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Planning US Trip in March 2014

Melbourne, Australia
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Planning US Trip in March 2014

Good Afternoon,

My name is Shaun, and I live in Melbourne, Australia. I seek assistance with planning my US road trip. I have been planning this since August. I have most of the bigger details laid out, but I have some doubts or paranoia I guess of how well this will all go. The duration of the holiday will be from the 1st - 31st of March as it has been planned at the moment.

It will be my dad, my uncle and I on a very long road trip circuit of the US. The current travel route is as follows:

Los Angeles, Portland

Yosemite OR San Luis Obispo > Monterey ?????

San Francisco

Salem, Oregon

Portland, Oregon

Seattle, Washington

Spokane, Washington

Yellowstone National Park

Rapid City, South Dakota

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Chicago, Illinios

Indianapolis, Indianna

Columbus, Ohio

Cleveland, Ohio

Detroit, Michigan

Toronto, Canada

Buffalo, New York

Rochester, New York

Albany, New York

Boston, Massachusetts

Providence, Rhode Island

New Haven, Connecticut

Yonkers, New York

Manhattan, New York,

Queens, New York

New York, New York

Staten Island, New York

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Atlantic City, New Jersey

Baltimore, Maryland

Washington

Richmond, Virginia

Greensboro, North Carolina

Nashville, Tennessee

Chattanooga, Tennesee

Atlanta, Georgia

Savannah, Georgia

Jacksonville

Daytona Beach, Florida

Miami, Florida

Fort Myers, Florida

Tampa, Florida

Orlando, Florida

Tallahassee, Florida

Panama City, Florida

Mobile, Alabama

New Orleans, Louisiana

Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Houston, Texas

San Antonio, Texas

Austin, Texas

Dallas, Texas

Oklahoma City

Wichita, Kansas

Kansas City, Missouri

Denver, Colorado

Albuquerque, New Mexico

Las Vegas, Nevada

Back to LAX

An extremely long trip! Having the distance calculated, it equates to 7.35 days of pure driving. This is the portion of the trip my dad is most looking forward to. We will be trying to keep a consistent pace. Most places, we will not be staying for very long, is not at all. We will likely stay 2-3 days in New York and Miami, 1-2 days in LA, Seattle, Chicago, and Houston. The rest will be pass through or stick around for a couple of hours. Do you guys think that will be manageable, or will it be too rushed do you think?

Some people I have spoken to (none of which have actually been to the US) look at me funny when I tell them some of the area, like Minneapolis, or Detroit, or Virginia, or Tennessee and say I shouldn't waste my time. What do you guys think of the selected route? Is there any place I really shouldn't bother with? is there any places I am missing that I simply must see? I would really appreciate feedback and or criticism.

It is very much a sight seeing trip. I am infatuated with the US culture (as much as people say that Americans do not have any). I want to see as much as I can. Nature, huge cities, slums and ghettos, long open highways, sports, museums, music. I want to see as much as possible. I want to experience the American way of life, from every corner of it. I am not really concerned with activities. Disneyland, as much as it is apart of America culture, doesn't really interest me too much beyond a drive past.

We will be renting a car, likely either a Ford Crown Victoria, or a Mustang. We will be stopping in motels every night. Though it is a big ask, can anyone recommend a good cheap hotels in any of the given towns/cities?

Thank you to anyone who takes the time to read this. Any suggestions, comments or questions are welcome.

N. Idaho
Destination Expert
for Yellowstone National Park
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1. Re: Planning US Trip in March 2014

Well, Yellowstone will be mostly closed. It closes to over snow vehicles about March 3 this year and doesnt reopen to wheeled vehicles til mid April. There is one road across the northern range of the park that stays open all year and you would possibly be able to see some wildlife but thats about it. It is also still pretty wintery in March in the higher elevations.

You will need to be very weather aware driving across the northern tier of states during that time of year as there can be snow events.

Pam

Cleveland
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2. Re: Planning US Trip in March 2014

Shaun, welcome to TA and the road trips forum!

This trip is IMO not desirable if even possible. You have well over 50 destinations listed for a 30-day trip. Read through the trip report sticky thread at the top of this forum and see what others did in 3-4 weeks.

It would be a rushed trip to even drive cross country in a relatively straight line if you wanted to take some time in major cities and otherwise see some amazing attractions. Your trip instead actually zig-zags around a very large part of the country. You won't experience anything if all you do is drive from one dot on the map to another dot on the map.

E.g., it's very hard to spend even just two days at Yellowstone, one of the most spectacular places on the planet and a giant park. Posters here often recommend at least 4-5 days for Yellowstone and the adjacent Grand Teton NP, also spectacular.

Cleveland
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3. Re: Planning US Trip in March 2014

D0bby's observations about the weather were good, but I didn't even focus on that given the immensity of your travel aspirations.

I don't understand how you will experience America if all you do is drive through it.

Read through this forum for many months and you'll find many threads discussing budget lodging and travel as well as most of the destinations that you've listed. Read the FAQs in the upper right corner of this forum.

