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  1. #1
    eoin Guest

    Default LA to Atlanta!! rookies

    i'd really appreciate some advice for the cross-country road trip i'll be doing over the labor day weekend.

    i'm helping out my dad by driving his car from Los Angeles CA to Atlanta GA instead of having him ship it. i'm going to be bringing a friend of mine on the trip too so that we can share the driving and enjoy the country. neither of us have done a trip this massive before, but we're both very eager and excited about it.

    i'd like to know a couple of things:
    1. what are the best places to see on the way? we're planning to see LA (and some other places in southern CA), then head to the Grand Canyon, Hopi/Navajo Indian reservation nearby, albuquerque/santa fe, dallas, and then pretty much roll home to Atlanta but maybe stopping by shreveport, LA, jackson, MS, and birmingham, AL. these are the popular or obvious stops; what are some interesting small towns or spots to visit along the way?

    2. we've got time constraints of about 5-6 days because my friend has to get back for work and school. we're considering whether he should get a $100 flight from dallas to atlanta so that we can enjoy the West a little longer. i think we might be able to make the full trip by car and still enjoy our journey, but since i have no experience of this journey i don't know. we've got a plan though to drive into the night, especially since we have different sleeping schedules (i go to bed late and he goes early). is it feasible to drive the full distance AND enjoy it? ... we're also trying to minimize costs on the trip.

    Any other advice? i want to hear everything. Thanks!

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

    Default

    what are some interesting small towns or spots to visit along the way?

    Grand Canyon, Zion, and Bryce National Parks
    * Canyon de Chelly (not sure if I spelled that right)
    * Monument Valley
    * Mesa Verde
    * Tombstone, AZ: location of infamous "Gunfight at the OK Corral" with re-enactments, and some of the original historical sites still open and available to visit
    * Carlsbad Caverns, Carlsbad, NM
    * Roswell, NM: lots of funny alien stuff (site of the controversial UFO crash in 1947)
    * Albuquerque, NM: lovely old-town, historic area
    * Sante Fe, NM: more lovely Southwest architecture and historic sites
    * Taos, NM: historic and has a fantastic artist's community
    * Gallup, NM: lots of fun and funky Route 66 things to see. The El Rancho Hotel was the "home to the stars" at one time when lots of films were made around there and is a fun place to visit
    * Tucumcari, NM: more funky Route 66 architecture and signage
    * San Antonio, TX: The Alamo
    * Dallas, TX: historic sites related to JF Kennedy assasination

    I haven't been farther east than this on a roadtrip so this is about as far east as I can help you with. Hope this gives you some ideas.

    Unfortunately, I also don't think you'll have time to see most of these places I've just suggested.

    is it feasible to drive the full distance AND enjoy it? ...

    We LOVE roadtrips here. Of course, it's feasible to enjoy a trip of this distance!! It is feasible to enjoy trips much longer than this as well. I envy you going on this roadtrip. I've never been able to do a roadtrip past the mid-west into the eastern part of the country. My travels to the east coast have been by air. I yearn to do a trip cross-country. The trick is to pace yourself so you don't get too tired and stressed. Also, to have enough money so that you're not stressed about your finances. And, of course, having a compatible traveling buddy.

    Now, doing this trip in 5-6 days and having time for sightseeing is going to be tough. Your trip is about 2200 miles and will probably take you about 40 hours to drive. This is based on going the quickest route (I-40 to Memphis, 78 to Birmingham, AL; 20 to Atlanta. This is not going to leave you much time for sightseeing as you will have to drive about 8 hours per day but you will be able to get some sightseeing in. (Note: this is 8 hours of driving and doesn't include stops for gas, eating, stretching, etc.) Of course, with two of you driving, you will be able to be on the road for longer without fatigue setting in as you can trade off driving and get some rest.

    You mention you want to see "we're planning to see LA (and some other places in southern CA), then head to the Grand Canyon, Hopi/Navajo Indian reservation nearby, albuquerque/santa fe, dallas, and then pretty much roll home to Atlanta but maybe stopping by shreveport, LA, jackson, MS, and birmingham, AL." I plugged this into MS Streets & Trips, and LA-Grand Canyon-Sante Fe-Dallas-Shreveport-Jackson-Birmingham-Atlanta is 2500 miles. This will take you about 46 hours to drive. This is a nice route but, with your time limits, you might be best to stick to the shorter route I gave you in the above-paragraph.

    Hope this gives you some ideas. You might also want to read The Art of the Cheap Road Trip for money-saving ideas, and The Art of the Speed Run for ways to make this type of trip safer and more enjoyable.

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