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  1. #1
    soop Guest

    Default Boston to Los Angeles, reccommendations?

    Taking a road trip with a friend in the middle of August, going from Boston to Los Angeles. Eventually I'll be relocating there, but this is just to get the car over, and have some fun in the process. We will have about a week and a half, with some "flex time" in case it needs to take longer.

    We are not sure which route to take, but we have not seen much of the country, so anything interesting will be considered.

    Any suggestions, "must see" places, etc? What is there to see / do in "middle america" if we choose to cut across the continent directly?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula
    Posts
    3,318

    Default

    Gosh, there are so many things to see and do that it would be impossible to list them all here. Yes, even in "mid-America." What things do YOU want to see? What are your interests? Do you like citylife? Or hiking? Or amusement parks? Or historical sites? Or scenic viewpoints? Or hot springs? Or what?

    I would suggest getting a map of the US and mark the places you've always wanted to see and then see if you can make a route that will take you to all of them. Please come back here and share your ideas with us at that point and we can probably give you better suggestions.

    At this point, I could tell you what I would like to see without a problem. But my interests may be totally different than your's. You might do a search through the forums here for some ideas of what people have done on other roadtrips across country.

  3. #3
    soop Guest

    Default

    Thanks Judy! This is a completely new thing to me, I have never been across America so I don't know!

    I will take your suggestions to heart and try to look at a map and see where I want to go.

    I think that my goals for this first road trip are to get a sense of the variety that exists in the US, and see some things: landforms, cultures, etc that are very different from what I have been exposed to in New England. I am especially interested in scenery. Other than scenery, I would like to be able to just get a good "sense" of where it is I am and what things are like there.

    I will post back once I've narrowed it down a bit!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula
    Posts
    3,318

    Default

    With a 1.5 weeks, you will have a bit of time to explore along the way. Personally, I think I would follow "The Mother Road". This will take you from Chicago through the great plains of the midwest and the amazing desert country of the southwest.

    But the middle route that takes you through Colorado/Wyoming/Nevada is also fascinating with the Rockies and the desert there. It's a very different desert than the one farther south. Less rocks and colors. More dry earth and sagebrush. But equally pretty in a very different way. And it's much less travelled and the open spaces are bigger and more frequent. In other words, this is about as different from the congestion of the NE as you'll ever find. Might make a nice contrast for you.

    The northern route will take you through the northern parts of the great plains and then on into the rugged, more mountainous and forested beauty of Montano, etc. as you move west.

    All different. All gorgeous. All have lots to see and do along the way.

    Is this round trip or one way? If round trip, you will have to drive much faster and won't have time to meander but you could go one route on the way there and another on the way home.

    I can't wait to see what you come up with. Do come back with more questions and share your trip with us!

  5. #5
    soop Guest

    Default possible routes

    Thanks very much for your suggestions Judy!

    At this point, I have mapped out a couple of possible routes. We are thinking of staying nearby "interstate" routes and going off of them whenever we feel like it, rather than going on the classic road trip routes like route 20, route 50, etc. Is this a "bad idea" for a road trip? Is it much better to stay on the side roads? I ask because the routes we are looking at now are not mirrored completely by those classic routes, but we don't want to miss out too much!

    The road trip is a one-way trip. I am glad you said that we may have some meandering time, because I was worried we would not have enough. This led us to consider the few "faster" routes.

    So far we definitely plan to head from boston to niagra falls to chicago on I-90 / route 2.

    And, we know on the western side of the country, we definitely want to hit the grand canyon, and as much as we can of some nice national parks around there, like petrified forest, az, canyonland, ut, arches, ut, zion, ut, and maybe even salt lake city, though that is sort of out of the way.

    We want to see mesas somewhere, and colorful rocks, if possible, in between, we are not sure which route to take!

    Possibilities between chicago and LA include:

    Route 66 / I-40. Is this mostly farmland, etc? I am trying to figure out what it is like once you get into texas, new mexico, and az. Is it dangerous to drive through deserts there?

    I-70 and 72, possibly some of 50, then either switch to I-15 south in utah, or go through some of nevada on 50. This traverses Springfield, IL, missouri, kansas, colorado. We are especially interested in what we might find in Kanses and Missouri.

    I-80, going through Iowa, nebraska, wyoming, salt lake city, or switch to I-76 at the corner of nebraska and colorado, so we would hit CO but miss WY.
    I am really interested in what there is to see in iowa, nebraska, and wyoming, to help me decide on a route.

    We were looking at more northern routes but were afraid this would end up forcing us to drive more and explore less, but I am open to suggestions, since I am really interesting in seeing any parks of the country.

    Thanks so much for all your help!

  6. #6
    soop Guest

    Default another concern

    Originally I posted I was going with a friend, but this friend is actually my fiancee. I am white and he is asian. He is a little worried about how this might affect our trip.

    A couple of my asian friends who have driven cross country said that in some places people were staring at him since he was an extremely rare site in those parts!

    We are not too concerned about staring, but we do want to avoid areas that may be hostile to us because 1) asians are rare, and 2) interracial couples are too rare or frowned upon.

    We know we will see beautiful things no matter which route we take, so we want to take a route that might minimize this type of experience.

