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  1. Default Any ideas for our first American road trip?

    Me and a few mates from England are planning to rent an rv and travel across America for 3 weeks at the end of next summer. None of us have any idea what to really do, where to go but would love to see as much as we can and travel as far as we can in the time we got. Basically we're after as many ideas for will be 21 year olds for the best road trip a group of lads our age could imagine.

    Please get back to me, much appreciated.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default First Things First

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    Before we can even begin to recommend places to visit, there are a few things you need to consider and a few things you need to tell us. RoadTripping is by definition not a one-size-fits-all endeavor where there is a simple list of "must sees" that everyone starting from New York will go to. So let's start with the one thing you have told us, that you plan to rent an RV for several weeks. First you need to understand that this will NOT be a cost effective way to tour the country. It will cost you more to drive around in such a vehicle, both in rental fees and in gas costs, than you can possibly save by not getting a motel room, with comfortable beds and a real hot shower, each night. Also trying to navigate city streets in and find parking for such a vehicle can severely limit your ability to see urban areas. And they're relatively underpowered which means you will be a traffic nuisance in the mountains. Etc., etc., etc. Then for any rental there is the problem that you will all be underaged drivers. For a sedan, the underage penalty is around $25/day (for the entire three weeks) for each and every one of you who will be driving at any time during your journey. For an RV this could easily double (if you can even find a company that will rent to you.) That alone is $1000 for every driver!

    Next, you all need to come to some consensus on what it is you want to accomplish on your trip. The Compatibility Quiz offers some questions and topics you'll all need to discuss to avoid 'misunderstandings' that will lead to dissension in the ranks. Also, it's a good idea to sit down with a good map and start marking those places that you can generally agree would be worthwhile destinations. Then once you have an idea of what you want to accomplish, what kind of trip you want, where (very generally) you'd like to go, and the like, we can be of better service.


  3. Default An article I've written a bit ago.

    Following is a "philosophical rant" about Road Tripping. I've been on a number of road trips, 3 of them major. I am a proponent of almost-month-long to months-long road tripping. It's just something I've had the opportunity of doing.

