Great American Road Trip 2011: The Plan

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If you paid attention to my Looking Ahead post at the beginning of the month, you’ll know that my sister and I are planning a pretty big trip for the end of the summer. You could even go so far as to call it “epic.”

Yes, we’re planning a good, old-fashioned, all-American road trip.

Our goal is to start in Ohio, head out to California, and then make it back to the Buckeye State in one piece in roughly 2 weeks.

It’s going to be a lot of miles through dusty deserts, a lot of stops at dive diners, and hopefully a lot of sisterly bonding. We’ve never done a trip like this before, but we’ve half-talked about it for years.

Well, now it’s time.

The General Plan

We’re planning to head out at the very beginning of August, but our exact dates are still very much in flux.

We do, however, have a rough idea of the route we’d like to take, and some of the major sites we’d like to see along the way. For me, this trip is perfect for ticking off a lot of the items in the U.S. sections of my bucket list.

Here’s the rough outline:

Beginning in Youngstown, we’re going to cut diagonally across Ohio, and head down into Kentucky. I’d like to stop in Louisville and take a tour of Churchill Downs to satisfy the pre-teen girl in me who was obsessed with horses and thoroughbred racing for many years.

From there, it will be on to St. Louis, where a tour of the St. Louis Arch at the very least is in order.

We’ll hop on I-44 and begin tracing the route of old Route 66 through the rest of Missouri. I’ve read that the Meramec Caverns near Stanton might also be worth a stop.

Then it’s into Oklahoma, where we’ll probably stop in Tulsa and Oklahoma City. I wouldn’t mind stopping by to see the Oklahoma City bombing memorial while we’re there.

We’ll transfer over to I-40 in Oklahoma City, and continue following in the tire tracks off all those Route 66 road trippers who have come before us.

Continuing on, we’ll get a little taste of Texas, and I want to be sure to stop in Amarillo to check out the Cadillac Graveyard.

Then it’s into New Mexico. I don’t know much about New Mexico at all, except that Albuquerque might be worth visiting as we’re passing through, and that there will probably be a lot of turquoise jewelry at every rest stop and diner.

After New Mexico will come the state I think I’m most looking forward to — Arizona. Keeping to I-40, I know we’ll be missing out on everything in the southern part of the state. But, honestly, it’s the north I’m more concerned with anyway.

The plan is to book it to Flagstaff, with perhaps a brief stop at Petrified Forest National Park on the way. We’ll spend a night in Flagstaff, and then get up early and make our way to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon for the afternoon.

Then we’ll head north around the Canyon and eventually wind up in Page, right on the Arizona/Utah border. I want to take a tour of Antelope Canyon here. My sister wants to see an Indian reservation, and, while I don’t think she’ll find what she’s expecting, Antelope Canyon is located on Navajo lands. If we have time (and the money), we may squeeze in a boat tour on Lake Powell, with a stop at Rainbow Bridge.

Then it’ll be on to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon for perhaps a day.

By that time, I imagine we’ll be all canyoned out. So what better way to mix things up than to head to Las Vegas?! We want to stay in a swanky hotel (that has a good deal on rooms, of course), see The Strip lit up and night, and maybe blow 20 bucks at a casino, just to say we did. We’re not opposed to seeing a show, but I think that may be out of our budget.

From Vegas, we’re making a beeline to Los Angeles. If we take I-15, we can probably get a little taste of Mojave National Preserve on the way.

Once in LA, we’re unsure what our plans will be. Sure, we’d like to see all the touristy sites and perhaps catch a taping of Conan or Ellen if we can manage it. But neither of us is really looking forward to driving in crazy LA traffic. So we’ll see.

From LA, it’s the Pacific Coast Highway for us all the way up to San Francisco. In San Fran, we want to drive across the Golden Gate Bridge, ride a cable car, see the most crooked street in the world, maybe take a tour of Alcatraz, and find the “Full House” house. And we’ll probably try to pack it all into as few days as possible, so we don’t blow our entire budget here.

From San Francisco, things get a little fuzzy. We’ll probably head east, perhaps cutting through Yosemite National Park on our way back into Nevada.

We’ll hop back on I-70 in Utah, and hopefully make some detours to some of that state’s national parks. I’m leaning toward Arches National Park, at the very least.

Then it’s into Colorado, where we definitely want to make a stop in Denver. I can’t wait to see those Rocky Mountains.

From there, we’re drawing a blank. Obviously we have to get back to Ohio, but our route is completely up in the air. Most likely, we’ll stick to I-70, cutting through Kansas, Missouri, Illinois and Indiana on the way home.

But we also could hop on I-76 in Denver, which would eventually meet up with I-80 in Nebraska and take us through Iowa and then northern Illinois. If we took this route, we could make one last major stop in Chicago before heading home.

And yes, I'm going to be that annoying person who tries to pose with every “Welcome to [insert state name here]” sign along the way.

The Preparations

Obviously, with such an epic trip ahead of us, there are some things we have to be sure to do beforehand.