    Thanks!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula
    Posts
    3,318

    Default

    I would be very surprised if your Asian fiance has any problems. I have a good friend who is Asian who is a master road-tripper. He's got the time and money to go quite a bit...and he does. He lives in Seattle and has driven most of the US and Canada at one time or another. The only area he hadn't driven in much was the Southeast. He resolved that last spring. He was in the market for a new Mini Cooper and the color/model he wanted was hard to find. He found one at a dealer in Atlanta, GA. So he flew from Seattle to Atlanta and had a fun roadtrip home with his new toy adding the rural Southeast to his list of places driven.

    He does a lot of hiking and camping and is often in backroad, rural areas, and he likes to mix up using interstates with 2-lane, country roads. These activities would often put him in more rural and isolated parts of the country yet I have NEVER heard him mention any problems. He also usually does these trips with his 2 kids. He wouldn't knowingly put them into any bad situations.

    I just emailed him to ask him if he has had any problems. If he has, I'll let you know.

    Back to your route......Any roads are good roads for a roadtrip, imho. Interstates have their place and many interstates, especially out here in the West, go past tremendous scenery. Side/back roads are good, too. It's all up to you and what you want to see. It is kinda fun to mix up driving on interstates with side roads to get some variety. You've laid out so many possibilities that you're interested in. To me, they would all be good routes. Just different.

    Anyway, to try to answer your specific questions:

    Route 66 / I-40. Is this mostly farmland, etc? I am trying to figure out what it is like once you get into texas, new mexico, and az. Is it dangerous to drive through deserts there?
    You will be going through farmland and rolling plains in the mid-west. Once you hit Texas, it will be various types of desert the rest of the way. You can easily zip up into Grand Canyon/Zion/Bryce areas from here. You could also zip up into Arches/Canyonlands from here but those would be a bit farther off this route. You will also be going right past the Petrified Forest. Albuquerque is on I-40 and it has a huge mesa behind it that you can see for miles. You will see plenty of colorful rocks and mesas along this route.

    It's not dangerous at all to drive these desert areas. There is plenty of traffic, gas stations, and other amenities all along this route and the various side roads along here. Just make sure your car is in good condition before you leave (like you should for any roadtrip), and you should be fine. Make sure the fluids in your car are topped off and make sure you keep yourselves hydrated in this dry heat.

    I-70 and 72, possibly some of 50, then either switch to I-15 south in utah, or go through some of nevada on 50. This traverses Springfield, IL, missouri, kansas, colorado. We are especially interested in what we might find in Kanses and Missouri.
    Again, you'll start in rolling plains and farmlands and then, once you get into Colorado, you will be going through beautiful forests and Rocky Mountain scenery. Once you get into Utah, it is crossing the only part of Utah that, to me, is not particularly attractive. But you can go south here and go through Arches/Canyonlands and then cross over to Bryce/Zion/Grand Canyon area. Then you will be driving through amazing country with lots of colorful rocks and mesas. It might be fun then to drop down to I-40 for the rest of your trip.

    I-80, going through Iowa, nebraska, wyoming, salt lake city, or switch to I-76 at the corner of nebraska and colorado, so we would hit CO but miss WY. I am really interested in what there is to see in iowa, nebraska, and wyoming, to help me decide on a route.
    I can't help you much with Iowa or Nebraska, off the top of my head. Wyoming is gorgeous. And you can take in Yellowstone/Grand Tetons if you go this route.

    We were looking at more northern routes but were afraid this would end up forcing us to drive more and explore less, but I am open to suggestions, since I am really interesting in seeing any parks of the country.
    The northern route would add a few miles as you are going straight across and then down vs. a more diagonal route. But it's still do-able for you with the time you have. And there are wonderful things to see along this route that you will have a longer trip to get back to someday. All the places in Utah and along Route 66 in the Southwest will be fairly easy trips for you to make once you're settled in LA. So a part of me thinks this is the best route for you to take because you very likely won't be getting back this way easily again.

    Gosh, I'm probably no help at all. I think these are all good routes. I don't think you will lose out on anything no matter what route you pick. If you really can't decide, how about eenie-meenie-miney-mo?

  8. Default Bob's recommended route

    Here's how I would plan it. Follow I-90 and I-80 out through Iowa and Nebraska to I-76, that to Denver. I-70 west to Grand Junction, then US50 and US550 south to Durango. US160 (see Mesa Verde NP) west to SR41, 262 and 163 to Mexican Hat, then US163 south through Monument Valley (spend enough time there to take the tour if you can) to Kayenta. Follow US160 again to US89, and go into Grand Canyon through the east entrance (SR64). Leave Grand Canyon south to Williams, AZ, then take SR66 (old Rte 66) from Seligman to Kingman. You can then follow I-40 to Los Angeles (with perhaps a short visit to Oatman, west of Kingman, AZ). This gets you a little of everything you mentioned, I think. Bob

  9. #9
    soop Guest

    Default

    Thanks Judy and Moderator Bob for the great and very detailed advice. I will need to mull this over for awhile and do some more research before I respond further, but in the meantime I wanted to thank you very much for your efforts!!! I really appreciate it.

  10. #10
    soop Guest

    Default NYC to LA post

    I just read the NYC to LA post by AlexR, and realized that this route is yet another option I could consider! I know the possibilities are endless, but I see it's advantages, like the badlands, which I am very interested in.

    One concern I would have about this route is missing out on the "heartland" of america. Would this route bypass the great plains, level land, and very small towns with windmills and lots of fields? I don't want that to be my whole trip, but I don't want to miss it either!

    Anyhow, I know I have to start making decisions and ruling routes out, and this will help!

    Thanks!

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