Saturday, March 27, 2010

Cross Country Music tour

Kia ora Jamie,

We are a couple from New Zealand planning a road trip from New York to Los Angeles in August or September 2010. We were thinking of driving somewhere along the lines of the Appalachian trial then the southern pacific (and into Mexico) and up the pacific coast. We are hoping to purchase a used vehicle that we can sleeping in for at least a couple of nights a week (wagon or van).

We are very interested in tramping/camping and maybe kayaking in National Parks and seeing local wildlife. We also love good food and good music. We also want to get into some good honest US culture and meet the locals.

I have a lot of questions and was hoping you could point me in the right direction for some of them.

1) Do you have any advise on purchasing a vehicle? Do we require a US address (as we won't have one)? Can you direct us to a good site that specialises in foreigners who want to purchase a car in the US.

2) Is there anything that you would advise is a must do at this time of year or any events (festivals etc) that we should attend.

Any help would be appriciated

Kind Regards


PS if your ever coming to the south island of NZ we will help you out!!


Ahoy there Jen --

Thanks for writing in to Road Trip USA, and I would love to take you up on your offer of South Island hospitality. I had a friend (100 years ago or so....) who's from there, and I may make it over there yet!

As far as your USA tour, it sounds like you have a great trip ahead of you -- I hope it all works out, and I'll try to give you some help.

Late summer is a great time for traveling -- that is when most of the festivals take place. The Appalachian Trail is great at that time of year (though you will be a little early for the famous "fall color" of the changing autumnal leaves..) The wilderness areas (like Shenandoah National Park, and the Great Smoky Mountains) are still surprisingly wild, despite being only a few hours from major urban centers like NYC and DC. And there are some cool mid-sized cities and towns -- like Asheville North Carolina -- with good music and some honest, all-American culture.

About buying a car, I would suggest checking websites (like Craigslist or ) .

If you can start your trip and buy your car somewhere other than New York City, I suspect you will have a better selection and lower prices. One thing to look out for -- get a car that has already been licensed and registered, and has enough time left on its annual license so you don't have to hassle so much.

Buying and running a car is pretty complicated -- to begin with, you need to arrange insurance, and I don't know how to do this without a US address -- but then again it's only a problem if you get stopped by police or are involved in a collision....

So drive safely!

Once you get the car sorted out, the fun begins. Summer is peak season for music festivals, all over the country -- some are big, annual, (and often expensive!) events, but many are much more down-home. There's a website called "festival finder" that has a pretty good listing.

So, there are a few ideas -- please feel free to write again as your plans shape up.

Happy Trails,

Jamie Jensen
Road Trip USA



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