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  1. #1

    Default Alone on US-50W coast to coast

    This is my first post here and I'm pretty excited that there are others who share the love of America and driving that I have :) . To give you some background, I'm a 21 year old male from the New England area. I grew up in southern NH and I currently reside in the Berkshires over in western Mass. I have driven to western PA and back many, many times commuting to and from college. I have also driven up and down the east coast to FL once and to and from Michigan a couple times.

    Anyways, I just flew to Denver, CO for an interview. I ended up taking another job back here in the Berkshires but I was left speechless by Colorado after a day-long drive through Rocky Mountain National Park. The farthest west I had ever been past PA is one trip to Texas in which I flew to Houston and back. I knew I needed to head back out west before I settled down and got married/got too old to travel. So I decided to plan a trip to California and back.

    I am 99% sure I would like to drive down to Ocean City and take US-50 west to Sacramento but I am not sure what to do about my return journey. My preference would be to drive back through the southern deserts after taking Highway 1 down the west coast but I'm not sure what the most scenic routes would be (it pleases me that people here do not seem to regard interstates as a road-trip option.)

    I will have 23 days to make the journey and money shouldn't be an issue. I should have at least $4000 by June 2009 which is when I plan to set out on the road. I have a 2008 Honda Fit which gets ~40 mpg on level highway. I will also be traveling alone, which is a situation I didn't find while searching the forums for similar requests for advice. I just want to get away on my own without anybody to be accountable to. I'm sure many here share the sentiment.

    Any advice on routes back east and/or scenic stops along my US-50 trip?
    Last edited by badenglishihave; 08-06-2008 at 07:14 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default US-50 and Other Roads I've Known

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    Back in the 50's National Geographic ran a series of articles documenting end-to-end trips along major cross country highways. I particularly remember the ones on US-1 and US-40, probably because I grew up near their intersection. In any event, there is certainly something to be said for just getting on a highway and following it, letting it decide where you go and what you see. US-50 is as good as any, traversing as it does the Atlantic coastal plain, the Appalachians, two great river cities in Cincinnati and St Louis, Kansas and Dodge Cities on the plains, an absolutely gorgeous transit of the Rockies, the 'Loneliest Highway' across Nevada, and then Tahoe and the Sacramento delta before San Francisco. The route is described in a little more detail here. Don't let it bother you too much that in parts, US-50 shares alignment with I-70.

    Between San Francisco and southern California, I think you'd be served a whole lot better by using CA-1, the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) rather than US-101. There are lots of discussions on that particular route in these forums, poke around a bit and use the search function.

    On the way back, you can be a bit more open about which routes to take, Across southern California and northern Arizona and New Mexico that will largely be I-40 and the road formerly known as US-66 where it still exists. I wish there were a road that more closely followed the Red River Valley, but US-287/US-82 on the south and US-70 on the north come as close as any. These would bring you to the Ozarks. After Memphis, US-64 is a lovely road through southern Tennessee, bringing you to the Great Smoky Mountains. From there, the Blue Ridge Parkway and Skyline Drive if you have time or I-81 if you don't (or when the Parkways stop) will start you back up to New England while avoiding the large cities strung out along I-95.

    So that's a rough idea of what to expect. Three weeks would be kind of a minimum needed to do it at a relaxed pace, so you won't be able to dawdle much, but still it should be a great drive.

    Last edited by AZBuck; 08-06-2008 at 07:48 PM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default A couple of field reports from the Nevada portion

    Here are a couple of field reports filed from the Nevada portion of US-50:

    James Teitelbaum's "Silence and Vandalism on the Loneliest Road in America"

    UKCraig's recent journey on the same stretch of road.


  4. #4


    Thanks for the suggestions so far! I meant to say CA-1 in my first post (I edited it to reflect that), I definitely would rather travel off major highways especially this one since CA-1 is right off the coast. Also, I looked at Route 66 but it looked so fragmented at this point in time that I wondered how difficult it would be to travel over some of it. I am perfectly content to just meander my way back though and take several different roads.

    Any tips specific to traveling alone vs. with someone? I've poked around a bit on the site but most people seem to travel with someone. I'd like to cover ~450-500 mi/day on driving days so I can spend a few days just relaxing in CA or down south. Like I said, I'm no stranger to driving 500+ miles a day to and from school (albeit usually separated by a week or so.)

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Western/Central Massachusetts

    Default Help for the solo roadtripper

    Quote Originally Posted by badenglishihave View Post
    Any tips specific to traveling alone vs. with someone?
    Here's a page you might find helpful. Also, if you try our Google Search (on the left-hand side of your browser;click the RTA radio button) for "Solo" you're bound to find more information.

    A few things about traveling solo that I have found: without someone to talk to, you're going to need a way to keep the air flowing, so sing along with the radio when it's safe to do so.

    Without a navigator, another thing you can do is make short-term driving plans for when you are meandering. That will force you to stop every couple of hours to determine your route, and give you time to get out of the car and get in a good stretch.

    I knew I needed to head back out west before I settled down and got married/got too old to travel.
    The answer here is to marry someone that is interested in travel...and what is the age at which one is too old to travel, anyway?
    Last edited by Mass Tim; 08-07-2008 at 06:22 AM. Reason: added more information

  6. #6


    Wow I can't believe I missed that page on soloing it... before my original post I had searched the forums for "alone", "my own", "myself" and found nothing lol. Thanks!

    My g/f actually does travel a lot (Oregon, Washington, Arizona for family) but she wants children and it's them that inhibit traveling in my experience. I grew up with three younger siblings and I remember what a pain it was to take them anywhere. That being said I'm sure many of the travel seasoned veterans on this forum have devised ways of entertaining children on the road :) .
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 08-07-2008 at 09:26 AM.

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