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Old 05-23-2007, 05:11 PM
15 posts, read 72,528 times
Reputation: 11


Hi all, I'm new to the forums.

Me and a couple of my friends are planning a trip around New York State this summer. Probably late June.

One of my friends got his license a few months ago and we agree'd that it would be a pretty cool experience.

By late June we'll all be 18 so we won't have to worry about age-legal stuff, if that'll be important.

So what we're gonna do is borrow a van from my friend's uncle and venture out on the road.

We live in Forest Hills, Queens, NYC.

We will make our way up the Hudson Valley, and come back through the Poconos and NJ.

Here is the route:

Okay so, I need some educated guesses here...

How long do you think the trip will take us?

Factors I've included:

-Each city we enter, (Albany, Utica, Syracuse, Oswego, Rochester, Buffalo, Niagara Falls, Corning, Binghamton), we will spend no more than 5 hours in it, taking in sights.
5 hours will probably be the max, and we'll spend 5 hours in Buffalo, Syracuse, and Rochester. Respectively.
The other smallers cities we'll spend walking around the downtown and getting a feel for it. Shouldn't be more than an hour for Oswego, Corning, Utica, Binghamton.

-We'll probably all camp out in the Van for the over-nights, no roadside motels.

Now, here is where it get's tricky. We don't know exactly how much money on gas we will need. So I really need an educated guess on how much we'll have to spend.
I know that gas prices go up and down, so if you could give me a range, that would be fantastic.
The van is a Dodge Ram van from 1999. Probably standard milage.

-We will go the speed limit.

-We're currently working part-time jobs to collect money.

I don't know what else to add. Basically I just need some advice.
Maybe tell me a few neighborhoods we should avoid in certain locations.
A heads up for anything?

Also, need an educated guess on gas money.
Money for food and amenities will be taken care of.

Thanks in advance! Really hope to get some nice juicy info from you guys!!

Last edited by Benzoot; 05-23-2007 at 05:19 PM..
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Old 05-23-2007, 08:03 PM
Location: Happy wherever I am - Florida now
3,360 posts, read 11,757,621 times
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Can I make a suggestion? I'm sure you want to see what the upstate cities look like but in the summer, as in NYC, many people head out to the lakes and countryside. These are the things you want to see in the summer. I'd amend your time schedule time downward on the cities, except for possibly Naigara Falls. The Adirondack Mtns are much more rustic than the Catskills if you can fit them in.

Do a web search for "Seaway Trail" they have lots of info about festivals in various locations and things you may not want to miss seeing.

If I might go futher I notice you haven't included Rt 81 up to the 1000 Islands. This is not to be missed. You can take the local roads back down along the lakeshore for some desolate sandy beaches. There's camping at the state park between Sackets and Henderson Harbor along a swimming beach. Check out the NYS Parks site too.

Rather than go down to Corning from Rochester, I'd take Rt 20 across the top of the Finger Lakes. You can either take Rt 81 into Binghamton or scoot down any of the roads that go down along the Finger Lakes thru wine country for great views. From Geneva you can drive to Watkins Glen, or Auburn to Ithaca where Cornell is and then pick up 81.

Hard to tell what gas prices will be. They seem to be going up every couple of days. Hope you have a great time.
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Old 05-23-2007, 08:24 PM
103 posts, read 637,041 times
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When you hit 81 in PA slow down. I drove the Buffalo to Holland Tunnel route for over a year in the not too distant past. The PA police do like that bit of road.

I would suggest you fill up in Jersey or PA as the gas should be cheaper. That will help on the first tank. Gas in the Buffalo area has been running $3.07 - $3.25 as of yesterday. I have never seen such a price difference from one end of the block to the next. Check out http://www.gasbuddy.com/
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Old 05-23-2007, 08:25 PM
Location: Buffalo, NY
253 posts, read 1,232,729 times
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I can help you with the Buffalo part of your trip. Id say the only part of town to avoid is the "East Side". Which , just to make things simple - is whats East of Main st. Its not particularly dangerous if your in a car driving around, we dont really have carjackings or random shootings or anything like that (tho I wouldnt want to walk around there at night - it is where all the murders go down) .. tho theres isnt much over there anyway .. EXCEPT the Buffalo Central Terminal A cool 1920's art deco train station tower we here in Buffalo are trying to bring back into civic life. Also keep in mind, sometimes visitors can tend to think they are in a dangerous area, when they arn't - Buffalo is a very old blue collar city, and economy isnt the greatest here so lots of parts (even in the burbs, this is true of all of Upstate) can tend to look run down. At any rate, all Im saying is .. driving around in Buffalo , even lost, isnt that big of a deal (at the very worst, if you find yourself in a place you dont wanna be - just dont stop anywhere) just pick a direction and keep driving that way - youll either hit the burbs or downtown. Uhm, also Buffalo has a radial grid street structure like DC If you look at google maps youll see it, just remember the roads that lead out like spokes from downtown.

