Suggestions for a road trip across America

<p>I'll be helping someone moving from East coast to the Bay Area, CA. We decided to drive so it's going to be one heck of a trip. We'll definitely go through these places and would like some inputs / suggestions of what to do/see, where to eat and so on. </p>

<p>Nashville/Memphis, TN 1-2 days</p>

<p>Little Rock, AS 1 day</p>

<p>Oklahoma City, OK 1-2 days</p>

<p>Alburquerque, NM 1 day</p>

<p>Northern Arizona 1 day.
We're definitely going to see the Grand Canyon South Rim for couples hours. </p>

<p>Las Vegas 2 days
We already had a hotel in the strip. We want to see one show (probably cirque du soleil) but not sure what's good (there are so many). </p>

<p>Southern CA, 2-3 days
I already had an idea of where to go for 2,3 days in Southern CA but more would be great. Don't know if we have time to fit more.</p>

<p>Then drive up North to SF.</p>

<p>Driving time is not included. I know it's not a lot of time for each place but it's a road trip / moving. Appreciate your suggestions.</p>

<p>We did a similar itinerary in 2005, driving from DC to CA on I-40W/Route 66 in ~7 days (with 2 rest days). Yes, we drove cross-country in a VW camper van. :D</p>

<p>day 1: DC to Memphis (900 mi): go to Beale Street for BBQ and blues. (Memphis also has Graceland</a> Mansion if you want to pay homage to Elvis.) :)</p>

<p>day 2: Memphis to OK City, stopped for lunch in Little Rock: Clinton Presidential Library, interesting farmer's market. There is also a historic site for the Little Rock 9, pioneers of 1957 segregation at LR Central HS.</p>

<p>Oklahoma City: stayed near Bricktown/url</a> but had dinner at [url=<a href="http://www.cattlemensrestaurant.com/%5DCattleman's"&gt;http://www.cattlemensrestaurant.com/]Cattleman's&lt;/a> Steakhouse in the Stockyards (recommended in 1,000 Places to See Before You Die). OK City has a nice art museum & a moving memorial to the victims of the 1995 OK City bombing.</p>

<p>day 3: OK City to ABQ: Drove through Amarillo, TX, home of the Big</a> Texan restaurant. Tourist trap but worth stopping for its curiosity value. :D </p>

<p>Albuquerque: eat at the Frontier</a> Restaurant, a UNM institution located near campus. Good NM homestyle cooking. Go up the Sandia Peak Tramway for a great view of ABQ.</p>

<p>Rested day 4 & visited friends in ABQ.</p>

<p>day 5: ABQ to Grand Canyon. Stayed in campground on South Rim. Check the National</a> Park Service website & weekly news bulletin for sunrise/sunset times. </p>

<p>Spent day 6 at Grand Canyon. Rode bicycles along rim road to Hermit's Rest.</p>

<p>day 7: Grand Canyon to Los Angeles. Spend a day in Santa Monica/Venice Beach & dip your toes in the Atlantic. Ride the rollercoaster on the Santa</a> Monica Pier.</p>

<p>We did not go through Las Vegas on the westbound trip, but camped at Lake Mead on the return trip. We rented jet skis ~8am in the morning, when the lake is smooth & there aren't many people out, then drove the jet skis to within 300 feet of Hoover Dam. </p>

<p>Driving north to San Francisco: take the Highway 1 up the coast. I really enjoyed the spectacular coastline & stopping to tour Hearst</a> Castle in San Simeon. We camped near Julia Pfeiffer State Park.</p>

<p>A word of advice: The trip from DC to LA was ~2700 miles. We had no mechanical problems, but the fatigue of distance driving began to catch up with us by day 4-5. Make sure to allow some 'down' time to enjoy your trip.</p>

<p>If you are in Utah you must see Bryce Canyon. Bryce</a> Canyon National Park - Photos & Multimedia (U.S. National Park Service)</p>

<p>Graceland is more fun than it might sound.</p>

<p>
[quote]
Spend a day in Santa Monica/Venice Beach & dip your toes in the Atlantic.

[/quote]
You'll need some really long legs or toes for that.</p>

<p>Whoops! LOL, You're right ucsd<em>ucla</em>dad. :o I meant the Pacific. I'm an East Coaster who usually thinks of "ocean" as being the "Atlantic."</p>

<p>
[quote]
We did a similar itinerary in 2005, driving from DC to CA on I-40W/Route 66 in ~7 days (with 2 rest days).

[/quote]
</p>

<p>Yeah I think that's the popular way going across America through the south. 7 days is impressive. We'd probably spend 10 days or so. Hearst Castle looks good, I'll add that to the list. Thanks!</p>

<p>I'll check out Bryce canyon if we have time. </p>

<p>Anyone reccommend some Vegas shows?</p>

<p>"O" by Cirque. I've seen most of their shows and this is the best - haven't seen the Beatle Cirque and would like to see that, also.</p>

<p>In Las Vegas, we ate at the steakhouse in the Paris casino/hotel & watched the Bellagio Fountain show. It was probably one of the best meals I've ever had, amazing service & food. (It didn't hurt that the prior night [our anniversary!] we were at North Rim GC and couldn't get seated in the restaurant and nothing they serve in the cafe is gluten-free). </p>

<p>Bryce is no where close to where you will be, however, it is georgeous.</p>

<p>12rmh18:</p>

<p>Did you eat at the Big Texan in Amarillo? I may be passing by it again soon and may eat there if the timing is right and if you say it's okay.</p>

<p>As you dash across the desert, as soon as you escape the town and city lights ,be sure and pull over at night to watch the stars. The night time desert sky is spectacular in Arizona and New Mexico.</p>

<p>^^^Love this, musica. We'll definitely do this if we ever get to the Grand Canyon.</p>

