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I was planning to drive across the country this summer. From Los Angeles to the East coast. Any advice?

Any advice would be helpful. Where to stay? What tourist attractions are worth seeing? What cities are worth stopping in? What roads to take? How much money should I take for a month long trip? How long to stay in each location? What equiptment do I need? Will my 1993 240 Volvo make the trip? Where to go?

I want to do it, but i don't know anyone else who has. I have no clue where to make my first destination. Should I start North and make my way East from there? Should I stay South and head east from there? If so, how should i return West in an attempt to see and experience as much as possible.

I want to get out of my structured, overly-complicated life and just drive.

I want to meet people and change my outlook on the world. Help me.

6 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    I'm big on the outdoors and drives in the country. I prefer to stay away from interstates and have not had a map on my trips across the continent in years. Then again I have most of the general map in my head as well that every state has visitor information areas at borders where free maps are available. These places are great to take a "break" gather information about the new state you are in and get an idea of where to go next. Most of my favorite and revisited places are in the West. Yellowstone is pretty much a must if you have never been... but get out of the car and do some hiking. Arizona Desert and Grand canyon running into New Mexico. North West Nebraska is a beautiful Rural area that is lesser known to most. Colorado Rockies running right up through to Yellowstone again. Go North and you are into Montana which is a huge place and has wilderness unmatched in the lower 48. Badlands in South Dakota are neat. Upper Minnesota, Wisconsin and The UP of Michigan are also nice rides.

    basically I could go on and on about places because there isn't a lower 48 I haven't been through at least twice. Be like Forest is my best advice and keep running.

    A month might not be enough time in my book.. but that is a bit of time.. you'll know you have accomplished your goal if you loose track of what day it is.

    I usually camp. National forests are the cheapest an are numerous. If you are hooked up for car camping you can even not pay a cent and camp anywhere that seems good. Follow that dirt road into the hills and see what you find.

    figure your gas at $3 a gallon and figure your MPG on the old Volvo. You're looking at between 3 and 4 thousand miles each way. If the Volvo is strong you should be ok. Have it properly prepped fluid wise and tire wise. have emergency Credit card if you have a break down (you wouldn't believe some of my break down experiences.) Avoid going too fast.. on a trip like that 80 mph in a 70 mph gains you a lousy 10 miles distance in an hour... and a possible $100 or more out of your pocket for that 10 minutes. I like to tuck myself behind trucks going 70, and reduce my gas with the reduced wind resistance (little trick when your not loaded) its not much but it does save believe it or not.

    Remember your getting out of the structured over complicated so just go... see something in the distance.. go check it out. be friendly, once you leave the coasts, you find people are pretty easy going and friendly themselves. Hard to imagine when you have always been in the megalopolis of East or West coast, and every time I have to reacquaint myself with small talk with strangers (just doesn't happen as easy as you know in the big cities.)

    Cities.. I avoid em, mostly so as to not risk theft as much with a car full of my stuff. But.. Chicago Jazz scene New Orleans for that matter. LAS Vegas lights and action, though I prefer Reno. Seattle the Emerald city. Atlanta, Washington, New York, Boston and San Francisco are my list of cities I like.

    My quick route advice after all that: North along the coast right up to Seattle. head East to Spokane, Idaho and Montana. If your real adventurous head up to glacier NP an then take rte 2 east for a while across the top, less distance Yellowstone then east in Gallatin wilderness again back into Montana. Into the plain states heading North East. The I 80 I 90 corridor from Chicago to Buffalo is heavily police patrolled. Hit some of New York, maybe New England. stop in here and say hello in Hanover MA. Head south to New York down the garden state into Washington DC. (at anypoint you can head West here again.) want to go south, visit Durham or Ashland and Great Smokey Mountain. Head further South maybe and truck on through Mississippi and Alabama. (don't worry too much, it isn't 1965 anymore you should be ok) See Texas and realize how dang big it is when its two days later and you are still there. back into New Mexico, Arizona Grand canyon, sip coffee and say dam I need to get home. I got.. uhhhh .. six dollars... mom .. can you wire me some cash... they always do it because they want you home safe... but you'll hear about it till you pay em back.

    enjoy dude.. maybe I'll see you out there.

    Source(s): 26 times cross country in various vehicles of various states from new to given to me... two dogs and a hole lot of shoes gas and memories. Enjoy this subject and am available via email for more.
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  • 1 decade ago

    I've done it a couple of times. Go I-80 or I-70.

    Most of the journey is boring. Cool places I've been to/through - Death Valley, Joshua Tree forest, Grand Canyon, Las Vegas, Boulder dam, 4 corners in CO/AZ/NM/UT, Mesa Verde in Colorado, Canyon De Chelly, Black Canyon of the Gunnison, Aspen Colorado, Vail Colorado, Bonneville Salt Flats, Trail Ridge Road in RCMP (Estes Park, CO), Coors Brewery in Golden Colorado, Red Rocks in Denver, Boulder Colorado, miles and miles and miles of nothing..... Indianapolis Motor Speedway.....nothing.....Rock and Roll hall of fame, Niagara Falls, Adirondacks NY (Lake George, Lake Placid), Fort Ticonderoga (top of Lake George), there is also a hill just south east of Fort Ticonderoga that one must drive to the top of to appreciate the fort. Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream factory in Vermont, Burlington, VT, VT Country Store (look it up on the web, there are two of them), spend a night in Montpelier, VT - it's as close as you will find to Mayberry - from the Andy Griffith show. Boston, Fenway Park, Freedom Trail, Boston's north end - Newport, RI - the mansion tours are really cool, New York City - more to see than can be covered here. Cape May, NJ, ohhhh the list is endless.

    Alternative tour - do Rt66 from the Santa Monica Pier to Chicago (you will have to find a book on the old Rt66, parts of it don't exist anymore).

    Another alternative. Go to a web site called, look at the blogs - there is a guy from NY that did a "chow tour" checking out restaurants recommended by people on the web site. It's really funny to read and should also give you some good ideas. I haven't looked at it for awhile, I'm not sure he's finished with it yet. If nothing else you will learn where to eat.

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  • Toots
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago

    The BEST trips are the ones that are more spontaneous...

    Does it matter if you go North-South or East-West...NO! Do a little of each!

    There are TOO many wonderful places in America to see, so many wonderful things to do in each state to even begin to list them...You may want to "Google" each state you plan to visit and see what their respective Chamber of Commerce websites say...

    You could be like the movie "Michael" where he wanted to visit each states "largest" thing..(largest ball of twine..etc!) state of NC has serveral "largest"..Largest Chair (downtown Thomasville), Largest Chest of Drawers (High Point), Largest Tea Pot (Winston-Salem)...

    Backroads are always good! And remember to be safe and have much $$ you need depends on where you plan to stay and eat...

    Were I a few years younger, I'd love to tag along!

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  • 1 decade ago

    Sounds amazing - wish I had the time and money.

    I would definitely stop in Austin, TX (maybe coinciding with the music festival there - you'll meet tons of people from all over the globe).

    I would also go to San Francisco, Portland and Seattle in the summertime.

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  • kj
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    That would be FUN! Could I come too? I LOVE road trips. You could always check out the old Route 66. I would recommend you hit as many back roads as possible and try to stay off the interstates. I know it would make it "longer", but you get to see much more of the country that way.

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  • Eric C
    Lv 4
    1 decade ago

    sounds good, first get your car in a garage for a thorogh check up, including the wiper blades, tires, all fluid and spare tire.

    for the route, depends on how much time you want to spend, may not be a bad idea go to AAA auto club and get some information, sometimes they give out suggestions as well.

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