Like:

  • Learn how to change a tire.
  • Get my sister’s car tuned up and checked out.
  • Buy a National Parks pass to save on entrance fees.
  • Figure out roughly how much time it’ll take to get from Point A to Point B (to C, to D, to E…) each day so we can start thinking about accommodations. In some cases, it will be essential for us to make arrangements ahead of time if we want to have a place to sleep.

Where You Come In

Since I’m a blogger and I have this great community of other travel bloggers at my disposal, I’d be downright silly not to take you all into consideration.

If you live along our tentative route and would like to meet up, show us around your city, or even give us a place to crash for the night, please let me know! If my sister and I are left alone together for two long, neither one of us is likely to make it home unmaimed.

And, if you know of somewhere along our route that is a must-see, please tell me about it! I only have enough attention span to get through one or two guide books before my brain becomes overloaded and my ears begin to smoke. And, with a trip that covers so many states, there are A LOT of guidebooks out there…

Road Trip Challenge

This is a bit of an experiment, but it plays off of you making suggestions for other places my sister and I should go.

Except this is more fun.

I want you to challenge us to do/see/eat things along our route.

They can be simple things, like a great diner you know of that we should eat at, or crazy things, like adventure sports we should try, or odd museums and ridiculous roadside attractions we should visit.

I’ll keep a list of all the suggestions and “challenges,” and eventually create a master list closer to the trip that I’ll post here on my blog. Then my sister and I will try to complete all the “challenges” we can on our road trip, while you follow along!

But, of course, this will only work with YOUR HELP!

So please, give us suggestions on what to see, where to go, and what to do on our Epic Great American Road Trip 2011!

128 Comments

  • Andi says:

    This is something my husband and I have always wanted to do!
    Andi recently posted..French Friday – The French King

  • Stephanie says:

    Um, please visit the Big Texan and attempt the 72 oz steak. Haha. http://www.bigtexan.com/

    • DangerousBiz says:

      Holy CRAP. 72 ounces of meat in one sitting?? I can usually barely finish a little 7 oz steak when I go out to dinner! But okay. We’ll put it on our challenge list. No promises, but maybe we’ll at least stop into the Big Texan to check it out.

    • Rebecca says:

      haha, I totally remember those billboards: 100 miles till Big Tex! 99 miles till Big Tex! etc. etc…
      Rebecca recently posted..New Zealand – Oamaru

  • What a great idea. When are you going? We live about 30 mins south of San Francisco… aaaand, if you’d like, we can explore the city together. Ooops, never mind, just saw that you’re leaving at the end of summer… we’ll be somewhere in South America by then 🙁 Unfortunate, I do quite enjoy showing people around the Bay Area.
    Jill – Jack and Jill Travel The World recently posted..Nafplion Rooftop- Greece — Foto Friday

    • DangerousBiz says:

      Yes, we’ll be missing a lot of you RTW-ers who are leaving this summer! Which is a bit of a bummer, but you’ll be off having amazing adventures of your own!

  • Matt says:

    Sounds bloody amazing! Just make sure you take the route that includes a trip through Iowa and stop off in Iowa City. It’s a quintessential college town and is one of my favorite ‘towns’ in the world, a very addictive place and continually ranked one of the top places to live in America.

    You could swing my my hometown of Atlantic too – a beautiful example of small town Iowa. Don’t forget to check out our, “Historic Downtown.” 🙂

    Looking forward to seeing this trip!
    Matt recently posted..Traveling Light with Macpac’s Rapaki 26L Daypack Backpacking Gear Review

    • DangerousBiz says:

      Thanks for the suggestions, Matt! I’m sure you’ll be off galavanting the globe again my August. But, if by chance you aren’t, we’ll be sure to take that Iowa route!

  • Andi says:

    Wow, that’s quite a plan! I love road trips!!! You’re gonna have the BEST time! Shame you’re not stopping by the Carolinas. 😉
    Andi recently posted..Happy New Year!!!

    • DangerousBiz says:

      I’ve never been on a “true” road trip like this before, Andi, so I’m super excited!

      If we had unlimited funds (and time), I love to make it a true US road trip and hit up every state (including the Carolinas!). But unfortunately that’s just not possible. Another time!

  • Liv says:

    What a great trip you have planned! I’m sure whatever you fit into your schedule you will have a great time doing. The Grand Canyon is amazing but Bryce Canyon is prettier in my opinion. I also think that Santa Monica and Santa Barbara are worth a visit if you have time and fancy escaping the sprawl of LA. I’m going to write about my roadtrip in California soon, so keep an eye out for it! San Francisco is a fantastic city too. I will warn you to try not to spend endless time in the car (not sure if that’s possible with your timing) but being in the car a lot each day gets old pretty quickly. Look forward to hearing all about it!

