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Old 04-09-2014, 08:00 PM
 
2 posts, read 63,206 times
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Hi,

I am a college student who will be interning in Santa Rosa from May-August. I've gotten two other internships in different places since I've been in college, and I love getting the chance to see what other states are like. I currently live in Texas, so me and my mom will begin driving to California on May 22 to bring all my things, then she will fly back to Texas on May 26. We want to try to make it a 2-3day road trip and we want to stop and see some cool things along the way. SIDE NOTE: We have never gone anywhere west of Texas. (Sad, I know).

We definitely want to stop in El Paso or in the Grand Canyon, but we don't know of any other attractions we should stop and see!

So I have a bunch of questions: Have any of you made this road trip before and planned out cool stops along the way? What are some things we should do to make this a cool road trip? What exactly should we do once we get to the grand canyon? Also, what should I explore in the Bay Area of California before I leave in August?
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Old 04-09-2014, 08:46 PM
 
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What part of Texas?

Also 2-3 days does NOT give you enough time to do much sightseeing. For example, driving El Paso to Austin is a full day ride.
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Old 04-10-2014, 05:12 AM
 
Location: Mtns of Waynesville,NC & Nokomis, FL
4,239 posts, read 8,074,474 times
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^^^ +1...
Many of us could recite a dozen TTD and see in that run from TX to San Francisco, but in that three days you won't be stopping other than to sleep/gas, and won't see much more than out the windshield.

And, as jlawrence asked: where do you start in TX?
GL, mD
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Old 04-10-2014, 06:45 AM
 
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I'll be starting from around Houston Texas. Also, the reason for the short trip is because my mom doesn't want to take off work.
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Old 04-10-2014, 07:35 AM
 
Location: Airports all over the world
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Without any detours to go sightseeing you are looking at a 2,000 mile drive. By the time you add in rest stops and meal stops it will be a long 3 days just getting there.
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Old 04-10-2014, 09:22 AM
 
Location: From TX to VA
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I can't suggest anything outside of Texas but I do know this...

I used to travel from Fort Stockton TX to Houston on I-10. That was a 9-hour drive. Depending on how you feel, how roomy the car is, you might be ready to stop for the night when you reach Fort Stockton. I'd advise not going any further west on the first day because lodging and fuel stops are scarce past that point. And it pretty much stays scarce until you reach El Paso.

Something else to keep in mind - Fort Stockton (the US 285 exit) is about 257 miles from the western edge of Texas. All the other posters who have said that driving will take up almost your entire time? They're not exaggerating.

But - depending on your outlook, there is one very big positive thing about driving through that part of Texas. After fueling up in Fort Stockton, get ready to enjoy the change in the scenery! It turns rugged, but beautiful in its own way.

When you get to the Balmorhea / Toyahvale area pull off safely, and take a look around. To the north you'll see flat fields but if you focus further north, past those flat areas you'll see some mountains way off in the distance. Those are the Guadalupe Mountains. They're part of a National Park that lies in both Texas and New Mexico. But now look to the south... you'll see more mountains. Those are the Davis Mountains and they stretch a lot of miles. They go into Fort Davis, Alpine, down to Marfa and up to Van Horn and areas in between.

Then if you stop again in Van Horn the scenery is quite different. No flat areas now. Those are still the Davis Mountains to the south but now it's almost as if they've come up to the interstate to greet you. Now look to the north again. If you're anywhere near Hwy 54, those mountains to the west of the Highway are part of the Sierra Diablo range. They are aptly named, that's for sure. Sierra loosely translates to 'mountains with jagged peaks' and Diablo is 'devil'. Devil's mountains with jagged peaks. That fits. But they're awesome too.

On the other hand, if all you can see is a pile of rocks, then just keep on driving. It'll pretty much be more of the same all the way to the western edge of Texas.

Have a good trip!
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Old 04-10-2014, 12:48 PM
 
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The stretch of I-10 between the Hill Country and El Paso can be incredibly tedious, but I did discover an absolute gem of an attraction called the Caverns of Sonora roughly halfway between Kerrville and Fort Stockton, when I did this drive several years ago. If you do have a couple of hours, it's a great way to break up the drive and stretch your legs for a bit. The caves themselves are remarkable - I was told that they are actually more geologically interesting than, say, Carlsbad, which enjoys the fame it gets largely because it's just massive (and a bit less remote).

La Mesilla in Las Cruces, NM, could also make a good place to stop for lunch or dinner, that would be a lot more fun and interesting than your typical generic strip of fast food joints off the highway.
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Old 04-10-2014, 01:45 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by collegeintern2016 View Post
I'll be starting from around Houston Texas. Also, the reason for the short trip is because my mom doesn't want to take off work.

It took me 2 1/2 days to drive between Tucson and Houston last month and I did NOT encounter ANY real weather delays. I could have made it in two days. You are adding a lot more mileage than I had to cover.

Make sure that your car is well serviced BEFORE you leave as the stretch between El Paso and Austin in relatively desolate and services are spotty at times.
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Old 04-10-2014, 01:54 PM
 
Location: From TX to VA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jlawrence01 View Post
It took me 2 1/2 days to drive between Tucson and Houston last month and I did NOT encounter ANY real weather delays. I could have made it in two days. You are adding a lot more mileage than I had to cover.

Make sure that your car is well serviced BEFORE you leave as the stretch between El Paso and Austin in relatively desolate and services are spotty at times.
^^^^^
This is very important. I forgot to mention that part.
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Old 04-11-2014, 10:42 AM
 
Location: Cottonwood CA
334 posts, read 946,790 times
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Cool Add some days

I agree with all who've posted regarding the tight time schedule. It's a trip of about 2000 miles. There's really no way to make it in 3 days and see anything other than the freeway and roadside gas stations. Talk to your Mom about taking a couple of days off work and expand the trip to 6 or even 7 days. That way you'll have some time for site-seeing. I have made the trip back and forth between Northern CA and TX several times and on differing routes.

I note that you've specifically cited the Grand Canyon as an objective and you're doing the trip in May. If you're going to the Grand Canyon, I recommend that you not travel on I-10, but instead head northwest from Houston to Dallas-then Ft. Worth and up through Wichita Falls and Amarillo-connecting to I-40. Take I-40 west through northern New Mexico. Now, before you get to Albuquerque, turn north off the I-40 and "cut the corner" (Hwy 285) to get to Santa Fe. It's a great place to visit, shop, eat and stay. Then head on I-25 south to Albuquerque and reconnect with I-40. Continue west across NM and into Northern AZ. If you have time, see the Painted Desert and Petrified Forest and the Meteor Crater. They are quite close to I-40. Also, perhaps you're a little young, but your Mom might appreciate "standing on a Corner in Winslow AZ" (Eagle's song). Spend a night in Flagstaff before departing I-40 northbound on Hwy. 89 to see the Grand Canyon. From the Grand Canyon, head south toward Williams then get back on I-40. On to Kingman, AZ. There, consider exiting and heading north toward Las Vegas on Hwy, 93. That trip will take you over the new bridge at Hoover Dam. From Vegas you can decide whether to take I-15 toward Barstow/Bakersfield or to be more adventurous and head northwest toward Tonopah/Reno on Hwy. 95 to connect with I-80.

Good luck-whatever you decide.
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