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  1. #1
    David Rose Guest

    Default Roadtrip help

    Hi,
    my girlfriend and I are planning on a 3 week roadtrip in September 02, and were hoping to go from San Fransisco to New York passing through some of the National Parks (Yosemite, etc.) and Niagra falls, are we giving ourselfs too much to do? Would you recomend finishing further inland at say Chicago? Please help as I am from England and really have no idea at what sort of lengths of journey we will be looking at.

    Any help would be grateful,
    Cheers,

    Dave Rose.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default Possible (quality vs quantity)

    Road Greetings Dave,
    Three weeks to cover ~ 4,000 miles (detours to hit national parks) is certainly possible, but you may find yourself wishing for more time in some of the locations. For a straight drive I would suggest allowing 5 days -- reasonable distances and speed and then plan on 2-3 days in the national parks you can fit in your schedule. The higest concentration of national parks is in Utah and Arizona. Must-sees in my book would be Yosemite, Zion, Grand Canyon, Arches, Badlands and then on to Niagra Falls. Such a trip would still be pushing it -- but it would be a grand exploration!

    Publisher

  3. #3
    David Rose Guest

    Default

    Hi again,
    as next year I will be only 22 and my girlfriend will be 21 are we going to come across any problems renting a car? We managed to rent a car in Spain this year with Avis but I wasn't able to rent when we recently went to Ireland. In Spain we didn't have to pay on enourmous sum for under 25 insurance as we paid with a credit card, is this an option in the US? As we brought the car back in one piece in Spain are Avis any more likely to rent us or does Avis in the US act as a seperate company. Also, what sort of charges are we looking at if we arrange to leave the car on the other side of the country and what other charges do you think we will be looking at?

    Any help again would be greatly appriciated,
    Dave Rose.

  4. #4
    imported_Rob Guest

    Default Rental Cars

    I've posted this info before, hopefully this is helpful...

    Most places I've seen you have to be 25 in order to rent a car, however this is not written in stone. Listen to this quote from Avis:

    At most Avis locations in the US, the minimum age to rent an Avis vehicle is 25. In certain situations or at certain locations, the minimum age may be 18 or 21. In some instances a surcharge may apply for renters under age 25. Please check with Avis at 1-800-331-1212 for details.

    So the best advice I can give you is to call a bunch of places until you find one that is willing to rent to you... the worst part of all of this is the surcharge for under-25 drivers, in some cases it can be as high as 100%. :P

    As for additional charges for one-way travel, again, just asking the rental place is the best method.

    RT

  5. #5
    Guest

    Default

    YOSEMITE IS DEFINITELY A MUST SEE, THE BEST WAY TO ENJOY IT IS TO RENT BICYCLES AND RIDE AROUND THE VALLEY FLOOR...HIKE TO YOSEMITE FALLS. AND OF COURSE YOU CAN'T MISS GRAND CANYON...SOUTHERN RIM IS MOST POPULAR, NORTHERN RIM MORE SECLUDED.

  6. #6
    John Wise Guest

    Default across America

    First your rental car, a friend from Germany had this problem too, my advice - rent your car from England, be sure you have a Visa or Mastercard in the drivers name, and then confirm with a travel agency or two and reconfirm with the local car rental agency you book with that you won't have any problem picking up the car in the U.S.

    Your trip: my wife and I have made a similar trip starting in Phoenix, Arizona going to Maine with a return down the New England Coast to Washington D.C. and then across Tennessee, down to Louisiana and back to Arizona in exactly 21 days - and we loved every second, by the way, we did this all on back roads, NO major highways.

    I'd recommend heading north to Point Reyes National Seashore, and then east, if you can, find Lucas Valley Road through some redwoods and a gorgeous valley. Skip Yosemite at this time of year, it's over-crowded, head east through Sacramento and over Donner Pass into the Lake Tahoe area, you must stop in Virginia City - trust me, it's an old west mining town high in the mountains. Cross Nevada on Highway 50, the "Loneliest Road in America", my wife and I made the journey last month and it's just incredible, on the other side of Hwy 50 you'll be at the Great Basin National Park with some of the oldest trees on the planet. Head south towards Las Vegas, either bypass Vegas and head east to Zion and Bryce National Parks in Utah, or head through Vegas and make your way to the Grand Canyon - be sure to walk at least 30 minutes down the Bright Angel Trail to get a different perspective of the Canyon, if you go towards Zion and Bryce, be sure to hike one of the loops at Bryce, you won't believe how different the view is. If you chose the Grand Canyon, continue on with a stop at Page, Arizona and take a Colorado river float, (no whitewater) for 15 miles down the river (Wilderness River Adventures - supplies the trip from Page, you can find them with an internet search) at the end of the float, tour a slot canyon. Which ever way you chose to go, Zion or Grand Canyon, head towards Mexican Hat, Utah and the Valley of the Gods which is right next door to Monument Valley - be sure to drive yourself through the Monument Valley Park, don't take the tour, you'll enjoy the stops you get to make, while you are at the park, go for a real Navajo experience - as you are on the Navajo Reservation at this point, stop at the small business's at the entrance for Mutton Stew, its sheep and corn and a classic Native American dish.

