (not really a budget option so we've never stayed at one), and others. Chains all seem to belong to a "chain family" -- Wyndham Hotels (Super 8, Days Inn and more), Choice Hotels (Econo Lodge, Quality Inn, Comfort Inn and more), Best Western, Hilton Hotels, and one other major one (slips my mind right now since I don't use them). We have a card for Wyndham and Choice, and usually by choosing those, we can earn ourselves a free night here and there.

    Restaurants -- many hotels/motels offer a continental breakfast in the morning. For dinner, my husband and I often ask the hotel clerk for a recommendation, usually asking for something local with good food and family prices. Other times we just look around, or check TripAdvisor for a recommendation.


    Donna

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