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Help me plan a North American road trip
Old 10-04-2016, 04:30 PM   #1
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Help me plan a North American road trip

I haven't been on a road trip since I was a child going out to the Midwest in a Winnebago. I would love some ideas about itineraries for maybe a 2 week trip in early fall. I live in the Seattle area, so could leave from there, or would be open to flying to another area and renting a car. I really like pretty cities and towns and would stay in hotels/motels. I am most interested in the Midwest, mostly for nostalgia, we used to visit family in the Dakotas and Iowa, but I am open to other areas and Canada. Anyone have a preferred road trip destination? Thanks in advance!
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Old 10-04-2016, 07:01 PM   #2
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I used to live in Indiana and my work was mostly in Illinois. The Midwest is perhaps the most boring place for road trips I've ever thought of. (Sorry, but it's the truth.)

Fly to Atlanta and rent a car--heading to the North Georgia Mountains, The Smokies, to Asheville, NC and up the Blue Ridge Parkway to the Shenandoah Valley. Stop in Charlottesville and take in Jefferson's home. Go on into Washington, DC for a long weekend to take in the museums. Then north to Philly and into the NYC area. Drop the car and fly home from there. You would have seen some of the most beautiful fall foilage in this country, and taken in a whole lot of U.S. history.
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Old 10-04-2016, 07:37 PM   #3
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Do a circle tour of Lake Michigan and Superior. Spectacular Northwoods scenary. The UP of Michigan is wonderful: Pictured Rocks NP, Copper Harbor, Marquette onto Wisconsin, Door County, Bayfield, Apostle Islands NP. Funky Duluth. Thunder Bay. Mackinac Island. So much to see and do.
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Old 10-04-2016, 07:56 PM   #4
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Suggest you read Steinbeck's Travels With Charley.

Long ago I bought a motorhome, sold my house, quit my j*b and traveled the US covered all contiguous states in that moho, after reading the book several times.

Wonderful memories, took no pictures at all, I do have a few that others took and mailed them to me, thus allowing my full engagement in the experience, took about a year and a half.

It sure beat w*rking by many miles.
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Old 10-04-2016, 08:44 PM   #5
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Thanks so much for the replies! I am definitely interested in both of those itineraries! Thanks for the book recommendation as well.
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Old 10-04-2016, 08:49 PM   #6
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Route 66 - end to end.
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Old 10-04-2016, 10:33 PM   #7
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Upper midwest is going to be a lot cooler from now on. You might drop south out of Seattle and visit all the parks in UT, then hit Grand Canyon, go along Rt 66 as much as you can heading east. Stay off interstates if you can, highways are much more to see and experience even if through the windshield. Be flexible, take side trips that may be interesting. Eat at local places, not chain restaurants.

CO mountains are really beautiful, but starting into snow season now. So either get on that trip quickly, or save it for more summertime trip.

Once in solid midwest area, the whole Appalachian mountains area will have spectacular fall colors. Figure out some fall festivals to attend. My suggestions will take you longer than two weeks.
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Old 10-05-2016, 12:20 AM   #8
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Maybe you've already done a road trip down the coast, but I think fall is some of the best weather in CA. Would be fun to start in Mendocino and drive down to San Diego. So many pretty places along the way.


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Old 10-05-2016, 02:14 PM   #9
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Read "Blue Hiways" by William Least Heat Moon.
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Old 10-05-2016, 03:23 PM   #10
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Quote:
Do a circle tour of Lake Michigan and Superior. Spectacular Northwoods scenary. The UP of Michigan is wonderful: Pictured Rocks NP, Copper Harbor, Marquette onto Wisconsin, Door County, Bayfield, Apostle Islands NP. Funky Duluth. Thunder Bay. Mackinac Island. So much to see and do.
I do a lot of roadtrips but largely in the western national parks, Canada, and Europe. However, I currently live in Michigan and can endorse this suggestion.
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Old 10-05-2016, 06:59 PM   #11
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I can tell you a good Spring road trip. Hertz and the big auto rental companies load up their Florida fleets for the winter, and in April and May they'll throw in extremely low rental car rates to get their cars moved "up north." They don't care where they go--just get'em out of Florida.

