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  1. #1

    Default Garden Valley, TX to Seattle, WA

    So, I have a friend who is graduating from a college in Garden Valley, TX. I and a friend are flying down there, and then we are driving back up with him and his brother. We'll be in a Dodge Grand Caravan, so there will be ample room to stretch feet and all that.

    We're pretty lean on road trip experience.

    What we're looking for is any ideas as far as good eats and attractions along the way, things to watch out for, and just general road trip tips (how not to kill each other in the car, food, how to handle unexpected things, what some of those unexpected things can be, etc.). Things that are common sense for the seasoned road tripper.

    Google states that the shortest route is going north through Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, Idaho, Oregon and Washington. However, we all want to go to the Grand Canyon, so that's not happening. There are two revised itineraries that appear to be feasible:

    1. Cutting north through Vegas - 2,115 mi – about 1 day 8 hours (per Google)
    93 through NV to 84, and the to 82 and to 90 (woohoo, home!).

    2. East to California and going up - 2,298 mi – about 1 day 11 hours
    40 to I-15 to CA-58 to CA-4W to I-5 up to Seattle.

    I am kind of leaning toward the CA route, because we'll be driving through Barstow, where the original Del Taco is, and In-And-Out. However, I've never driven anywhere past eastern WA and northern OR, so I'd kinda like to have the opportunity to drive through the main Vegas strip (and there's an In-And-Out there).

    One place I know we're hitting is The Big Texan, home of the 72oz steak. It's right where we'll be getting onto 40, and will get us going with some good foods.

    We're really jazzed about this and want to make it count. I have a GPS and a laptop (with converter), so we'll be tracking our trip and posting at nights or wherever there's signal.

    Any insight or suggestions that y'all have would be most appreciated and useful. Also, if anyone has experience blogging a trip, ideas would be awesome.
    Last edited by Mass Tim; 06-25-2008 at 03:41 AM. Reason: Policy on links to personal pages

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Western/Central Massachusetts

    Default Welcome!

    Welcome to the RoadTrip America Forum!

    How many days do you have for this trip? Google's times are based on driving continuously, at the maximum legal speed, without any stops whatsoever.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default option 3

    Another shorter option would be to go from the Grand Canyon, and go back out to the north, perhaps via lake powell and zion np, and join I-15 in Utah. That should be quite a bit shorter than going all the way out to Vegas, and it certainly takes you through some amazing country.

    Otherwise, for just the general tips and ideas for roadtrips, I really suggest you explore this site a little more. Scanning through both the forum and the planning sections should give you ample info to help you get started on your trip.

  4. #4


    @Mass Tim
    --We plan on leaving on the 9th and getting back between the 13th and the 14th. And thanks for the welcome!

    @Middwest Michael
    --Thanks for the new route consideration. We'll look in to that. And I'll take your advice regarding taking a gander around the forums.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula

    Default Quick thoughts

    If you've never roadtripped outside of parts of WA and OR, I would say any route would be fine. You'll be seeing new things no matter which way you go, right? So just plan your right through the things you want to see the most. There is no best route, ya know. If you have the time, there's no reason you can't do Grand Canyon, and Las Vegas, and Barstow. The only real limitation is time.

    We suggest that people plan to drive no more than 500-550 miles each day. Anymore than that and fatigue will start to set in (even with multiple drivers). And any more than that also really limits your time to stop and explore along the way. You can always do less miles than that per day, if you have the time, but don't plan for any more. Factor this into your decision when you choose your route.

    What we're looking for is any ideas as far as good eats and attractions along the way, things to watch out for, and just general road trip tips (how not to kill each other in the car, food, how to handle unexpected things, what some of those unexpected things can be, etc.). Things that are common sense for the seasoned road tripper
    Good eats: If you want to avoid chains, then just look for a locally-owned place with lots of cars. Preferably one a bit away from the highway exit/entry ramp as this means a greater chance that most of the cars are those of local people. That's a pretty good indicator that it's a yummy place to go. Or ask at gas stations, etc. for recommendations. Of course, it's always fun to stop at regional chains just to compare. I get a kick out of places like "Whattaburger!", "Alottaburger!", and such.

    Attractions...since that will depend on what route you end up choosing, it's hard to say. But it's likely you will be doing I-40 at least from Amarillo to Flagstaff. Along that stretch, I enjoy Tucamcari, NM, as it has a lot of old Route 66 neon and kitsch. Look for the Blue Swallow Motel. Cline's Corner is a kitschy tourist stop as are the many "trading posts" you'll see signs for along the way. The Old Town part of Albuquerque is very cool. And so is Gallup with its Route 66 stuff, especially the El Rancho Hotel which was the "hotel of the stars" filming Westerns near there in the past. Lots of neat movie memorabilia. Also, the Painted Desert, Meteor Crater in Arizona. You can also go "standin' on the corner in Winslow, Arizona".

    It might help you not "kill each other" if you take our Roadtrip Compability quiz to make sure you're all on the same wavelength for how to do this trip and come up with ways to deal with conflict, etc. before you go.

    Food: Fastfood gets old quick. These tips will help you eat out of your cooler.

    Unexpected things: Well, nothing really jumps to mind. Just take maps and know how to read them so you don't get too terribly lost. If you get lost, chances are you'll come across something wonderful so just enjoy the experience and then find your way back on-track later. Breakdowns? Well, I'm big on having AAA or some other kind of roadside emergency membership for these situations. You should also have some extra cash, or access to extra funds somehow, if you need vehicle repairs and extra lodging while waiting for repairs to be done. If the budget is tight, watch your funds (the envelope method can work quite well in this case). You might even hide some extra cash in the car so you always have enough gas to get home.

    Hope this helps a bit.

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