    From here head to Four Corners and Durango, on the way you might want to stop at the Ute Mountain Tribal Park, in my wife and my opinion, it is far more incredible than Mesa Verde, look online for tour information, you must make a reservation in advance. Continue on through Durango up past Silverton through the San Juan Scenic Byway on your way toward Denver and the Rockies, in Montrose head east and aim for Leadville and continue north, you'll end up in the Rockies National Park.

    Now it's time to make up time, get on Highway 80 and head directly to Niagara Falls, you must take the tour under the falls on the Canadian Side, walk over from the American side, the tour is the "Cave of the Winds" tour, you might also want to visit Fort Niagara.

    After this, I'd head to Lancaster, Pennsylvania and tour the Amish country side, it'll be close to fall and spectacular. It's now an easy drive from Lancaster to Washington D.C. and from D.C. head east to Annapolis go directly across the bay and drive down the eastern part of Maryland on Chesapeake Bay, if you are lucky, visit Assateague Island - you'll have now gone coast to coast.

    Get on Hwy 64 heading to Hwy 81 and on to Nashville, from Nashville head south west on the Natchez Trace Parkway - a 457 mile long National Park that is truly wonderfully incredible, as a matter of fact, it was difficult for my wife and I to come off the Trace and rejoin the world, you'll understand after you meander down this historic and famous route. The Trace will let you off in Natchez, Mississippi, you should visit some of the Antebellum homes, you are also on the Mississippi river at this point.

    Go south towards New Orleans and find the road that takes you along the Gulf coast to Holly Beach, the sea shells here are HUGE AND BEAUTIFUL - great souvenier. Go north to Lake Charles and stop at Steamboat Bill's restaurant - great Shrimp Po'boy sandwich.

    Time to get on highway 10 and make tracks again, it's time to cross Texas, you'll get a laugh as you cross the Louisiana border and see the sign with the miles to El Paso - it's like London to Moscow. Just drive and drive and drive, get to New Mexico, depending on time at this point, go north before El Paso and visit Carlsbad Cavern - a big time wow, or continue over to Alamogordo and visit White Sands National Monument. Continue west towards Tucson, you might want to make a quick stop Saguaro National Park on your way to Hwy 8 to San Diego. Take hwy 5 north past L.A. - only stop in L.A. if you are insane or must go to Disneyland. Take hwy 5 to road number 166 and cut over to hwy 1, at times you'll be on hwy 101, but keep following the signs towards hwy 1 up the coast. You'll pass through Big Sur - eat at Napenthe, take the 17 mile drive road, it'll cost $8 - worth it, through Carmel and go up through Pacific Grove to Monterey - the Aquarium here is one of our favorite places in America.

    You are now two hours from San Francisco and heading home. As a rule of thumb, plan on driving between 220 miles and upto a maximum 450 miles a day. If you have to go through a location or National Park quicker than you might want to, keep in mind that this is an orientation tour, you can always note which locations will require you to come back for more intensive time allocating, but this trip will forever have you enamoured with the United States. You can see some of my wife's pictures of some of these locations at our website: http://www.scenicpath.com

    Take care, it's a great country to roadtrip across.

    John Wise

  7. #7
    John Wise Guest

    Default across America

    First your rental car, a friend from Germany had this problem too, my advice - rent your car from England, be sure you have a Visa or Mastercard in the drivers name, and then confirm with a travel agency or two and reconfirm with the local car rental agency you book with that you won't have any problem picking up the car in the U.S.

    Your trip: my wife and I have made a similar trip starting in Phoenix, Arizona going to Maine with a return down the New England Coast to Washington D.C. and then across Tennessee, down to Louisiana and back to Arizona in exactly 21 days - and we loved every second, by the way, we did this all on back roads, NO major highways.