    • DangerousBiz says:

      Not sure if we’ll be able to fit Bryce Canyon in, but I’ve heard good things! And I think we’ll definitely hit up some of the cities along the California coast as we make our way up to San Francisco. I’d like to stop in Santa Barbara just for the fact that “Psych” is set there, and I love that show!

      I’ll definitely keep an eye out for your posts about your road trip!

  • Rebecca says:

    My only challenge to you is doing it in 2 weeks. Cricky!!! My family did a slightly more extensive trip like 15 years ago (took 3 weeks to get from LA to NYC) but driving as fast as we could and seeing slightly less then you, still took us 5 days to get from NJ to LA, taking roughly the same route you are to get out west.

    With the amount of driving you’ll do, sounds like my family’s trip to do NZ in 12 days. And that was NZ! And it wasn’t until day 5 (!) that we had a day with less then 8 hours of driving.

    All I can say, it get ready for lots and lots and lots of driving. The west is a lot bigger and distances are a lot farther then east coasters are used too.

    And give a shout when you are in LA!!
    Rebecca recently posted..New Zealand – Oamaru

    • DangerousBiz says:

      Yeah, the 2 weeks is cutting it close, I know. We may extend it to 2.5, but I’m not sure we’ll have the time or money to afford 3, unless we get some sweet deals on accommodation. We’re budgeting about $1600 each. I hope it’s enough!

      And I realize it’s going to be A LOT of driving. But, at least it’ll be summer, when the days are longer. And, what would a road trip be without hours and hours on the open road each day??

      • Rebecca says:

        And of course, totally forgot to say, LOVE that all your pics in this post are from NZ:-) (confirmation please?)

        Ohh yeah, hard to remember what long daylight hours are in winter, but so true.
        Rebecca recently posted..New Zealand – Oamaru

        • DangerousBiz says:

          Yup! All photos from NZ. Most of the pictures on my computer are from New Zealand, so they’re my go-to when I need pics to use in new posts.

          And I know what you mean about forgetting about long days in these gross winter months. Haha. Summer seems sooooo far away!

  • Liv says:

    I found 10 days a long time to cover the California coast! Good luck in that car!
    Liv recently posted..Pre-Trip Planning

    • DangerousBiz says:

      Haha, thanks! My sister and I both like driving though, and blasting music as we roll along. So I think we’ll survive. 🙂 The key will be strategically plotting our stops to break up the driving.

  • What a fun roadtrip! In terms of San Francisco, there is so much cheap and delicious food there. If you aren’t familiar with Yelp, you might want to check it out in the city (that’s where it originated). You can search by cuisine or neighborhood and narrow down the options by relative price.

    Our favorite cheap/authentic places to nosh are in the Tenderloin district… not the best ambience, but great for food.
    Dottie’s (breakfast) — http://www.yelp.com/biz/dotties-true-blue-cafe-san-francisco
    Shalimar (Indian) — http://www.yelp.com/biz/shalimar-san-francisco
    Chutney (Indian) — http://www.yelp.com/biz/chutney-san-francisco

    You can also Yelp where to go to get a great view of the city; we have two favorites, but sometimes the fog makes it impossible to see anything.
    Grand View Park — http://www.yelp.com/biz/grand-view-park-san-francisco
    Twin Peaks — http://www.yelp.com/biz/twin-peaks-san-francisco

    And if the weather is nice, Dolores Park (between the Castro and Mission districts) is an awesome place to hang out and people watch if you’re exploring those neighborhoods.
    Christy @ Technosyncratic recently posted..Fulltiming in an RV- Travel Costs

  • Phil says:

    Hey Amanda, Sounds like a great trip! I just finished a trip from NY to Arizona myself. Definitely check out Arches. My most recent post on my site has some pics from there. Also in Northern Arizona, I would highly recommend monument valley. Also, if you like bbq, go to pappy’s smokehouse in st. louis. Unreal. Looking forward to reading about your trip. B well, phil
    Phil recently posted..Photos From the Overly Phallic Landscape of Utah

    • DangerousBiz says:

      Just checked out that post — awesome photos! I’ve decided if we can only hit up one park in Utah, Arches is the one I want to see (and also the one easiest to get to from I-70, which always helps…).

      I’ll keep Pappy’s in mind. My boyfriend loves BBQ, and, while he won’t be on the trip with us, I’d still like to hit up some good BBQ joints both to make him jealous, and to be able to report back to him on what state really has the best ribs!

      How long was your trip from NY to Arizona?

  • Sarah says:

    This sounds like an amazing adventure! I’ve just started reading Around the World in 80 days and Phileas Fog had sceptics that he’d make his round trip in that short time, but he’s defiantly giving it his best shot. I’m sure you guys are going to have endless fun and a host of wonderful stories in trying to complete your very own circumnavigation!
    Sarah recently posted..A one-way ticket please…

    • DangerousBiz says:

      Thanks, Sarah! We’ll make our time frame work for us. And yes, we’ll definitely have a ton of stories to tell along the way!

