Road Trip/USA Advice

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  • Mike_Hunt 3 Jul 2008 10:47:28 23,513 posts
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    Is anyone here well travelled in the USA? Myself and quite a few friends all turn 30 next year. As we'll then be officially "nearly dead's" we'd like to go out in style and have one last big adventure.

    The idea we've had is a road trip coast to coast across the USA. We're aiming to start somewhere like New York and travel across country until we hit Vegas. We'll only have about 10 days (give or take a few) to achieve this, which, according to google is possible if we push hard. However, we're not really sure of where to stop on the way. Can anyone recommend any other states/cities worthy of visiting en-route?

    [MH]


  • deem 3 Jul 2008 10:50:02 31,641 posts
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    We drove from LA to Vegas, which was pretty special. I imagine coast to coast would absolutely awesome.
  • Mike_Hunt 3 Jul 2008 10:52:52 23,513 posts
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    Cool - how long did it take you? Any tips about driving in the US? Is LA worthy of a visit?

    [MH]
  • TheSaint 3 Jul 2008 10:52:55 14,369 posts
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    Going to be quite a rush in ten days and I doubt you will really appreciate it.

    Why not start in San Francisco to LA to San Diego to Death Valley to Grand Canyon to Vegas or something like that. At least then you can spend some time in each place.
  • Mike_Hunt 3 Jul 2008 10:56:08 23,513 posts
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    I dunno, NY to Vegas is just over 2500 miles following a direct route. That's only 250 miles a day (my commute is about half that!). Even if we allow for a more complicated route and longer stops in places it should be possible to do about 350 miles a day no problem. The idea is that we have a bit of pressure to get on the road and keep moving.

    [MH]
  • kalel 3 Jul 2008 11:01:36 87,583 posts
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    I strongly recommend you give yourselves longer, or adjust the distance you intend to travel. Seriously. A lot of the joy of a trip like that comes from the freedom to stop and see whatever you come across, but youíve left yourself no time to do that. OK, things like the worlds biggest hotdog yo can probably miss, but it would be a shame to blast past the Grand Canyon. I suspect having to drive that distance in that time could even end up feeling like work.

    Iíve done New York to Tampa before, and Touson to Vegas and I wish Iíd had longer to do both, and youíre cutting it considerably finer than I did.
  • Mike_Hunt 3 Jul 2008 11:06:26 23,513 posts
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    Really? 250 miles a day is only about 4 hours driving. If we're doing less that 4 hours then it isn't much of a road trip, more a holiday with a number of destinations. With a few drivers we should be able to easily manage more than 4 hours a day, which would buy us time to spend 2 nites in places that we particularly like. I dunno, but the thought of only popping in the car for 2 hours every 2 days doesn't really appeal (which is roughly what it would be like if we just did the east or west coast for example.

    Oh and the 10/12 days is just the travelling time, we plan on spending more time in the final destination (not death, Vegas).

    [MH]
  • JuanKerr 3 Jul 2008 11:11:05 36,246 posts
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    ToonMonkey wrote:
    Personally I thought LA was average as best, although some of the theme parks are brilliant (Six Flags and Knotts Berry Farm). It's bascially a massive smoggy mess and unless you've got some freinds there, it's not that great to visit. Once you've drove around Hollywood, the Hollywood Hills and Compton/Watts/etc. there's not much else to do. Apart from driving and being stuck in traffic.

    Staying on the West Coast I can't recommend enough the following places which, unlike LA, are brilliant: Seattle, San Diego, San Francisco, Lake Tahoe, Yosemite National Park, Las Vegas and Tijuana.

    This is good advice.

    LA is a horrible place and I wouldn't spend any time there unless I really had to (and I like big cities).
  • kalel 3 Jul 2008 11:11:52 87,583 posts
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    Well, thatís my advice based on my experience. I think youíre a) underestimating how quickly youíll cover the distances, b) not appreciating how much time youíll want to spend at places on route (Grand Canyon alone needs 2 or 3 days to see properly) and c) I think you might just not realise how hard it will be to do that much driving every single day. Iíd really suggest spending 2 days on road and 1 off or something like that.

