Friday, September 16, 2011

Five Weeks in Fall - Chicago to LA


I recently bought your book and it's been a fantastic help towards
planning our road trip. Myself and 3 friends are coming over from
England in 5 weeks (in late September), and will be driving from Chicago to Los Angeles.

However, Instead of doing the whole of route 66, we are travelling through
St.Louis, Kansas, Colorado and Utah before arriving in Las Vegas. We
then hope to make the long journey from Las Vegas to San Francisco
before heading back down the west coast to La. Have you ever made the
journey from Las Vegas to San Fran? If so, what road did you take and
what sights are there to see? Also, knowing the states we are driving
through, are there any 'must sees' on the way?

The 4 of us have only visited the USA a handful of times to visit the
major cities like New York and Hollywood and I don't think it's quite
sunk in how much of a monster trip this will be? Is there any advice
you would give 4 Brits travelling the states? Any places to avoid or
customs to take into consideration?...I heard tipping was a huge thing
in the USA for example, especially in bars and hotels?

Thank you so much.


Newcastle, UK.


Hello Rich from Newcastle --

Many thanks for buying my book and writing in to Road Trip USA.

I hope you and your friends have a fantastic time, and don't worry too much about tipping -- the US is a pretty inexpensive place to travel, especially compared to the UK, so even if you give your waitress or barman a 15 or 20 percent tip, it won't be too painful for your bank balances.

For the Las Vegas to SF trip, the classic route is to head via Death Valley and Yosemite National Parks. This is an amazing drive, and takes you from intense desert heat to sublime alpine scenery, all in a 300 mile cruise. The Highway-120 route, from Mono Lake over Tioga Pass in the Sierra Nevada mountains into Yosemite, is truly unforgettable.

For the rest of the route, one of many "must-see" places, like the Canyonlands of Utah, as seen in the great-but-gruesome recent movie "127 hours.”

And if you are a thorough-minded sort of trip planner, I can also recommend bringing a copy of the Rough Guide to the USA (which in the spirit of full disclosure I worked on a few hundred years ago..) It has a more "English" take on the USA, while my Road Trip USA book is more all-American in spirit.

And get yourself some good road maps – and one of you should buy a data plan for a mobile/smartphone, so you can Google Map your way around.

But basically, I'm sure you'll find that the USA is a really easy and hospitable place to explore. You will have a blast!

Happy Trails,

Jamie Jensen
Road Trip USA


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