Wednesday, May 19, 2010

UK - USA - Canada = Road Trip


I'm from England, 21 and have 3 weeks I want to make the most with this summer!

I was originally looking at going to Canada but now the idea of road-tripping from USA to Canada looks much more appealing due to your books.

What would you suggest for only 3 weeks though? I have no idea how long it takes to get everywhere and ideally I'd love to have been able to drive San Fran all the way to Montreal, however this I suppose is very optimistic. What do you think the best route to choose is? How long do all your routes you've written about take in general take?

Thanks :)



Dear Georgie --

Thanks for writing in to Road Trip USA, and I hope you are still feeling enthusiastic about your summer road trip around the USA & Canada. It would take at least 6 months of dedicated driving to cover all the roads I write about in my books, so for a 3-week (first?) trip I would suggest a visit to the most un-English places in America, the wide-open Wild West (Montana, Utah, Rocky Mountains, etc)

You could do these places on a drive from San Francisco to Montreal, for sure. If you want to start in SF, I might suggest you go from there up the gorgeous coastline, circling around the amazing Olympic Peninsula of Washington before heading east from Seattle (like SF, a great American city.) This part of a trip would take a good week -- more if you linger in SF or Seattle, which you might well want to do.

On your way east, I'd strongly recommend a stop at Yellowstone and Grand Tetons, in Wyoming, and if you have the time there are some lovely places in the Canadian Rockies, around Banff especially.

The Great Plains is somewhat of a long haul, with less to see, but another great cities to consider would be Chicago, especially if you enjoy art & architecture. This drive, inc a day or two at Yellowstone, would take another week. Mount Rushmore is in this "neck of the woods", as well, offering a taste of kitschy Americana to complement all the natural and high-cultural wonders.

So far, this trip would be a combination of my Pacific Coast route, then east along US-2 (Great Northern) or US-20 (my "Oregon Trail"), maybe with some detours along the US-93 "Border to Border route.

If you want to make up time, there are also bigger highways (motorways to you? Interstates to us -- I-90 would be the main one west-to-east on this, ideal for racing across the scenically-challenged Great Plains. Even racing across the Dakotas leaves you not much time to get to Montreal, but just to slow you down further I would recommend getting there by way of Vermont, a really lovely small US state, full of lush mountains and charming towns and villages (all of which are a lot closer together than things are in the western US.)

Vermont is a little like the Yorkshire Dales or Lake District -- but with Ben & Jerry's ice cream.

The US is a huge place, even more so if you add Canada, so there are basically limitless options -- I hope my quick tips help you have a great trip. Let me know what you think, and what you get up to.

Happy Trails,

Jamie Jensen
Road Trip USA


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