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  1. #1
    imported_Henry Guest

    Default Seeing The US before settling down... lil help please :)

    Next summer, after i graduate from ucsd i plan on taking a roadtrip around the US with my younger brother who will be 16 and a half and a junior in high school... I'm hoping it'll be one of those life memories, so im starting to plan it out now so that we'll be well prepared when the time comes (2 summers from now). Here's what I've figured out so far...

    We live in San Diego, And we're going to driving through arizona and such to texas. In texas, we're going to check out a couple universities for my brother, and also hit up all the six flags (we're both into rollercoaster) which brings me to my first question... Is there some special deal with six flags in which if you have a season pass to one theme park you can go to any of the other ones? if so we could make it a theme road trip :)
    from texas i wanna drive down to new orleans... when's mardi gras? last i checked it wasn't in the summer... but it would still be fun just to say that i've been there right?
    from new orleans we'd drive thru those southern states and go down to orlando... spend a couple days at walt disney world.(gonna be expensive)
    from orlando we're gonna go up the east coast, is there a beach highway? (like the 5 on the west coast)
    hit up all those old ivy leagues... visit boston, DC, NYC Philly... from there we're gonna go to montreal to visit my aunts, and then where? yellowstone? and mount rushmore? is there anything else to do up in the northern states? wheres old faithful? then back down thru cali and finally back home...
    i was hoping to do this trip in 3 weeks in my honda accord... is this wise?
    we're planning on sleeping at least every other day in my car... and then showering when we could...

    is there anywhere i can get free maps of landmarks and places i should see at least once in my life? am i missing anything? how much money should i allot for the entire trip for the two of us? What are some tips on how to save money? how many miles is it from coast to coast? and width? will the weather be too bad? are there any unforeseen things that i havent mentioned/thought about?

    insight would be greatly appreciated :)

    oh ya... when we sleep in our car... where should we sleep? where would it be safe?

  2. #2
    imported_Henry Guest


    quoting mike g
    "Words of advice: Do not "road trip" in a two-seater sports car. "
    well... honda accord coupe... ive slept in it before... not that bad but should i consider renting a car?
    i get 20 mpg with my accord... but i really dont want to put thousands of miles one it... cant really get a rental for cheap at 21... any ideas?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default Graduating from UCSD?

    After reading your posting, I would strongly urge you to take a geography class before you leave UCSD. I think you would find it instructive.

    Mardi Gras this year, (2003) is March 4th -- it is the day before Ash Wednesday which is the start of the 40 days of Lent according the Christian catholic tradition. But there are parades in New Orleans nearly year-round. A parade schedule can be found at

    This site has plenty of resources that you can use to plan a road trip - but you get to do some of the work. By the by, I-5 in California is not a "beach hwy" although it is possible to see a section of the Pacific Ocean from a short stretch of it between San Diego and Orange County.

    A road trip of the scale you are describing will certainly fill in some of the "missing" gaps in your experience.

    3 weeks in a Honda Accord -- It is possible to cover that much ground -- but if you really went to all of the places described the trip would be a minimum of 7200 miles and would require at least 18 full days of driving. Sounds like a lot to me and doesn't leave much time for visiting schools, amusement parks or enjoying the local flora and fauna.

    As far as sleeping in your car -- read the posts on this forum -- there is current and timely intel from roadtrippers currently on the road.

    Have fun.

  4. #4
    imported_Angus Bangus Guest


    I appreciate your enthusiasm, and I would disagree with the editor about taking geography next semester (though we know he was kidding) Bottom line is that you'll learn more on a trip like the one you are planning than you would from any classroom.

    I am also a lover of rollercoasters, so you'll probably dig this posting.

    First of all, are you a member of AAA? If not, I strongly advise you to become a member before next summer. For less than $50 a year, you have 24 hour roadside assistance anywhere in the US. (Find Murdo, South Dakota on a map. AAA got us a tow to the next town of size from there!)
    In addition, you are allowed unlimited maps, tourbooks, campbooks, etc. from their offices (hundreds across the country, in just about every major city and town) You can even try to hit your parents up for the fifty bucks, for the safety of you and your brother.