  • Katie says:

    As a Chicagoan, I have to insist you stop through Chi-town! And I think I posted on your bucket list post, you can check off several things in one shot here! For my perspective on what to do here, check out my recent guest post on Don’t Ever Look Back: http://www.donteverlookback.com/2011/01/guest-post-a-locals-guide-to-chicago/.

    If I’m around, you’re welcome to crash with me or I can show you around!

    I also have to second the suggestion to go the I-80 route through Iowa and stop in Iowa City – I went to college there and it is a very cute, fun town! And then on your way to Chicago, you can stop at the World’s Largest Truck Stop: http://iowa80truckstop.com/ (about as cheesy Midwest as you can possibly get!)

    • DangerousBiz says:

      I will definitely check out that post! I have so many college friends who interned in Chicago and loved it there. In fact, a lot of theater majors I know moved there after graduation, and love it.

      I think between you and Matt, I’m sold on the I-80 route! I’m now really intrigued by Iowa City. And World’s Largest Truck Stop?? YES PLEASE! Haha.

      If you’re around when we stop through Chicago, we’ll have to meet up at the very least.

  • Kieron says:

    All this in 2 weeks? Dayumn!

    Sounds like a great plan though. If you’re feeling extra adventurous and want a challenge, cycle across the Golden Gate Bridge from SF to Sausalito. 🙂

    Are you making a stop in Vegas? We should be on the west coast in August so look forward to seeing you somewhere then. 🙂
    Kieron recently posted..Announcing Frugal February

    • DangerousBiz says:

      Yes, haven’t you heard? We’re robots and don’t require sleep! Haha. I know 2 weeks will be pushing it. BUT, if we plan accordingly, it can be done. (In fact, I even consulted with a US road trip guidebook author, and he says we can definitely make it happen.)

      And yes, of course we’re stopping in Vegas! At the very least, I want to see the Strip all lit up at night.

      I really hope our paths will cross somewhere along the way! I’d love to meet you guys. Keep me updated on your plans!

  • Traci says:

    Sounds like so much fun! We’re hoping to do a road trip through the Midwest this summer, so I can finally see the world’s largest ball of twine!

    If you see any “world’s largest” attractions, I would love it if you would write a guest post for our blog!

    Also, I’m sure you’ve checked RoadsideAmerica.com for suggestions on zany places to stop along the way, right?

    • DangerousBiz says:

      Hey Traci! Sure, if we see any “world’s largest” attractions, I’d be happy to write a post for you! (If you haven’t already covered them, of course.)

      And yes, I’ve bookmarked RoadsideAmerica.com, though I haven’t had time to really thoroughly look through it yet. I think we need to be sure of our route first, and then see what’s along the way. Sticking to a set route is the only way we’ll keep the trip from ballooning into a months-long adventure, I think!

  • Wes Nations says:

    If you’re passing through Flagstaff, I’d recommend driving through Sedona and checking out the amazing scenery. The town is very New Agey but the sandstone bluffs are gorgeous. Great hiking, too.
    Wes Nations recently posted..Depression- Burn Out and Renewal on the Streets of India

    • DangerousBiz says:

      Thanks for the suggestion, Wes! You’re the second one to suggest Sedona to me recently, so I’ll definitely have to look into it.

  • Christine says:

    I would stop in Santa Fe instead of Albuquerque–it’s an adorable arts town with a ton of interesting history. Albuquerque is just another big city!
    Also, you must stop in Sedona! There’s a gorgeous chapel in the rocks and a ridiculously steep canyon drive.
    I can give some great SF recs if you need any–and many, many more if you decide to stop in the glorious California state capital!
    So much fun–I’ve been dying to do this, but I’ve only gotten from California to Colorado (I worked at a newspaper there for a summer and road tripped out and back). Good luck planning!
    Christine recently posted..The Australia bucket list

    • DangerousBiz says:

      The only reason Albuquerque is on our list is because it’s already along I-40. Santa Fe is a bit out of the way, but perhaps it would be worth it to take a bit of a northern detour.

      I think you’ve all got me sold on Sedona, though! Will definitely have to figure out how to work that in.

      Not sure if we’ll get as far north as Sacramento… but who knows! If we do, I’ll definitely ask for some tips!

      And at least you’ve gotten from California to Colorado! That’s probably more than most people have done. I hope you’ll follow along with us in August!

      • Christian says:

        Other than the Balloon Fiesta in October, I’ve heard Albuquerque isn’t all that exciting. If it ends up being possible, I’ve heard awesome things about Sedona as well!

        • DangerousBiz says:

          It looks like maybe we should skip New Mexico altogether (well, as much as you can ‘skip’ a state you’re required to drive through) and spend more time in Arizona!

  • Sheryll says:

    This sounds so awesome! Word of advice though, PCH from LA to San Fran is a LOT to take in. Beautiful, but it’s like a 2 or 3 day drive to really enjoy it all. A lot of the little towns are super adorable! The more north you go, the closer the road is to the edge of cliffs, it’s super curvy and foggy and most of the speed limits are 30MPH. I think it’s a huge reason why the drive takes so long. I freaked out the entire time thinking my boyfriend and I were going to fall off the cliffs. But it IS super beautiful. Northern California is one of my favorite places.
    Sheryll recently posted..Thailand is Full of Hookers and Drugs!

