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  1. Default Laid off and thinking of a cross country trip (Boston -> ?)

    Hello, I'm new here. With that I'll get straight to the point.

    I'm 28 and just got laid off. I live in Boston and I need some sort of a getaway.. to think about my life and just need a desperate change of scene. I've taken vacations to Vegas, Montreal and Boston with friends & GF this year but I realized it's not cutting it. I think I need a good solitary trip to make an impact on myself. I got a nice severance package, I have good money in bank, and unemployment is surprisingly ample. I'm now on an indefinitely vacation and I'm not getting any younger, I think I should do a road trip.

    I don't quite know where to start. I'll jump to questions as it would be more effective:

    1. I see tons of resources on cross country trips. I can imagine there has to be some sort of pre-planned route guides that are sprinkled with major attractions and sight seeings. Are there such things here or anywhere? I think that would be a good starting ground for me and customize my planning from there.

    2. My friend just moved to SF by driving and he said he hated most of it- driving 8-13 hours a day and most of it was boring, took 6 days. I'm scared to realize I've bitten more than I can chew during the trip. Should I rent a car and drive one-way to LA/SF then fly back? I think driving round trip (6000+ miles) could be quite daunting. Maybe I can stretch one-way into 2 weeks then fly back? Or do a 4-week with a full round-trip? Or I can do a comfortable Boston -> LA -> drive up to SF then fly back over 3-4 weeks?

    3. Anyone with personal experience? That would be GREAT.

    4. Do you recommend renting a car or use my own? (Mazda6 sedan) I think renting would be the wiser choice so you don't age your car, right?

    Many more questions but we can start from here. Thanks guys.

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

    Default A little research.

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    The one thing you won't find here are pre planned route guides but what you will find is pages upon pages of info that will help you decide what things are for you and those that are not. We believe the road trip to be a very individual experience and the idea of the forum is to help you get the best from the trip you have planned rather than having a pre concieved idea of the "perfet trip".
    We also don't believe in "boring" as there are an endless amount of things to see and do. Boring is just a state of mind and it sounds as though your friend was blinkered by the fact he just wanted to get from A to B as quickly as possible.
    I think you need to get the map out and find places that appeal to you and have a look around the forums for ideas. Once you have some dots on the map, decided how long you want to take off and how much time you want to spend driving then we can start to help you join those dots together but it's up to you to make the start.
    If you are looking for a little solitude maybe having a look at the National parks as well as the city's would help.

    Enjoy the planning !

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default None of it is boring

    My greatest discovery on my first three month long road trip was finding out who Lifey really is!! So go for it.

    If this were me, I would just hit the road. Head north or south or west out of Boston, and see what is there. Then decided each couple of days where you will go next. Find interest in every place you visit. Most of the locals will direct you. It is amazing the gems which are out there.

    Last week I spent three days just meandering around rural MA, and never got any further from Boston than Springfield. Each little community is unique.

    Boring is an attitude, not the road, nor the places you visit.


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    Before you decide to rent a car, research rates. You will find that renting in Boston and returning it in SF or LA will carry a substantial one way dropoff charge.

    Something you could consider - if you have a particular interest in a specific area of the country, you could do a fly/drive loop trip. Example - if you want to see the West, fly to Vegas and rent a car for return in Vegas.

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

    Default If you can, do

    Since you're going to have some time on your hands, then by all means go!

    If you can find a small tavern type place, then go in and talk to the people working there. They will help guide where you go next.

    As for renting a car, I'm not sure if the cost/benefit ratio is really there for trips such as this one. Sure you have concerns about putting miles on your own vehicle, but isn't that what you purchased it for in the first place?

  6. Default Taking a big roadtrip.. but where after DC?

    Straight to the point: I'm taking a road trip while I'm laid off. I start from Boston to SF, anything goes in between (total trip will be 6-8 weeks)

    I'm most excited to check out Southwest and Cali. I'm going to drive down to NYC, Philly, then hit DC.. but I'm just too ignorant to see what's exciting after that until I hit southwest.

    What are some fun place/cities/national parks/attractions around VA, NC, SC, AL, TN, KY, AR, OK (before reaching AZ, UT, NM & CO which are filled with amazing sights)?

    Or I can ditch going to Philly/DC and head straight west through Chicago, but then Midwest looks boring since I'll be missing all of Southwest.

    You could be affecting the very rite of passage I'm about to embark on.
    Last edited by Midwest Michael; 10-19-2009 at 04:54 PM. Reason: Merged - Please keep all the questions about the same trip in the same thread

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Reiterating

    You've already gotten some of the best advice that anyone can give you before setting off on such an adventure: Make it your own. Expect boring and you'll get boring. Lists of dozens of attractions in each and every state. The fact is that most of the rest of the trip is up to you. Get yourself a good atlas of the U.S. and start marking the places that appeal most to you. Start connecting the dots and looking for smaller attractions such as state parks, museums, or historical sites in between. Have one or two things you'll want to see each day as you set out, but also leave time for just wandering the streets of big cities as well as smaller towns. You've got a couple of months which is plenty of time to have a great RoadTrip covering large portions of the country, so that you'll almost never need to make either/or choices. Finally, we don't want to, and can't really, affect your rite of passage. Only you can. I think you're in for a great trip. Relax and enjoy it.


  8. Default

    You know what, that's the best advice I read out of all possibilities.

    You are absolutely right. I'm leaving tomorrow. Wish me luck.
    Last edited by AZBuck; 10-28-2009 at 09:02 PM. Reason: Good Neighbor policy

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    Enjoy your trip, and please stop by when you get back and let us know how it went!

  10. Default Figure 8 is great!

    I once took 3 months to drive 10,000 miles around the country. Secondary highways rock, get a book and go for sites that tweak the imagination - like a place on the Mississippi River - in Mississippi! How about Birmingham Alabama for a blow to your world view - and hey - the nation's capitol is a must see - might as well go hang out at George Washington's home across the river and then wander down to Thomas Jefferson's place. The Shenandoah Valley is a site to see and the back roads of Tennessee will put you in touch with a truth about America. If you decide to make your way up the Mississippi river, take a rest at the Peabody Hotel in Memphis and go ahead and visit Graceland - bring a Sharpee. I promise, you won't regret it. The Corn Palace in Mitchell, South Dakota takes on a new facade every year and the big parks of the west - Yellowstone, Gallatin, are not to be missed. I bet you'll stumble onto a fair if you drive through Iowa during the weekend. Oh, and Mount Rushmore, plus Devil's Tower, with an awesome mix of buffalo inbetween will change your breathing patterns. Dinosaur national monument in Colorado, Sun Valley Idaho - those are places to wander. See Jasper or Cody Wyoming, for sure. Wow and well, Death Valley, right after Las Vegas (see a show, any show) is a stark reminder of what the USA encompasses and if you can, drive through Yosemite (it closes in winter) or wander up the eastern parts of California, Oregon and Washington, then go to Vicotoria and Vancouver British Columbia and wander back down the coast of those big states - or take a volcano tour south and end up at Lassen National Park. See the mission in San Juan Bautista and buy souvenirs for friends, Hang out in the Hot Springs of Esalen in Big Sur, take a tour of Hearst Castle and Spend the Night at the Springs Spa Resort in Desert Hot Springs. Then, wander around Arizona and Utah - Prescott, and Jerome or head south through Tucson to Bisbee, then head back east along 10 or up along 40 and dirve through the petrified forest. Oops, forgot to mention the Grand Canyon, Zion, Brice Canyon. So much fun to be had - so much fun...


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