    --------Upon discussing the joys of Road Tripping amongst numerous people, I realized that I should write a bit about what I love so much about it.
    Well, where do I start? I'm no master. I'm no veteran. I have just taken a couple road trips here and there and loved it.
    What is so fun about it? It's not sitting in the car and driving for hours upon hours. Roads in Florida look pretty much the same as roads anywhere else. However, when traveling further, the scenery changes. Elevation changes. Weather changes. This adds variety to the mundane. Green(or Black) Tea and Coast to Coast AM leads the way during the night. Music and conversation helps with the entertainment during the day. But what really gets me from point A to Point B is ... Point B. Knowing that I will be in a new and novel location at the end of the day(or afternoon(or 26 hour expedition)) is quite motivating indeed. And unlike flying, it gives me a feeling of accomplishment. I have traveled upon the earth and seen the trees and scenery change from origin to destination. But I also think road tripping requires a level of perseverance to comfortably and safely navigate and avoid collisions for hours at a time.
    Requirements of proper road travel:
    Like said before you must be able to comfortably and safely navigate and avoid collisions for hours at a time. This means that you do not blatantly speed for the sake of getting there faster. Whatever the other cars are pushing you push as well. No faster, unless for short spurts(the open fields and vast downhill stretches of Prince Edward Island beckons the gas pedal). In addition, you respect the fast lane and let faster vehicles pass. There is a trick to smooth driving in relatively crowded roads. Sometimes going slightly slower and chilling in the right lane while letting other cars pass is a great way to rest from navigating and weaving for a while. Weaving gracefully is something that comes naturally through experience. It also happens when I am not adamantly focused on it. Many times I have passed the same hotheads blatantly trying to pass and get ahead. They end up passing me over and over because I have a better sense of traffic prediction several hundred yards ahead.
    It is also respectful to follow the local driving behavior. If people are going a lot slower, then you do the same, especially in country roads/ rural areas. You only make an ass out of yourself. Experience, again, will let you know when you can safely gas it for a bit.
    You must also have good maps and a sense of direction. Avoid bad parts of town, know when the GPS is FOOLING you, and know if you are going the wrong way without checking the maps. A couple times I have blindly listened to the GPS and ended up
    a.) taking a semi- off –road dirt road for 12 miles
    b.) literally off-roaded on a field and crossed a bridge that I had no way of knowing if it was beyond its operating lifespan. Or more often,
    c.) taking the longer way(ended up seeing more of Boston than I expected.)
    Indeed, if done properly, you will have a safe and fun travel to and from your destination. It also imparts a state of mind. Seeing so many people and places in such a short amount of time grows on you. You become a wanderer/discoverer. Your eyes open up more. You personality flourishes. You eat the experiences like rice and sushi to a starving Hobo with table etiquette.
    I am sure there are many people who make this a lifestyle with their RVs or whatnot. But in my opinion, a sedan is good enough. I guess it’s good if you’re older. It depends on style. You do not have to be full time road traveler to live this lifestyle. You can hit that lifestyle up at any time you have a minimum of 1- 2 weeks to spare. Oh, and driving from Miami to Tallahassee for a function/party or from Tennessee to Colorado only for the Rainbow Gathering is NOT living the Roadtrip lifestyle. You’re just taking a road trip. There’s a difference.
    Requirements of Proper road travel planning:
    1. Here’s a little Zen for ya. I personally feel that the best road tripping experience occurs when you plan your itinerary, yet go with the wind. In other words, you have a variable start and end date, via points, estimated arrival times, and proper reservations made. At the same time ALL of it should be as flexible as a veteran yogi showing off. One end of the spectrum you have a rigid schedule down to the amount of miles driven in a day and on the other end you have money, car, time, and a calling to go somewhere over yonder. I guess it is up to the individual where on this spectrum you stand. Think
    A. non-refundable/transferable Airplane Itinerary and
    Z. Chris Mccandless.
    2. There are things that are immensely important to reserve for, such as ferries to Newfoundland, National Parks and hotels/events. They just have to be the more rigid aspects of the trip..via points that are a bit more fixed than other via points. There is a chance to re-schedule, but at least get your name in the book. This is especially important during season.
    3. Supplies. Have electric cooler, cooking supplies, basic emergency/first aid supplies, and a AAA membership. It is recommended that you have a complete backpacker’s arsenal, as it proves effective and useful on the road as well. You can save massive amounts of money on food and lodging.
    4. Knowing where you are and where to hit up some Z’s. Finding campsites off the road are a great alternative…no, the ONLY way to sleep-in stark contrast to-hotels or motels. Off the road rest areas are also good for overnight driving or some simple Z’s. Cook some oats in the morning and off you go. But walking into hotels in the morning to take advantage of the continental breakfast and bathroom is highly recommended and encouraged. This is part of the lifestyle.
    5. Have a reliable car. I drive a ’94 Toyota Camry and have practically done everything with it. It has not broken down on the road for the 120,000 miles that I have added upon the car. Pieces of machinery may fall out, but it will still run to the nearest mechanic. Make sure it is in tip top shape before you hit the road. Get a wheel alignment. Your left or right hand will be thankful. Get your wheels balanced. Your ass will be thankful.
    I highly recommended that you do not take long stretches on the road. You will not offer yourself the chance to live the lifestyle if you do. Many times I have been guilty of this; 15 hours straight to Richmond, 26 hours straight to Wichita. Unfortunately, exterior time restraints require this. You have to plan ahead of time; is it a Roadtrip, or a road trip? Optimally, the lifestyle can best be experienced by driving no more than 8 hours a day. That way, you have plenty of daylight to get out of your vehicle and wander. Visit National Forests. Or take side trips.
    Visit as many people as you can. Barely know them? Well, as long as you have the ability of contacting them, do so! “Hey, I’m going to be in the area, will you have some time to show me around and/or house me?” Be not bashful. Many are thankful to have visitors and to show off their knowledge of the area. Many people are also flattered that you are willing to drive out there to visit them. You can get to know them better as well. If you end up not liking the person at all, well, you are independent. You can drive off at any time. Once again, avoid hotels unless it plays an essential part of a special and planned event. ..Such as flirting around in the Power and Light District in Kansas City. Or you can try, a great concept connecting people with available couches for you to sleep on with people who need a place to crash.
    Another MAJOR aspect to a good road trip is nature. Find and hike in as many designated nature areas as you can find. This gets you connected to earth. To your roots. Insert Yogic Slogan here. Since you are all prepared with your backpacking gear, you can take a couple nights off in the mountains.
    There can also be themes to the roadtrip. Such as visiting as many cities as possible, or eating a hamburger in each state. I don’t know. Think of something! Personally, I hit up as many nature sites as possible. Well, I hope this helps.

  4. Default

    Thanks for replying,

    Well I think the plan is to spend the first couple of days in New York and then go and pick up the rented RV near here to begin our trip looking to travel from the East coast to the West coast stopping at as many places as we can in three weeks. Some of the places we'd like to go are Las Vegas, the Jack Daniels Brewery and the Grand Canyon. Any other well known tourist attractions you are aware of which we may like to visit please could you get back to us with them as we'd like to see as much of America as we can.

    Thanks again.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    The problem with your request is that you are asking us still basically asking what are the places we should visit over a trip that covers millions of square miles - and the number of things that might qualify as "well known" or "must see" is practically infinite.

    Thousands of books have been written about the things you could possibly see in the US, and it wouldn't be a bad idea at all to pick one of them just so you have a better idea of what's available. I'd also recommend you get a good map so you can plot those possiblities on a map.

    Once you've got a better idea of what it is you want to do, then we'll be in a much better position to fill in the gaps, but right now, you just don't have enough of a plan for us to offer much personalized help.

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