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  1. Default June--across country trip

    Hi RTA members,

    This is my first post here and I REALLY need everyone's helps and suggestions. I am planning on a road trip from Orlando, FL --> California --> Seattle --> MI ---> New Jersey. I am an international student who studied in MI (Detroit and Mount Pleasant) and have been to the States six years. Going home on 7/29 for good, so want to see everything before I leave. I have been looking information in this website, but still couldn't pull everything together. I have about 45-50 days. I will be traveling myself (female) and visiting friends along the way in Portland, Seattle, and MI. I will be driving my car, 2003 Mazda 6.
    Following is my rough itinerary

    Little Rock
    Oklahomo City
    go through Route 66
    Santa Fe
    Williams (taking trains to Grand Canyon)
    San Diego
    Los Angeles
    Yosemite Park
    San Jose
    San Francisco
    Glacier NP
    Yellowstone NP
    Teton Np
    Kansas City
    St. Louis
    Spring Field
    Manitowoc (across Michigan Lake)
    Mount Pleasant
    New Jersey

    Do you think I can finish this within 45-50 days by myself. Im thinking stop driving after 6pm everyday. It will gives me fully rest and get ready for next day. I don't know if I should avoid going to San Diego because of Swine Flu (No offense to people living in the area). Any suggestions are greatly appreciated.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Epic !

    That's some farewell party, Hello and welcome to RTA !

    I would estimate that you are going to cover in the region of 8500-9000 miles by the time you have considered detours into towns, parks etc. Over 45 days you would only need to cover 200 miles a day on average, which is approx 3 1/2 hours travel time, so yes it can be done. We recommend 500-550 miles a day as a max on multi day trips which would mean travelling 9-10 hours with short stops for food and gas etc, so you could get around in 17 days leaving time for sight seeing, although it soon disappears with a day here and a day there.
    Have a good look around the forums and roadtrip planning pages and keep asking questions as and when you need to.

  3. Default couchsurf

    I have another question, have anyone coordinated loding with couchsurf along the long roadtrip? If so, how should I plan for that?

  4. Default

    Southwest Dave, Thank you for your advice and inputs. While I am continue planning my route, I find there are more places I want to go. How do you know if I overestimate it in a certain time frame? What's the rule of thumb to plan to fit in all the places I want to go also able to spend quality time there as well?

    I was planning to follow Route 66 to California. After reviewing and seeing pictures of Bryce Canyon NP and Zion NP, it makes want to go visit. I don't know which route is better than the other. Does anyone have any experiences on driving both route? If I chose to go north to Bryce NP, will I miss much on the following Route 66? I am thinking to go to Williams, AZ to take the railroad to Grand Canyon and going back to Flagstaff to Bryce Canyon NP then Zion NP then leaving to Las Vegas. Does anyone have better sugguestions on getting around the places I mention? Any advices would be greatly appreciate.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default No one "best".


    It doesn't matter how long you have you are never going to have enough to do everything so although things will have to be missed it's best to concentrate on the things that appeal to you the most. Although there is a lot of history/romance connected with route 66, large portions of it have disappeared and is now I-40. Bryce canyon and Zion are indeed fantastic parks but there are also many others in the area.
    For instance from Santa Fe you could travel to the Four corners region and Mesa Verde then head through Monument valley to the Grand canyon. You could head further North to Arches NP as well. The National parks site offers great info on these scenic wonders which may help with your planning. We can't tell you whats "best" for you as we are all different but when you have decided what it is that appeals to you the most and you have some dots on the map we can certainly help you piece your trip together. As you research you might find it easier to split your trip into 4 segments and try and work out how much time you want to spend in each one and keep adjusting things untill you come up with a rough timeline in each section.

    Enjoy the planning.

  6. Default

    i have another questions as the time move along. For almost two months solo road trip, how many clothes and stuff I should bring along? Is it necessary to install a car alarm if I have put stuff in the back seat? If I plan on hiking, is it certain clothes, footwear or tools I should bring to become handy?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula

    Default Multi-purpose/layering clothes work best

    By this I mean, take items that can be layered for warmth, if needed, vs. taking a heavy sweater. This is especially important when you're traveling through such a large part of the country. Even in the course of a day, you might see temperature changes big enough to require adding or taking-off layers. This doesn't mean you need a lot of clothes. Most hotels and commercial campgrounds have laundry facilities.