<p>For Memphis. Don't miss Graceland. Blues City Cafe on Beale Street, great ribs, tamales. Mud Island if it's open. Peabody Hotel to see the march of the ducks at 11 am and 5 pm. Ducks are in the lobby fountain during the day. Rendezvous Barbecue near the Peabody for ribs. My favorite so far, though, is Neely's on Mount Moriah. </p>

<p>If you like baseball and it's still the season, catch a game at AutoZone Park, Triple A club for the Cardinals. Rendezvous barbecue nachos served at concessions, as well as Ghost River beer, hometown brew. </p>

<p>Gibson guitar factory. The Missississippi River. You can actually drive up and get out of your car to see it in Memphis. Beautiful.</p>

<p>Enjoy your trip. So looking forward to hearing about it!</p>

<p>In Arizona, pull off I-40 and drive through the Painted Desert and Petrified</a> Forest National Park (U.S. National Park Service). A bit further west, stop at Meteor</a> Crater On your way to the South Rim, you can also hit Wupatki</a> National Monument (U.S. National Park Service) and Sunset</a> Crater Volcano National Monument (U.S. National Park Service) </p>

<p>If you will be visiting a number of national parks and national historical sites along the way, buy an annual park system pass at the entrance to the first one. This will get you and your carload into all of the other parks for free for 12 months. If there is an individual "friends of X park" association that you can join, usually that will get you a discount at all of the "friends of Z park" shops that you come across on the trip as well.</p>

<p>If you'd like to stay at the South Rim, but can't get reservations now, keep calling the reservation office so that you can grab any rooms that open up because of cancellations.</p>

<p>^^^There are some openings at the North Rim now, as I just had to cancel our rooms at the Western Cabin. Not going to make it there this summer. </p>

<p>Thanks for the link about the meteor crater, as we definitely want to check that out if we ever do make it out west.</p>

<p>Coincidentally, I am about to drive from New England to the Bay Area to help my daughter move there too. But we are pulling a UHaul trailer. We are not doing any sight-seeing and just driving and stopping for six nights. We both have experienced sight-seeing cross country trips before and so this one is all business and not doing things (other than driving!). Our route is much further north, along I80. Good luck on your trip.</p>

<p>ucsd<em>ucla</em>dad: no, we did not eat at the Big Texan. Nothing wrong with it - I'm sure the food is good - we were just passing through & needed a break. We also wanted to check out the famous 72-oz steak. It was the size of a pot roast! How anyone could eat that steak, potato, etc. in 60 minutes is beyond me. But there is a book for those who defeat the Steak to sign their name & write comments. It is quite entertaining to read. I still can't get over the guy who consumed the entire meal in ~10 minutes!</p>

<p>Getting an annual pass for National Parks is a good tip if you will be visiting more than one. The entrance fees can add up. It paid for itself after 2-3 parks (Grand Canyon, Lake Mead, Zion, Bryce, Arches, etc.) A fun thing is to purchase a National</a> Park Service Passport. It looks similar to a US Passport with pages where you can get free "cancellation</a> stamps" at each park or purchase commemorative park stamps. The passports make great gifts. I think the adults on our trip were more excited to "bag" the stamps than the kids :D.</p>

<p>Make time to visit the OKC federal building memorial. I saw the area after the bombing but before the memorial was built, then saw the memorial. It is beautiful and moving. Agree with visiting Bricktown. There's a fun water park if that is attractive.</p>

<p>In Memphis I recommend visiting Mud Island and Beale Street. You can park in one of many lots downtown and ride the trolley. The best ribs in town are at any of the Corky's restaurants; you must try the onion loaf if you go. Graceland is a must-see, even if you're not a huge Elvis fan.</p>

<p>Albuquerque is fun, and I agree with taking the tram up Sandia Peak. Lots of great restaurants and shops. There is a beautiful small chapel on the UNM campus.</p>

<p>Have a great time.</p>

<p>Thanks everyone, that's a lot of great tips and information. </p>

<p>
[quote]
"O" by Cirque. I've seen most of their shows and this is the best - haven't seen the Beatle Cirque and would like to see that, also.

[/quote]
</p>

<p>Yeah I was thinking of either "O" or "KA" at MGM or "Blue Man Group". Do you need to book tickets in advance? I think summer is not the peak time but because they charge some kind of delivery online for $10/ticket, I was reluctant to book them.</p>

<p>
[quote]
As you dash across the desert, as soon as you escape the town and city lights ,be sure and pull over at night to watch the stars. The night time desert sky is spectacular in Arizona and New Mexico.

[/quote]
</p>

<p>I will be sure to do that, that's a good idea, thanks!</p>

<p>
[quote]
In Arizona, pull off I-40 and drive through the Painted Desert and Petrified Forest National Park (U.S. National Park Service). A bit further west, stop at Meteor Crater On your way to the South Rim, you can also hit Wupatki National Monument (U.S. National Park Service) and Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument (U.S. National Park Service)

[/quote]
</p>

<p>Thanks, Happymomof1. I'll definitely check out one of those places. I didn't know northern AZ have that many great places to visit other than the Grand Canyon.</p>

<p>Reading this thread with great interest. H and I have a dream trip planned for someday (which we're hoping is next fall). Fly out to LA from our home in CT, rent a car there...drive up the Pacific Coast Highway until we reach Route 50 (or something), then make our way back to the east again, attempting to avoid Interstates at all costs. We'd like to make it a long leisurely trip with no set schedule. Stop where we want, eat where we want, etc.</p>

<p>And rent a nice car to do it in!</p>

<p>I spent 9 months on the road photographing fire stations all over the US between college and grad school and then took 11 days to drive my belongs across country after grad school. I highly recommend making the time to see our gorgeous country and all the quirky things in it.</p>