Road trip across USA

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    Jul 27, 2013 9:23 AM GMT
    So despite being at a great position in life with work etc. I have become comfortable. Comfortable is not what i want! I need a bit more excitement. So gonna leave it all behind and travel. Not quite as rash as in the films, cos im gonna save up over next 10 months before leaving.

    Been starting to think more and more about where i wanna go and have alot of ideas. The latest of which is a USA road trip, coast to coast. Cliche i know. Surprised myself with this one as never really been interested in going to the US.

    So my question to you guys is where do i go? Where are the must see places? Its likely to end up having no structure but wanna make sure i tick of the must see/dos. Plus any tips would be grand.

    Sell your country to me.
  • WhoDey

    Posts: 561

    Jul 27, 2013 1:02 PM GMT
    There are millions to do in the US, and people like different things. Why don't you write some things you are interested in, so we can narrow some things down...
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    Jul 27, 2013 1:15 PM GMT
    WhoDey saidThere are millions to do in the US, and people like different things. Why don't you write some things you are interested in, so we can narrow some things down...


    ^ ^ ^ ^
    Yeah.. We are not sure of your likes /dislikes.. hobbies , interests etc.

    ..Are you a nature lover?
    Into architecture?
    A beach boy?
    History Buff?
    An avid Meat Gazer?

    ..Tell us more..
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    Jul 27, 2013 1:37 PM GMT
    I highly recommend Route 66. So much so that it's my only tattoo! Do it alone and don't plan anything. Just go. Much more exciting that way to make the journey your destination.
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    Jul 27, 2013 5:08 PM GMT
    As a European myself, I'd say make sure you hit the Natural Wonders: Grand Canyon, Yosemite, Yellowstone, etc. The National Park Service (http://nps.gov) is a great place to start for those.

    Then remember that America is enormous. A road trip ends up being filled with lots of nothing between sights, and you may end up regretting the days spent driving through prairies or deserts. You may be much better off picking your spots and flying from one to the other, especially since you won't have an own car, anyway.

    Also, remember that the inside of continents is prone to drastic seasonal changes, so make sure you time your trip right. Do not travel to Death Valley in August, and avoid Yellowstone in January!

    As far as cities are concerned, the only three must-sees are New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco - mostly because you are familiar with all three from TV shows and movies. I would add Washington, D.C. to the list because of its iconic sights and splendid museums.
  • Bunjamon

    Posts: 3161

    Jul 27, 2013 6:31 PM GMT
    07LINCOLN_SPAN-articleLarge.jpg

    Cross-Country, by a Road Less Traveled, an article in the NYTimes about traveling the Lincoln Highway.
  • staugustine

    Posts: 2

    Jul 27, 2013 7:33 PM GMT
    Glad to hear you're considering a road trip across the USA. If you decide to go through with it, you will not be disappointed.

    You definitely want to rent a car. It is by far the best, most efficient way to see the country. It offers you much more freedom to come and go as you please than having to rely on public transportation. In America, the car is THE way to travel! It takes about 5 days to travel from east to west, but that's with minimal stops.

    There is so much to see and do. The country is vast and has something unique to offer each individual's personal interests. How much time and money will you have? If those won't be issues for you, then I'd suggest taking your time and really enjoying the trip as much as possible.

    I'm a truck driver, so I think I can speak somewhat confidently on this. I'll try my best with the limited information I have on you, and you can pick and choose what appeals/works for you.

    If you just want the experience of driving from the east coast to the west coast, you can drive Interstate 90 in the northern region from Massachusetts (MA) to Seattle, Washington (WA). This is my personal favorite because of all the natural beauty you'll see along the way.

    Or, you can take Interstate 70 in the middle region which starts in Washington, DC and leads to California (CA). This is a great way to go as well--it offers beauty, but it's different from the North. You'll see a lot of farmland going this way.

    Or, you can drive Interstate 10 in the southern region from Miami, Florida (FL) to LA. If you like the heat, deserts, and the gulf coast, this would be the way to go.
    All 3 ways offer a beautiful and unique trip--I guess it just depends on what you like.

    Driving Highway 101 from San Diego, CA to Seattle, WA all along the west coast is a treat in and of itself. There is stunning natural beauty and beaches all along the way. You obviously only get to see the west coast, but if you're limited on time and money, you can't lose with this choice.

    The must-see cities are New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Seattle, Savannah, Austin, Dallas, Las Vegas, and Washington, DC. Washington is one of the most beautiful cities I've seen with all the monuments and museums. The traffic around the city is horrendous, though.

    From my experiences, the states with the most natural beauty, in no particular order, are: California, Oregon, Washington, Maryland, Wisconsin, Arizona, Montana, New York, Maine, Vermont, Pennsylvania, Florida, West Virginia, Virginia, Tennessee, Georgia, and Colorado. However, each and every state has its own pockets of beauty. You just can't always see everything from an interstate.

