Sunday, August 01, 2010

Cross-Country -- in 8 days?

Hello Jamie! --

Of the many websites available for guidance on traveling across country yours has been the best one. It give much needed information and steers one in making a good decision in which way to take. My girlfriend and I are planning the trip for the end of August and really need your advice. We will most likely be leaving from New York City and want to go across country. We only have about 8 days and will be returning to NYC by air. We want to know what is the best route to take we really don"t want to make major stops due to the time constraints but would like to see nice scenery and if your can recommend a route and some must see landmarks to see in each state. We leaning towards taking Route 66, however if your have other routes that we should consider please do make your recommendation.

Rup S.


Hello Rup --

Thank you for writing in to Road Trip USA.

About your August trip -- 8 days is not a huge amount of time to drive 3000 (or more) miles, so I would suggest you study a map and choose one or two parts of the country you really want to explore, and concentrate on them. Depending on your stamina, you may want to do some days with lots of driving, and others with more time to slow down and enjoy yourselves. No matter how quickly you go, make sure you stop often and get out of the car -- otherwise the road trip becomes a blur of images seen through the windshield.

To help you narrow down the immense range of options for a cross-country trip, because the weather is likely to be hot (and thunderstormily humid, like NYC), I would suggest staying up north, and doing as much cool mountain sightseeing as you can.

If you want my recommendation of a "best route", Route 66 is great (and has a great theme song!), but my favorite way to go would have be the stretch of US-50 across Colorado & Utah, following the Loneliest Road across Nevada before reaching California at Lake Tahoe, east of San Francisco. This US50 route is actually a great drive all the way across the country -- from Ocean City Maryland, thru Washington DC, Cincinnati and St Louis, then following the historic Santa Fe Trail across the Great Plains.

I cover all of the US50 route in the "Loneliest Road" section of the website, and in my Road Trip USA book (which has more info, and is more up-to-date!).

The scenery in the western USA is gorgeous -- Rocky Mountains in Colorado (Pikes Peak and the "Million Dollar Highway"), national parks in Utah (Arches, Canyonlands and many more) -- and you can jet back east after a day in San Francisco. And if you're not heart-set on doing the whole cross-country drive, you could fly out to Denver and do the drive from there, allowing you much more time to enjoy the most jaw-dropping sights and great drives.

I hope these ideas help you plan a great trip -- please keep in touch, and let me know where you end up going.

Happy Trails,

Jamie Jensen
Road Trip USA

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