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  1. Default Need some advice for my coast to coast trip across the pond

    First of all; Great forum! I have read many posts here and gotten lots of inspiration. Thank you all for you contribution on helping fellow road trippers :)

    Im planning to do a coast to coast trip and need some advice. I'm from Norway so I'm not that used to travelling in the US, but I have done a couple of road trips on the east coast MA-VA area mainly focusing on exploring the big cities in that area and the historical "countryside". This time I'm planning a bigger road trip mainly focusing on driving and exploring the different aspects of nature and the diversed scenery that a great country such as the US has.

    I'm thinking of driving from NY to LA with a rental car and spend around 2 weeks on the road, trying to go a little up and down and touch most of the southern/mid states. Im not planning to stop in any cities, but mainly just enjoying the driving and experience different kind of nature and sceneries on the way from east to west and north/south.

    How does this map look like:,60.292969&z=4

    Is it doable and enjoyable? Its 7500 km wich is roughly 5k miles. That gives around 350 miles of driving per day if i spend 2 weeks on it. I will be doing the trip by myself, and planning to sleep at motels that I find on the way and sleeping in the car if possible to shrink the budget a little.

    I know it's a big detour going up and down instead of stragiht from point A to B but i wanna try and touch as many states as possible and see the differences between west/east and north/south.

    How will the driving conditions be driving at the end of this month/beginning of november? I will be renting a SUV. Will there be any problems with snow this early in the year for instance in the mountains in Colorado? Other natural hazards to be aware of anywhere along my route? I'm a quite skilled driver when it comes to snowy and deserted roads (beeing a norwegian) but I wanna avoid trouble if i can, and especially heavy traffic and other things that can slow me down (And I don't like driving with heavy traffic around me either, I like driving peacefully and watching the scenery). :)

    How does my plan look like and do you guys have any other advice for a first time coast to coast crosser? I'm bringing a GPS but i wanna try and stick to the main highways as I can find it a bit difficult to manouver on the big and complex road network that you have in the US. Sticking to the main roads also makes travelling go faster, and hopefully makes it easier to get a place to sleep so that I'm well rested when im driving.

    Let me know if you need any other information, and I will probably have more questions later :)
    Last edited by Southwest Dave; 10-07-2010 at 01:20 PM. Reason: Map format

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

    Default Compromise.

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    At the moment your trip plans are a little confusing, as you want to avoid the City's and enjoy the scenery, yet take main highways while avoiding traffic to speed things up. I think I "get it" but the fact is you are probably trying to do to much in a short amount of time. You can certainly compromise some speed on Interstate and heavier traffic for peace amongst the scenery but you will have to "pick and choose" to do so. Your trip is certainly doable but driving for 6 to 7 hours a day every day isn't going to leave you much time to explore along the way. In fact, instead of going up and down the country the way you have shown, it would only add about another 1000 miles and 2 full day's on the road to go across on a Northerley route and back on a Southerley one. It would also prevent hefty one way drop off fees for your car rental and possibly save money on your flights.

    If your main goal is to "touch" many States and keep on the move it is certainly doable, but if you want time to actually explore a few places it might work better for you to straighten that line a little.

    I wouldn't plan on sleeping in your car, you won't get a good nights rest and will make the following day less enjoyable. A long day deserves a good nights sleep so that you awaken fresh and excited about the day ahead.

    The weather, like anywhere is unpredictable, but main highways and moreso Interstates are a priority to keep clear and the country moving. Keep up to date with local forecasts as you travel and make informed decisions about your day's driving.

    Have alook around the forums and road trip planning/route pages above with a good map to hand to see what places appeal to you and how you can work them into your plan.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Western/Central Massachusetts

    Default Differences

    One item you mention is seeing the differences between areas of the country. While you can certainly see differences in landscape from the highways, getting off the roads and into the towns and cities is where you will see more differences in the people (not sure if that's something you'd like to see as well.)

    Your section through Oklahoma, Kansas, and Nebraska areas would bring you north along the Great Plains, which might not offer the diversity you are looking for during that section.

  4. Default

    Thanks for the replies!

    I'm glad to hear that my route atleast is doable :), eventhough there are probably better options. I have gotten a very good flight/rental deal so I'm not in the need of returning to the same city that i started at. I have also been thinking of doing a northbound route westwards, and returning back east with a southbound route as you mention.

    The reason I have chosen to pass by/into many big cities is just to have a glimpse of them as I am already close to them. Thats something I will determine when I get there to see at what time of the day/rush hour to see if its worth spending the extra time driving through the city instead of around.

    I know i will miss out alot not stopping many places and experience the different people/cultures in the cities, but this road trip is more just to get a glimpse of the US. I'm planning to visit by plane/shorter road trips later many of those cities that i pass by on this trip. So it's more just to get an overview of the vast diversity this country has to offer when it comes to cities/countryside/deserts/mountains/vallys/rivers/plains etc.

