Tuesday, October 11, 2011

DC to SF -- on the "Loneliest Road" ?


I found your web site while researching driving across the USA...
something I really fancy doing, and it seems like it would be a great
way to mark my 60th birthday.

I notice you don't have a book on the "Loneliest Road" route (yet? Is
there one coming?) so here's a question - how long would you allow for
that route, if you don't hang about too much on the way? I'd be
planning to do it in reverse, partly because I work on the East Coast
a lot (so that's makes a sensible starting point for me) and partly
because ending up in SF seems more romantic than DC :-)




Hi Julian --

Many thanks for writing in to Road Trip USA -- and I think you're on to a good idea. The drive from DC to SF is a fantastic adventure, and I agree with you that SF is much more appetizing destination than DC.

I used to do the drive pretty often, when I lived in California and had family in DC. In a rush, you could do it in a week, even less if you race along I-70 between St Louis and Denver and cross the Great Plains on Cruise Control. But 10 days is a more reasonable minimum, and 2 weeks would be ideal if you want to spend some time and enjoy the languid delights of Louisville, cruise the "Million Dollar Highway", or explore the environs of Arches National Park.

(And by the way, the "Loneliest Road" route is the centerpiece of my big Road Trip USA book -- a new edition of which is coming out April 2012! )

And if you haven't toured California, you may want even longer for this birthday road trip -- Yosemite National Park is amazing, as is the coastline north and south of San Francisco (in Mendocino and Carmel / Big Sur, respectively...).

Hard to think of a better way to celebrate reaching 60! When is the Big Day?

With best wishes,

Jamie Jensen
Road Trip USA


Wow Jamie,

Many thanks for your reply - that's really helpful.

The big day isn't till next September, but the trip is going to be sometime in June 2012, because that's when I finish working in NY and can take a few weeks off from work.

I'm currently undecided between the longest road and Route 66... a difficult decision!

So it looks like I'll be booking two weeks on a one-way car rental. Oh, and one other thing - when you make these trips, do you just travel from night to night, or do you book ahead at all?

I think this is going to be a wonderful holiday!

All the best,




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