first road trip...help!!
hi...i am from LA and planning a road trip with couple of my friends or alone. I need some tips to where to go and how much money I should take to the trip. It will be 1 week trip by car and anywhere but east. Hmm...planning to goto San Francisco or Salt Lake City but I dont have clue for my destination yet. Please help. This will be my first road trip...it will be a week before Christmas of 2001 and I want it to be goooooooood. =)
One more thing...I am not 21 yet so ...NOT LAS VEGAS..hehe
thanx for your cooperation...~
road trip here we come...with your help...
We are 20 year olds from England who are trying to organise a road trip through America for about a month in the summer of 2002...are there some routes that we must do?...also can we rent a car if we are not over 21 or do we have to buy one?how much money do you suggest we take?....please help us on trying to achieve this adventure.
I posted this to another thread to some other people traveling from England, I hope it might help:
First your rental car, a friend from Germany had this problem too, my advice - rent your car from England, be sure you have a Visa or Mastercard in the drivers name, and then confirm with a travel agency or two and reconfirm with the local car rental agency you book with that you won't have any problem picking up the car in the U.S.
Your trip: my wife and I have made a similar trip starting in Phoenix, Arizona going to Maine with a return down the New England Coast to Washington D.C. and then across Tennessee, down to Louisiana and back to Arizona in exactly 21 days - and we loved every second, by the way, we did this all on back roads, NO major highways.
I'd recommend heading north to Point Reyes National Seashore, and then east, if you can, find Lucas Valley Road through some redwoods and a gorgeous valley. Skip Yosemite at this time of year, it's over-crowded, head east through Sacramento and over Donner Pass into the Lake Tahoe area, you must stop in Virginia City - trust me, it's an old west mining town high in the mountains. Cross Nevada on Highway 50, the "Loneliest Road in America", my wife and I made the journey last month and it's just incredible, on the other side of Hwy 50 you'll be at the Great Basin National Park with some of the oldest trees on the planet. Head south towards Las Vegas, either bypass Vegas and head east to Zion and Bryce National Parks in Utah, or head through Vegas and make your way to the Grand Canyon - be sure to walk at least 30 minutes down the Bright Angel Trail to get a different perspective of the Canyon, if you go towards Zion and Bryce, be sure to hike one of the loops at Bryce, you won't believe how different the view is. If you chose the Grand Canyon, continue on with a stop at Page, Arizona and take a Colorado river float, (no whitewater) for 15 miles down the river (Wilderness River Adventures - supplies the trip from Page, you can find them with an internet search) at the end of the float, tour a slot canyon. Which ever way you chose to go, Zion or Grand Canyon, head towards Mexican Hat, Utah and the Valley of the Gods which is right next door to Monument Valley - be sure to drive yourself through the Monument Valley Park, don't take the tour, you'll enjoy the stops you get to make, while you are at the park, go for a real Navajo experience - as you are on the Navajo Reservation at this point, stop at the small business's at the entrance for Mutton Stew, its sheep and corn and a classic Native American dish.
From here head to Four Corners and Durango, on the way you might want to stop at the Ute Mountain Tribal Park, in my wife and my opinion, it is far more incredible than Mesa Verde, look online for tour information, you must make a reservation in advance. Continue on through Durango up past Silverton through the San Juan Scenic Byway on your way toward Denver and the Rockies, in Montrose head east and aim for Leadville and continue north, you'll end up in the Rockies National Park.
Now it's time to make up time, get on Highway 80 and head directly to Niagara Falls, you must take the tour under the falls on the Canadian Side, walk over from the American side, the tour is the "Cave of the Winds" tour, you might also want to visit Fort Niagara.
After this, I'd head to Lancaster, Pennsylvania and tour the Amish country side, it'll be close to fall and spectacular. It's now an easy drive from Lancaster to Washington D.C. and from D.C. head east to Annapolis go directly across the bay and drive down the eastern part of Maryland on Chesapeake Bay, if you are lucky, visit Assateague Island - you'll have now gone coast to coast.