    But yeah, thatís just based on my experience. Obviously do whatever you wantÖ
  • Grunk 3 Jul 2008 11:13:29 4,718 posts
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    I think the centre of the US is meant to be pretty dull, although you may be entertained my some WTF moments in the bible belt.

    Perhaps a road trip up the west coast would be better? If you like snowboarding, this would be awesome in the winter.
  • kalel 3 Jul 2008 11:13:35 87,583 posts
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    Iíd also suggest going north to south on the west coast rather than go east to west (as thereís fuck all in the middle). Itís a much better road trip.
  • TheSaint 3 Jul 2008 11:14:42 14,369 posts
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    Your 2500 mile route doesn't take you near many interesting places though only really Chicago and Denver. What about Miami to Vegas? Around the same mileage but you could adjust your route to make stops in some of the more interesting cities in the south.
  • Seto 3 Jul 2008 11:14:49 671 posts
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    I would recomend starting on the east coast for a few days - then fly over to the west coast - not much to see in the middle of the US (apart from corn and hillbillys with banjos).

    Then you can just cruise the two coasts and have a great time.

    Edit - If your ok to rent cars at both ends that is

  • JuanKerr 3 Jul 2008 11:16:15 36,246 posts
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    kalel wrote:
    Iíd also suggest going north to south on the west coast rather than go east to west (as thereís fuck all in the middle). Itís a much better road trip.

    This.

    Coast to coast in 10 days is just too much in my opinion. I'd do the west coast, personally.
  • Mike_Hunt 3 Jul 2008 11:23:08 23,513 posts
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    kalel wrote:
    Well, thatís my advice based on my experience. I think youíre a) underestimating how quickly youíll cover the distances, b) not appreciating how much time youíll want to spend at places on route (Grand Canyon alone needs 2 or 3 days to see properly) and c) I think you might just not realise how hard it will be to do that much driving every single day. Iíd really suggest spending 2 days on road and 1 off or something like that.

    But yeah, thatís just based on my experience. Obviously do whatever you wantÖ
    Heh, I shouldn't ask for advice if I'm not prepared to listen. I'll have a re-think, but 2 days on the road one day off should be more than do-able.

    Also, it does appear that there really is fuck all in the middle. I've personally been to miami (and didn't really like it), but I think we'll have to take another look at the route.

    We also though about a road trip across Europe, we'd get to see more countries, but wouldn't be able to speak the lingo in most of them (which may make for a better adventure I guess).

    [MH]
  • Mike_Hunt 3 Jul 2008 11:27:56 23,513 posts
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    Hmm... NY > Miami > Vegas > San Fran = 4000 miles. That's 400 miles a day, average.

    That said, because of the huge distances between something interesting, would it not be more a case of driving for 8 hours a day for two days (covering near 1000 miles) then having a full day in each state? I've just checked and we'll have 13 days to do the driving in, with about another week to spend in the final destination (which should be enough for Vegas/Canyon and San Fran).

    [MH]
  • Grunk 3 Jul 2008 11:28:27 4,718 posts
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    Buy a shitty landrover.

    Drive to singapore.
  • JuanKerr 3 Jul 2008 11:31:09 36,246 posts
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    Mike_Hunt wrote:

    We also though about a road trip across Europe, we'd get to see more countries, but wouldn't be able to speak the lingo in most of them (which may make for a better adventure I guess).

    [MH]

    That's definitely an alternative you should consider - you'd certainly get a better variation of cultures, etc and you'd see a lot more in a shorter distance. Plus, you wouldn't necessarily have to rent cars as well.

    If I were in your shoes, I'd save a USA road trip until you have a good month to travel around.
  • TheSaint 3 Jul 2008 11:33:18 14,369 posts
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    Mike_Hunt wrote:
    Hmm... NY > Miami > Vegas > San Fran = 4000 miles. That's 400 miles a day, average.

