Road Trip from NOLA through the West and back to NOLA in 3 weeks
Replies: 15 - Last Post: Jan 25, 2013 2:38 PM Last Post By: tilos
Jan 24, 2013 11:57 PM
Road Trip from NOLA through the West and back to NOLA in 3 weeksHi everybody,
New to this forum and thought I'd get some help in planning my ambitous road trip. I appreciate all the help I can get.
My plan is to fly to New Orleans in April, rent a convertible 'stang or a wrangler, and travel through some of the best highways the West has to offer. So my plan is to drive through the great river road (highway 61?), US-2, US-93 (thought against taking the pacific as there will be so much to do and so many stops to make) and then back on route 66 till OKC, and back to NOLA from there (might take the interstate back if in a hurry). So I know it sounds ambitous but I want to get your thoughts on the doability of this. The only significant stop I have in mind is 2 nights in Vegas. Otherwise, I would just stop at night. However, I do want to visit any significant places along the way (grand canyon, etc.).
So my questions are:
- Is this trip doable within a 3 week time frame?
- What POI shall I plan to visit along the way?
- Is it advisable to do my trip in the order I've put or shall I do it the other way round for scenery purposes? (my only reasoning for the current orientation is wanting the peaceful scenery during the first part of my trip - GRR and US2)
- Is the timing right (April)?
Any tips to this stranger would be great. Ive been roughly doing plans and changing them for the past 2 weeks now. I initially thought about doing this on a Harley, but I dont think my back would hold up for even a one week road trip. I also thought about shipping my Porsche for this, but it looks like too much of a hassle.
Jan 24, 2013 11:58 PM
Jan 25, 2013 4:39 AM
So 13.5 out of 21 days are simply driving. Does that sound like an enjoyable trip to you?
Jan 25, 2013 4:40 AM
3It's not clear to me how far west you wish to go - just to Las Vegas, or all the way to the coast? Even if it's just Las Vegas, that is about 200 miles per day every day for three weeks - that is a lot of driving with very little time to stop and smell the roses. Why exactly are you planning to do this?
The significant places along the way are many and varied ... but you are allowing little time to enjoy them. But it's your trip.
Jan 25, 2013 4:45 AM
Jan 25, 2013 4:47 AM
5Welcome to Thorn Tree.
Is it the Great River Road?
Or, is it the Great PLATTE River Road?
Since you are beginning in New Orleans, I shall assume it is the former. Honestly, I had never heard of it although I realize that I've driven parts of it. The Great Platte River Road is part of the route that the pioneers took to the West in the 1850s.
What you intend to do is to drive a huge rectangle beginning and ending in New Orleans. It is roughly 5300 miles (8533) km and 80 hours driving time with no sightseeing. That is 4 hours per day on the road. Each full day of sightseeing means the equivalent of a full day of driving. This will become exhausting after a while. What do you want to see besides Las Vegas? April is early for any of the major national parks in the Rockies. You are taking some relatively bland highways. US-2 will not show you anything that I-94 will not also show you. It will take longer to drive. US-66, if it still existed, doesn't go anywhere near New Orleans. A three-week rental on a Mustang or a Wrangler is expensive. If you want a Porsche and money is no object, why don't you see if you can rent a Porsche? I know that you could do this if you began and ended in Las Vegas.
To answer your question, yes, the trip is "doable." So is making love while standing in a hammock. I don't see the point. Have a great time in any case.
Jan 25, 2013 4:47 AM
Jan 25, 2013 4:58 AM
7What is really sad is the only stop is Vegas, a tourist ghetto of great magnitude, lacking any culture, and overrated unless you stay in a great hotel, go to nice places to eat and lounge around a killer pool drinking mai tai's.
Its still winter in the mountains, and the west coast will be a tad cool. Good luck finding a jeep wrangler too...
Go in July and camp, then your talking a nice trip.
Jan 25, 2013 5:10 AM
Jan 25, 2013 5:44 AM
9ianw6705, I would appreciate getting alternative suggestions on a 3 week roundtrip from and to NOLA since Ive never done such a road trip.
bzookaj, I did estimate that I'd be doing 200-300 miles of driving a day. I don't really mind that since I very much enjoy driving through some great landscape. But since I'm a novice to these sort of trips, Im not sure if such a thing is advisable if I want to thoroughly enjoy and appreciate the scenery that I will pass through. My idea is to stop a bit when I see something that moves me.
My POI would be the landscape mostly (national parks). Other things would be experiencing local flavors, which would include food. Music and popular culture stuff would be great too. Hiking or going for a swim would be nice too.
Solohobo, Las Vegas is only one I have in mind right now, since I've never been to it before. It won't be the highlight of my trip, just something that I'm doing since I'll pass by anyways. When in Vegas, I plan to stay at a really nice hotel and do some gambling. That's basically it.
Zeldasdad, my only reasoning for going through US-2 is because I've read that it might be the best of all US highways in terms of landscape. But if it wont offer me that, then I would take an alternative route. For route 66, I will do the travelling from OKC to or from somewhere nearest to Vegas. Renting a Porsche would be too expensive, not to mention exotic rentals usually have mileage limitations.
Thanks a lot all for taking the time to chime in. My plans are just thoughts at the moment. Any alternative route suggestions wouldbe great.
Jan 25, 2013 6:06 AM
10I'm hoping this link launches correctly. If it does, you'll get a topographic map of the U.S. Zoom and click to find where states/cities are. As you'll see, there is a certain amount of flatland to be traversed before you get to what most people think of as landscape. (But perhaps you're one of those people who actually appreciates enormous flat, wide-open spaces.) You can also try searching on YouTube for someone's video of a road trip through Oklahoma, or another of the flatter states, to get a feeling for what you would see.
Spend some time on www.nps.gov to check the official information on national parks. You have to account for park road closures due to snow, which sometimes persists until June in the more northern parks. This can severely limit your options.
Jan 25, 2013 6:25 AM
Jan 25, 2013 6:34 AM
12If beautiful landscapes are your priority, I would focus the trip on the southwest US, specifically the national parks of northern Arizona and southern Utah (Grand Canyon, Zion, Bryce, Canyonlands, Grand Staircase-Escalante, Arches) and the roads that connect them. Such a trip is very doable as a loop out of Las Vegas. Three weeks would be a sufficient amount of time. If you really want to go to New Orleans, then I would fly between there and Vegas. Honestly, I've never been to that part of the country between New Orleans and El Paso but consensus opinion on this board is that this landscape pales in comparison to what you would see in the southwest, California, and the Pacific Northwest. I can vouch for the unique beauty of those regions. Given that you only have three weeks, sacrifices will have to be made and I would trade the prairies for the red rock deserts of the southwest. Perhaps you could do two seeks in Vegas/Arizona/Utah and then one week driving to New Orleans. However, this would entail a one-way car rental, which could potentially be very expensive. Good luck!
Jan 25, 2013 6:41 AM
Jan 25, 2013 7:05 AM
14Maburu1, if it is the beautiful Southwest that you want to see , may I suggest that you fly into Las Vegas, Phoenix or even Los Angeles and begin your driving odyssey at one of those locations. If you want to also see New Orleans, fly there before or after you fly to the southwest. This will probably add several days of sightseeing, as opposed to several days of driving through very bland country. I-10 across west Texas is about as interesting as watching a fence rust and it goes on forever. Las Vegas is much closer to parks like Grand Canyon or Death Valley. "Closer" is a relative term. The one-way drive from Las Vegas to either the North or South Rim of the Grand Canyon is still roughly 5 hours of relatively bland countryside. Depending on the route, Death Valley is roughly half that distance through somewhat more varied desert.
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