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  1. Default Kiwis on a November road trip

    Hi all,
    Heading over for a holiday first three weeks of November. Keen to do a 10-14 day loop from Houston heading east-north-west-south or vice versa. We love nature and would like to do some hiking. Any suggestions to start the planning process gratefully received.
    Sean

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

    Default

    Hi, Sean,

    First bit of advice would be to get yourself a good road atlas. If you can't get one locally, order one from the RTA store (just scroll down) and it will be there in a few weeks. It will show you all of the major parks and forests where you can get out, see nature's beauty and get away by hiking. The national park service has a great website, so once you get your atlas and can see what parks interest you, you would be able to start making some plans.

    First three weeks of November is the middle of autumn here. Some states and some elevations could have cooler weather and a few national parks could be in "winter mode". Your crowds will be pretty low, though, because most public schools are in session, and you're not going to run into Thanksgiving week travel (traditionally, the 4th Thursday of November).



    Donna

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default A Rough Outline

    Often, when people have little idea of what's available to them in an unexplored corner of the world, the first bit of help they need is just s sense of what's available and possible. That seems to be the case here, so let's start with a few parameters. As a very general first cut, I like to start RoadTrip planning looking at a very rough 50/50 mix of driving and exploring on foot. In your case that means about 5-6 days of driving or around 3,000 miles tops. It also helps people coming from other countries to have a sense of how big America is. That's easy for you - we're roughly the same size as Australia, but our road system is much better!

    With those temporal and physical scales in mind, what might a (again, very rough) outline of a trip such as you've outlined look like. Described in a clockwise order, it might look like this: From Houston, head west through Austin or San Antonio to Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico to give yourselves something of a taste of the high plains and desert southwest. Next head northeast through the Red River Valley (the area between Texas and Oklahoma) and the Ozark mountains (home to Branson MO, a quintessential Middle America entertainment town) to St. Louis with its history, zoos, and Mississippi River access. Then turn south and head through the Land Between the Lakes to Nashville, another great entertainment venue - specifically Country and Western Music. Continue south along the Natchez Trace Parkway past to Natchez MS, then down the Blues Highway (US-61) and into New Orleans (Jazz). Finally finish the loop by heading through the Creole/bayou region of southwestern Louisiana back to Houston.

    The above loop is about 3,000 miles before you start adding side trips so the scale is right for a first pass. But you may want to shorten it or lengthen it a bit to suit your own preferences as to where to go and how to split your time. We can help you with that, and with specific recommendations for things to do/see, much better once you've made the first decision on scale and itinerary for your trip, and given us a little bit more info on what sorts of things you'd really like to make sure that you don't miss.

    AZBuck
    Last edited by AZBuck; 06-20-2017 at 12:05 PM.

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

    Default A few tips from downunder.

    Sean. if you are a member of your automobile club at home, be sure to bring your membership with you. It will give you access to tourism information from the AAA wherever you travel in the US. I'm pretty sure that the NZ club(s) are part of the reciprocal arrangement the AAA has with automobile clubs world wide. You may like to check with them.

    If this is your first trip, I would agree with Donna that you get hold of a Rand McNally road atlas. It can also be beneficial to put a small flag in the rear window of your vehicle. Just a small cloth or paper one, adhered by tape or blue tack. Show them you are not a local, and hopefully they will forgive you any minor traffic discretions. (It could also attract ex pats.)

    Lifey

  5. Default If USA was your oyster for a week in November......

    Hi all,

    My girlfriend and I are heading over to the States as part of a three week vacation next month. We land in SFO on the 4th, and fly out of HOU on the 10th. I am keen on exploring a piece of the USA within the following criteria:

    1. Total driving distance of not more than 600 miles
    2. Ideally a loop so can pick up and drop off same location
    3. Avoid really cold weather (kind of thinking anywhere north is out)
    4. Nature key driver, cities of no interest, quirky towns always enjoyed though
    5. Happy to fly wherever from SFO and to HOU.

    Thanks in advance for the ideas, this forum has been of great help over the years in planning other road trips!

    Sean

    Moderator Note: Please keep all questions about the same trip in the same thread.
    Last edited by Midwest Michael; 10-04-2017 at 04:33 PM. Reason: Merged Threads

  6. Default

    Hi,

    Thanks for moving, felt the parameters of the trip had changed substantially (in both destination and duration) which is why I started a new thread, will know for next time!

    Sean
    Last edited by Midwest Michael; 10-04-2017 at 07:40 PM. Reason: Removed quote of entire previous post

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default

    I will say, either way, I'm puzzled by what you are looking for here. You mentioned coming to the US for a 3 week trip, but then say you're arriving in SFO on the 4th and leaving HOU on the 10th. That's only 6 days, and even that's not the whole story. If you're coming from NZ, then you should plan for at least a day to adjust/deal with jetlag. You'll also need the better part of a day just to get from SFO to HOU, so now you're talking about just 4 days - and that's assuming your flights don't arrive late or leave early.

    All that is the long way to say, I don't think you have time to think about adding another 2 flights to head onto yet another city. I think you'd be much better off doing your roadtrip from either San Francisco or from Houston - and if it's Houston, then I'd go back and look at the advice you've already received, and adjust it to your new timeline.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,748

    Default Confused.com

    I'm also a bit confused, you say you are flying into SFO and out of HOU, but then mention you would prefer to do a loop trip ?

    Edit. Perhaps the 10th is a typo and you want to do a road trip from another city ?

    If that's the case, by the time you have spent time and money flying in and out of City's (wasting more time if you have no interest in them) you may as well consider driving from SF to Houston and take the 'hit' of the one way drop off fee on your rental. There is a lot of what you are looking for in between those points.

  9. Default

    Hi guys,

    Thanks for the responses, and apologies for the confusion, will attempt to answer the problems I have created with my vagueness (some thing I am famous for in general).

    Holiday is still three weeks, on the 10th fly to Costa Rica from HOU for an expedition cruise to Panama, then fly to Cancun for some R&R for a few days. SO leaves me with the 7 days 4th-10th (arrive early 4th, out late 10th).

    Agree that a loop will be best from either SFO or HOU rather than spending time flying in and out of another destination, that is a good idea and appreciated.

    With that being the case, any suggestions for a loop out of SFO or HOU? Have done SFO-LAX-LAS-SFO loop before, so perhaps another direction if out of SFO?

    Thanks all and apologies again for the confusion,

    Sean


    Quote Originally Posted by Southwest Dave View Post
    I'm also a bit confused, you say you are flying into SFO and out of HOU, but then mention you would prefer to do a loop trip ?

    Edit. Perhaps the 10th is a typo and you want to do a road trip from another city ?

    If that's the case, by the time you have spent time and money flying in and out of City's (wasting more time if you have no interest in them) you may as well consider driving from SF to Houston and take the 'hit' of the one way drop off fee on your rental. There is a lot of what you are looking for in between those points.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default Take your pick.

    Louisiana, Missiissippi and Arkansas would be very different from the sites you saw out west. Each State has its own beauty and State Parks. There is Hot Springs NP in Arkansas, not too far for your trip. Then of course there are the obvious - New Orleans, Biloxi and the gulf coast east of Houston. Little Rock and the civil rights - and more - sights in Arkansas. Do a little research and you are bound to find lots more. I take it you have good maps on which all these are marked and to see where all this is in relation to the other.

    Driving on the minor roads will see you stumble across many surprising sights, and much nature..

    Lifey

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