    My next best advice is to SKIP DISNEYWORLD!!! Are you KIDDING ME?! You live an hour from Disneyland and Universal Studios out here, and you're going to waste your time and money in ORLANDO?! Skip it, trust me. There are some amazing parks on the east coast. I'll list them for you later.

    Try this route:

    From New Orleans (awesome town, but keep your eye on your little bro at night) go north up to Memphis, TN. See Graceland, whether you like Elvis or not. You may have to skip partying on Beale Street at night, as they're tough on underage admittance to bars and clubs. Go east and see Nashville, TN. It's a really fun town at night, and there is more a family atmosphere to the fun at night.

    Next, consider this:

    Find Great Smoky Mountain National Park on your free AAA map of Tennessee. Go there. Get on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Take it all the way to Shenandoah National Park in Virginia. It is one of the most beautiful roads in the country. After the park, head towards the coast for some excellent amusement parks and beaches.

    Look up the following amusement parks on the internet for their locations:

    *Kings Dominion in Virginia (very rollercoaster oriented park)

    *Dorney Park/Wildwater Kingdom in Pennsylvania (incredible deal-two parks, one admittance price...good rides, great waterpark)

    *Riverside Park in Massachusetts.

    **Cedar Point in Ohio. (This is the best park I've been to)

    Good luck and safe driving.


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default Kidding? Maybe

    Although I might agree that an actual on-the-tarmac road trip can be far more instructive than an entire schedule of classes, it still seems appropriate that a near-graduate of the UC system would know where "Old Faithful" is and maybe even a basic understanding of the cultural phenon known as Mardi Gras.

    Cedar Park is the #1 favorite of all of our 'Coaster friends, good route too.


  6. #6
    Jennifer Bianchi Guest

    Default good to see another SD roadtripper!

    I just returned home to San Diego from a 4 month roadtrip through the US. As for the other post concerning AAA, I strongly recommend it. We had to be towed 3 times. Check out the AAA RV service or the AAA Plus Memberships. The cover more towing than the standard ( 5 free miles then $2.50/mile ... yeah, ouch ). Also with that card, you have access to tons of free maps, hotel guides, and camping directories. I have AAA book up the wazoo right now leftover from my trip, along with guides for all over the US.
    I would highly recommend staying in a hotel or a tent as opposed to your car. You can get discount hotel coupons at Denny's, McDonalds, and State Welcome Centers. If you do stay in your car, I THINK you can sleep at truck plazas such as Flying J or Love's. They also have access to showers.
    The highway you are looking to take on the East Coast is the 1 or 1A, although it isn't always scenic, it is about as coastal as you are going to get. I really don't know if you'd be able to fit much of it in, with the timeframe you have given.
    In Arizona, don't miss the Grand Canyon if you haven't seen it before. Unless you have a National Park Pass, it will cost you $20 whether you stay for an hour or a week. Check into the Park Pass at . You get access to all the National Parks for one year for $50. I'm not a big fan of Texas. I've crossed the panhandle and the lower portion. Plan to spend at least a whole day just driving if you take the 10 or the 20 through Texas. New Orleans is fun, but not exactly for someone underage. A hotel discount guide can get you rooms near Bourbon Street at discounts up to 50%.
    In Orlando, Disney World is an experience if nothing else. You won't find a lot of roller coasters in some of the parks. Before you purchase tickets, ask around in the city. We found someone with a step father who worked there and he got us 2 park hopper passes for free ( saved about $200).
    In Boston, get a good map. In DC, make time for Arlington Cemetery (nearby) and for all the monuments. Philly is a cool town. I wished I could have stayed longer. Get a hotel in NYC around 54 and Broadway which will put you in walkind distance to times square and Central Park. Be prepared to pay up to $20 for parking. Check out hotels online at somewhere like
    On your way back to Cali, Yellowstone is a must. Thats where you'll find Old Faithful, Paint Pots, Geysers, Cauldrons, and a ton of wildlife. It takes about a whole day to see it all, but its well worth it. If it comes down to time, I would choose Yellowstone over Rushmore. PS... you can see Rushmore without ever stopping, it is visible from the highway. If any time is left, drive through Yosemite in Cali. It's beautiful. Again, that National Park pass is going to save you at these places. Yellowstone and Yosemite are each $20 without the pass. Rushmore is $8 to park but no fee.
    You are looking at a lot of miles for 3 weeks. Make it longer if you can. I did Cali to Florida to New York to Washington and back 2 years ago and it took tons of driving and 4 weeks. Plus we all hated eachother by the time we got home. Gas will cost you at least $30 a day. Take a cooler and shop at grocery stores to save on food cost.
    Anything I missed? Our trip is posted on if you want to see pics. (Rushmore, Yosemite, Yellowstone are all on there).
    Drop me an email if you need any other info!
    Good Luck