    Concerning sleeping, I totally agree with you Dave that it's worth the extra dollars to get a good night of sleep in a real bed. I was just thinking of maybe doing a few sleepovers in the car if I'm in a beautiful and safe area (stop and pay at a camping site and just stay there were its safe and nice to sleep in the car), just to atleast reduce the budget a little as it's alot of money invested in this trip.

    My main concern was if it was doable distance/timewise and if the roads im going are good for my purpose of covering a big country with a short amount of time. I have been to cities around the US many times before, and as I told you i will most certanty visit many of the States/Cities that i miss out on this trip just passing by sometime later when i concentrate on seeing some part by part. :)

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Putting it "out there".

    Purchasing some cheap[ish] camping gear could be an option, and if used enough could pay for itself [and some] quite comfortably compared to the cost of a Motel room. You would need to consider the weather and the time it will take to set up and pull down each day.

    I presume there is a reason for visiting each of the places you have chosen on the map, as there is more to the road trip than just a route. I don't have personal personal experience of the Eastern side of the country, but I note that from Atlanta to Kansas while driving through Birmingham, Dallas and Oklahoma, you are passing some 'iconic' City's in Nashville, Memphis and St Louis [the Gateway arch] and adding almost 1000 miles to your trip, which in turn could be time well spent exploring a little. I see you have marked the Four corners as a visit on your map, but have you considered places that you are travelling by, such as Rocky mountain NP, Arches, Monument valley and the Grand canyon. As great as they are, a "quick" detour is going to soak up the hours of which you have precious few to spare.

    It is of course your trip, and all I am doing is putting things "out there" for you to consider. [although it looks as though you have given it quite some thought already]

    If you have other questions just ask, if not have a great trip, and please drop by and share your thoughts/trip highlights with us when the trip is done.

  6. Default

    How easy/hard is it to find camp sites? Should i get a book with an overview and phone numbers of them? Are they located next to the main roads so it's easy to find and pull over as I'm not planning to book anything in advance when I'm not sure of the progress of the route?

    Also concerning phones: I will be using my norwegian phone/subscription but is it possible to get a pay-as-you-go sim-chip to put in my phone at any random 7-eleven or Walmart? Just to reduce the phone bills a little concerning the roaming charges.

    Thank you Dave for the suggested detours. I have already been thinking of Grand Canyon instead of following the highway through Flagstaff. It's pretty much the same milage but I will probably be so breathtaken by the scenery that i will spend some time on that detour. I will most certainty see when i get to that area and concider how much time I have and decide wether i should do those detours. Roucky Mountains NP is also a great option: It shouldnt be any problems with the roads up there this time of the year as i see it's closed during the winter? BTw. where is a nice place to get local information about road conditions and weather forecast? Truck stops with some bulletins or just ask people at gas stations about the area ahead when i stop to fill up the gas tank? I will bring a laptop so i can get online in the evenings before sleeping.

    WHen i look up the other NP you mention (Arches and MV) i get even more excited to head of on this road trip and see all the beautifull scenery you have in the US. I will try to take those detours if i see that i have the time when i pass by the areas. Thanks for the advices Dave :)

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Local knowledge.

    You shouldn't have too much trouble finding campgrounds, but you could use a guide such as Woodalls or just research ahead with your laptop while on the road. Locals will always guide you as well.

    Not sure about the phone, as we try to use ours as little as possible while on the road. I'm not up on the basics, but my lad notified his phone company and changed the service/connection while there, [I think his phone done this automatically and done away with the 'roamer fee's] the costs were not huge on the odd call he made. I understand you can buy a cheap 'pay as you go' phone from Walmart with a top up card, could be an option. I would talk to your phone company first.

    Rocky mountain NP is open all year round, yes it can [and will] see Lots of snow fall, and some high passes such as the Trail ridge Rd can close around your time of travel, but you would still be able to visit areas around Estes park for instance.

    Talking to Locals is not only a great way of gaining info on weather and road conditions, but also to get "in touch" with the people and your surroundings. Some fond memories come from those you meet along the way, and they are generally a friendly bunch !

    While on the road you can also pick up info from the Local radio stations, TV [when in Hotels] or with the help of your laptop, take a look at some of the links in this thread.

    Keep looking at the map and forums for info, and make some notes of what you find, there are many, many opportunity's to get off Interstate and see a little more of the Country. The 'Colorado National monument' rim drive just off I 70 near to Grand junction is one example, another that won't cost you any significant time is when heading to Moab from I 70, come off a junction early, and drive through Castle valley on 128. It's a wonderful drive through the red rocks while following the path of the Colorado river for a while. The list would be endless !
    Last edited by Southwest Dave; 10-09-2010 at 04:26 AM.

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