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  1. Default Planning a two month road trip and seeking advice

    We are scheduled to start a two month road trip in mid-Sep 2005, starting and finishing in N. Virginia.
    Although we are from the UK, we are not road trip novices as we have already undertaken a number of US road trips in the past - and loved every minute of them.

    We are planning to travel from Virginia to the West Coast and back.

    We have identified a number of possible routes:

    E to W - the Northern route as described in the "Insight Guide" or alternatively join US 2 asap and take that west.

    W to E - either US 50 as described in "Road Trip USA" , or alternatively Route 66 then US 50.

    We like to get away to quiet, scenic and open spaces, and usually stay in local small town Motels.

    Question is: which of these routes is recommended, or are there others??

    And is 2 months long enough.

    All tips would be very welcome

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ


    Both routes you've mentioned are 'recommended' - you've even listed the groups that recommend them. Both would make excellent backbones for a transcontinental journey. There are others, of course, but about the only big chunks of America you'd miss by doing both are the desert southwest, New England, and the deep south, and you can get suggestions of what those regions are like as well on your trek. Two months is plenty of time to poke around and explore some attractions that aren't literally on your route, so explore a bit. I would take the northern route (US-2) west bound just because of the timing. From mid-September to mid-October is pretty close to peak foliage season in northern Michigan and Wisconsin, and then you'll be returning through Colorado just as the quaking aspen reach the height of their golden color - it will just makes the sights and vistas that much more spectacular.

    Just some examples of "quiet, scenic" and "small towns" along the way:

    Isle Royal National Park in Lake Superior, reachable only by passenger ferry, no cars allowed, but with an elegant old hotel. Or for a similar side trip on less time, the Madeline Islands of the northern Wisconsin coast.

    International Falls and the Voyageurs National Park in northern Minnesota.

    The International Peace Garden in North Dakota, a state that is also home to many quintessential small American prairie towns.

    Glacier National Park in Montana. Also, if you want a taste of just how wide open the west can still be, try driving MT-200 from Glendive to Lewiston (gas up before you leave Glendive.)

    Sandpoint and Coeur d'Alene, Idaho are two very quiet and beautiful towns surrounded by just a wealth of natural scenery.

    The Palouse region of western Washington is literally a sea of grass. It's the rolling green scene that is Windows' trademark scene.

    Coming back via US-50, some highlights would be:

    Crossing the Sierra Nevada in California, plan to spend some time at Lake Tahoe. It should be great in the crisp fall air.

    US-50 is the "World's Loneliest Highway" crossing Nevada, and starkly beautiful.

    Swing south a bit in Utah to take in the many national parks.

    You can't hardly go wrong in Colorado, but do get a bit of American ancient history at Mesa Verde National Park and some more scenery by driving through the Black Canyon of the Gunnison.

    Then you're back out on the prairie for more small town America. See the Arch in St. Louis, also home to one of the world's great (and FREE) zoos.

    Check out Mammoth Cave in Kentucky and then finish up by wandering back up the Blue Ridge Parkway and Skyline Drive into northern Virginia and you will have had a great trip.

    This is not to say that there aren't other ways to cross America, but the two you've picked are not bad, not bad at all. And there's a lot more to do and see than the simple short list I've given you.


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