    As themachine stated, the natural wonders are an absolute must-see. He gave you a link to help you there. The Grand Canyon in Arizona is breathtaking.

    Yes, America is a big country, but if you have the time, the hours spent driving through deserts/prairies/farmland to your next destination are where a lot of the fun is. Just take in the sights because you never know if you'll ever be back. And let's not forget the people--I hope you'll meet lots of wonderful folks along the way.
    Remember, as in life, it's the journey that's special, not always the destination.
    I hope this helps--feel free to message me if you have any other questions.
    Scott
  • AMoonHawk

    Posts: 11406

    Jul 27, 2013 7:46 PM GMT
    Scruffypup saidI highly recommend Route 66. So much so that it's my only tattoo! Do it alone and don't plan anything. Just go. Much more exciting that way to make the journey your destination.

    Yep ... did route 66 ... it's pretty cool! Loved the Drive on highway 1 too.
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    Jul 27, 2013 8:55 PM GMT
    Consider "Jucy RV" as a low cost option to transportation/lodging while you tour some or all of the U.S.

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  • Suetonius

    Posts: 1842

    Jul 27, 2013 10:44 PM GMT
    surfswim saida USA road trip, coast to coast.

    Sell your country to me.

    It's a big place and, depending on the length of your stay, you may want to consider Canada as well.

    Depending on the time of year, Chicago is a great place to visit. The rocky mountains. The applachian mountains. Alaska - for bears and glaciers.

    Since 911, USA visa laws have gotten complicated, so you should look into whether or not you need a visa, long before you plan to travel. It's much easier for us in the US to travel to europe than the other way around. Generally, a UK citizen can visit for 90 days without a visa, but there are exceptions.
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    Jul 27, 2013 11:32 PM GMT
    Geez, I am so envious. Take this opportunity and relish it! I've been coast-to-coast 5 times in a vehicle. What you can do and see will depend on your time frame, of course. Travel alone or with just one person who shares your sense of adventure. Also, make sure the weather is friendly for the time you'll be going. You don't want to get stuck in snow or be threatened by flash floods or tornados. Start in New York, visit Philly. Travel down the east coast. Visit D.C. and all it's history and museums. Go through Virginia Beach, down to Florida. Take I-10 to New Orleans, travel up through Dallas, TX to I-40 and get on route 66. Visit the Grand Canyon, Las Vegas and if you have time go to White Sands National Monument in New Mexico and travel to Santa Fe and Taos. Git on to California...San Diego, Los Angeles and head up to Yosemite National Park and Lake Tahoe. Visit San Francisco. Keep going north to Astoria, Oregon and to Seattle, Washington. Head back on I-80, visiting Yellowstone National Park, the Big Horn mountains of Wyoming. Devil's Mountain (from Close Encounters of the 3rd Kind). Visit historic Indian territory in S. Dakota. Have a beer and some cheese in Wisconsin, followed by some pizza in Chicago. Dang, I miss those days of travel.
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    Jul 28, 2013 1:23 AM GMT
    If you are in the USA at the end of next August, you might find the Burning Man festival up your alley. It's definitely something out of the ordinary - and as far from the surf as you can get. Always starting about 1 week before the first Monday in September (a national holiday), it is a congregation of about 50,000 people in the middle of bumfuck-nowhere Nevada desert (very hot during the day). Many miles from civilization. Mostly in bizarre costumes - some nude - straight and gay - Lots of people work on their costumes or art installations for months prior. It really is an indescribable experience. Logistically, although not required, you almost have to sign up with some group (tribe) to have things like water, bathing and food arranged for you. Miraculously, at the end, everything is totally cleaned up, and the desert is returned to the state as if no one had been there. You can read a lot about it on the interweb.
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    Jul 28, 2013 1:54 AM GMT
    the time would be better spent reading and/or in solitude . . .
  • LJay

    Posts: 11612

    Jul 28, 2013 2:06 AM GMT
    Be careful not to rely on the internet maps for directions. What you want is something like the Rand McNally printed atlas. That way you can identify the smaller towns and the state and local roads which will give you a lot more adventure and lead you to meet a lot more people. The Google maps routes tend to use the big interstate highways which more or less homogenize the experience.

    You have a fascinating project ahead of you. Good luck.
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    Jul 28, 2013 2:31 AM GMT
    Aristoshark saidTwo of the truly nuttiest cities in America:

    1) Richmond, Virginia: Physically a gorgeous city filled with loopy throwbacks who are still fighting the Civil War. Caught in a 1950s time warp, it is the last place on earth that still has a Tuesday Afternoon Ladies' Garden Club. The former capital of the Confederacy.

