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Old 05-21-2012, 03:10 AM
 
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The last couple years I've been backpacking through Europe, this year I decided to check out the states. I live in L.A. and want to plan a road trip, not too long (maybe 3-4 weeks.)

Was wondering if you guys could recommend a route. I'm aiming for maximal culture shock, so I'm guessing it would primarily be the south since the culture is way different than somewhere like L.A.?

Some criteria to go by...
1. Like I said, culture shock... I want to see real America, not NY/LA America...
2. Food; Kansas City BBQ? New Orleans seafood? Along that line.
3. A good night life is a definite plus.

Suggestions please, thanks!
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Old 05-21-2012, 04:39 AM
 
Location: St. Louis, MO
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There is actually a book called 'Road Trip USA' which details a number of different 'old school' routes through the U.S. Here it is on Amazon (although my copy is older it's the same thing):
Road Trip USA by J. Jensen

My favorite Road Trips personally have been Old U.S. 50, and of course the stereotypical Route 66 (there is a fair bit of it still left, although it meets up with I-40 along certain distances. It's currently unmarked in some areas but has 'Historic 66' markers in others. The Road Trip USA includes maps however).

U.S. 50 goes all the way from Sacramento to Ocean City MD, passing predominantly through the Midwest. It's considered the "loneliest road" but crossing the country by car, when you can take your time, is awesome fun.

I've also taken numerous other road trips suggested in the book (Southern Pacific, Oregon Trail, Pacific Coast, Great River Road, Atlantic Coast and Appalachian Trail). For the biggest 'culture shock' I would probably have to say that the Appalachian Trail offers the most diversity. The Southern Pacific is okay in the last half, but painfully boring through NM and TX.

Anyway, like I said, I suggest getting the book to help give you inspiration!

The best advice I can give you though is to stay off the Interstates unless you have to be on them. You see so much more of America from the old U.S. highways, and it's so much more fun! (Ghost towns and photo-ops aplenty!).

Best of luck and let us know what you choose to do!

Good Luck!
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Old 05-21-2012, 09:11 AM
 
Location: Huntington Beach, CA
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I've done many cross country road trips.

Every time I take a trip, I aim to stay away from Franchise eateries. I do make exceptions for a occasional breakfast at a waffle house or even a Bob Evans since we don't have them out here in SoCal. Good food is generally found where the most cars are parked outside a restaurant

I would agree that the best rule to follow is to stay off the interstates. There is a lot of interesting local history. One of my favorite stops was finding the New Mexico Space Museum in Alamogordo, and driving through a raging thunderstorm at the White sands Missile Range. I disagree that NM is boring with Rte 70 being an excellent and interesting road through the state.

You have a lot of time, so don't be afraid to stay a day or two in a place that you like.
When meeting the locals, don't be a jackhole. Play down the LA vibe and ask the locals where the action is.

Road Houses and legion Halls can be scary but they can also be a lot of fun. Just don't get too drunk, and be smart enough to know when too leave.
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Old 05-21-2012, 10:04 AM
 
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For maximum culture shock I'd recommend a diagonal trip rather than straight across. Start in LA and zag up to Maine. Then take a boat down to Florida, then zig up to Seattle. Boat down to LA again.

To do that well you'd have to take at least 3 months, of course.

Try to get in the variety of ecosystems - deserts, plains, prairies, and forests. Really take your time to visit small towns, cookie cutter mid-size cities and suburbs, empty spaces and megalopolii.

LA is a vile place, and surely not representative of America. It is something to be experienced, though. Time to get out of there now!
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Old 05-21-2012, 02:14 PM
 
Location: Old Hyde Park, Kansas City,MO
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Just looking at a map, US 50 would probably be the most scenic, just looking at it you will go through
-Tahoe
-Desert in Nevada
-Arches and Canyonlands State Park in Utah
-Mountain Towns in Colorado with a chance to possibly climb a 14er,
-Prairies of Kansas
-Kansas City/BBQ
- Northern Extent of the Ozarks
- St Louis/Gateway Arch
- Hoosier National Forest
- Cincinnati/Chilli
- Appalachia
- DC
- Atlantic Ocean

That would be a pretty awesome road trip

I think US Route 2 would be another fun one, you would have to go through Canada or down through New York because its actually 2 segments.

Last edited by brewcrew1000; 05-21-2012 at 02:23 PM..
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Old 05-21-2012, 02:57 PM
 
Location: Cleveland bound with MPLS in the rear-view
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Definitely stick to the old "byways" (Hwys. 1, 2, 66, 61, etc.) because all of the quentessential Americana and small towns rest along those older routes, before interstates whooshed people across the country and its cities. The most beautiful routes are also on those byways.
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Old 05-22-2012, 12:28 AM
 
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Wish I could take that diagonal trip, but not enough time!

Will definitely have to look into one of the routes suggested above. Thanks! Any more tips would be appreciated!
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Old 05-22-2012, 03:17 PM
 
Location: In bed with Madonna
475 posts, read 470,838 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maksud90 View Post

Was wondering if you guys could recommend a route. I'm aiming for maximal culture shock, so I'm guessing it would primarily be the south since the culture is way different than somewhere like L.A.?
I recently went with two of my friends in a road trip. We live in LA too. We went from here to New Mexico and let me tell you something, it was a culture shock
We went to visit one of our friends who wants to get out from there and live in LA and we decided to do it in a road trip. Now i know why he wants to get out LOL !
There's another world that we dont know. Its pretty scary tho. I cant imagine myself going to the South, i would have a panic attack. All i can say is "be ready".

Last edited by Marce30; 05-22-2012 at 03:25 PM..
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Old 05-22-2012, 05:44 PM
 
94 posts, read 150,975 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marce30 View Post
I recently went with two of my friends in a road trip. We live in LA too. We went from here to New Mexico and let me tell you something, it was a culture shock
We went to visit one of our friends who wants to get out from there and live in LA and we decided to do it in a road trip. Now i know why he wants to get out LOL !
There's another world that we dont know. Its pretty scary tho. I cant imagine myself going to the South, i would have a panic attack. All i can say is "be ready".
That's exactly what I'm looking for. Where did you go in New Mexico?
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Old 05-22-2012, 08:26 PM
 
Location: In bed with Madonna
475 posts, read 470,838 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maksud90 View Post
That's exactly what I'm looking for. Where did you go in New Mexico?
We went to AlamoGordo and Alberquque (spelling ?) but before we got to NM we stopped for two days in Arizona which isnt THAT bad but still, nothing like the things we are used to see here.
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