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  1. #1

    Default tour of america!

    Hey, i have always wanted to tour america on a sight seeign road trip. i have driven it in the past cannonball style (rochester ny to portland OR in 50 hours) but thats not my plan this time.

    I want to see the sights and am having a hard time figuring out how to plan it. I was thinking 3 weeks but not sure on that eiather.

    where do i start the planing?

    let me know

    :-) very excited. looking to leave rochester at the end of MAY


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula


    Greetings, Gabe, and welcome to the forum!

    Your trip to Portland sounds like quite an adventure!

    You asked: "where do I start the planning?" Good question. I think the first thing you need to do is answer the following questions:

    1. What do I really want to see?
    2. How much money do I have to spend?
    3. Is 3 weeks the amount of time I really have for this trip, or can I go longer, or must I make it shorter?

    Your budget might help determine the answer to #3.

    This is a huge country with so many things to see. Your ideal roadtrip might be very different than mine. So it's hard to advise you without knowing your likes, dislikes, etc.

    I really think the best way to begin is by getting a map of the US and marking on it all the things you really want to see the most on this trip. That's really the best first step. If you do that and let us know, then we can start helping you with routes, budget, and determining whether or not you will have enough time.

    I hope you give us a chance to help you further once you've gotten a better idea of where you want to go.

  3. #3

    Default Yay

    Im so glad to get a response!

    yeah, i still need to anwser some of those questions. im going with some one now also, so they will have input. I was thinking i want to not go alone, but keep the number down,
    three max, im thining, this way we can spend some nights inthe van, or camp, and save some money on hotels.

    i have some for sures onthe places to see. seatle, the hoover damn, grand caynon, the wasington monument, yellowstone, vegas, LA, salt flats of CA. dallas tx Oklahoma, and finish it with key west.

    i figure with fuel and stay at hotels half the time food and all it will cost about $2000 jsut with my math for gas and hotels and food. activities are sure to cost tho.

    I will have from May 25th till June 25 or so.realisticaly, new job starts 5 states over on july 6th


  4. #4

    Default one more thing

    Im really into off roading, but im driving a conversion van, so i would like to stop some place seanic were i can rent a jeep or an ATV and do trails.


  5. #5

    Default portland

    by the way, the trip to portland was more of a night mare... i did it with 2 friends in a penske truck that was governed at 63 mph. so that should give u an idea of how long we were actully driving. it was insane. we had to stop on the second night becasue we were houlsinating. very scary, and i never ever plan on doing it that way again.


    sorry for all the posts, i kept remembering things i wanted to say.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula

    Default Avoiding hallucinations this time around

    I hope we can help you avoid hallucinations from fatigue on this trip. I plugged your must-sees into MS Streets & Trips and if you go Rochester-Yellowstone-Seattle-LA-LV-Oklahoma City-Dallas-Key West-Washington DC, you're looking at roughly 8300 miles. That averages out to 400 miles per day over 21 days. Due to traffic, gas stops, etc. you can figure that this will be a good 7 hours/day on the road each and every day, if not more. That doesn't leave much time for rest, extra sleeping if you're tired, or exploration of the areas you're going through.

    That 7 hours/day is really a rough average. There are parts of the country where you can sail through that 400 miles/day you need to average much faster than 7 hours, and other parts where it might take more than 7 hours. Traffic congestion, road conditions, road construction, etc. will vary greatly.

    Since you emphasized that you don't want to be doing such a cannonball run type of trip again, you might want to re-think some of your must-sees and save them for a future trip. For example, if you drop Key West, that alone drops your trip length to 6700 miles for an average of 320 miles/day. Over 3 weeks, that will still seem like a lot of driving each day but it is certainly better than 400 miles/day. Of course, you might find you want to stay in one area for a few days to explore and, thus, you'll have to make up those miles by driving longer/farther for a day or two after to make up time.

    Anyway, I hope this gives you some ideas to work from.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Tighten up the Specs

    Gabe, I'm afraid I'm with Judy on this one, even more so. I'd also drop Seattle from the itinerary. By knocking off the two corners of the country (which are both pretty far removed from the other places you want to get to) you make the trip into something that can be approached with anticipation rather than dread. If you add extra drivers, you do get the advantage of being able to cover more ground safely, but you will also tend to get on each other's nerves if you spend too much time together in the car. Anyway, we also offer tips on travelling cheaply that you might find handy. And one recommendation, since you're into off-roading, when you're in the Grand Canyon area, head down to the Red Rocks country around Sedona Where there are several jeeps-for-rent outfits and some of the best slip-rock driving around.


  8. #8

    Default awesome!

    hey thanks guys sorry i ahve nto been able to check in awhile.

    yeah Key west is out for sure, and i think i can up the time to a full month so now its only like 250 miles aday which will be roughly 4.5 hours
    the off roading part is hugh and im so glad that you ofered some places to go. Im prally going to go with 4 people and two cars. one converson van and then one car. the trouble is i have a physical handicapped that does nto alow me to hike, i can do jsut about everythign else, but hiking is out. and my friends will want to kike , hence the two cars. oh mt rushmore would be one to see also, im not set on seeattle if itss way out of the way,

    again thanks for all the insite, there will be some more national park that my buddy is lookign up that will be add, but with thee additional time it should not be so bad, yeah, even with a month, we are still going to be driving 5 hours a day more than i had expected.

    really seams crazy that we did 2700 miles in 50 hours! that was no fun, well a little ;-)


  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default 2 cars?

