Monday, September 13, 2010

Hello Road Trip USA,

I have recently been on your website to look into the different routes that I could possibly take when visiting the USA next year. I am British and come from Liverpool in the North West of England. My partner and I have always wanted to visit USA and some key landmarks so we are thinking that next summer (2011) as we are both teachers we would like to spend some time travelling from coast to coast.

I think we have about 4 weeks (could stretch to 5 weeks if distance/time was an issue) and would like to possibly start from L.A. ending up with spending about 3 days in NYC to fly back from there. Could you possibly recommend a route/some key places to visit?

The places that we definitely would like to visit include:
* L.A.
* Las Vegas
* San Francisco
* Salt Lake City
* Chicago
* Niagra Falls
* Washington DC
* New York
* Boston (as we have friends here)
* Mount Rushmore
* Yellowstone

to name a few! It's not essential that we visit all of these places, nor is the list exclusive. I would like some advice about what places are best to visit and, in our time restrictions, what could we actually achieve? I would really appreciate advice from an expert such as yourself.

Thank you for your help in advance,



Hello Gillian --

Many thanks for writing in to Road Trip USA. I hope I can help you have a great trip next summer, and yes -- I've heard of Liverpool.. Wasn't there a pop band that came out of Liverpool in the 1960s? More seriously, my boys are huge "football" fans, and their walls are plastered with pictures of Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher. They even have Liverpool FC toothbrushes.


About your trip --- sounds fantastic! In 4 or 5 weeks you could definitely see all the places you mention, and a lot more besides and in-between. What about Memphis and New Orleans and the whole Deep South? Seattle and Portland and the Pacific Northwest?? You could tour around these places as well -- there is a huge variety of things to see and do, when you start road-tripping around the USA.

Even if you stay with the places you listed, you'll have a pretty full trip. Because the USA is so big -- 3000 miles coast to coast, with New York farther from LA than Liverpool is from Istanbul -- I suggest you think about making this a 2-centre/center trip. Maybe landing at San Francisco, spending some time there unwinding and getting over jet lag (which is best done NOT behind the wheel of a motor car!). Then after a couple of days in SF, you can hire a car and head down the gorgeous coastline, via Monterey and Big Sur and Santa Barbara to LA, then east to Las Vegas, and Death Valley? to Salt Lake City and Yellowstone and Mount Rushmore? Then back toward San Francisco, by way of the gorgeous mountains and rivers of Idaho, and the Wine Country coast of northern California?

That would make a great 2-week tour, then you could hop a plane -- maybe stopping off for a few days in Chicago -- before landing in Boston, staying with your friends, then getting another "hire car" / rental car and touring for a week or so around New York and Niagara Falls, dropping the car before a last few days in the Big Apple. Then home to Liverpool... sound good?

I think you could track a route like the one I outlined above, by following my "Pacific Coast" trip south from SF to LA, then maybe taking some "Interstate" freeways to get to Las Vegas and Salt Lake City (and don't forget there are some gorgeous national parks in Utah).

I cover Yellowstone and Idaho and thereabouts in my "Oregon Trail" route, which also covers Chicago and Boston and Niagara Falls -- so you could do it as one big coast-to-coast drive, as well, if you wanted to make the whole cross-country odyssey.

Lots of possibilities, for sure -- I hope this helps, and that my ideas make your trip seem more manageable, rather than more intimidating.


Happy Trails,

Jamie Jensen
Road Trip USA


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