Hi! My name is Rhonda and my husband and are in the beginning stages of planning our roadtrip for this September. This site looks like an excellent resource. :)
With a 4 week sabbatical from his job and the option to pretty much go anywhere in the world (within our budget), we looked for what would be the best value vs. length vs. awesomeness we could find in a vacation. After listening to all our friends saying "you have to go to Europe" we briefly looked into it and then changed our minds when we realized it would cost $1500-2k just to GET there this summer. In my opinion this is probably the only time in our lives (until retirement and empty-nesting) that we could potentially take a LONG vacation since we don't have kids yet. So that's what we're doing. :)
In August 2007 we drove from San Francisco to San Diego on Highway 1 for a week and had an AMAZING time. There is no better feeling than driving the coast with the top down and music playing, going at your own pace and having the freedom to stop and see whatever you want.
I'm in the beginning stages of planning our trip but here is our tentative route for the Ultimate Roadtrip 2010:
-Fly from ATL to Vegas. Stay 2-3 nights. (I've never been, husband has. I'm not a gambler so I think I'd be perfectly fine with 2 nights.)
-Pick up convertible, drive to Hoover Dam, then head south a bit and drive stretch of Old Route 66. For some reason I'm obsessed with seeing Amboy and some of the old deserted towns and driving literally in the middle of nowhere. I don't think the husband understands this desire but is open to it. :)
-Head north and hit Death Valley and Yosemite National Parks. Still deciding how many nights and where to stay.
-At some point (probably after Yosemite?) cut over and hit the coast. Ideally this would be at/slightly above San Fransisco. My goals in this area are to see Point Reyes and maybe spend an afternoon and one night in wine country. Last time we did Sonoma/some of the smaller wine regions around there and loved it.
-Drive up California coast, stopping maybe in Mendocino, Eureka, Redwood Forest, etc. Open to suggestions.
-Drive up Oregon coast, stopping at cool sights, probably cut in to Portland since I hear the Washington coast isn't as scenic to drive since the highway doesn't hug the coast like it does in California & Oregon.
-Drive up to Seattle, turn in car. Spend 2 nights in Seattle.
-Take Amtrak train into Vancouver. Spend 2 nights in Vancouver.
-Board Norwegian cruise ship in Vancouver. We found an amazing deal for a 5 night cruise. Stops in Astoria and San Fran and ends in L.A.
-Fly L.A. to ATL
-Recover from what will surely be an awesome vacation.
Since the only firm dates we are working with are the dates for the cruise, I'm planning our itinerary backwards. I've gone ahead and booked our bed & breakfasts (we're going to try to only stay in them...since it gives a unique experience to each town) in Vancouver and Seattle. We know there are bound to be a couple of long driving days, but we're hoping to evenly-ish space out our overnights so it's not completely overwhelming. We think we'll have a little more than 2 weeks from the time we fly into Vegas to the morning our cruise leaves in Vancouver, making the whole trip slightly more than 3 weeks.
We'd like to drive the scenic coast as much as possible, but am willing to journey inland if a site warrants it. I'm doing research but am open to any suggestions for must stops and sites. We're in our late 20's, but like history, quaint towns, weird sites, and good beer (which I hear Oregon has its fair share). :)
I'm sure I've written the longest first post in the history of the internets so I'll end it here.
Happy planning! :)