    Maybe I'm missing something, but it seems like 2 cars would be just one extra headache if you're going with 4 people. A conversion van would have plenty of room, and even if your friends want to hike, you could always drop them off and pick them up later.

    a 2 car trip certainly add a whole new element to a trip. First, you've now got twice the driving to do, which even if you're going at a pretty reasonable pace of 250 miles per day, starts to really add up when your talking about a month long trip where you basically have just 2 drivers to rotate between. Second, you need to find a way to communicate between the two cars and try to make sure both vehicles make it to the same destination; CB radios probably work best for this. Not to mention you'll have double the gas costs, and twice the chance of having a vehicle related problem.

    Certainly, if you want to take 2 vehicles those are relatively minor hurdles to overcome. But it seems to me at first glance, they are could much more easily be dealt with taking just the van.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula

    Default The joy of separate cars....

    To be honest, I disagree with Michael on this. I have done several trips from WA State to Roswell, NM, to a car show where I have caravanned with other people in their cars. (Actually, since we all drive New Beetles, we call it carabugging. LOL) And we do a lot of things more local together as well. We have done numerous trips around the Pacific NW together, some to other car shows and some just for fun so we can get together and drive. We will usually have a few folks driving their cars solo, a few more as couples, and a few drivers who have kids or friends with them.

    I LOVE this type of roadtrip.

    Obviously, you need to be able to cover the extra expenses to drive so many different vehicles. If those expenses are covered, then, as Michael says, you need a way to communicate. We all use inexpensive FRS radios and, since everybody has cellphones, we all have each other's numbers in case we get out of FRS range. Problem solved.

    The advantages of traveling this way, in my opinion, are:
    * You can have your own space yet still be part of a group.
    * The banter on the radio can be a LOT of fun....some people are hysterical...yet you can also ignore the banter if you're listening to a great tune or something and would rather have peace and quiet for awhile.
    * You can split up and meet up later. It's not unusual for someone, sometimes 2 or more someones, to decide to take off from the main group for awhile to do something solo with the idea that we'll meet up later at a restaurant up ahead, that night's hotel, or the next agreed upon site.
    * In the evening, you can go your separate ways and do your own thing. Not everybody always wants to eat at the same place or even stay at the same hotel. You might want to go to a movie while someone else wants to check out the local mall. Whatever. It's easier to split up and meet up later regardless.
    * You can mix up the passengers. I have had other kids ride with me when I have had my son with me so the kids could visit and the other parents could have quiet time. They reciprocated with taking my kid for awhile so I could get some quiet, too. We have traded spouses for awhile so that different ones of us can visit with each other. Sometimes, no matter how much you might love traveling with your spouse, it's also nice to get a break from each other, too.

    Anyway....yes, it's more expensive this way. Yes, you need to have a budget that makes this OK for you all. Yes, there are times where you might get separated in thick traffic or for other reasons. With FRS and cellphones, it's easy to come up with a plan to meet up again. If everyone agrees that the advantages of the extra vehicle outweigh these disadvantages, it really allows for a whole new and fun way to travel.

    I wouldn't want to do every roadtrip this way. But it is a lot of fun when I do it. And you can always all go in the same vehicle some days, or parts of some days, if you are just doing some more localized exploring. It just gives you more options. And I, myself, always like having options.

    As for vehicle breakdowns, on two of these trips we have had folks with car trouble. It was nice to have other people with vehicles to help. Once it was at the top of the North Cascades Hwy, when someone's waterpump went out. We had extra minds to diagnose the problem. We were in a place with no cellphone service to call AAA, so some people stayed with the car while a few cars travelled with the driver until we could find a spot with cellphone service for him to make the call. When we came back to where the car was, the folks left behind had pushed the car to a safer place off the road and had set up a bit of a picnic. After we ate, some just sat around by the car and visited, and others did some hiking. We stayed in FRS radio range so we would know when the tow-truck got there. After the tow-truck arrived, the wife rode in someone else's car to where the car was being towed while the husband rode with the tow-truck driver. After we all made sure the car was delivered safe-and-sound to the nearest VW dealer, we helped them find a hotel close-by so that they could walk to the dealership the next morning (this happened on a Sunday). After making sure they were going to be OK, the rest of us sadly went on our way as this was a weekend trip and we all needed to get home for work. If we didn't have other cars with us, we would not have been able to travel to where there was cellphone service to make that initial call for help without flagging down a stranger, or doing a fairly long walk along a windy, mountain road with few decent shoulders. Hardly the safest walking conditions.
    Last edited by PNW Judy; 02-10-2006 at 08:27 AM.

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