Help Foreigners Trek Through the U.S.!
Greetings, folks. My name's Kiat and I am a college student here in Claremont, California (Claremont is in the L.A. county). Next fall, my friend and I are going to be interns in Washington D.C. and we've decided to take this opportunity to take a road trip across the country. We're both foreigners (he is Peruvian and I am Thai) and we figured that this is probably the best way to get to see this country.
We will leave on Aug. 15 and we can arrive in Washington anytime before Aug. 30 - so we have about two weeks.
Right now I've started by purchasing the Rand McNally 2005 Road Atlas and Travel Guide: United States, Canada, & Mexico (Rand Mcnally Road Atlas Deluxe: United States, Canada, Mexico) from Amazon.com.
We would really appreciate any input as to where to stop and visit, what gears to pack, what motels are nice and comfy, precautions I should take, etc.
Thank you very much!
Welcome to the Board!
Welcome to the board -- there is lots of useful information here. One of the contributing editors, Megan, is a graduate of both Scripps and Claremont so we know Claremont reasonably well.
Even though you are both starting locally, you might find the information we have pulled together for international visiors helpful.
Since August is one of the warmer months in North America, you might want to use one of the northern routes (althhough a swing through the deep south will probably feel more like the cool season in Thailand -- I roadtripped a bit in Thailand in February this year -- didn't really seem all that cool or dry to me -- but that is all relative I suppose).
Anyway, you need to figure a minimum of four 10-hour driving days between Claremont and Washington DC so if you want to do some exploring on the way, as you have indicated, you should figure that the entire trip could easily take the two weeks you have allowed.
An August day in Death Valley is really something, so I would suggest you head north on US-395 and take CA-190 over Townes Pass into Death Valley. Ground temperatures at Furnace Creek during the day will exceed 130 degrees F. It will be a dry heat -- but those triple digits will amaze you (I think)
Las Vegas is pretty cool and some or our tips can be found here. From there you could head toward Zion NP and Bryce and head to I-70. There are scores of messages on this board about the wonders and delights found along I-70 -- use the search box.
If you have time for a major zig -- the Wyoming State Fair in Douglas, Wyoming is Aug. 13-15 this year. Plus, Douglas is home to the famous jackalope. Maybe you will see one. One of the guides I use for Wyoming is this one.
From there I would go to Badlands NP in South Dakota and work eastward to Wisconsin and Chicago, Illinois.
You'll have a great trip
Mark's ideas are all great - don't miss I-70 from south of Salt Lake City to Grand Junction, CO - a spectacular piece of highway.
Here's a couple of more -
South Dakota - The Mammoth Site south of Rapid City before the Badlands - they are actually excavating huge mammoths that fell into a pit there. Of course, Mt. Rushmore, Custer State Park, Lead/Deadwood/Sturgis will all keep you entertained.
The Field Museum in Chicago has the largest dinosuar every discovered - HUGE!
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, OH is worth a visit if you like R&R.
If you are as far north as Cleveland, roll on up to Niagara Falls - stay on the Canadian side. Upstate NY is also beautiful.
Have a great trip -- ask the locals as you go - they always have great tips. Stick with one brand of map -- it will make the reading so much easier.
Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 04-30-2005 at 10:54 PM.
Harper's Ferry and Berkeley Springs, WV
If you can swing through West Virginia there are two good sites near to Washtingon, DC. Harper's Ferry is the site of a lot of Civil War history. Beyond the history aspect it is a beautiful place to visit. Berkeley Springs is about 40 minutes away and it is a phenomenal little town. Here you will find running hot springs used by George Washington for health reasons. Don't forget to take a couple of empty plastic water carriers. You can take water away for drinking or using for health reasons! If you drive through Sheperdstown on your way to Berkeley Springs be sure to stop for a divine meal at the Yellow Bank Building, gourmet dishes at a reasonable price. Keep in mind that most places will be closed if you visit on a Sunday.
We always brake for hot springs. Thanks for sharing news about this one and the Yellow Bank Building!
If you can swing through West Virginia there are two good sites near to Washtingon, DC. Harper's Ferry is the site of a lot of Civil War history. Beyond the history aspect it is a beautiful place to visit. Berkeley Springs is about 40 minutes away and it is a phenomenal little town. Here you will find running hot springs used by George Washington for health reasons.
Another hot springs treat -- if you ever find yourself in Arkansas is to take the treatment and get bathed by a professional bather in Hot Springs, AR.
Thanks for the great tip!