We flew to Orlando (cheap) and took in Disney for a couple of days. Then we picked up a $7.50 a day rental car and headed north--to Daytona, Savannah, Charleston, Myrtle Beach and Washington, DC. I turned the car in at the Baltimore Airport. It's a trip that's very inexpensive and places well worth visiting.
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Old 10-05-2016, 08:17 PM   #12
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Thanks so much for the suggestions!
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Old 10-05-2016, 08:29 PM   #13
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Read "Blue Hiways" by William Least Heat Moon.
That looks really interesting, I just put it on hold at the library. Do you have ideas for cute towns in North Dakota? We used to stay with family in Jamestown back in the 1970's and then on to Mitchell SD.
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Old 10-05-2016, 08:31 PM   #14
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I can tell you a good Spring road trip. Hertz and the big auto rental companies load up their Florida fleets for the winter, and in April and May they'll throw in extremely low rental car rates to get their cars moved "up north." They don't care where they go--just get'em out of Florida.

We flew to Orlando (cheap) and took in Disney for a couple of days. Then we picked up a $7.50 a day rental car and headed north--to Daytona, Savannah, Charleston, Myrtle Beach and Washington, DC. I turned the car in at the Baltimore Airport. It's a trip that's very inexpensive and places well worth visiting.
Wow, I had no idea the rental companies did that. That sounds like an excellent itinerary and out of those locations the only one I have visited is Washington DC.
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Old 10-05-2016, 08:32 PM   #15
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Maybe you've already done a road trip down the coast, but I think fall is some of the best weather in CA. Would be fun to start in Mendocino and drive down to San Diego. So many pretty places along the way.


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I'm embarrassed to admit my only drives to CA have been in the USAF, so only direct routes. The CA coast sounds lovely.
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Old 10-05-2016, 08:37 PM   #16
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Do a circle tour of Lake Michigan and Superior. Spectacular Northwoods scenary. The UP of Michigan is wonderful: Pictured Rocks NP, Copper Harbor, Marquette onto Wisconsin, Door County, Bayfield, Apostle Islands NP. Funky Duluth. Thunder Bay. Mackinac Island. So much to see and do.
Thanks so much for this suggestion! I have friends who rave about Door County so have wanted to go there. Do you think 2 weeks would be a good amount of time for this?
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Old 10-05-2016, 08:50 PM   #17
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Thanks so much for this suggestion! I have friends who rave about Door County so have wanted to go there. Do you think 2 weeks would be a good amount of time for this?
It really depends on what you like. I would cut off the lower Lake MI part, Chicago/Indiana and cut over from Door County back up into the UP and head to Duluth from there. You could spend days just in Door County, Mackinac, Bayfield or Marquette. Hiking, fishing, boating, biking, eating, shopping, kayaking.... like I said, so much to do.
The area is a lot like Maine with little villages, beautiful seascapes, thick woods, wildlife, lots of boating heritage, unique food options. A little off the beaten path, but well worth the effort.
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Old 10-05-2016, 09:16 PM   #18
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That looks really interesting, I just put it on hold at the library. Do you have ideas for cute towns in North Dakota? We used to stay with family in Jamestown back in the 1970's and then on to Mitchell SD.
There are a lot of nice little towns in ND but not all have motels. Contact the state tourist office via internet. William Moon came through Cavalier and it's an interesting part of the story.
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Old 10-06-2016, 08:54 AM   #19
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There are a lot of nice little towns in ND but not all have motels. Contact the state tourist office via internet. William Moon came through Cavalier and it's an interesting part of the story.
I worked in North Dakota once-Fargo & Jamestown and ended up 650 miles NW of Chicago. I found houses sometimes 20 miles apart. And there was little cell phone service off the interstates in North Dakota. Locked myself out of a rental car, and there was only 1 locksmith within 50 miles--at 33 degrees below zero in December. Other states just seem to have interesting tourist sights that are easier to visit.
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Old 10-06-2016, 05:08 PM   #20
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I worked in North Dakota once-Fargo & Jamestown and ended up 650 miles NW of Chicago. I found houses sometimes 20 miles apart. And there was little cell phone service off the interstates in North Dakota. Locked myself out of a rental car, and there was only 1 locksmith within 50 miles--at 33 degrees below zero in December. Other states just seem to have interesting tourist sights that are easier to visit.
That may be true but you can't get your picture taken with a giant buffalo statue just anywhere!!! That climate is brutal, I always wondered how my relatives were able to deal with those winters. I clearly need to start doing road trips and see the country!
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