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  1. Default 48 (+2?) in two parts

    I'm a full-time student in Southern Illinois and have therefore a car. I'm here in the US for one year.
    I'd like to visit all 48 (maybe +2) States of the US and as I'm a big fan of the landscape, the small villages, and the culture of the US I'd like to avoid big cities and Interstate Highways. My car is a Toyota Camry 2000 with about 220k miles.
    My first free time is about 3 weeks over Christmas and then about 2 Months in June/July.

    I'm kinda playing around on Google Maps but that's my proposal for the first trip (about 3 weeks).

    The second bigger trip would than look something like this:

    What do you think about this two routes? I try to drive as many states as possible on the first trip so I can see the interesting things in the second one. I'm a little concerned about the weather as I just have normal tire on my car and I also like to know for the first trip if somone has a better suggestions or intresting things around the route.

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default With Time Comes Opportunity

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    I would think that your two proposed trips are certainly possible and should leave you at least a little time on each of them to actually get out of the car and explore local small towns and state parks as well as the more famous national parks. It used to be that 100,000 miles was a major milestone for a car, but toeday's cars will do twice that easily if well maintained. Obviously, I would suggest that you get your car thoroughly checked out mechanically, especially before your winter trip. If all you have are normal tires, I would be a little leary of driving on 'back' roads in inclement winter weather, but again you should have enough time to sit out any snowy or icy conditions, let the road crews do their jobs, and resume driving after the sun comes back out. I would not go to the expense of buying all-weather tires just for this trip unless you happen to need a new set of tires between now and your trip.

    I would offer one suggestion, though, since you do have a fair amount of time available to you. In several cases, you're just popping across a state line for the briefest of time/miles. That's really not enough time to get the flavor of such states as North Dakota, Montana, Nebraska, Arkansas, Florida, West Virginia, Maine and Michigan. And you've missed Kentucky and Tennessee altogether, so I assume you've visited them previously. You have the time, so use some of it to delve a bit deeper into those states and actually experience them.


  3. Default

    That I already visited KY and TN is correct and I did not include AR, FL, WV, ME, and MI because I think they are too far away or to North. I could spend more time in some states but I'm uncertain about my time. I'll probably make about 300-400 miles per day.

    Do you have any recommendation about national parks around the route from the first trip?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    Do you have a point to this trip(s) other than to be able to say that you've visited 48 states when you are done?

    To me, that looks to be the only bit of thought that's gone into the planning of your route - fine the shortest way to check 48 boxes off your list. If that's all you want to get out of your trip, then I suppose that's fine.

    However, for someone who says they want to avoid big cities and are "a big fan of the landscape" it seems like your plan has pretty badly missed the mark. It doesn't appear you've given any thought into the landscapes you'd want to see, what National Parks you'd like to visit, or really anything other than seeing where you can cross a state line.

    And yes, it should probably be noted that you're planning to visit the coldest, snowiest, and highest elevation states in the heart of winter - which means it is an absolute certainty you'll have to spend a significant portion of your first loop dealing with winter weather.

    So, one, unless you really have a strong desire to experience some very harsh winter conditions (you could easily see temperatures of -25C), I'd probably rethink what you are doing in the winter.

    Two, and most importantly, think about what it is you actually want to see and do. There's nothing wrong with trying to see 48 states, but if I wasn't from this country, and had one chance to explore the US, then making sure I crossed every state line would be pretty far down on the list of my goals. With the time you have to travel, you still might be able to do it anyway, but I'd at least make figuring out what I want to see my first priority, and then worry about crossing off states next.

  5. Default

    Thanks for your honest opinion, it's probably better than to visit those states during the summer.
    I already had an earlier draft of a route driving south, e.g. something like this:

    I should probably also write some words about my motivation about the route etc.
    I'm a huge fan of the US just in general and after this year, I'm planning on coming back multiple times anyway and visit some places again. Also, the route should only be a rough draft so I know how long it approximately takes. I'm currently looking for a good book so I can see what I can see along the road and where the national parks are.
    And yes, the biggest motivation is just to say that I visited all 48 states so if I have to choose between seeing Las Vegas and driving through 3 states I'm definitely choosing the states :)

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    You asked about national parks. If you are genuinely interested in the landscape, then you will find that the national parks offer a wide variety of landscape! State parks can also offer this variety.

