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Thread: 2013 Road Trip

  1. Default 2013 Road Trip

    Hi All,

    My partner and I (from Western Australia) are planning to drive around parts of the USA in 2013 for 6 or 7 weeks. I know that is still a long time away but I'm pretty excited about it so have already started looking into when and where. I'm sure the I'll settle down in a bit and leave the bulk of the planning until closer to the time, but I'm enjoying myself at the moment!

    I'm learning a lot from the forum and using the map wizard to mark down places I would like to see.

    The vague idea at the moment is to start West Coast and end East Coast, either drive the across or fly across and drive around either side. Originally I thought we would go April/May of 2013 but after having a read of various things I'm thinking late September/October may be better weather wise and still miss the worst of the summer crowds. I would really like to visit Yellowstone which doesn't seem like it would be great to do in April or May. Any opinions on the best time of year?

  2. Default

    Hi Keziah,

    Planning and researching a trip is half the fun!

    April, May and October might not be the best months to visit Yellowstone. Besides not many facilities open, your chances of running in to snow is greater. The earlier in September you could make it to Yellowstone, the better. We've been and had pretty decent weather the first couple weeks of September. Check the opening and closing dates for Yellowstone Facilities.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default From One Aussie to Another.

    Hi, and Welcome to the Great American RoadTrip Forums.

    Your excitement is understandable, and you have certainly come to the right site to both satify your excitement, and give you all the information you will need to make this a memorable trip.

    May I suggest that you start by getting a large (wall size) map of the USA. My preference is for the National Geographics map, which is widely available in capital cities, and online. It has all the major routes, urban centres and best of all, all the great natural wonders. I have mine laminated, so that I can put sticky notes on it as I read about sights I may want to put on my route. Have been doing this now for almost two years, in preparation for next year's trip.

    Sept and Oct are among the best times to visit, when school has gone back, and most of the tourists have gone home. However, you may want to keep in mind that you would want to put Yellowstone in September. Winter comes early in some of those places.

    So continue to read through the forums. And make sure you include the RoadTrip Field Reports forum, which records the experiences of some of the members who have taken their trips. Continue to use the tools on the green bar, and you may also find the National Parks website useful.

    Enjoy the planning. It is such a big part of roadtripping.

    Lifey in Melbourne

  4. Default

    Thanks guys. We'd be starting on the west coast so if went in September should be able to plan on Yellowstone reasonably early in the trip. I did look at the opening times which is what put me of April/May but a bit stupidly didn't look at the closing times.

    Lifey, I do have a map but it only A2 which is a bit small so might see if I can find a National Geographic one.

    I will continue to read through the forums, I only just figured out how to make more than the most recent threads show up, I knew there was more because they turn up in search results, just couldn't figure out how to get to them!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    I was in Yellowstone early last October and the weather was quite agreeable. All the roads were open and all attractions were accessible, but a lot of facilities had already shut down for the season. One big plus was the hotel rates in West Yellowstone were down to a reasonable amount.

  6. Default

    I'm back! The trip is getting closer and I'd love some feedback on our basic plans.

    We are going to fly into Seattle as we have some friends that live there. Then the basic idea is to travel down the West Coast to LA, across to Vegas, down to Tuscon then up through the centre to Chicago, across to Washington then up to New York. I was pretty keen to fit in Yellowstone but it has been cut for now, maybe next time. We will have about 7 weeks from arrival to leaving, does this sound reasonable for that time frame? I did a spreadsheet of distances and it seemed quite doable on paper, accounting for going via national parks and other places of interest and with only the occasional long day driving.

    The other option is to fly from West to East and cut out the middle section.

    We plan on booking accommodation in Seattle for when we arrive, but not anywhere else. We will try and ring ahead for some places like near the Grand Canyon or cities we will be in for a few days. but we don't want to pre-book much because we don't want to stick to a schedule. Does this sound like a reasonable plan for this time of year (September/October)?

    Thank you in advance for any feedback.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Quite

    Seven weeks is way more than enough time to have an eminently enjoyable and relaxed drive across the continent, even zigzagging as you've indicated. I see no reason to go to the added expense of flying over the entire middle of the United States. There is actually quite a lot to see and explore there and the weather should be outstanding. As others noted earlier, the bulk of the summer tourist trade will be over and you will have many attractions almost to yourselves, especially in the northern portions of the country. For that same reason, most motels/hotels/inns will have plenty of vacancies so you shouldn't need to book too far ahead. The one possible exception might be as you push towards October (if that's still your timeframe) and are in the Chicago to Washington to New York phase of your drive. You will be hitting fall foliage in places like Wisconsin, Michigan and as you cross the Appalachians in Pennsylvania. On the weekends, you might want to make sure you'll have some place to stay as there will be many 'leaf-peepers' joining you on the roads.


  8. Default

    Thanks AZBuck, exactly what I wanted to here. It is so hard to judge these things for myself with no experience to go on.

  9. Default

    Tickets are booked! We will be arriving in Seattle on Saturday 31st of August, and flying out from New York on Saturday 19th October. We plan on spending about 5 days with friends in Seattle before we pick up a car, and then 5 days in New York at the end having already returned the car as we have been told having a car in New York is much more hassle than help. The approx 40 days between will be driving, this is what we are thinking:

    Seattle - San Fran - LA - Vegas - Grand Canyon - Tuscon - Albuquerque - Oklahoma City - Kansas City - Chicago - Dayton - Washington - New York.

    We plan on spending a couple of days in most of the major cities, and some in between stops and detours. Otherwise can anyone see anything wrong with this basic route, or anything that you would recommend adding?

    Our interests are fairly general; natural and man made wonders, old things, fun things, entertainment, good food and drink. Good train/space/air museums are of particular interest to my partner (why we are going via Tuscon). I would like to visit some cliff dwelling ruins, my best bet near our route seems to be Montezuma Castle, any better ones not too far out of the way?


  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default If it works for you...

    There is nothing wrong with your basic route as long as it's taking you where you want to be. From SF I would consider heading inland to Yosemite NP which in my opinion has to be one of the worlds best natural wonders. From Vegas I would also consider heading up into Southern Utah and come back down through Page AZ to Grand canyon south rim. Zion NP, Bryce canyon, Antelope canyon, Lake Powell and Monument valley are some of the natural wonders to enjoy on the way.

    Walnut canyon would be an option for cliff dwelling located not far from Flagstaff. Of course there are no finer examples than those found at Mesa Verde NP in Colorado which is a way off your route, but worth considering. In fact Colorado and southern Utah [Arches and Canyonlands] are going to be BIG misses when it comes to seeing natural wonders, but as with all trips, you can't do everything !

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