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Unread 9 Dec 2006, 16:47   #1
Structural Integrity
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Going to the USA next year

Three friends of mine and I are planning a trip to the USA next year. We plan on going from west to east in just four weeks by car and I am hoping that GD can point out some interesting places to visit.
So GD, suggest nice places to visit in the USA!

Our route: http://www.structweb.net/img/routemap.jpg
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Last edited by Structural Integrity; 28 Dec 2006 at 16:24.
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Unread 9 Dec 2006, 16:54   #2
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Re: Going to the USA next year

Where are you starting and where do you plan to finish? America has rather large borders on both sides.
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Unread 9 Dec 2006, 17:08   #3
Structural Integrity
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Re: Going to the USA next year

We plan on starting in the West, and end our journey in the East...
In other words, I have no idea.
We want to visit the major attractions in the US that you hear about over here on the other side of the big blue water, such as the "Grand Canyon". We started putting dots on a map with these kind of locations that popped in our heads, and it seems like we can combine the following locations in our route
LA
Death Valley
Las Vegas
Hoover Dam
Grand Canyon
<gap>
Rocky mountains
<gap>
Mt. Rushmoore
<huge gap>
New York

San Fransisco would be great, but it's quite a distance from LA.

I must admit I have absolutely no feel for the distances, but considering the number of dots we managed to put only in the West and how they are spread out, I have the feeling this is going to be a very long ride.
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Unread 9 Dec 2006, 18:36   #4
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Re: Going to the USA next year

I have no idea where it is but I think Yosemite National Park is worth seeing.

Also, you say you want to see the Rocky mountains. Why? I'm sure they look pretty much the same as European mountains.
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Unread 9 Dec 2006, 18:52   #5
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Re: Going to the USA next year

Quote:
Originally Posted by ChubbyChecker
I have no idea where it is but I think Yosemite National Park is worth seeing.

Also, you say you want to see the Rocky mountains. Why? I'm sure they look pretty much the same as European mountains.
The Netherlands are as flat as a pancake... any mountain is special for us.
Yosemite is also on our map, though it's a bit far from any of the other dots we put on it.
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Unread 9 Dec 2006, 19:11   #6
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Re: Going to the USA next year

Quote:
Originally Posted by ChubbyChecker
I have no idea where it is but I think Yosemite National Park is worth seeing.

Also, you say you want to see the Rocky mountains. Why? I'm sure they look pretty much the same as European mountains.
You'd be a great person to go to an art exhabition with.
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Unread 9 Dec 2006, 19:51   #7
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Exclamation Re: Going to the USA next year

How much time do you want to spend on this trip? The amount of time you have will allow or limit your choices and routes. Also, what time of the year?
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChubbyChecker
Also, you say you want to see the Rocky mountains. Why? I'm sure they look pretty much the same as European mountains.
It's pretty hard to cross the US (east<->west) without seeing the Rocky mountains. You'd have to take a really southern route; or a blindfold...
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Unread 9 Dec 2006, 21:13   #8
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Re: Going to the USA next year

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tactitus
How much time do you want to spend on this trip? The amount of time you have will allow or limit your choices and routes. Also, what time of the year?
It's pretty hard to cross the US (east<->west) without seeing the Rocky mountains. You'd have to take a really southern route; or a blindfold...
We will go for four weeks. I am aware that this is a short time, and we will break speed limits in order to get in the east in time.
Our first idea of a date is late April and most of May.
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Unread 11 Dec 2006, 12:00   #9
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Re: Going to the USA next year

Just make sure whatever you're driving across in is big enough.

Driving around in anything smaller than a mid-size SUV will be unbelievably uncomfortable, especially with all teh crap you'll take and the crap you'll pick up along the way.

There are speciality rentals that could maybe get you some kind of mobile home, which might even end up cheaper if you compare paying for a motel/hotel (and the hassle of finding one every night) than at least having teh option of pulling over and sleeping.

That said, mobile homes do around 10mpg, and it's a nifty 3000 mile trip you're considering, so bear the costs in mind. Fuel is, essentially, about 40% more expensive in the summer.
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Unread 11 Dec 2006, 19:40   #10
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Re: Going to the USA next year

The Niagara falls, Washington DC, Chicago are maybe not too far off track. But I think visiting the south, e.g. Texas or Louisiana might be cool too.

Dead_Meat, don't you think telling dutch folk about caravans is a bit like carrying owls into Athene?
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Unread 11 Dec 2006, 20:23   #11
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Re: Going to the USA next year

Quote:
Originally Posted by Structural Integrity
We plan on starting in the West, and end our journey in the East...
In other words, I have no idea.
We want to visit the major attractions in the US that you hear about over here on the other side of the big blue water, such as the "Grand Canyon". We started putting dots on a map with these kind of locations that popped in our heads, and it seems like we can combine the following locations in our route
LA
Death Valley
Las Vegas
Hoover Dam
Grand Canyon
<gap>
Rocky mountains
<gap>
Mt. Rushmoore
<huge gap>
New York

San Fransisco would be great, but it's quite a distance from LA.
You could theoretically do this, but its a tremendously awkward route. By starting in LA and driving through the Mojave (death valley), you'd be going about 15 hours south of Vegas, but you'd be (relatively) close to the Grand Canyon and Hoover Dam. Mt. Rushmore is in South Dakota, which is about as far from anything else as you get in the US.