    • DangerousBiz says:

      Thanks for the words of wisdom on the PCH! Sounds like a lot of the roads I drove on in New Zealand. I can’t wait!

  • Heather says:

    Really like your opening photo!

    A 2 week road trip will keep you busy for sure 🙂 You sound like you have a solid idea of where you want to go and a good route going.

    Can’t wait to see what folks share with you…especially everything food related!!

    Good luck!
    Heather recently posted..Quitting Work to Travel…Again

  • Sarah says:

    Don’t go to St. Louis without stopping in Ted Drewes for the best frozen custard you will ever eat.

    Also, would be worth a stop in the City Museum, a crazy playground for kids and adults! http://www.citymuseum.org/
    Sarah recently posted..Field Trip!

  • Lots and lots of thoughts on this. You probably need to email me. I’ve done 4-5 big US road trips in the past. You will have a blast.
    Michael Hodson recently posted..Interview with Mike Sowden of Fevered Mutterings- Lucky 13 Questions

  • This looks like a great road trip!! So cool that you’ll be stopping in New Mexico; I’ve been there and absolutely loved it. I would recommend Taos instead of Albuquerque, but I know that you’ve got a tight schedule. I do recall a hostel that was 20 minutes outside of Alb, in the Sandia Mts, that was fantastic. Loved the place. If I find the name, I’ll pass it on to you.

    Enjoy!
    Lisa E @chickybus recently posted..Morals and Ethics of Travel Photography—When Shouldn’t You Take That Photo

    • DangerousBiz says:

      Thanks, Lisa! And yes, if you can remember the name of that hostel, please pass it along! Any and all suggestions are helpful.

  • Christian says:

    Reading this gets me so excited for the two or three month US Roadtrip I hope to do in the next year or so! Two weeks will be tough to do, but at least you’ll have great memories and stories to tell.
    Christian recently posted..concourse division

    • DangerousBiz says:

      Yes, no matter how much we end up doing, we’ll definitely make some memories! And, perhaps afterward I can put together a guide on “how to do a US road trip in 2 weeks”! Haha.

  • Annie says:

    This is super exciting! It’s definitely something I want to do in the future and good to break it up a bit. It sounds like you guys are going to get to see a lot of really great national parks AND big cities! Very cool!

    I haven’t been to most of the places you are going actually but I challenge you to get caught up on some episodes of Man v. Food on the Travel Channel and stop at those places. I swear watching that show alone makes me gain weight, not even for the challenges but even for the extra little gems he finds along the way!!

    I’ll let you know if I see any particularly good episodes that take place along your route! 🙂
    Annie recently posted..London’s Second Chance

    • DangerousBiz says:

      Yes, mixing it up a bit I think will be key to surviving! Haha. Plus, I think it’ll be a nice contrast to go from major cities to the wilderness here and there.

      Good idea about catching up on my Man v. Food episodes! I saw one not long ago about a place in Denver that we may have to check out. But yes, let me know if you see and particularly awesome ones!

  • I’m noting all these suggestions too, and can’t wait to read your posts as you actually do it, as doing a US road trip is high on my list 😉
    Linda ~ Journey Jottings recently posted..NEW Year &amp NEW 5th edition Mail-It Map about to be published

    • DangerousBiz says:

      I hope a lot of people will follow along come August! I plan to do my best to post photos/video/reports of what we’re doing in as close to real-time as possible. As long as we can find decent wi-fi in the desert… Haha.

  • What a cool trip! Let me throw out a vote for southern New Mexico — the mineral baths in Truth or Consequences and White Sands National Monument.
    Adventurous Kate recently posted..Traveling as a Group- Finding Friends on the Road

    • DangerousBiz says:

      Thanks for the suggestions, Kate! I’m not sure if we’ll be able to hit up southern NM at all because of our route. But we’ll see!

  • Erica says:

    Two weeks is super ambitious! We did a 5000 mile round trip in 3 weeks (2 actually road tripping) and we’re on the road ~90 hours. While the Cadillac graveyard is really cool, it is a shame you can’t spend more time in Texas. So much to see!
    Erica recently posted..Travel Photography – Segovia Cathedral

    • DangerousBiz says:

      I don’t do things any other way BUT ambitious! And I know there’s a ton to see in Texas. But it’ll have to be saved for another trip, I think. I’m looking at this road trip as a great way to see some of the major sites and get a taste of parts of the US I’ve never seen before, while at the same time getting a feel for the states and areas that I’ll want to go back to someday to explore more. An appetizer to America, if you will. 😉