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Ontario Canada


    1) sleeping in car. I do that on every trip (single / female). Take a good sleeping bag. Even in the summer the nights get cold in some areas of the deserts of Arizona / Texas. Put the seats back as far as they'll go & enjoy (ha!). You'll probably need a motel or tent camping at least a couple times in the two or three week trip to get your feet up and not have circulation problems. Sleep at populated, well lit truck stops. It may be noisy and certainly not a sound sleep, but lots of people coming and going to watch out for you. Not at the deserted roadside rest stops that are closed at night. I've also stayed in 24-hour restaurant parking lots or mall parking lots & never had a problem.

    2) If you plan on going into Canada & intend to use a rental car, be sure you are allowed to take it out of country. That may be a problem. I know it is from rental agencies in Canada to the States. Also be sure you have unlimited mileage.

    3) Go to the national parks website. You'll learn all about where each one is and all about the parks. Everyone is different and well worth the visit. GET A NATIONAL PARKS PASS AT THE FIRST PARK ENTRANCE YOU ARRIVE AT. $50 BUCKS FOR THE WHOLE YEAR.

    4) In Arizona, be sure to go to the Grand Canyon. You may also want to go to Monument Valley, Canyon de Chelley, see a meteor crater, etc. There are many many things to see in Arizona.

    5) Enroute to Texas, go to Carlsbad Caverns National Park on the New Mexico, Texas border. Reserve some tours online in advance through the national parks website.

    6) In Texas, go to Big Bend National Park. I'm sure two guys will enjoy some hikes through the mountains, etc. Quite scenic with the Rio Grande River running through it.

    7) In Fort Worth, two city guys - you might enjoy the Fort Worth Stockyards. Good free walking tour through it and a daily "cattle drive" (for the tourists) of the Texas longhorns, take in a rodeo, see the museum, etc.

    8) If going into New Orleans area, take a swamp tour just outside of New Orleans (southwest of). Be sure to have a regular Boat not an Airboat. Too noisy to hear the guide. Also, Vicksburg MI, Baton Rouge to New Orleans area, see the plantations, antebellum homes.

    9) Other replies have mentioned the North Carolina / Virginia Great Smokey Mountains and Shenandoah routes. Very scenic drive.

    10) Also check out road trip forums. It seems to be a more popular forum than this one and expect to get lots of very helpful replies there to plan your trip.

    11) If coming to Canada, enjoy my country! If in Toronto - you'll want to go up the C.N. Tower (the world's tallest tower). Possibly see the Science Centre, the Skydome (where the Toronto Bluejays baseball plays) with its retractable roof, etc.

    12) Decide where you want to go, then put each stop on the online free road trip planner. It will give you the mileage and estimated time and route between every single stop for your entire round-trip.

  8. #8
    imported_Henry Guest

    Default great ideas :)

    heh, and about the whole geography class thing...
    ive got soo much on my mind right now =/
    do you have any idea what the current flowing thru a semiconductor material of a mosfet device is? :X
    i dunno... planning this trip is my big "release" from it all so cut me a little slack?

    everyones advice has been welcomed :)
    ive gotten a big map of the us, and ive marked out all the locations that i've been given, and i hope to add more in the year and a half i have before my trip

    the mapblast? idea is awesome... ill look into it onec i have my trip planned out :)

    thx again guys, and ill be sure to hit you guys up wiht any more questions i have....
    if you dont mind that is :)
    cause im sure theres stuff that can be learned from experience only, and not from classrooms.... and so you'll have to let me pick your brains :)

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default Slack given and taken

    No problem with giving slack -- hope your studies go well this year. I remember how tough it was for me to get thru the final classes at Berkeley back in the '70's.


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