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  1. #1

    Default HELP! We have two weeks, a general direction, and a confused look

    My boyfriend and I have two weeks kid and job free at the end of March. We wanted to go west as neither of us have had the opportunity to explore much past the Mississippi River, but we're realizing that a lot of the parks we wanted to see will be closed or limited this early in the year. Can you help us by pointing out a few cool things between Missouri and the Pacific Coast (north or south) we should see that will still be pleasant to visit in early Spring?

    Some things to consider:
    -There are two of us
    -We have a small car that gets decent gas mileage but does not have four wheel drive
    -We'll be leaving from West Kentucky (unless we somehow score super cheap airline tickets)
    -We're avid cyclists (of the road variety)
    -We would like to keep our budget below $3500
    -Hiking is fun, but we're not climbers

    We realize that a good chunk of our budget will be eaten up in gas, and, although we love good food, we both have a thing for greasy-spoon, mom-n-pop diners. We are also more than willing to CouchSurf or camp, or even work for room and board here and there.

    Both of us would like to avoid touristy shopping type places and visit more of the natural wonders that are slightly off the beaten track. We'd prefer to avoid crowds. Any cool coffee shop is a welcome comfort. Suggestions for interesting or inspirational places to visit once we leave the driveway are appreciated.

    tl;dr: we're heading west when it's muddy- where should we go to stay unmuddy?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    There are plenty of places in the west that are still very accessable during late March. There are a few exceptions, many mountain passes are closed, and there are some places like Yellowstone that are mostly snowbound, but otherwise most national parks are still very good places to visit in spring.

    Certainly, Utah and Arizona could be good choices, as those two states alone are filled with places that will be in excellent travel condition. Of course, there are thing you could do in California too, just keep in mind you are a good 4 day drive one way to the coast. You can certainly get there and back in 2 weeks, but you will spend more than half of your time just getting there and back, putting some limitations on what you can do in between.

  3. #3


    There has been some discussion of flying out and renting a car. I'm just afraid that will eat too much of our budget unless we wonder across an amazing deal.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    Well, keep in mind that just in fuel you're going to spend about $600 (assuming a car with average gas mileage in the mid-20s), just to drive out to Los Angeles and back. That's not including miles for diversions and detours, and doesn't factor in the wear and tear on your car.

    You've got a pretty healthy budget for a 2 week trip, so I don't think a fly and drive trip would be out of the question.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Easy Criteria to Fill

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    Very roughly, you'll need about $700 for gas and about $2100 for motels and food, so the trip should be doable on your proposed budget, but with very little wiggle room. On the plus side, your entertainment budget can be quite small. Besides the obvious big national parks like the Grand Canyon, there are dozens of smaller, less visited parks, monuments, historic sites, etc. and they all can be accessed for a single fee by getting the America the Beautiful pass at the first fee charging park you come to. While the pass only covers entrance fees, not camping or any other special fees, you sound as though you'd be quite happy simply hiking some of these parks on your own anyway. In fact, some of my favorite sites in the national park system are a bit off the beaten path. For example, here in Arizona, few people visit the Hubble Trading Post, Walnut Creek Canyon, Fort Bowie or Montezuma Castle, but each has its own unique character and something special to offer the visitor who takes the time to visit. The same is true of New Mexico and Utah. As for the local diner scene, all you usually have to do is get off the highway and away from the cookie cutter chain restaurants at the exit ramp. Head into almost any small town and walk the streets and ask the locals where they eat. The cafés, diners and dives that have to rely on repeat business rather than an endless stream of travelers who will never at there again will offer a more local take on a meal and often better food and service.


  6. #6

    Default How about West Texas/Big Bend country?

    Hello jojo,

    If nature, non-touristy, foodie-centric, cycling, and the arts are your bag, I'd look at a trip to Big Bend Country in Texas.

    A drive of some 1,200 flat-as-a-pancake miles from Paducah, KY brings you to Alpine, TX, well within the mountains and some 100 miles from Terlingua and the Rio Grande. There's a well-covered foodie scene in Marfa, and Marfa also has an arts reputation. I can only imagine endless cycling opportunities. And if you have a hankering for greasy-spoon eating, there should hundreds of chicken-fried steak opportunities between Texarkana and Alpine.

    Have fun planning and taking your RoadTrip!


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