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  1. #1

    Default L.A. to St. Louis, then NYC/Boston/Concord & back!

    Hello, everyone.

    First, I'm very grateful this forum exist. I've read the threads and you've helped many people, so kudos to all of you. I've bold the questions throughout my page-long post.

    So, I'm planning to take a solo roadtrip to the east coast in September, for the fall before the snow arrives on the Northern part of this great country =) Here's what I was thinking:

    From Los Angeles to...
    • Seattle, WA (optional)
    • Las Vegas, NV (just passing thru for the night)
    • Columbia/St. Louis, MO
    • New York, NY
    • Boston, MA
    • Concord, NH

    ... then back to Los Angeles.

    I've always wanted to see Seattle but I understand that it would add a lot of possible unwanted mileage on my trip and I do want to consume less gasoline as possible. Money is also something I'd like to preserve as much as possible. So, Seattle is optional, perhaps that won't happen. What do you think: chuck Seattle off the list?

    If Seattle is not a good idea, then I'll go for Las Vegas instead; never been.

    But, the first official stop for sure has to be Columbia/St. Louis, MO. I have a good friend who lives in Columbia. She may or may not join me to St. Louis, they're only about 2 to 3 hours apart, but I also need to cross that arch. Then it's off to NY city, Boston MA, and Concord NH, then back to Los Angeles. The main reason for this solo trip is because I've never really left California in my 29 years of living on this Earth. I'm turning 30 in November so it's kind of a big deal for me to cross that arch and continue on to the east, on my own. Plus, I'm also looking to see where I could possibly move because it seems jobs are in different states so I may have to move out of California and look for work elsewhere.

    For the most part I do plan to stay in Motels for the nights, Motel 6, or any cheaper Motels anyone can recommend, or Hostels if there are any on my way.

    In Columbia, my friend may be able to help me crash on her couch if her roomies give the OK.
    In New York city, I might be able to stay in someone's apartment, an internet friend of mine.
    The rest of the cities, Motels or Hostels. I contemplated possibly sleeping in my car at truck stops to save money but I've read threads about that, and I've decided a comfy bed is a better choice.

    So, my budget is about $2,000. I may be able to get $500 more, so I may be able to have about $2,500.

    I'll be driving a 2001 Jetta, according to fueleconomy dot org site, the MPG for the 2001 Jetta is: city = 29, highway = 40, combined = 33. It has a 14.5 gallon gas tank (includes 1.9 gallon of reserve when the low fuel light turns on) so I'm guessing I would be refueling every 12 miles. So, if my calculations are right, I can get about 480 miles on highway per every refuel. From Los Angeles to Columbia I would have to refuel 3 or 4 times (approx 1,740 mi). I'm not sure how much the average fuel cost is for different states, if someone can help me out with that or point me to a helpful site, much appreciated. Using California's average:

    Los Angeles to Columbia: (approx 1,740 mi on highway)
    $3.13/per gal. * 12gal = approx $38 {at most 4 refuels = $152}

    It's a very rough estimate, I believe the average cost for regular octane in other states is slightly lower, so it may be lower than $152.

    I do wish to pass through Las Vegas but I don't plan to stay for a day, just for the night, absolutely no gambling ...well, whatever happens there will stay there. :x

    Columbia to NY: (approx. 1,070 miles on highway)
    ~$3.00/per gal. * 12gal = $36 {at most 3 refuels = roughly $108}

    NYC to Boston and to Concord: (approx. less than 300 miles)
    ~$3.00/per gal. * 12gal = $36 {at most 1 refuel = roughly $36}

    So a very rough average would be $296 or $300 for one way, about $600 round trip.

    Did I do that right? Should I have done calculations for combined MPG? If I did calculate right, then out of my (lets say I only get $2,000) $600 would be reserved for fuel alone, that leaves me with $1,400 for motel and food. If I get the extra $500: $1,900

    Here's where I need your help: for the major cities I bullet-listed above I plan to only stay 2 or 3 days max. I plan to leave at night on 10th of September, it's a Friday night. I'm giving myself a whole month for this trip so I plan to return to Los Angeles in around mid October. One of my questions are: on average, how many days does it take to travel from the west coast to the east coast? Other than the cities I'm gonna head to, I don't plan to stop and go sightseeing like the biggest ketchup bottle in the world or things like that. But, if I do receive your helpful advices, if you could guide me with the fastest routes to each cities and if there's a major city that I would have to go through, could you recommend where I should stop and take a breather and absorb the great cities/towns along the way? I would also love to visit little friendly towns and meet great people along my trip. I do hope to also blog my trip so meeting great people and taking pictures of these great folks and cities would be grand!

    One thing, though: please forgive me for bring up such a sensitive topic, but I am a 29 year old Spanish guy, and if there's a city or town along the way that isn't friendly with Hispanics or other races other than Whites, I just want to avoid any trouble. I know I probably won't be going through any Southern states but I guess any state/city can have their troubled hotspots. Again, sorry for bringing that up but I do want a safe trip (since I'll be on my own) and I don't want to cause any trouble anywhere with my presence. I am a proud citizen of this country and I do hope to come along great people.

    Also, if I'm correct about Hostels, they're suppose to be cheaper than Hotels, am I right? How could I find these hostels? Is there a great site anyone knows about?

    - Is there anything I missed?
    - Did I roughly calculate my fuel cost right?
    - Between the west and east, how many average days would it take with the inclusion of rest stops, nightly stays for sleep, 2 or 3 days in Columbia/St. Louis, sightseeing in major cities I'll be passing through, etc.?
    - Would $1,400 or $1,900 be enough for motel & food for a month? Will it even take a month?

    Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you all and I wish you all well!

    -- Lazarus
    Last edited by Lazarus; 08-04-2010 at 03:42 AM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    What do you think: chuck Seattle off the list?
    Definitely. That's going to add considerable miles, time, and expense even if you skip Las Vegas.

    Our fuel cost calculator will help you straighten out those calculations. Gasbuddy has average cost per state. Now - I doubt that a gasoline powered Jetta is going to get that kind of mileage. I think you are looking at the diesel numbers. If yours is gas powered, keep it simple and use 25 mpg and $3 a gallon in the calculator. When on a tight budget, it's always better to overestimate.

    on average, how many days does it take to travel from the west coast to the east coast?
    If you take fastest way, it's 5 days. We recommend that you drive no more than 600 miles a day on Interstate highways. Best route out would be I-15/I-70/I-71/I-76/I-80 to NYC. Best way from NYC to Boston is Merritt Parkway/Wilbur Cross Parkway (CT-15) to Meriden, then I-91/I-84/I-90. Boston to Concord is a quick run up I-93.

    Best way back is I-93/I-495/I-290/I-90/I-84/I-81/I-80/I-76/I-71/I-70/I-15. Taking either I-90 and/or I-80 to Chicago is good, but it's a toll road.

    I would be concerned about both lodging costs and driving in NYC and Boston. I'm sure you are used to LA traffic, but note that in both cities parking can be about $50 a day. Also note that there are a LOT of toll roads, bridges, and tunnels in the whole Northeast. There is no easy way just to get *IN* to NYC without a $8 toll bridge or tunnel.

    Here is a site to research hostels.

    I wouldn't be concerned about being Hispanic. I actually think you would face more resentment in the Southwest due to the immigration controversy.

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