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Old 11-05-2008, 03:05 AM
 
2 posts, read 7,779 times
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My wife and I are going on holiday from the United Kingdom to Orlando for Christmas and New Year. We have decided to extend our holiday and hire a convertible to drive across the USA from Orlando to Las Vegas. We are looking to do the trip in 5 or 6 days. As we have never been to the USA before we are not sure if this possible. Does anyone have any ideas of the best route to take and whether or not it is viable to complete the trip in this amount of time.

If anyone has any useful information for us we would be very grateful.
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Old 11-05-2008, 03:18 AM
 
Location: Chicago
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I have found that Europeans who have only visited coastal portions of the U.S. such as Florida or NYC (or have not visited at all) have absolutely no conception of how big this country is. Sounds like you're one of the ones who has a clue.

Orlando to Las Vegas is about a 2,300 mile drive -- that's about 35 hours if you don't stop to sleep, eat, refuel, use the loo, etc. You could do it in 5 or 6 days -- could probably do it in 3 if you really push it -- but that won't leave you a lot of time to spend in either city. But it will give you a chance to see a pretty diverse cross-section of the U.S. countryside, and do so at a fairly leisurely pace if you're not in a hurry to get to Vegas.
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Old 11-05-2008, 03:23 AM
 
Location: Rural Northern California
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Why stop in Vegas? Why not San Francisco? Being a native CA resident, I think you are missing out on a lot of great stuff. You should, at least, visit Yosemite. That's Wild America at its best.
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Old 11-05-2008, 05:05 AM
 
Location: Tijuana Exurbs
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My concern about this trip is

A) To do it on time (5-6 days) you will mostly have to stay on the interstate. If you stay on the interstate you will miss a lot of the real America. The trip will just be one long strip of asphalt staring at some other cars rear end.

B) If you stay on the interstate, how will you have time to see anything worth seeing? Will you make it down to New Orleans? Will you be able to make the detour up to the Grand Canyon or Zion National Parks? Will you only find national restaurant chains to eat? Sometimes it takes time to stop and ask a local to find an eatery that isn't just another cookie cutter food dispenser.

And like Widowmaker said, why stop at Vegas? At that point you'll be so close to California, why not drive through Death Valley and stay in Yosemite, and finish up your trip in Los Angeles, San Francisco, or San Diego?

Solution:

Make it a 10-12 day cross-country drive!

Oh, and that convertible. well, good thing the top comes up, because you are going to be COLD for a lot of that drive. It will be January after all. Sure, Orlando and Las Vegas will probably be fine, but in between.... Bbbbrrrrr!!!!

Oh and I make these observations from experience. I drove cross country once, and yes I did it in 5-6 days. During that time I only made a stop at three tourist attractions. Spending one hour at the Grand Canyon does not do it justice.
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Old 11-05-2008, 06:44 AM
 
Location: St Simons Island, GA
23,096 posts, read 35,044,432 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kettlepot View Post
My concern about this trip is

A) To do it on time (5-6 days) you will mostly have to stay on the interstate. If you stay on the interstate you will miss a lot of the real America. The trip will just be one long strip of asphalt staring at some other cars rear end.

B) If you stay on the interstate, how will you have time to see anything worth seeing? Will you make it down to New Orleans? Will you be able to make the detour up to the Grand Canyon or Zion National Parks? Will you only find national restaurant chains to eat? Sometimes it takes time to stop and ask a local to find an eatery that isn't just another cookie cutter food dispenser.

And like Widowmaker said, why stop at Vegas? At that point you'll be so close to California, why not drive through Death Valley and stay in Yosemite, and finish up your trip in Los Angeles, San Francisco, or San Diego?

Solution:

Make it a 10-12 day cross-country drive!

Oh, and that convertible. well, good thing the top comes up, because you are going to be COLD for a lot of that drive. It will be January after all. Sure, Orlando and Las Vegas will probably be fine, but in between.... Bbbbrrrrr!!!!