    2) Savannah, Georgia: Home of the infamous Paula Deen. A truly lovely city filled with people who are fat, drunk, and armed to the teeth. Hilarious. Mind your manners here (seriously) but don't miss it.


    I'm from Richmond, originally, but I don't know a hell of a lot about the Ladies' Garden Club!

    I do think it's pretty impressive that, post-reconstruction, some really harmonious, well-designed neighborhoods were built after so much of the city was destroyed in the Civil War. I've lived in other places in both the US and Europe and still think that Richmond has truly beautiful architectural character, especially in the Fan and Church Hill.
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    Jul 28, 2013 2:40 AM GMT
    Aristoshark said
    Pamphleteer saidI'm from Richmond, originally, but I don't know a hell of a lot about the Ladies' Garden Club!

    Meetings are at the Ginter Park Ladies' Club. I lived in Ginter Park for a couple of years after leaving the sterile West End suburbs (Short Pump, ugh).


    I lived in Ginter Park too! Actually, I lived all over Richmond—several places in the Fan, plus Ginter Park, Church Hill and Fulton Hill. Loved the town, but could never move back with the rotten, uber-conservativism there. Somehow, when I was younger, I could overlook that bullshit. These days I can't imagine living there again, despite my family remaining in the area.
  • LJay

    Posts: 11612

    Jul 28, 2013 2:44 AM GMT
    But Sharky, Short Pump was then a fascinating and important retail destination. Now it is a fucking mall and Beautiful Downtown Short Pump is gone.

    Did you live in the Presyterian Ghetto or further afield in Ginter Park?

    PS--Here in the Southside you can ignore the reactionaries or shoot back, as you wish.
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    Jul 28, 2013 3:55 AM GMT
    Every state has its own great places to visit. I'd say that the best ones to visit would be New York, California, and Florida but it all depends on you, and what you want to see or do.
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    Jul 28, 2013 11:44 AM GMT
    Wow thanks so much for all the replies and private messages!

    Definitely having a good read and getting myself pretty excited.

    When travelling in the past been very spur of the moment and not paned too much, so will really see how it goes, but just want some ideas of whats good.

    Interests include - nature, partying, beaches, meeting new people

    I'm not going to be a tourist, but throw myself into life/culture
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    Jul 28, 2013 11:55 AM GMT
    GAMRican saidConsider "Jucy RV" as a low cost option to transportation/lodging while you tour some or all of the U.S.

    ee862b5a0fe503a377a980d4999168c0.JPG?ito
    The guys here will give you some great ideas. I like the Jucy RV option offered by GAMRican. Since you are going to need a car, don't even consider getting the car in New York. Rentals are more expensive than anywhere in the US. Plan on returning the vehicle to the pickup location unless you want to pay mileage and drop-off charges. Being under 25 will make the rental more expensive. One final downer thought is to check the geographic area where it's permissible to drive the car. Some companies impose a restricted area. GPS data is used to verify that the vehicle remained within the restricted area. Good luck with the planning.
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    Jul 28, 2013 7:20 PM GMT
    What about buying a car since I wouldn't likely take it back?
  • dc415

    Posts: 255

    Jul 28, 2013 7:35 PM GMT
    people rent one-way things too. i think they're called "driveaways"...
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    Jul 29, 2013 12:46 AM GMT
    Take Dinah's advice

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    Jul 29, 2013 1:10 AM GMT
    surfswim saidWhat about buying a car since I wouldn't likely take it back?

    Used? That can be a very good deal, if you are very careful - The USA had major flooding in hurricanes a year or so ago, and cars that were severely damaged from flooding get cleaned up and resold (sometimes with new vehicle numbers) without any warning that the car had flood damage (which may show up later).
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    Jul 29, 2013 1:41 AM GMT
    Aristoshark saidOkay, you Richmonders will enjoy this:

    Right after moving to Richmond to be with my then-boyfriend, he and I took a walk down to Hollywood Cemetery. He wanted to show me the graves of the three Presidents buried there (James Monroe, John Tyler, Jefferson Davis). When we arrived there was a huge crowd gathered around a ceremony. Old men were stuffed into great-great-grandpappy's Confederate uniform with buttons straining over big bellies, the Stars and Bars had been raised and was fluttering in the breeze while a band struck up "Dixie". It seems that the Sons of the Confederacy have been pursuing for the last 50 years the project of locating every Confederate corpse buried in the North, exhuming them and re-interring them with honors in the dedicated section of the cemetery. I strained to see what was going on in front of the crowd, and I was surprised to see a huge casket. I turned to the man next to me and remarked that this must have been a gigantic soldier. He looked at me with the disdain one reserves for a simpleton. "That's because it's a horse," he snapped.


    OMFG! What a GREAT story.