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  The Chatter Box : Travel
Around America for 2 months... by doodlebugamy on 31 October 2008 2:01pm
Hi everybody!

My friend and I are hoping to travel around America next summer. Neither of us drive so it's all going to be by public transport which I think will prove more interesting than driving anyway.

We're starting in New York then travelling through Chicago, Cheyenne, and over to San Francisco. We're then going through Las Vegas, Grand Canyon, Texas, New Orleans, Georgia, North Carolina and then back to New York again. Fingers crossed.

It's going to be a challenge to get it all done in 2 months but with just a few nights in each place I think we'll manage.

Lots of people have said to me "Why would you want to go to America?" and the reason is that there is so much there that people don't realise - wide open countryside and big crowded cities. I just think it has everything and the experience will be very interesting.

Anyway, we are on very limited funds and I was hoping some of you may be able to offer any suggestions at all as to ways in which we can save money. We're happy to live it rough!

Thanks very much - any suggestions greatly appreciated!

Re: Around America for 2 months... by mrsthing on 31 October 2008 5:51pm
Well, our public transportation system isn't worth much. Be prepared for lots of cancellations and delays. You should take a look at Amtrak's site for train schedules. There are several bus companies that travel nationwide, but the only one I can think of right now is Greyhound. There are also cut-rate car rental companies like Rent-a-Wreck.

You've got to be careful about cheap motels, though. You might be better off paying a bit more and staying at a Holiday Inn or Best Western or Day's Inn.

It's too bad you're going to miss New England and the west coast, but if you only have two months, you don't have enough time. Be sure to pack some warm clothes even if it's summer, because the mountains and desert can get pretty chilly at night, especially in Cheyenne and the Grand Canyon. And pack some very light clothes, too, because the deep south is very, very warm and humid in summer.

I haven't been to the deep south, but I've been to NC, Wyoming, and San Francisco. Try to make time to see Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming--it is SO worth the trip! Old Faithful geyser isn't what it used to be, but the geyser tour is so beautiful. San Francisco is a beautiful city. Your warm clothes will come in handy if you try to walk across the Golden Gate Bridge. There's always a cold gale blowing there. There's also always a very long line for the cable cars--often as long as 2 hours. Muir Woods (coastal redwoods park) is beautiful, but get there as early as possible if you go, because you may not be able to find a place to park by 10am.

Plan on a whole day for the Grand Canyon. It's gorgeous! You could stand in one place and take the same picture at different times of day and get different pictures, because the as the angle of the sun changes, so do the colors and shadows. If you want to ride the mules into the canyon, you have to have reservations. Now would not be too early to check into it--I've heard that some people have had to wait up to a year!

It's a beautiful country, and I hope you enjoy your visit!
Re: Around America for 2 months... by Spursfan on 31 October 2008 7:35pm
Makes me think of Simon and Garfunkel (one of their best tracks):


And a live version:


Re: Around America for 2 months... by tucsonmike on 4 November 2008 4:15am
Hi Amy,
Let me do some thinking about best routes. Make sure you get the Let's Go USA guide.
I like doing this sort of thing, so I can help you plot the route.
Re: Around America for 2 months... by orangecat on 21 November 2008 12:44pm
I'd suggest putting more time into the southwest region of Arizona, Utah, NM, and southwestern Colorado. Grand canyon itself is okay but there's so much more to see in this area than just that. American experience is not complete without spending a good amount of time exploring out there...

Re: Around America for 2 months... by tucsonmike on 23 November 2008 2:21am
Yes, we have the Boneyard and Old Tucson LOL!
Re: Around America for 2 months... by ArabiaJane on 28 December 2008 4:21pm
Hi, Amy,

I'm brand-new on this site (ought to wander over to the 'welcome' room I suspect, and give a big wave) but your post sent up the nostalgia bunnies for me. Rather like dust bunnies, but pleasanter. We did one lap of America about 10 years ago and had a great time. I have to admit that before we went I viewed the USA with some horror for, as a Canadian, I saw first hand the behaviour of our neighbours to the south and often didn't like what I saw. No offence meant, let me finish the thought. After travelling down there for 10 weeks I came to the conclusion that no matter what I thought about them as a group, as individuals they were fantastic people.

We bought a used motorhome, a 28 foot monster that got 8 miles to the gallon or about 3 kilometres to the litre of petrol. For us it was ideal, and much less expensive than paying for hotels and transport. We spent a lot of nights in Walmart parking lots where we were welcomed in hopes that we would spend money in the shop, and these parking lots were very secure. When we needed sanitary facilities for the vehicle, they were always available somewhere.

Not that it suits everyone, but used RV's are pretty cheap these days, and if you're into roughing it an old VW camper van might just be exactly right for you. Even with petrol as pricey as it is now, hotels are pricey too, and trains, and buses. And with a camper you are absolutely free to go anywhere.

We entered the USA at a Quebec/New York crossing, I think. May have been Vermont. Because of the time of year, mid-October, we headed south, following the changing of the leaves backwards into summer. We met some absolutely fantastic people, kind and helpful and interesting. We saw some wonderful stuff, and wome things less wonderful. Our tour took us along the Skyline Drive, to Memphis (Oh, Beale Street! and the Rendevous!) (Oh, and Graceland, of course.) We were in New Orleans for Halloween... nevermind about that! We angled up through Texas in the four corners area. Absolutely fascinating country. And we skipped the Grand Canyon and instead visited Bryce Canyon, a less well-known but even more awe-inspiring natural geographical miracle... if you can put those words together in a secular sense.

I envy you. Any help our memories can give in helping you out you're welcome to.

Re: Around America for 2 months... by bIG bLOGGER on 29 December 2008 3:25pm
It may interest you to learn that famous American author JOHN STEINBECK bought his own motor-home calling it 'El Rocinante' and did a round-America tour in it with his dog called 'Charley',later turning it into 2 books called "Travels With Charley",and "America And Americans"(the latter with full glossy photos)

Several adventurous folks have since retraced Steinbeck's journey,and you may wish to check out some of their fascinating journals and photos.Try the websites listed below to get you going Arabia:





(In the latter site,'Macy' is their female Golden Retriever whom they took on a round-America trip,and have published a paperback book on their experiences entitled "Travels With Macy".
Re: Around America for 2 months... by ArabiaJane on 2 January 2009 10:07pm
Hi, biG bLOGGER,

Thanks for your response. I did read 'Travels with Charley' about a million years ago, and I'd forgotten it. I'm going to keep my eyes peeled for another copy.

When I have time I am certainly going to look up the sites you suggested.

Arabia Jane
Re: Around America for 2 months... by [email protected] on 6 March 2009 11:43am
The States for 2 months....you lucky thing, myself and my husband have done a lot of travelling in the States, particularly Texas. Greyhound is probably the cheapest way to get round (although not always pleasant!) You can usually get a months pass. It would be worth checking out Amtrak too.
The only thing to bear in mind about Greyhound is that the stations are often quite far out of town so you may find yourself out in the sticks with not much to do.
With regard to motels, Motel 6 is the cheapest chain motel but it's worth checking out independent motels (if they don't look too dodgy) as these can be a fair bit cheaper than the bigger chain motels.
The main thing is, have fun, we've met some amazing people in the states and had lots of fantastic experiences.

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