  • Exciting plans!! We did several US road trips last year and we hope to do some more road trippin’ soon 🙂 Your trip seems very ambitious, hope you’re able to pack everything in. Here our suggestions: Antelope Canyon – awesome that it is on your list! There’s the Lower and the Upper Canyon – the Lower one is definitely the prettier one! When visiting Denver, we’d also suggest checking out Boulder. It’s just outside of Denver but much quirkier & has a great vibe. Don’t miss the seals along the PCH – there are so many, it’s an incredible sight (look at the pictures in our post about it: http://bit.ly/hMpvjX)!! It doesn’t have to be a long stop, but it’s definitely worth it. And highly recommend a stroll through Santa Monica and along the beach there. We also loved Santa Barbara and stopped there for one night. You mentioned maybe seeing the taping of a show in L.A. – we got offered free tickets on Hollywood Boulevard (right by the Chinese Theatre on the Walk of Fame) for all kinds of TV shows – just look out for the guys who work for the networks.

    Have a great trip!!
    Globetrottergirls recently posted..Polaroid of the week- Old school transportation in Leon- Nicaragua

    • DangerousBiz says:

      Thanks so much for the awesome comment!

      Antelope Canyon has been on my radar for a long time. I know you have to pay a guide to take you into the canyon, but I honestly think it would be totally worth it! And we’ll keep Boulder in mind, as well.

      Those photos of the seals are awesome!! We’ll have to keep an eye out for them. And I’m sure we’ll spend at least a night or two somewhere along the PCH so we can fully appreciate California!

  • You are a badass that’s all I have to say! This is awesome!!!

    Check out this book – “The Bad Girl’s Guide to the Open World.” You’ll love it! I bought it a long long time ago when road tripping across the US became a part of my bucket list. It is hilarious, has great design and sketches, and teaches you the most unique resources for road trips you could ever image. And it’s just for cool checks!

    I got your comment the other day on the Flightster post I wrote about Exploring the Motherland. You are such a great example of someone really doing that! The rest of the world is fascinating and I LOVE it, but there’s no reason to forget about all that America has to offer. I can’t wait to see your pictures and read about your trip!!!!
    Lauren Rains @ TheMadtoLive recently posted..I Have No Special Talents I Am Only Passionately Curious

    • Oops quick correction – “The Bad Girl’s Guide to the Open ROAD” haha. DUH. 😛

    • DangerousBiz says:

      Thanks, Lauren! Haha, I’m so flattered that you think I’m a badass!

      I loved that post of yours over on Flightster. I’m all about exploring your own country just as much as foreign ones!

      And thanks for suggesting that book. I am definitely going to check it out. I’m heading over to Amazon right now!

  • Ali says:

    Wow that’s a lot for 2 weeks! I once did a road trip from Arlanta to the Grand Canyon & back in 8 days. We drove from New Orleans to El Paso in 1 day which was too much. We ended up feeling like we barely saw anything that week besides the Grand Canyon & little bits of a few other things.

    San Fran can be done in 2 days, at least the stuff you mentioned. If you can figure out what day you’ll be there, try to book your Alcatraz tour ahead of time b/c they often book up well in advance, especially the night tour. The Full House house is in a group called the painted ladies. Try camping at the Grand Canyon to save money. It was really cheap & they have bathrooms.

    Can’t wait to hear how this goes!
    Ali recently posted..My Twitter Love Story

    • DangerousBiz says:

      I appreciate the suggestions, Ali! I know it’s a lot to pack into 2-ish weeks, but I’m confident we can do it. It’ll just take a bit of planning – but that’s what I’m best at!

  • Congrats for planning this. Sounds amazing.

    I am in the planning stages for my 3rd cross country and 4th EPIC road trip across this great nation of ours on March 4th. We are doing New Orleans for Mardis Gras, all the way through the deep south, and all the way up the eastern sea board.

    I have racked up close to 7000 miles in the past 5 years road tripping and this March will add another 3500 miles to that total, with the final destination being our new home in New York state.

    If you have any questions or wanted any feedback, feel free to give me a shout! Would love to help out a fellow road tripper!

    • DangerousBiz says:

      Awesome, Justin, thank you! I will definitely keep you in mind for any questions that may crop up during our planning! Sounds like your upcoming road trip is going to be awesome, as well! Going to Mardi Gras in new Orleans is on my bucket list. If the deep south includes Georgia, definitely find time to visit Savannah! It’s an awesome city.

  • Andrea says:

    Ah, brilliant!! Can’t wait to read about this adventure. John and I want to do one at some point…mostly to eat, haha
    Andrea recently posted..What To Do in Nelson- NZ When You’re Not 19

    • DangerousBiz says:

      I’m so stoked that so many people are excited to read about this trip! I hope that means I can turn this adventure into something really fun and interactive on my blog come August. And I’ll be sure to do at least a few food posts along the way. 🙂

  • Tran says:

    Sounds freakin awesome! Just saw some photos of Antelope Canyon the other day. That will be fun to photograph. Also, hate it that you’re only going to Amarillo. Not a good representation of our great state.
    Tran recently posted..Escobars Tourists

    • DangerousBiz says:

      Yeah, I’m really hoping to hit Antelope Canyon on a good day so I can get some cool photos!