Get on Hwy 64 heading to Hwy 81 and on to Nashville, from Nashville head south west on the Natchez Trace Parkway - a 457 mile long National Park that is truly wonderfully incredible, as a matter of fact, it was difficult for my wife and I to come off the Trace and rejoin the world, you'll understand after you meander down this historic and famous route. The Trace will let you off in Natchez, Mississippi, you should visit some of the Antebellum homes, you are also on the Mississippi river at this point.
Go south towards New Orleans and find the road that takes you along the Gulf coast to Holly Beach, the sea shells here are HUGE AND BEAUTIFUL - great souvenier. Go north to Lake Charles and stop at Steamboat Bill's restaurant - great Shrimp Po'boy sandwich.
Time to get on highway 10 and make tracks again, it's time to cross Texas, you'll get a laugh as you cross the Louisiana border and see the sign with the miles to El Paso - it's like London to Moscow. Just drive and drive and drive, get to New Mexico, depending on time at this point, go north before El Paso and visit Carlsbad Cavern - a big time wow, or continue over to Alamogordo and visit White Sands National Monument. Continue west towards Tucson, you might want to make a quick stop Saguaro National Park on your way to Hwy 8 to San Diego. Take hwy 5 north past L.A. - only stop in L.A. if you are insane or must go to Disneyland. Take hwy 5 to road number 166 and cut over to hwy 1, at times you'll be on hwy 101, but keep following the signs towards hwy 1 up the coast. You'll pass through Big Sur - eat at Napenthe, take the 17 mile drive road, it'll cost $8 - worth it, through Carmel and go up through Pacific Grove to Monterey - the Aquarium here is one of our favorite places in America.
You are now two hours from San Francisco and heading home. As a rule of thumb, plan on driving between 220 miles and upto a maximum 450 miles a day. If you have to go through a location or National Park quicker than you might want to, keep in mind that this is an orientation tour, you can always note which locations will require you to come back for more intensive time allocating, but this trip will forever have you enamoured with the United States.
Take care, it's a great country to roadtrip across.
Head up highway 1, take the I-5 to the 166 and cut west to the coast and highway 1, go up the coast stopping in Pismo Beach, Morro Bay for Lunch, be sure to stop at Piedras Blancas just north of San Simeon and Hearst Castle to see the Elephant Seals. Continue on up to Big Sur, I'd stop anywhere you can see the opportunity to walk down to the beach on the coast, each pullout is beautiful and unique in its own right. From here go to Carmel, pay the $8 to take 17 mile drive through Carmel along the coast and soon you'll be in Monterey - remember John Steinbeck? Cannery Row? Monterey is host to an incredible Aquarium with what might be the largest window on the planet, I'd make the effort to call before you leave and ask when feeding days and times are for the Tuna tank, this is the one with the biggest window, these fish during feeding (11:00a.m. - but not sure of the days) move along at about 50 mph, it will amaze you! Don't forget to visit the Wharf too. By the way as I'm thinking about it, there's a hotel in the middle of nowhere, near the Elephant Seals is a motel - Piedras Blancas. The motel is right on the coast with a private beach, no neighbors, houses, or business's for miles - its really a find if you happen to get the chance to stay, and during winter I think you can get a room just under $50 a night!!!!!
If you stop in S.F., hunt down the Chinese restaurant "Brandy Ho's" - you may never have such great Chinese cooking again in your life. And as you have a week, and it's winter, you'll want to avoid inland Northern California...cold, go up to Point Reyes National Seashore, visit the lighthouse, find some of the redwood areas...John Muir State Park is nearby and is well worth the visit, turn around and drive it back the same way to L.A.
You'll want to make the trip again and again, my wife and I have made this trip from Phoenix, Arizona half a dozen times - driving from Phoenix!!!
Take care and safe roadtripping,