    If you are doing that route then just fly to Miami and start there.

    If I was you I would listen to the amount of people suggesting sticking to the west Coast. Seattle to San Diego via Vegas would be a great route with some of the best scenery in the world.
  • Grunk 3 Jul 2008 11:47:54 4,718 posts
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    And you get to drive down the 101
  • keyboardmonkey 3 Jul 2008 13:09:43 409 posts
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    I've done from NY state into Canada most of the way along the border, then dropped back down in to the US through the Rockies down to Las Vegas and then back to NY again.

    My tips would be:
    a) Really like the people you are travelling with
    b) Take an MP3 player you can plus into the car stereo (as US radio stations can be very much the same music all the time)
    c) Get a car with good Aircon but low petrol consumption. (it will make a huge difference to your petrol bill in the end)
    d) Under no circumstances should you eat in the car (after a few days the car will start to stink enough from everyones body sweat, adding food smells to the aroma only makes it worse)
    e) Set out some rules e.g. if you have smokers in the car, or wild men who want to flash their arse at everyone.
    f) Don't spend all your time driving, even though everyone thinks it will be fine as you will take it in turns etc... you will all be tired when you get to your destination
    g) Depending on what your budget is like, go and use some of the Youth Hostel type places rather than motels, we found that when you are in a youth hostel you tend end up talking to other people more often ,get taken out by the locals and have a better time than being in a motel/hotel room.

    Anyway places to visit
    GrandCanyon (place nearby called flagstaff i think)
    Las Vegas
    Memphis ( possilby Gracelands)
    Six flags (as mentioned already) tend to be very good theme parks
    Find a place called Beaver and then go to a Wendys so you have a reciept for Wendys Beaver :-)
    Washington, FBI building was cool
  • DaisyD 3 Jul 2008 13:21:57 11,826 posts
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    ToonMonkey wrote:
    Personally I thought LA was average as best, although some of the theme parks are brilliant (Six Flags and Knotts Berry Farm). It's bascially a massive smoggy mess and unless you've got some freinds there, it's not that great to visit. Once you've drove around Hollywood, the Hollywood Hills and Compton/Watts/etc. there's not much else to do. Apart from driving and being stuck in traffic.

    Staying on the West Coast I can't recommend enough the following places which, unlike LA, are brilliant: Seattle, San Diego, San Francisco, Lake Tahoe, Yosemite National Park, Las Vegas and Tijuana.

    Mammouth Mountain's not that far from Yosemite too and is pretty nice. Plus it's free and Yosemite costs. People forget it as it's mainly a Ski resort, but it's got some stunning views and wildlife etc and some awseome mountain bike tracks too (it's home of the kamakazi run).
  • funkstar 3 Jul 2008 13:22:15 1,194 posts
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    Mike_Hunt wrote:

    We also though about a road trip across Europe, we'd get to see more countries, but wouldn't be able to speak the lingo in most of them (which may make for a better adventure I guess).

    [MH]

    i did a 3000 mile road trip round Europe last summer (over a 3 week period with quite a lot of 3 day stops in different places) - was an absolutely fantastic trip, and didnt have any language problems at all

    the main places we stopped were berlin, prague, innsbruck, venice and geneva but we had quite a few stops in smaller, less known places along the way

    The Lives of Nobody Important Paperback

  • Khanivor 3 Jul 2008 18:23:47 40,735 posts
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    Pick your time of year carefully. You don't want to be visiting Memphis in late August.
  • Mike_Hunt 4 Jul 2008 12:09:41 23,513 posts
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    Khanivor wrote:
    Pick your time of year carefully. You don't want to be visiting Memphis in late August.
    Is that Elvis season or something?!