      I’m sorry that we’ll be skipping through Texas. BUT, my boyfriend’s brother lives in Texas now, so perhaps that will be a good reason to visit some other time!

  • Scott says:

    A few thoughts:

    When In Vegas, a trip out to Red Rock Canyon (20 mins west of the Strip) is a must! Really shows you another side of LV. I have been to the Big Texan, and you can just have a regular order while watching others attempt the crazy 72ozer, totally recommend doing it that way. I’ll tell you all my STL tips later!

    I am very jealous, and this has actually inspired me to decide that if I attend TBEX, I will only be getting there via road trip!
    Scott recently posted..Cheeseburger in Czech Paradise

    • DangerousBiz says:

      Thanks for the suggestions, Scott! And I’m totally counting on you to be our STL guide!

      Good idea regarding the Big Texan. I think watching (and maybe taking some video?) could be great fun. Much more fun than making myself sick on so much beef!

      And a road trip to TBEX would be awesome! I considered it, too, but I’ll still be working then, and will only be able to get a couple days off to go to Vancouver.

  • Dee says:

    If you much had more time for your road trip I would challenge you guys to come meet Scott and I in the Black Rock City to experience Burning Man in Nevada. But that is a week long event.

    Was actually hoping to do a big USA road trip this summer but funds are not looking like we will be able to do so… One day… be awesome to check out all the crazy road side attractions i keep hearing about. Don’t know which ones are along your route since I live in Canada but check out the roadsideamerica(dot)com website to see what is along your route.

    Your going to have a blast with your sister! What a great way to bond… hours and hours in a car.
    Dee recently posted..Photo Essay – Exploring the Imperial City in Hue- Vietnam

    • DangerousBiz says:

      Burning Man is definitely on my bucket list, but we won’t be able to fit it into this trip, unfortunately. Some day, though!

      I think my sister and I will travel well together. … At least, I hope so! Haha.

  • Kim says:

    Sorry, I’m just now catching up with my reader. TWO WEEKS? Whoa that is going to be amazing. The route looks great! Definitely stop in Chicago. I have no clue if I’ll be living there at that time, but if so. we should get together. I can take you to Calumet Fishery for some great smoked fish, Hot Doug’s for the best Hot Dogs in the world, and Original Rainbow Cone for an amazing Chicago-original ice cream cone. :o)
    Kim recently posted..La Merced – Antigua- Guatemala Flickr

    • DangerousBiz says:

      I’m sure hoping for an amazing trip! I’m actually planning to head to Chicago for a long weekend sometime in March, but I’m sure a second stop there later this year would be great, as well. And all that food sounds A-MAZ-ING. Yum. If you’re around, we’d definitely love to meet you!

  • Theresa says:

    I love road trips. My family did a ton growing up–including one from Louisville to California and back—and this past summer I did a road trip from Chicago to Yellowstone and back with two of my brothers. It was awesome. You and your sister will have such great memories from this trip.

    I’m from Louisville but I don’t live there currently so I can’t offer you a place to stay. But you should definitely check out the city. Churchill Downs will be dark (no racing) in August, but you can still tour it. You can also get a budget-friendly breakfast or lunch at Wagner’s Pharmacy across the street, where you can almost always find a bunch of jockeys, trainers, etc. talking horses.
    Theresa recently posted..Antarctica Dream Destination Yes Mine No

    • DangerousBiz says:

      This will be my first major road trip (well, the first one that’s being taken for the sole purpose of taking a road trip).

      I know there won’t be any racing in Louisville in August, but that’s okay! I just want to see Churchill Downs in person! Thanks for the tips!

  • Maria Pavel says:

    Wow, you really know a lot about travelling, stop by at Taos ! I’m sure you will like it there. Congratulations on being such a cool person with such cool travels. Have a great day, Maria.
    Maria Pavel recently posted..Choosing A Career As A Certified Nursing Assistant

  • sara says:

    to save money in san francisco, stay at the green tortoise hostel! my mom, sister and i stayed there for five nights a couple summers ago and LOVED it. the people there were great and they offer free breakfast every morning and free dinner three nights a week.
    sara recently posted..my best friend’s wedding

  • Sounds like a fun road trip! Check out my “Things to See and Do in San Francisco” post on Nancydbrown dot com.

    I’m also a PR director in addition to my travel writing. One of my accounts is Alcatraz Cruises. If you plan to blog about your experience, I’m sure I could score you some tickets with advance notice.

    You know where to find me. What a trip.
    Nancy D. Brown recently posted..Horse Cart Ride through the Gap of Dunloe- Co Kerry- Ireland

    • DangerousBiz says:

      Hey Nancy! I’ll definitely check out your San Francisco post.

