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  1. #1

    Default 40 Day Cross Country Odyssey - Advice

    I need some advice on a cross country road trip I am planning for May - June of this year. It is my life long dream to drive across the country. I will be starting and ending in Charlotte, NC. I will be traveling alone until Seattle and will be driving a Jeep Cherokee.

    This is a list of my planned stops with the millages:

    Day 1: Charlotte to St. Louis -725
    Day 2: St. louis to Lincoln 721
    Day 3: Lincoln to Billings 691
    Day 4: Billings to Spokane 542
    Day 5: Spokane to Seattle 279
    Day 6: Seattle to Portland 173
    Day 7: Portland to Medford 275
    Day 8: Medford to Davis 300
    Day 9: Davis to San Francisco 79
    Day 10: San Francisco to LA 381 (Big Sur Highway 1)
    Day 11: LA to Vegas 265
    Day 12: Vegas to Phoenix 343
    Day 13: Phoenix to Albuquerque 466
    Day 14: Albuquerque to Amarillo 289
    Day 15: Amarillo to ok city 260
    Day 16: OK City to Memphis 466
    Day 17: Memphis to Charlotte 627

    These are just driving days. I will be stopping in each city for a day or two, and the west coast cities 2-4 days.

    I have driven up and down the east coast several times but never undertook a trip of this magnitude. I want to see the obvious sights, golden gate bridge, grand canyon, yellowstone, redwoods, hollywood, space needle etc.

    What I want to know is what do I absolutely need to see or do? What are the most scenic roads and places I can get great views, food, and cool stuff to do and check out. Some off the beaten path stuff. Is there a stop that I am missing?

    Also, what should I do about sleeping and eating. I will probably stay in motels down the west coast but going there and coming back I was thinking about camping. I have never done it extensively but am not opposed to it, hear its cheap.

    I was thinking I would need a budget about $6,000. Is that about right, or too low?

    If anybody can help me out I would greatly appreciate it!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default slowing down to start

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    I would strongly encourage you to scale back the first few days. Driving 3 straight days of 700 miles is really too much - especially since you are traveling solo - and it going to have you worn out before your trip even gets off the ground.

    Your budget sounds pretty healthy at first glance, but it wouldn't hurt to break it down into elements like fuel, food, lodging, etc.

    As far as what to see, it the same answer we have to give frequently: On a trip like this where you are crossing the entire country, its just not possible to narrow things down into a short, neat little list. There are millions of great things, but even if you have 40 years for the trip, you'd still be missing something.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    Any driving day longer than about 550 miles is not recommended. That's just pushing it too far solo. You also should take 2 to 3 days between SF and LA if you are going to be driving the coast road.

  4. #4
    DurangoDrifters Guest


    I believe it will be really hard to drive all those miles alone. Being in the car only for 725 miles can be tough. I would cut back on each days miles and take an extra day or two to get out west. If you had more drivers than I could see you driving 725 miles, but being single is difficult.

  5. #5


    Thanks for the advice so far! Definitely will look at cutting the first few days down so I don't get burnt out.

  6. #6


    Updated Travel Days:
    Day 1: Charlotte to Louisville 482
    Day 2: Louisville to St. Louis 263
    Day 3: St. Louis to Kansas city 247
    Day 4: Kansas City to Lincoln 193
    Day 5: Lincoln to Cheyenne 443
    Day 6: Cheyenne to Billings 455
    Day 7: Billings to Spokane 542
    Day 8: Spokane to Seattle 279
    Day 9: Seattle to Portland 173
    Day 10: Portland to Medford 275
    Day 11: Medford to Davis 300
    Day 12: Davis to San Francisco 79
    Day 13: San Francisco to LA 381 (Big Sur Highway 1)
    Day 14: LA to Vegas 265
    Day 15: vegas to phoenix 343
    Day 16: Phoenix to Albuquerque 466
    Day 17: Albuquerque to Amarillo 289
    Day 18: Amarillo to OK City 260
    Day 19: OK City to Memphis 466
    Day 20: Memphis to Charlotte 627

    A couple other things I need advice on:

    Cheap lodging options along the way?
    If I want a hotel or campsite to I have to call ahead of time?
    Scenic drives through the west coast and the southwest?
    Must visit food stops?
    Visiting the grand canyon and national parks?
    Must dos and do nots for stuff to bring (clothes, equipment, food)?

    Thank you everybody again, I appreciate all advice and tips!

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