    [MH]
  • Deleted user 4 July 2008 12:13:06
    Mike_Hunt wrote:
    Is anyone here well travelled in the USA? Myself and quite a few friends all turn 30 next year. As we'll then be officially "nearly dead's" we'd like to go out in style and have one last big adventure.

    The idea we've had is a road trip coast to coast across the USA. We're aiming to start somewhere like New York and travel across country until we hit Vegas. We'll only have about 10 days (give or take a few) to achieve this, which, according to google is possible if we push hard. However, we're not really sure of where to stop on the way. Can anyone recommend any other states/cities worthy of visiting en-route?

    [MH]




    Sounds like the making of a horror movie.

    Paramount pictures presents
    30 ways to die when your 30.

    It should have been teh holiday of a lifetime.
    A bunch of 30 somethings break down in the middle of the USA stranded secluded they are stalked and murdered by a pack of inbred mutant locals who boil them and suck the meat off their bones.

    Coming soon.
  • kalel 4 Jul 2008 12:15:34 87,583 posts
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    Mike_Hunt wrote:
    Khanivor wrote:
    Pick your time of year carefully. You don't want to be visiting Memphis in late August.
    Is that Elvis season or something?!

    [MH]

    Possibly, although he might just be talking about the weather, which is also a fair point. Some of those areas in the West get stupidly hot that time of year, weíre talking ludicrous temperatures, and quite often on the roads you get signs advising you to turn off your air-con in case you run out of water.

    That said I did a road trip through the West last August and it was ok.

    Actually that reminds me of another good tip Ė donít know what car you were thinking of getting, but Iíd personally recommend a 4x4 type job over a convertible. Obviously the convertible on the open road is a lovely idea, but in practise the latter is better. We had one and we loved it, and all the people we met doing it in Mustangs were really jealous of our Rav 4 :)
  • Grunk 4 Jul 2008 12:34:03 4,718 posts
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    I'm telling you a west coast road trip from november to april..

    You could start in Tijuana, head up the coast, San Diego, Vegas, Tahoe, San franacisco, mamoth, heavenly, big white, seattle, mount baker, vancouver, whistler.

    Much awesomeness, remember to sound more British than Hugh Grant too.

  • Monsta 4 Jul 2008 12:36:52 1,276 posts
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    Last time i was in the states as a big group we hired a Hummer and an Escalade. They cost a fortune but the Escalade was great to drive and the hummer is just the coolest thing in teh world.

    As for places to see, the middle of america is fairly dull.
    The west cost is very cool (LA is horrible thought) San francisco is amazing, Mammouth Mountain is fantasitc and a great place for Mountain biking.

    The road from SF to LA is one of the longest drives ever with almost no turn offs. The scenary is amazing but after 10 hours your looking forward to a change.

    Vegas is Disney land on Acid and well worth a visit.

    I love the north east as well, New Yorn, Boston etc are some of my favourite places in the states and if my wife wasn't from Florida that where i'd be moving next year.
  • Mike_Hunt 4 Jul 2008 12:38:01 23,513 posts
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    espibara wrote:
    Mike_Hunt wrote:
    Is anyone here well travelled in the USA? Myself and quite a few friends all turn 30 next year. As we'll then be officially "nearly dead's" we'd like to go out in style and have one last big adventure.

    The idea we've had is a road trip coast to coast across the USA. We're aiming to start somewhere like New York and travel across country until we hit Vegas. We'll only have about 10 days (give or take a few) to achieve this, which, according to google is possible if we push hard. However, we're not really sure of where to stop on the way. Can anyone recommend any other states/cities worthy of visiting en-route?

    [MH]


    Sounds like the making of a horror movie.

    Paramount pictures presents
    30 ways to die when your 30.

    It should have been teh holiday of a lifetime.
    A bunch of 30 somethings break down in the middle of the USA stranded secluded they are stalked and murdered by a pack of inbred mutant locals who boil them and suck the meat off their bones.

    Coming soon.
    Will this movie contain sex as well as horror and violence?

    [MH]
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