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  1. #1

    Default HELP! Cross-Country in July


    My friend and I are looking into a road trip this summer. We have a rough idea of where we want to go and when, but would like tips, input, suggestions, or any help you'd like to provide!

    About us:

    We're two recent college grads looking to see the sights, but not go crazy. We would forgo costly attractions for a nice state park any day. We're not huge hikers, but aren't opposed to a good walk on a trail. We aren't looking to spend a fortune, though we would like to stay in hotels rather than camp. We'll probably do some periodic food shopping for sandwiches, etc to save money as well. We aren't sure how long to really plan for the whole thing. The only certainty is that we want to be in chicago from August 1-3.

    Here is what I know:

    - We'd like to leave sometime after July 1st.
    - We'd like to get from New Hampshire to California...
    - From California, we'd like to end up in Chicago for Aug 1. (Lollapalooza!)
    - Back to NH by Aug 5 or so.
    - We like "cool" and "different" things... (Worlds biggest ball of twine? Sure, we'll check it out.. )
    - We'd also like to try and hit as many of the "big" attractions (the canyon, etc) along the way as we could.

    Here is what i don't know:

    - The best route to take-- period. I have no idea...
    - How much time should we plan on needing?
    - How to best anticipate costs.... How much is this going to cost me.. really?
    - The best way to eat on the road- food shop or take out? A Combo?
    - Sleeping at rest stops? Is this ok?...Safe?
    - Where are the best places to stay - chain hotels or highway motels? Should we book ahead or find a place along the way?

    I hope you guys can help me out! I read through a lot of the posts on here and it looks like you guys really know what you're talking about.. Thanks in advance for any info you can provide!

    Last edited by AZBuck; 02-25-2008 at 09:34 PM. Reason: Advertisement Removed

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Easy Enough (For Me)

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    Your questions aren't all that difficult, at least from my perspective, because I don't have to make the final choices. I get to just paint a rosy picture. So, with a month to get to the west coast and back to Chicago, you can take a fairly relaxed pace and still see quite a bit of the country. In general terms, you should be looking at coming down the east coast (Washington, a bit of coast, the Blue Ridge, Great Smoky Mountains), turn west somewhere that suits your purposes (either all the way down to the Gulf: Mobile, New Orleans, Houston, etc.) or a bit inland (Nashville, Memphis, Vicksburg, Oklahoma City, etc.), pick up some of the best of the southwest on your way to the Canyon (Carlsbad, White Sands, Petrified Forest), then pick a destination in California (I think San Francisco works best for your purposes) and hit a few places along the way (Las Vegas, Death Valley, Big Sur, Monterey). For the drive back, head north and east to Yellowstone (Lake Tahoe, Virginia City, Great Salt Lake, the Tetons) and then east to Chicago (Little Bighorn, Devils Tower, Badlands, Corn Palace). That's one possible general route, there are others.

    Most of your other questions are addressed at more length than I can go into here at other places on this site: traveling cheaply, basic budgeting, daily driving range, sleeping in your car. etc. I don't think I'd book ahead, at least yet, because you seem to want the freedom to change your plans on the fly. The one exception might be if you plan to spend the night in or near a major, remote attraction such as the Great Smoky Mountains, the Grand Canyon, or Yellowstone.

    I did a very similar trip. once around the country from Portsmouth more years ago than I care to think about, but it is still one of my most memorable RoadTrips ever. Have a blast.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula

    Default LOL, easy for me, too!

    It sounds like the perfect time for a meander to me. AZBuck's general route sounds good. I would add in a drive up the Pacific Coast if you have time. But it doesn't sound like you have too many things on your "must see" list. That can actually be a good thing. Sometimes having a jam-packed list of things to see can take away from a roadtrip. Make the road your destination, not a list of things to see. Just get in your car and go and see where it takes you. And don't lock yourself into having to see too many things so you can change direction and your destination on the fly. In other words, don't feel bad if you don't see everything on some check-off list. Enjoy!

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