I think you'd want to pick one route, either southern, hitting LA, the Mojave, Rt. 66, New Orleans (though im not entirely sure what the state of the city will be come next summer), then up the east coast through Atlanta, Washington DC and then NYC/Boston...or...LA to San Francisco (drive California Rt. 1, the prettiest road I've ever seen), through the Redwood Natl. Forest then Vegas (Lake Placid?), up to Mt. Rushmore and then NYC.

Driving back and forth between the northern and southern borders multiple times isn't really feasible.


also: in the summer, I'd advise a more northern route. The Mojave and down through Oklahoma and Texas is a pain in the ass.
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Unread 12 Dec 2006, 00:36   #12
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Re: Going to the USA next year

Yes, you will want to leave Mt. Rushmore out.

To go to Death Valley (Furnace Creek) is about 300 miles. To go from Furnace Creek to Las Vegas is another 300 miles. To go straight from Los Angeles to Las Vegas is, you guessed it, about 300 miles.

To get to Death Valley, the lowest point in the US you go near the highest point in the US outside of Alaska. Mount Whitney is 14,494 feet.

From Las Vegas to Hoover Dam is about 25 miles. From Hoover Dam to the Grand Canyon South Rim is about 250 miles. You could probably manage these sights with about 2-3 days of driving. However, you are going to want to spend some time in Vegas.

From the Grand Canyon is is about 415 miles to Albuquerque on I-40. In Albuquerque there is the Sandia Peak Airial Tramway. Over a two mile distance the tram takes you from 5,000 feet to 10,000 feet. It is well worth the time. It gives you a spectacular view of the Rio Grande Valley on one side and additional portions of the southern Rockies on the other.

You could stay on I-40 to Oklahoma City and take I-44 to St. Louis and go to the Gateway Arch. It is over 600 feet tall and you can take a ride to the top of it. Also a worthwhile adventure. Also the drive across Missouri is through the Ozarks which are rather pretty.

Albuquerque to St. Louis is about 1,000 miles.

If you want to go to Chicago it is 300 miles. Lots of stuff in Chicago.

Another 540 miles would take you to Buffalo and Niagara Falls.

466 more miles and you are in Boston.

220 miles and you are in New York City.

235 from New York City to Washington, DC.

All in all, about 4,000 miles of driving.

If you have 4 weeks you could do this easily enough.

The problem will be that you may want to linger in some of the cities.

At any rate, have fun.
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Unread 12 Dec 2006, 08:55   #13
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Re: Going to the USA next year

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dead_Meat
Driving around in anything smaller than a mid-size SUV will be unbelievably uncomfortable, especially with all teh crap you'll take and the crap you'll pick up along the way.
Straight in there with the SUV. Did Jack Kerouac have an SUV? Sigh.

"Whither goest thou, America, in thy shiny car in the night?"
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Unread 12 Dec 2006, 16:14   #14
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Re: Going to the USA next year

no US tour is complete without at least a few nights spent in sunny Gary, Indiana.
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Unread 16 Dec 2006, 00:21   #15
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Re: Going to the USA next year

personally .. if i ever went to the us .. i'd want to see the vietnam war memorial ...
and ground zero...
utah salt flats...
nasa
(as specific places)
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Unread 16 Dec 2006, 17:54   #16
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Re: Going to the USA next year

If you hit the Salt Flats, you would probably enjoy jogging over to Colorado along US 50. It would take you across the Monarch Pass which is more than 10,000 feet above sea level and just off of it is the Royal Gorge bridge which crossed a chasam more that 5,000 feet straight down to a river. It might make for an interesting bungie jump.
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Unread 16 Dec 2006, 19:44   #17
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Re: Going to the USA next year

Spend the bulk of your 4 weeks in California and New York. Use up 1 week for your trip from CA to NY. Split up 2 weeks of your time to spend in Los Angeles, Orange County, and San Diego. And one whole week in New York City.

In Los Angeles, Orange County and San Diego, visit: 3rd St. Promenade Santa Monica, Hollywood and Highland, all the bars and clubs on Hollywood Blvd and Sunset Blvd. (specially Ivar), the Ghetty Center is a cool museum. Eat at China Town, In & Out, Jack in the Box, PF Chang's and Pink's Hotdogs. Make sure you catch an Angels, Dodgers or a Padres game. Shop at the Citadel Outlets in Commerce and the Block of Orange in Orange County. Visit the beaches in Santa Monica, Malibu, Manhattan Beach, Seal Beach, Huntington Beach and Pacific Beach. Get drunk and get laid in 2nd St. Belmont Shores in Long Beach. Visit the Long Beach Aquarium and the San Diego Zoo. And to top off your So. Cal. trip, spend the last few nights at the Gas Lamp in downtown San Diego. The Gas Lamp is probably the most fun, drunk and pussy you'll ever possibly going to get in Southern California.

