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  1. #1

    Default Needs a good trip before Parris Island

    Im mike. Im 17 yrs old and i live in northwestern NJ. I graduate from High School in middle june, and i leave for Marine Corps Boot Camp, Parris Island on August 1st. With that being my best friend has offered to take me on a roadtrip before I leave. We are currently in the early planning stages, but we have been thinking. we want it to take about a week, and we want to avoid the major cities as much as possible, we want to enjoy the best of what this country has to offer, and were willing to go west, but not to far west. we are going to be minimal on cash. i drive a Pontiac grand am 2000, with close to 92000 miles.

    (i was thinking just driving I-80 all the way until we feel like stopping, but i have a feeling that would be sooner before later)

    give us some good ideas

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default One Idea

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    With minimal money and time, and wanting to avoid major cities, one general idea for a RoadTrip might be something like the following. Start out by heading down the spine of the Appalachians using I-81 to cover ground, some of the US highways (US-15, US-11, US-29, etc) to explore the smaller towns, forests and farmlands, and the Blue Ridge Parkway for pure pleasure. there are plenty of state parks and national forests along such a route for some excellent and relatively cheap camping, After 2 or 3 days head west and follow a major river such as the Ohio or Tennessee to where it joins the Mississippi. follow the Great River Road north a bit until it's time to make the turn east for home and use one of the great US highways such as US-30, US-20 or US-6 to get home. Take a look at that as an outline and if it seems to work for you, then get a good atlas and start looking to see what's along your final chosen route that's of interest to the two of you. At that point we can either offer some additional possible destinations or alternate routes.


  3. #3


    Thank you AZbuck, i really appericate that. I will be sure to look into that. I really want to see some good nature, and good american towns. I've seen enough of the cities lol.

  4. #4

    Default Keeping it rural, and cheap

    Hi Mike,

    Allow me to start by thanking you for your service. You'll be hearing that a lot.

    AZ Buck has given you some great ideas. The central Piedmont areas of VA and NC are dotted with reservoirs and small tracts of National Forest, as well as small State Parks. Camping is as affordable as free at some National Forest campgrounds to modest fees at other locations. The larger lakes are usually dotted with a combination of Federal, State, and local facilities including camping.

    A bit to the west lies West Virginia with larger swaths of National Forest as well as big-water rafting on the New River, Gauley River, etc. Just south of there, hard by the western foothills of the Blue Ridge, East and Middle Tennessee offer many Tennessee Valley Authority lakes, again all sprinkled with small facilities.

    When I camped for weeks on end while doing field work in the KY-VA-TN border areas, I often stayed on the many lakes, where small groups of locals were invariably vacationing. Most such facilities in the Bible Belt prohibit alcohol, so they tend to be quiet and reserved, but I can't count the number of home-cooked campfire meals I was graciously invited to share. You'll likely find the same: Good blue collar folks out for a few vacation days of fishing and lounging around the lake, and that's about as far from big city life as it gets.

    Grab yourself a nationwide highway atlas and look page through it to assure the various National Forests and lakes are shown, and start your route planning from there.

    Best of luck to you at Parris Island. August is a tough time to be there. Be ready!


  5. #5


    I was also looking at deviating from the original planning, and possibly driving to mt rushmore, then yellowstone, then down 101 in ca, then to the grand canyon, then back to jersey through the south.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Not Even Remotely Possible in a Week

    The trip you've just described is a minimum of 6,600 miles by the most direct routes even before you start adding side trips. that would take a minimum of 11 days with NO time spent at any of the attractions you'd drive by, just 11 days of nothing but driving from dawn to dusk. No fun, Not possible in a week. Period.


  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    How much time are you now thinking for this trip? Your original plan of doing this is about a week certainly won't work if you want to do a coast to coast trip. The loop you just listed would take at least 3-4 weeks to complete. If you have "minimal cash" the extended distance and time on the road could also be tough from a budget perspective.

  8. #8

    Default "A Bridge Too Far"


    If it is some relaxation and quiet time before you ship out to bootcamp which you seek, a long trip to the West isn't the way to do it. Besides, at some point the Corps will probably have you in Southern California, at Camp Pendleton, where you can explore the Pacific Coast Highway on liberty weekends.

    With only a week to work with, and with a limited budget, I'd stay within the mid-Atlantic states and their mountains and forests and focus on getting lots of sleep. It's often said the first thing the Corps takes from you is your hair, but that's wrong. The first thing they'll take is your sleep--for 13 weeks. No need to precede that with another week of red-eye travel.


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