    For a trip like this, I might pack something like the following (trying to keep things somewhat color-coordinated so the items mix-and-match as much as possible):
    *4-5 short-sleeve shirts
    *3-5 long-sleeve shirts that can be worn over or under the short-sleeve ones if more warmth is needed and even worn over each other if even more warmth is needed.
    *2-3 shorts
    *2-3 long pants
    *a casual skirt like a jeans skirt
    *2 casual dresses, very easy to pack ones that can be rolled up and come out without wrinkles, that can be worn for sight-seeing (as long as it's not something strenuous like hiking) or for a nice dinner, etc.
    light-weight, waterproof and windproof jacket
    *walking shoes
    *hiking boots if I'll be doing more strenuous hiking...depending on the length of hike and terrain, most of the time just a lightweight hiking boot will suffice. I wouldn't spend the money on anything fancy unless you're doing some serious cross-country type hiking. For me, good walking shoes usually work good enough when I'm on a roadtrip as my hikes are usually fairly short
    *dressy shoes? Maybe, if I think I might wear the dress someplace really fancy but I usually don't do a lot of that myself. Usually the sandals will work for those situations
    *4-6 days worth of socks, underwear (you can wash in the sink if you run out before needing to use other laundry facilities)
    *Since I usually camp and just sleep in the t-shirt I wore that day, I pack 1-2 pairs of sweatpants to sleep in for my bottoms or, if too hot to wear when sleeping, to pull on to get to the restroom in the morning.

    That's just a rough guideline that I might use for myself. Your travel style might require different. Obviously, depending on space, you could pack a bit more or less of some of those items.

    Anytime you go on a hike, even a short one, you should have the essentials. Here's a good list. Note, this list is for backpacking, not hiking so you won't need all of these but it's a good list for reference anyway. I keep a small fannypack in my car all the time because I often take my dogs for walks places where I might need some of these essentials. It's a fannypack with pockets on each side for water bottles. Here's what I carry all the time and it's very lightweight: fannypack with both water bottles filled, a small combination whistle/compass/signal mirror/waterproof-container for matches, teensy flashlight, teensy pocketknife, teensy basic 1st aid kit, protein bar (which I switch out periodically so it doesn't get stale). I always take my cellphone and, for the dogs, a small fold-up bowl so they can get their water. If I'm concerned the weather might get colder, I just tie my waterproof windbreaker around my waist.

    Most walks don't require a map as long as you're staying on well-marked trails. My prescription glasses double as sunglasses so I don't need those. Obviously, if it's hot or sunny, the water is the most important thing.
    Anyway, that list might give you some ideas but for casual hikes, on well-marked trails that are short and not far from the visitor center/parking lot, you won't need all 10+4 items. But use good judgment. If you have a similar fannypack ready-to-grab and go, it can be very handy.

    I hope this makes sense and gives you some helpful tips.

  8. Default my belongings

    Thank you Judy for your info and suggestions.

    I encounter problems while packing all of my belongings.

    I might bring two large luggages, one small luggage, two duffle bags and foods.

    Do you think is it too much to carry on a cross country road trip? the luggages are for taking on the airplane. The duffle bags are for road trip purpose. I am thinking to put the two luggages in the trunk and duffle bags in the back seat. Will it be safe and people may notice i'm traveling alone.

    Also my another concern is taking unnecessary luggages would cost extra gas. It might cost a lot at the end of the road trip. I am thinking to mail stuff I don't need close to my destination which is Michigan. What do you think it might be a better way to solve the problem. Thanks!

    Appreciate any suggestions!!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    I doubt a couple suitcases in the trunk would make a noticeable difference in gas mileage.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula

    Default Yeah, luggage isn't going to effect gas mileage

    However, I can't imagine needing that much for such a trip. It makes more sense to me for you to ship home whatever you won't need for the trip and just take with you what you'll need.

    Remember, airlines are charging extra for extra baggage these days. It might turn out to be cheaper to UPS your extra stuff home than to pay to bring it with you via the plane. And who wants to lug all that extra crap around?

    I like to travel light, especially when flying. I've done 2 week trips with just my carry-on. I do take a little more on roadtrips since I don't have to lug things through airports.

    Tip - on roadtrips, I put my clothes in a couple smaller duffle bags, about the size or a large gym bag. Nicer clothes go in one bag, more casual clothes for hiking, etc. in the other. It makes it easier to find what I need. And if I'm staying in hotels instead of camping, I'll also pop in my trunk a much smaller bag with my toiletries in it. When going to my car frmo the hotel room, I take out what I'm going to wear the next day from either of the two bigger duffles and pop them in the small bag to carry to the room. That way I don't have to lug it all in order to get dressed.

    Can you tell I'm opposed to lugging? LOL

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