Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Southern Pacific Road trip - June or July 2011

Hi Jamie,

Hope you are well. I love the website and have bought the book. But I wanted your advice. I have 2 weeks vacation/holiday (15 days overall including weekends). I had originally looked at doing the Southern Pacific Route, but I think its probably too long to do it in the time we have. The states I am particularly keen to explore are LA, TX, NM, AZ and finishing in Los Angeles.

Do you have any advice on what derivative of the Pacific Coast Journey I could do within 2 weeks so myself and a friend don't end up spending too much time driving?

Or if you feel the South Pacific Route is do-able in 2 weeks then I will consider it. We will be hopefully staying in Motels etc. The things we are really keen to experience are the local foods (I love diners etc) and also to see as much varied landscapes as possible as I am an amateur photographer.

I appreciate its not easy but based on you great experience, any advice you would have for me would be greatly appreciated.

A couple of points worth mentioning. I live in the United Kingdom and hence would need to start from a major US city with an international airport. Also we would look to travel sometime in the summer June or July time.

Thanks again for any help

Kind regards



Hello Francois --

Many thanks for your nice note, and for your nice words about the website (I hope you like the book, too!)

Food and landscapes are perhaps the biggest attractions of a US road trip, and I think you are heading toward two of the best places. But because you don't have an endless amount of time, I wonder if I can offer a compromise option, that would give you the best of the Southern Pacific and Pacific Coast experiences?

Louisiana and east Texas are very good for food and photographic subjects, so why not start with a flight from the UK into a big city, like Houston? Houston is crazy, in good and bad ways -- chaotic, but full of character. And contrasts -- enormous wealth, obvious poverty alongside wonderful "high culture" (see the de Menil museum if you enjoy Mark Rothko paintings!), and lots of photogenic "low" culture -- roadside signs, and the unique "Orange Show" (URL: http://www.orangeshow.org/ )

And from Houston you can ease into exploring the bayous of Lousiana, which is about as far from the City of London as you can get (and still be in an "English-speaking" country. Fantastic food, and lots of moody scenery: old churches, graveyard draped in moss. Ideal road trip country. And if you ever feel the need for some urban energy, you can head down to New Orleans.

But it's at least 2 days drive from Louisiana to your other nexus, New Mexico. Nearly a whole week of driving, there and back. So why not fly -- maybe from Houston to Albuqerque, the nearest airport to Santa Fe?

And once you've had you fill of the "Georgia Okeeffe" cultures of Santa Fe, you could hop onto Route 66 and wind west through the photogenic Native American lands of the Four Corners (Monument Valley et al.). Visit the Grand Canyon? Or see London Bridge, stranded alongside the Colorado River?

You could continue on to Los Angeles, the west end of Route 66, and if you like continue on up the coast to San Francisco, then fly home to London.

I'd say you could have a fab time, with a week in Louisiana & the Deep South, then a week in the Southwest and California. Without a dull day, or too much driving.

Let me know what you think -- and have a great trip!

Happy Trails,

Jamie Jensen
Road Trip USA

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