You definately want to drive down Elmwood.. thats where all the cool shops are and stuff. You could do the whole Niagara Falls tourist thing too (either the whole Maid of the Mist deal or going across into Canada and driving to the Clifton Hill area) Then theres all the other standard stuff.. Museum of Science , Zoo, Albright Knox.. i guess it depends on what you are looking for out of this trip.

If your group was 21 which apperantly you arnt , too bad, I would suggest hitting up the Elmwood strip bar hopping and the clubs down Chippewa st. at night since that IMO is one of the best things going on in the city. Last call is 4am here (tho I imagine it is in NYC also, but the rest of NYS and most of the US its not)

Theres the food.. which you can obviously find tons of info on elsewhere... the standards.. Beef on Weck, Buffalo Wings (tho here in Buffalo.. dont call them that.. if you just order "wings" - "Buffalo wings" are what you get. Our Pizza is different too so you might wanna check that out.

I would check out the website Buffalo Rising .com

Last edited by aka_mouse; 05-23-2007 at 08:35 PM..
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Old 05-24-2007, 12:34 AM
306 posts, read 1,564,059 times
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A lot of good advice here (very typical of this forum!).

Here's mine: Widen your loop north/westward to get up into the lower Adirondacks. You do not want to miss them--they're beautiful. The closest thing to the Rocky Mts. this side of the Mississippi.

Get north of the I-90 Thruway as you travel beneath Lake Ontario. Many of the most interesting and special towns and areas are close along the lake shore, and old highways--uncrowded and very scenic--parallel I-90 just to the north.

On your way back eastward from Buffalo, stay on Route 20. There are many, many lovely towns, and the northern edges of quite a few Finger Lakes, along the told Route 20/5 route.

I understand your desire to stay on the main highways for speed's sake. But these highways can be very boring, even in wonderfully various Upstate. And, generally, older, far more interesting roads that pre-date the interstates parallel them. You'll be missing a lot of the uniqueness of Upstate's very distinct regions, and thus New York State generally, if you stick too much to the main superhighways.

Hope you have a great, safe time and post your experiences here once you're back home!
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Old 05-24-2007, 03:18 PM
15 posts, read 72,528 times
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Thanks for the input guys. I will definately consider many of your suggestions.

If anyone else would like to add anything I'm happy to listen.
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Old 05-24-2007, 04:45 PM
Location: Burkina Faso
422 posts, read 695,086 times
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I would strongly recommend heading North East from Corning towards Ithaca. Cornell University is a must see, as are the waterfalls and gorges around Ithaca. It can all be covered in about 6-7 hours.

After Ithaca, if you head towards Binghamton take NY-17 back to the city. That will take you through the Adirondacks. Also, NY-17 is mostly expressway/parkway being upgraded to the future I-86, so it's a fast drive (in case you hate slow country roads). It's a far superior drive to I-81/I-80 through Pennsylvania/New-Jersey.
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Old 05-24-2007, 05:20 PM
Location: Happy wherever I am - Florida now
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Paddington, I think you meant that Rt 17 takes you through the Catskills. The Adirondacks are far north of there.
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Old 05-24-2007, 05:52 PM
185 posts, read 957,901 times
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the seaway trail is alot of fun.

Corning glass is a great thing to visit. but other than that from corning through binghamton, I'd advise that you just keep on driving, not much worth seing in that region unless you detour towards the state parks at the fingerlakes near ithaca.

I'd recommend that you go to the aquarium in niagara falls. And I'd recommend that you go to the canadian side of niagara falls too. wonderfula aviary, butterfly gardens and better view of the falls. But I would recommend that you walk accross the bridge instead of driving over. the reason is that you will be taking your uncle's van and I know other people that borrowed vehicles from friends and spent hours at the border being questioned as to whether they stole the vehicle until the vehicle's owner could be reach.

if you cross the border, getting a passport would make life easier, although it's not required for driving yet. if you get a passport, get it expidited. It took 2 months to get my daughter's passport this year and they required an original birthcertificate. so while we waited for it to come back we had zero id for her.

If you detour to thousand islands, bodlt's castle is pretty cool, but there's nothing else to do there.

best of luck and have fun!
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Old 05-24-2007, 06:22 PM
185 posts, read 957,901 times
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Oh, I'd say figure 3 days driving plus time to do whatever you want for this trip. but give yourself extra time. you won't want to be rushed on a trip with your friends that you'll probably never get the chance to do again and always remember.
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