    I'd recommend heading north to Point Reyes National Seashore, and then east, if you can, find Lucas Valley Road through some redwoods and a gorgeous valley. Skip Yosemite at this time of year, it's over-crowded, head east through Sacramento and over Donner Pass into the Lake Tahoe area, you must stop in Virginia City - trust me, it's an old west mining town high in the mountains. Cross Nevada on Highway 50, the "Loneliest Road in America", my wife and I made the journey last month and it's just incredible, on the other side of Hwy 50 you'll be at the Great Basin National Park with some of the oldest trees on the planet. Head south towards Las Vegas, either bypass Vegas and head east to Zion and Bryce National Parks in Utah, or head through Vegas and make your way to the Grand Canyon - be sure to walk at least 30 minutes down the Bright Angel Trail to get a different perspective of the Canyon, if you go towards Zion and Bryce, be sure to hike one of the loops at Bryce, you won't believe how different the view is. If you chose the Grand Canyon, continue on with a stop at Page, Arizona and take a Colorado river float, (no whitewater) for 15 miles down the river (Wilderness River Adventures - supplies the trip from Page, you can find them with an internet search) at the end of the float, tour a slot canyon. Which ever way you chose to go, Zion or Grand Canyon, head towards Mexican Hat, Utah and the Valley of the Gods which is right next door to Monument Valley - be sure to drive yourself through the Monument Valley Park, don't take the tour, you'll enjoy the stops you get to make, while you are at the park, go for a real Navajo experience - as you are on the Navajo Reservation at this point, stop at the small business's at the entrance for Mutton Stew, its sheep and corn and a classic Native American dish.

    From here head to Four Corners and Durango, on the way you might want to stop at the Ute Mountain Tribal Park, in my wife and my opinion, it is far more incredible than Mesa Verde, look online for tour information, you must make a reservation in advance. Continue on through Durango up past Silverton through the San Juan Scenic Byway on your way toward Denver and the Rockies, in Montrose head east and aim for Leadville and continue north, you'll end up in the Rockies National Park.

    Now it's time to make up time, get on Highway 80 and head directly to Niagara Falls, you must take the tour under the falls on the Canadian Side, walk over from the American side, the tour is the "Cave of the Winds" tour, you might also want to visit Fort Niagara.

    After this, I'd head to Lancaster, Pennsylvania and tour the Amish country side, it'll be close to fall and spectacular. It's now an easy drive from Lancaster to Washington D.C. and from D.C. head east to Annapolis go directly across the bay and drive down the eastern part of Maryland on Chesapeake Bay, if you are lucky, visit Assateague Island - you'll have now gone coast to coast.

    Get on Hwy 64 heading to Hwy 81 and on to Nashville, from Nashville head south west on the Natchez Trace Parkway - a 457 mile long National Park that is truly wonderfully incredible, as a matter of fact, it was difficult for my wife and I to come off the Trace and rejoin the world, you'll understand after you meander down this historic and famous route. The Trace will let you off in Natchez, Mississippi, you should visit some of the Antebellum homes, you are also on the Mississippi river at this point.

    Go south towards New Orleans and find the road that takes you along the Gulf coast to Holly Beach, the sea shells here are HUGE AND BEAUTIFUL - great souvenier. Go north to Lake Charles and stop at Steamboat Bill's restaurant - great Shrimp Po'boy sandwich.

    Time to get on highway 10 and make tracks again, it's time to cross Texas, you'll get a laugh as you cross the Louisiana border and see the sign with the miles to El Paso - it's like London to Moscow. Just drive and drive and drive, get to New Mexico, depending on time at this point, go north before El Paso and visit Carlsbad Cavern - a big time wow, or continue over to Alamogordo and visit White Sands National Monument. Continue west towards Tucson, you might want to make a quick stop Saguaro National Park on your way to Hwy 8 to San Diego. Take hwy 5 north past L.A. - only stop in L.A. if you are insane or must go to Disneyland. Take hwy 5 to road number 166 and cut over to hwy 1, at times you'll be on hwy 101, but keep following the signs towards hwy 1 up the coast. You'll pass through Big Sur - eat at Napenthe, take the 17 mile drive road, it'll cost $8 - worth it, through Carmel and go up through Pacific Grove to Monterey - the Aquarium here is one of our favorite places in America.

    You are now two hours from San Francisco and heading home. As a rule of thumb, plan on driving between 220 miles and upto a maximum 450 miles a day. If you have to go through a location or National Park quicker than you might want to, keep in mind that this is an orientation tour, you can always note which locations will require you to come back for more intensive time allocating, but this trip will forever have you enamoured with the United States
    Take care, it's a great country to roadtrip across.

    John Wise

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