N. Idaho
Destination Expert
for Yellowstone National Park
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4. Re: Planning US Trip in March 2014

TE, all I could focus on was the weather possibilities and park closure. The sheer number of cities was making me kind of crazy and not be able to look at this trip as a whole. I thought perhaps the first thing was to knock out some destinations!

To the OP...in relation to the zigzagging, were you just trying to check off a certain number of states? I have seen road trips where people did all 48 contiguous states in a short amount of time and that is some of the feeling I am getting here.

Pam

Melbourne, Australia
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205 posts
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5. Re: Planning US Trip in March 2014

Hi Dobby,

Yes, the travel agent I have been dealing with did mention Yellowstone will be cut off for the most part, however there is apparently a very scenic road that passes through it. We have been advised of the weather conditions, and will prepare for this as best we can. Thank you for your input!

Hi TranscendentalEye,

Thank you for your detailed responses. This has been the most helpful response I have had from anyone i've spoken thus far regarding the trip. It is a monumental trip definitely. However, I may have been a little brief with my description. We do not intend on stopping at all of these locations. A good majority, like Spokane and Buffalo and Greensboro will be pass throughs. However, I have never traveled to the US. I have no first hand understanding of their highway system or traffic. My only knowledge of travel is within Australia. Having calculated the trip, it seems manageable on paper (emphasis on paper), but your knowledge would undoubtedly be much better than mine.

Speaking to the travel agent I have been dealing with, and explaining how we intend on travelling and where the major spots of interest are, she said it should certainly be manageable. The travel agent herself use to live in Minneapolis, and has lived in New Jersey and Baltimore and North Carolina, so I certainly can't dispute what she thinks either.

The travel agent and I coordinated this as it was far more zig-zagged before her intervention. now it follows a relatively straight circuit, bar heading inland for Nashville and north from Texas. Cutting our the trip to Denver/Kansas, and heading down the coast instead of to Nashville cuts off a lot of travel. Do you think this would be a smarter option?

In your opinion, how long do you believe I should set to pull off a trip of this size, properly?

It is really quite difficult, because this will be the one and only time me and my dad will do this together. Being only 23, I have all the time in the world, but my dad won't likely do this again. I want to cram in as much as I can. However, looking at the list I typed up, it does seem dauntingly ambitious.

I really, really appreciate the time you have taken to respond to me, and I hope you don't take it as I am disregarding what you've said. I will continue to read up on FAQs and stories of other peoples trips as you suggested.

Melbourne, Australia
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6. Re: Planning US Trip in March 2014

were you just trying to check off a certain number of states?

You are right to a certain extent. I want to pass through as many states as I can. However, I think I have tried to select the smartest, straightest route I can. If you can picture it on a map, it is actually quite straight for the most of it. Head north to Seattle, head east to New York, head south to Florida, and back to LA.

Perhaps I should revise the list to show the main areas we will be staying and it looks astronomical with every little city we pass through.

Melbourne, Australia
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205 posts
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7. Re: Planning US Trip in March 2014

Here is a more condensed version of the major places we will be seeing:

Los Angeles

San Francisco

Seattle

Mount Rushmore

Minneapolis

Chicago

Indiannapolis

Columbus

Detroit

Toronto

Boston

New York

Philadelphia

Atlantic City

Wshington

Nashville (Maybe)

Atlanta

Miami

Tampa

New Orleans

Houston

Dallas

Kansas City (Maybe)

Denver (Maybe)

Albuquerque

Grand Canyon

Las Vegas

Do you still, considering these will be the major stops, being a day or so in duration, that the whole scope of the trip is unmanageable, or perhaps un-fulfilling? Any comments, suggestions or revisions are appreciated.

N. Idaho
Destination Expert
for Yellowstone National Park
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8. Re: Planning US Trip in March 2014

I suspect the *very scenic road* near Yellowstone is Beartooth Highway which does not open until at the earliest, the last weekend of May. The road that will be open across the Northern end of Yellowstone in March from Mammoth Hot Springs to Cooke City is closed past Cooke City so essentially is a dead end. You would have to drive out and back, returning to I90 at Livingston MT to carry on eastward.

Beartooth Highway runs from Cooke City MT to Red Lodge MT. The website for Beartooth highway has awesome pictures of their yearly snow-clearing efforts which begin in April.

Pam

Melbourne, Australia
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9. Re: Planning US Trip in March 2014

Hmm, that sucks. Looks like Yellowstone is unfortunately off the map then. Thank you Dobby.

Wednesbury, UK
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for Road Trips
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10. Re: Planning US Trip in March 2014

Hi.

Personally I think a loop trip around the US is an 8 week trip minimum, to get adequate time in location to be able to sightsee and get enough down time from driving. Thinking of it as a rectangle, 2 weeks each side and even that will be at a fast pace.

I don't think your travel agent knows what she is talking about, an experienced professional at a reputable agent would not make the mistake about Yellowstone. Also, as already pointed out the northern US is not the best of destinations whilst still having the risk of winter weather.

A month is a reasonable time, but not ideal, for a cross country one way, and at that time of year probably staying south mostly and away from the mountains.

tripadvisor.co.uk/…53519123

This contains a outline trip plan for a 28 day cross country, it's still too fast and they are not heading to SF.