Friday, June 11, 2010

All Around the USA -- in Three Weeks!

Me and my girlfriend just wrapped up our PhD’s (in Michigan), and we would like to go on a road trip through USA. We have about three weeks. We have a decent amount of money – it should not be a problem unless it becomes outrageous. We are looking at the time period in June/July, right now, really. We initially planned to do New York to Los Angeles. These days we are thinking of doing – Boston-New York-Niagara Falls-Lansing-New Orleans-Houston-Santa Fe-Grand Canyon-Vegas-Death Valley-california west coast and end at Los Angeles. We would like to rent a convertible that is decently priced.

We have just started planning on this, and we are already running into problems regarding that convertible. People don’t seem to want to rent convertibles for one way.

So the question(s) is:
(1) Does the above plan in the above time frame sound ridiculous? Is it possible?
(2) Any suggestions/advice?
(3) Any suggestions for the convertible?

Any advice/suggestions/criticisms/opinions are welcome, please help – we really want to do this but we really don’t know where to start from.

Thanks a lot!



Hello Aman --

Thank you for writing in to Road Trip USA -- congrats on your PhDs!

About the trip, it sounds great, but I wonder whether you really _need_ the convertible. In my experience, they are fun for a short time, but on long drives the "wind in your hair" gets exhausting, and in general convertibles are not the most comfortable cars for long drives -- especially not a 3 week road trip ! Convertibles are also less secure -- thieves might well be tempted to rip open the top.

Hope that doesn't sound like me being a spoil-sport -- remember, you can always rent a convertible for a day or two to cruise around Hollywood or Las Vegas!

Car questions aside, I think you have the makings of a very nice trip. A couple of suggestions would be to spend some more time getting to know the Deep South -- Memphis is fascinating, as is the while Mississippi Delta / Cajun Country region, especially old antebellum towns like Natchez. Well worth a day or two, for sure, and they are right on your route. (I hope your trip includes a lot of the Great River Road -- I just finished a new Road Trip USA: Great River Road book, and the info there is about 2 years more current than the samples posted on the website.)

The rest of your itinerary sounds very fun and "do able". In fact, I think you may have enough time to do this trip as a loop -- thereby maybe saving hassle of a one-way rental.

Flexibility is the key to successful road-tripping -- so keep an open mind and don't be too overly wedded to your expectations. In fact, in my experience the "unexpected" pleasures of a road trip (like a sunset in the desert, or finding really good food in the middle of nowhere) are the memories that linger longest.

So have fun, and don't worry. Happy Trails,

Jamie Jensen
Road Trip USA



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