Cross-country RV trip: NYC to San Francisco in 27 days
Replies: 14 - Last Post: Jan 26, 2012 4:38 PM Last Post By: bzookaj
Jan 23, 2012 2:31 PM
Cross-country RV trip: NYC to San Francisco in 27 daysHello everyone,
In the summer I shall be exploring the US with my family in an RV. We pick up the RV July 5th morning in New York City and drop it off August 31st morning in San Francisco (one way rental).
I still have a couple of months to do the planning but just can't decide which states we should go through...
We already have a number of spots on our list where we'd like to stop by. Going from East to West:
- Washington DC
- Mt. Zion and Bryce National Park in Utah
- Grand Canyon
- Las Vegas (and possibly Death Valley )
- Los Angeles
From Los Angeles we'd take Highway 1 up North. I've done this SoCal - NorCal route a number of times although not with an RV.
In Las Vegas and Los Angeles we would possibly park the RV in the outskirts of the city and rent a Hertz car and a hotel room (or apartment through AirBnB).
I also signed up for a Good Sam Club membership that apparently gives discounts on campsites.
I already ordered tour guides from all the possible states we could go through but they hardly have any valuable information but promoting the latest restaurant in the neighbourhood...
Visiting the Niagara Falls would also be an awesome experience but I'm not sure how that'd fit in the schedule.
Any suggestions would be welcome and much appreciated.
Jan 23, 2012 3:24 PM
Jan 23, 2012 3:38 PM
2Why are you renting an RV?
If you are doing it for the experience, then go for it.
If you expect it to be 'cheap' travel, you are most likely better off with a sedan and motels.
Good luck parking the RV in the big cities. You will not be able to just pull over where you want.
Also, having a car is a hassle in NYC, DC and SF.
Jan 23, 2012 4:01 PM
3Death Valley is most likely to be 120F degrees in the summer. Las Vegas and the Mojave Desert will be over 100F degrees in July-August.
I recommend that you drive along Interstate-81 in the Appalachian foothills south from New York. It takes you through Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia, to Knoxville, Tennessee. There are intersections with highways that will take you to Washington, D.C., and to other coastal cities. In Knoxville, the Interstate-40 turns west and will take you all of the way to California. It passes through Nashville, Memphis, Little Rock, Amarillo, and Albuquerque. From Amarillo, Texas westward, the Interstate follows the route of the historic Route #66, and you may see remnants of the old road plus preserved buildings from that era. Albuquerque was the site or original research by Microsoft founders Bill Gates and Steve Wozniak. In Albuquerque, make a one hour detour north on Interstate-25 to Santa Fe, which was included on the original Route #66. Santa Fe is at 7,000-ft elevation, in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. The City of Santa Fe is 400 years old and has lots of history of the American Indians, Colonial Spanish, and American cowboys and outlaws of the Wild West. Billy the Kid, Sundance, Butch Cassidy, and Wyatt Earp all lived here at one time. There are now 300 art galleries, museums of the American Indians, Colonial Spanish, International Folk Art, designer boutiques, summer festivals, fine dining with many cuisines, and many mountain trails for hiking and mountain biking. There are two RV parks within the city and a KOA campground on the outskirts of the city. There is excellent bus service throughout the city and free shuttlebuses downtown.
Back to Interstate-40 and onward to Gallup, on the Arizona border, where you may find Indian crafts at much cheaper prices than in Santa Fe. In Arizona, you may detour to see the south rim of the Grand Canyon before driving onward to Las Vegas and California.
In California, take the highway west over Cajon Pass through San Bernardino County and San Diego County to the Pacific Ocean. Drive Highway #1 alongside the Pacific Ocean north to Los Angeles and onward to Santa Barbara, Big Sur, Monterey, Carmel, Santa Cruz, then turn eastward to Highway #101 through Silicon Valley past Palo Alto and the home sites of Apple Corp, Google Corp, Facebook, plus biochemical corporations. It would be best to spend the night at a campground near Santa Cruz before driving into all of the traffic of Silicon Valley and San Francisco.
Have a good trip!
Edited by: trekker502
Jan 23, 2012 7:02 PM
Jan 24, 2012 8:48 PM
5There are some older threads on this branch which debate the relative merits of RV travel. Maybe you'll have a look, just in case it affects your decision. The search function works.
Low elevation deserts get hot, yes. High elevations are more agreeable. The South (including Washington D.C.) and the midwest tend to get ridiculously hot and humid, so keep that in mind if you're tempted to dilly dally between the Appalachians and the Rockies.
This aside, I'd suggest only that you not devote much time looking for signs of "Microsoft founder.....Wozniak."
Hope that's helpful.
Jan 25, 2012 4:55 AM
Jan 25, 2012 5:28 AM
7Did either of them have a connection to Albuquerque? I read Hackers and don't recall that. But Los Alamos, which was a world-changing research site, is nearby (by Western distance standards).
Check for restrictions on driving RVs through the Zion National Park tunnel if you're coming in from Bryce. BTW, it's a valley, not "Mt." Zion.
Jan 25, 2012 9:07 AM
8"Wozniak was Apple's co-founder, not Miscrosoft's."
Yes, this was my point; see post #3.
"Did either of them have a connection to Albuquerque?"
Microsoft was founded in Albuquerque.
Jan 25, 2012 12:54 PM
9Albuquerque was the site or original research by Microsoft founders Bill Gates and...
What an odd aside. There are a few potential reasons to stop in ABQ, but a historic connection to Bill Gates doesn't usually top anyone's list. That said, the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science has an extensive and very good exhibit on the early history of personal computing, with a bit of an emphasis on Microsoft's early years in ABQ.
Anyway, as a general comment, I agree with others that an RV will most likely not be particularly cost-effective, which may or may not be an issue, and will also be a significant hassle in any and all major cities you elect to stay in. Since your itinerary seems to include Washington DC, Las Vegas and Los Angeles, the RV may be something of a burden for an appreciable portion of your trip.
As a further general comment, I'd make sure to allot at least 7 days of your total trip to touring the desert southwest - Utah, northern Arizona, possibly Colorado or New Mexico. One option would be to come across the plains on I-70, and take that route, or an alternate scenic two-lane, across the Rockies in Colorado. Then come into Utah by way of Moab, heading west to Bryce and ZIon and then south to Grand Canyon before continuing to California.
Jan 25, 2012 1:03 PM
Jan 25, 2012 3:33 PM
11Sounds great! Which scenic 2 lane road are you referring to in Colorado?
Jan 25, 2012 7:16 PM
Jan 26, 2012 4:34 PM
13US Highway #50, which parallels Interstate-70, but runs between Pueblo (on Interstate-25) to Montrose (on US Highway 550). A word of caution about driving US Highway 550, between Durango, Colorado, and Bernalillo, New Mexico -- there have been many fatal DWI accidents, especially near the Indian Reservations, recently -- do not drive at night!
My note about Microsoft starting in Albuquerque was simply a bit of trivia that some tourists enjoy. You might see it as a "Jeopardy" question some day! I just discovered last week from a "Jeopardy" question that I was in the same hotel that houses Ian Fleming's "Casino Royale" setting for his novel during one of my travels, and I had no idea that it was there! It is a huge hotel -- like a palace in Kathmandu. I tried to use my memory when I pulled Steve Wozniak into my post! It was Steve Balmer, wasn't it? Or, am I wrong again? None of you filled in the blank.
Jan 26, 2012 4:38 PM
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