    Are you planning this with electronic maps, or do you have an atlas? If you don't have an atlas, go to the nearest discount store (i.e. like Walmart) and buy one. You'll find all the state and national parks and monuments on the maps in that atlas. Just looking at your first trip, for instance, I "see" Wisconsin Dells, you're close enough to Teddy Roosevelt National Park, also close to Dinosaur National Monument, Arches National Park, Canyonlands NP, and Mesa Verde NP. Looking at your 2nd trip, I "see" Petrified Forest NP, Grand Canyon NP, Red Rock State Park (NV) and Valley of Fire SP (NV), the Columbia River Gorge, you're close enough to Crater Lake NP, close enough to Yosemite. Then as you swing south, you'll be coming right through Saguaro National Park (AZ), near enough to both Carlsbad Caverns National Park and Big Bend National Park, and as you swing up the eastern side of the country, Shenandoah National Park.

    BTW, if you plan to visit the national parks, you might find it a lot more economical to buy the annual pass (Currently $80). It will cover your admissions (but not camping, fees) for the national parks, but state parks are another matter entirely.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    Quote Originally Posted by heubergen View Post
    I did not include AR, FL, WV, ME, and MI because I think they are too far away or to North.
    This also gets into how I just don't understand how you are going about your planning. Your original map did you have you going through - or at least close enough where it looked like you were going to - all of those states.

    And then on your revised "winter" trip - you are literally driving hundreds of miles out of your way to touch the Southeast Corner of Colorado, and yet you aren't planning to touch Florida, which would add hardly any miles to your trip. On top of it, again, if your goal is to see America's landscapes, it seems very strange that you'd completely skip the Colorado Rockies.

    I really think you are getting way, way, way too far ahead of yourself in trying to draw routes, when you don't really seem to have any idea about what it is you want to see, except for crossing state lines.

  8. Default

    I learned that writing a long intro post normally keeps people apart from reading it at all, so sorry for not writing down every thoughts in the first place.

    It's true that I enjoy seeing with Google Maps where I can drive through but actually drawing this lines is for me just the first part and it's only to determine through which states I'll drive and how long it takes me.
    Also, another priority for me was to avoid that I need to drive the same way twice.
    I already thought about buying a hard copy map and I think now that I should buy one before getting more into the planning.

    As English is not my first language, please apologize for the confusion about the word landscape made. For me it's just important to see rural areas and small villages, I don't necessarily need to stop, just driving through them is good enough for me. And while I'm maybe adding some national parks, I don't want to make this to a priority for me. By driving through all these states and avoiding the interstate, that's all I need to see :)

    So all that I need to know is if the route is possible to make in about 3 weeks without just rushing through (as written before, I only want to make about 300-400 miles per day), what interesting things I should visit outside the big cities and any other tips for someone who's gone do he's first road trip and also solo.

    PS: Adding FL would get me over 700 miles just for two states. Also I already visited FL and I'm probaly gone be there on Spring Break so I don't need to come back now.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    Quote Originally Posted by heubergen View Post
    PS: Adding FL would get me over 700 miles just for two states. Also I already visited FL and I'm probaly gone be there on Spring Break so I don't need to come back now.
    I have no idea what you mean here. If you don't want to or feel the need to visit FL, that's perfectly fine, but going into Florida would add less than 70 miles, so I don't know what you are talking about when you say "over 700 miles just for 2 states."

    As far as being able to complete the loop you laid out in 3 weeks, you're looking at 3800 miles so you'd need to cover a little less than 200 miles a day, on average - keep in mind, there is still a good chance of running into a winter weather issue for a day or two in the southern plains, but that shouldn't keep you from completing the loop in your timeframe.

  10. Default

    Oh, you mean right after New Orleans? Sorry, didn't saw that, maybe I add that to the stops.

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