Thursday, February 25, 2010

Franco - American Dream Road Trip

Hey Jamie,

How are you ???

My name is Pauline, i m french. Im actually an au pair in Washington DC. I brought your book yesterday and it is really nice. I really want to make a roadtrip.

Actually i m working but at the end of my year (for work) i plan a road trip, before to buy your book i thought about a roadtrip in California, but now i think about rent a car, and do the loneliest road and maybe more. The thing is, i would like to know how many time i need for to do that !!!!I know it can depend how we stay in différente place ... but i don t know maybe you know how many time we need just for to cross the country !!!

I have between July 12 an August 12 !!! I thought maybe (if i have time) to made a mix with the different Road trips you have in your book like for example : Loneliest Road (but from Baltimore to San Fransisco) then Pacific coast (From San Fransisco to San Diego) then Southern Pacific and Atlantic coast and stop to Baltimore ! I know it's crazy !!! i can t do that in one month right ???

I just want to know how much time i need for everything !!!
Thank you !!!

Ps: sorry for my english !!!

PS : Do you have other road trip in mind ??? Are you planning to write a new book soon ??? I really really love your book !!! kissssssss


Dear Pauline --

Many thanks for your nice note, and I hope you are still excited about your "American Dream" road trip. I'll do what I can to help point you toward some good places.

You've made at least one good decision -- buying my book.


"Merci beaucoup", and glad you like it !

Starting your trip in DC is perfect -- living there you will have learned a lot about America (especially if you spend some of your free time in the Smithsonian Museum of American History, which is a fantastic resource and pretty fun, too. )

The "Loneliest Road" trip west, from DC to California, is one of my favorite trips, for sure. And you can certainly make it "coast to coast" and back in a month, without driving yourself crazy. Just make sure you take the time to get out of the car and explore the wonderful places along the way -- you'll discover some surprises, such as how important French people were in the settling of the Wild West (St. Louis is a great place to experience this aspect of America).

The Rocky Mountains and Utah are also amazing -- very unlike anything in Europe, for sure. Depending on your taste in places, and your stamina behind the wheel of your car, you can make it from DC to SF in around 10 days, and have a great time doing so. San Francisco itself could take a lot of time and money, and the "Big Sur" coast south of SF is amazing.

Since you have other places to see, maybe you can race thru LA (take a picture of yourself with the "Hollywood" sign, for sure, but otherwise think about about saving this city for another trip...?).

The only real trouble you might have is heading east again - the desert of California and Arizona will be very very very HOT in July and August, when you are there. So you might want to make sure your have air conditioning in your car (all rental cars do) and maybe plan to drive pretty quickly thru this region.

That said, the Grand Canyon will be on your way, and it is high enough in the mountains that it will feel cool. This would mean maybe trading your planned route (my US80 "Southern Pacific" route) for a different, possibly more memorable one: Route 66, which runs across some spectacular and fascinating places.

If you take Route 66 as far, maybe, as Texas (where you can see Amarillo's famous cult-kitsch landmark, Cadillac Ranch), you could then head south and explore Louisiana (New Orleans and its famous "French Quarter"), and then come back to DC via the lovely coastline of Georgia and the Carolinas: the small cities of Savannah and Charleston are sophisticated and very pretty, filled with 250-year-old homes and lush, green public gardens.

All gorgeous, for sure.

So, these are just some ideas for your trip -- so long as you don't get in too much of a hurry, you will have a great time on this great adventure.

I hope this helps -- and thanks again for sharing your plans.

Bon voyage (?), and "Happy Trails",

Jamie Jensen
Road Trip USA


Dear Jamie,

A real thank you very much for your answer !!! It s really nice to do that, help people with there dreams !!!!

I m still excited to do that !!!!

You are welcome for thoughts on your book, i bought it because it is really good, so its not necessary to say " Merci beaucoup"

;-) but " De rien " !

Yes Washington DC it's an amazing city !!!! I really love to leave here !!! And every museums (free) are really intersting !!! I learned a lot, it's true !!!

I change a little bit my plan for my last trip. I looked a little bit the price for to rent a car, gas ... and its too bad but, i don t have the budget for that.

And now i have my boyfriend who is interested to plan a trip with me and he have only just 2 weeks, so it's not a lot for this kind of road trip. So, we just planned to made a bus tour in California/Nevada. I know it will be better to do everything by myself (i mean not with a tour) but it's too expensive.

To rent a car when you are less than 25 and don t have a valid Credit card (i have just a debit here) it's really difficulte.

But i really keep this precious mail, and plan to come back in USA and probably made this Road Trip. Thanks you a lot for all your advices and help.

It's really really nice that you do that for people. Answer to their mail and take time to help them, it's the first time that i see that, really thank you. I feel like a little bit bad that you took time to see my problem and try to help me if i dont do it !!! But i plan to do it in the futur.

Thank you very much again.
And "bon voyage" is really good !!!!

Keep in touch !!!
Take care !


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