Oh and I make these observations from experience. I drove cross country once, and yes I did it in 5-6 days. During that time I only made a stop at three tourist attractions. Spending one hour at the Grand Canyon does not do it justice.
If you stay on a southerly route most of the time, I would think it would be alright. I would consider:

Orlando>Panhandle FL (Seaside, Watercolor, Rosemary Beach)
Panhandle FL> New Orleans
New Orleans>Houston
Houston>Austin
Austin>Santa Fe
Santa Fe>Grand Canyon
Grand Canyon>Las Vegas

I do agree that 5/6 days is pushing it.
And I also agree that adding CA to the agenda is a good idea.
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Old 11-05-2008, 06:51 AM
 
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Yes, I agree with the other posters. A two-week trip will be rewarding. A 5-6 day jaunt will prove exhausting and unsatisfying. You will see a lot of McDonalds and Cracker Barrels along the way, but not much else.

Realize that this trip will be the equivalent of driving from London to Baghdad. That being said, the cross country drive is part of the American character. I cannot count how many movies incorporate this theme.

The other thing is that Brits (My brother-in-law is from Manchester) are not used to our weather. If you make the trip, particularly in winter, make sure you keep yourself posted on weather, particularly when you get into the upper elevations such as the Rockies. It can get dicey with snowstorms and the like.

But, if you can manage to stretch it out in ten days, why not go for it? Here's where I'd go, if I were you:

1) Orlando
2) Mobile/New Orleans -- Drive as fast as you can between #1 and #2. Absolutely nothing between the two locations. In fact, I-10 between Pensacola and Lake City might be the most boring drive in America.
3) San Antonio/El Paso -- A long drive through a lot of empty. But really neat.
4) Albuquerque/Taos
5) Grand Canyon -- Really check the weather before you come there in the middle of winter. It's worth the trip, but it can be hazardous if a snowstorm blows up.
6) Las Vegas -- Eh. Not my kind of place. I think Hunter S. Thompson was right: It's what the world would have been like if the Nazis had won the Second World War. But if you're hell-bent on seeing it, be my guest.
7) Los Angeles.
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Old 11-05-2008, 10:20 AM
 
Location: Chariton, Iowa
681 posts, read 2,772,073 times
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I just went to Google Maps and entered Orlando to Las Vegas with "avoid highways" checked.It's a good start, although I would change some things up, like following the Gulf more and stopping in New Orleans. Supposedly, it can be done in 2 days 3 hours.

My main suggestions would be to buy a good atlas (one of the massive 50 state ones) and to stay off the Interstate wherever possible. Having the top down at 55 is probably a lot more fun than having the top down at 75, surrounded by smoke belching semi-trucks.

Oh, and it has an interesting route through New Mexico...a southern route through Roswell and White Sands. Much cooler for geeks like me.
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Old 11-05-2008, 10:51 AM
 
Location: Sacramento, CA
1,196 posts, read 4,341,328 times
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Have you ever seen the hills have eyes? Just Kidding

I agree that this is probably not enough time. It also seems like sort of random locations. You should definitely see California.
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Old 11-05-2008, 11:45 AM
 
Location: Colorado (PA at heart)
8,918 posts, read 13,665,901 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SharpHawkeye View Post
I just went to Google Maps and entered Orlando to Las Vegas with "avoid highways" checked.It's a good start, although I would change some things up, like following the Gulf more and stopping in New Orleans. Supposedly, it can be done in 2 days 3 hours.
Isn't that without stopping though? I don't think Google Maps factors in stops for eating and sleeping. And possibly also stops for tourism.
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Old 11-05-2008, 12:57 PM
 
Location: Chariton, Iowa
681 posts, read 2,772,073 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PA2UK View Post
Isn't that without stopping though? I don't think Google Maps factors in stops for eating and sleeping. And possibly also stops for tourism.
No, it doesn't. All I was getting at with that was that it's at least comparable to all-interstate travel. You'd still probably want to give it a week.
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