Start your trip to the East Coast:

-do stops in Las Vegas and gamble a little bit and eat at the buffets, Las Vegas style!

-the Grand Canyon and spend a few nights there. Take a trip at the bottom of the canyons, it's very beautiful.

-Mt. Rushmore is worth a stop also in South Dakota. One day should be enough up there.

-go to downtown Chicago and spend a few nights to get a taste of Chicago's awesome night life. Excalibur is a very good club, Chicago girls are stupid, you should be able get laid on your stay there.

-if you have enough time to stop in Florida, then might as well. The beach bars, the night life, the girls are all good. Cities to visit in Florida are Panama City, Jacksonville and Miami. Also another pussy stop.

-before entering New York, do a stop in Philadelphia. Eat as much Philly Cheese Steaks as you can and visit the clubs and bars in downtown Philly.

In New York, visit the bars and clubs in Time Square, specially Bar Code. Visit ground zero, Empire State, the Rockefeller Center and Radio City, the Madison Square, take a walk on the Brooklyn Bridge, Wall Street, and smoke a few joints and eat some chili dogs in Central Park. Catch a concert at Battery Park. Take the ferry to the Statue of Liberty and down the bay at night, lower Manhattan is very beautiful at night when on the ferry ride. Eat at China Town. Do not leave New York without watching 1 or 2 Broadway shows. Make sure you catch a Yankees or a Mets game. Hmm..

I think you need more than 4 weeks if you're doing a road trip in the US. Unless you want to push aside sleep, so good luck!
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Unread 28 Dec 2006, 16:27   #18
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Re: Going to the USA next year

We decided to skip most of the east coast. We are only staying one day in NYC after which we fly straight to Denver.
This is our planned route for now: http://www.structweb.net/img/routemap.jpg

I haven't bothered to put (m)any POIs on it.
So, waddayathink?
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Unread 28 Dec 2006, 17:42   #19
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Re: Going to the USA next year

How can you visit the US and not go to Chicago, one of the best Skylines in the country. (I'm biased though living 30 miles out and visiting there quite often)
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Unread 28 Dec 2006, 22:49   #20
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Re: Going to the USA next year

If you are going in April-May, you may find that some roads haven't been opened across the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Major highways will be open but the snow accumulation over the winter in some areas such as the road most directly connecting Mammoth Lakes and Yosemite may be closed until June some years.

When you go from San Francisco to Los Angeles please take Highway 1. It runs along the Pacific Coast for much of that distance. It will take you through Monterey, the home of Cannery Row. Carmel-by-the-Sea, the home of Pebble Beach is nice. Also you go through Big Sur country which is very rugged coast line with a road hewn from the rock face several hundred feet above the Pacific Ocean. Very beautiful. At San Simeon you could stop and take a tour of Hearst's Castle. The greatest monument to conspicuous consumption in the US. Hearst is the person upon whom Citizen Kane was loosely based.

When you get to San Luis Obispo you would then join HWY 101 which would take you on to downtown Los Angeles via Santa Barbara.

Not the fastest way to go but certainly as scenic as any of the other places on you itenerary.
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Unread 29 Dec 2006, 11:54   #21
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Re: Going to the USA next year

Quote:
Originally Posted by dda
If you are going in April-May, you may find that some roads haven't been opened across the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Major highways will be open but the snow accumulation over the winter in some areas such as the road most directly connecting Mammoth Lakes and Yosemite may be closed until June some years.

When you go from San Francisco to Los Angeles please take Highway 1. It runs along the Pacific Coast for much of that distance. It will take you through Monterey, the home of Cannery Row. Carmel-by-the-Sea, the home of Pebble Beach is nice. Also you go through Big Sur country which is very rugged coast line with a road hewn from the rock face several hundred feet above the Pacific Ocean. Very beautiful. At San Clemente you could stop and take a tour of Hearst's Castle. The greatest monument to conspicuous consumption in the US. Hearst is the person upon whom Citizen Kane was loosely based.

When you get to San Luis Obispo you would then join HWY 101 which would take you on to downtown Los Angeles via Santa Barbara.

Not the fastest way to go but certainly as scenic as any of the other places on you itenerary.
This is very handy information, thank you. As it looks now we will head out early May because some of us can not take a holiday any later so we will hit Mammoth Lakes half May. Fingers crossed the snow has cleared by then but we'll see if we can find another way into Yosemite.
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Unread 30 Dec 2006, 01:06   #22
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Re: Going to the USA next year

The approach to Yosemite from the western side is open pretty much year round. Yosemite Valley is the most scenic portion and Yosemite Falls is there and should be fairly roaring as the spring run-off should have begun.

You go through Merced off of HWY 99.

If you were to head north from Merced, in about 80-90 miles you would come to Lodi (Oh Lord Stuck In Lodi Again). Lodi has 65 wineries situated around it, almost all of which have tasting rooms!

As your route becomes more fixed, let me know and I will look in the old American Auto Association guidebook for California and see if there are any odd sites along your route that might be interesting.

Should you pass through Stockton, dinner is on me!
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