      And I’ll definitely be blogging about aspect of the road trip, so I will keep you in mind if we decide to hit up Alcatraz! It would be fantastic to score some free tickets!

  • Joseph says:

    Hi Amanda! First of all congrats for the blog and naturally, this road trip plan. I’m gonna throw in my 2 cents with some tips – my friends and I have taken a roadtrip back in the day when we were working in good old Wisconsin Dells – we went from Chicago, through Nebraska, Colorado – saw the Rocky Mountains and Lake Estes, then stopped for 2 days in Moab, Utah (car trouble) but had a chance to see the Arches National Park (which is a MUST), New Mexico, Arizona (Grand Canyon of course) and finally reached Las Vegas – we staeyd at a budget motel, walked down the Strip, played in a casino (The Mirage no less) and watched the free pirate show at Treasure Island – you can also check out the singing fountain at Bellagio. San Francisco was also on my list so I would like to highlight a few places to see – Alcatraz is amazing and it’s about 10$, you get to see the prison, they even give you a headset and have the audio tour with original footage of the prisoners and such; the full SF experience with the Golden Gate bridge is to WALK it, not drive (but it’s your call), ride the cable car (it’s so much fun), see the Financial District, Fishermen’s Warf, Nob Hill (and the list could go on) – a little warning though – the streets are steep so walking uphill can be quite a workout 😉
    Can’t wait to read your post after you’ve completed the trip!

  • Rebecca says:

    Soooo cool! And I like the idea of the challenges. If I think of any I’ll let you know!
    Rebecca recently posted..Photo of the Week- Bridge Over the River Kwai

    • DangerousBiz says:

      Thanks! I’m excited to start really planning things for it soon! And yes, if you think of any cool challenges, please send them our way!

  • Kyle Morgan says:

    Wow, that does sound like an epic road trip!
    Kyle Morgan recently posted..Twilight Over St Peter’s Basilica – Rome

    • DangerousBiz says:

      I’m sure hoping it will be! Now that 2011 is officially in full swing, I think it’s time to finally start the real planning!

  • Travelogged says:

    That looks awesome! I’m jealous! I’ve never been to the Grand Canyon (or anywhere in Arizona)… That’s on my bucket list! Can you hit Sedona too? I also want to go there…

    • DangerousBiz says:

      I’ve never been out West either (unless you count Seattle or the LA airport… which I don’t), so this is really exciting for me to think about. Sedona may indeed make it onto the list, as a lot of people have suggested we try to fit in a stop there!

  • Traveling means good times! But you also need to be ready in any hassle that might occur within your journey. Challenges, that’s really what we are looking forward when we travel.
    Samantha Dermot recently posted..Causes Of Temporomandibular Joint DisorderTMJ

  • This brings back a lot of memories! I did a similar trip two years ago and it was epic. New Mexico is great, Carlsbad Caverns and White Sands are worth a visit. Great blog btw… I will definitely be following your trip!
    Scott – Quirky Travel Guy recently posted..February links- Mesopotamia vs Mississippi

    • DangerousBiz says:

      Thanks for the tip, Scott, and thanks for the compliment on my blog! I hope my trip can bring back even more memories for you, once it begins.

  • Lauren says:

    This looks like an awesome trip! You will be overlapping some of the areas I drove through on my way to DC. I’ve heard Flagstaff is really nice…my grandparents live in Phoenix and went there for a night. They loved it! Also, the food in New Mexico is awesome–be sure to try it!

    I’ll be in Las Vegas August 19-22. Don’t know if you’ll be there during that time, but how funny would that be?!

    You guys will have a ton of fun! One tip is to bring a pack of quarters for tolls. Not sure if you’ll really need it, but it should save you some time in the lines!

    • DangerousBiz says:

      That would be so funny if we were in Vegas at the same time! Though, I don’t think we’ll overlap, because my sister and I will both need to be home in late August for school.

      Thanks for the tips! I’m thinking of buying an I-Pass, which is one of those electronic passes that’s good on Ohio, Indiana and Illinois toll roads. Then we can use quarters for the rest of the trip, though I’ve heard there aren’t as many toll roads out west.

      • Krista C. says:

        The only place out west I have come across toll roads are the bypass roads around Denver, I’m sure there are a few more but there is not nearly as many as the Mid-West. A few bridges require tolls like Golden Gate but only if you drive, not walk or ride a bike. This sounds like a fun trip, good luck!

        • DangerousBiz says:

          Thanks! And yes, I think we’ll only have to deal with tolls here in the Midwest. Which is really good, since it means carrying around less quarters. Haha.

  • Kelly P. says:

    That sounds amazing! A dream come true! I can show you around LA if you want 🙂

  • Jeff says:

    Sounds like an amazing trip! I’ll be midway through a road trip to every state while you’re doing this, and it looks like our schedules and routes might overlap a bit around Arizona. Maybe we’ll pass each other on the road!

  • Barb says:

    I hate to rain on your parade but you will be lucky to see one or two things each day even if you are on the road at 5A and drive until dark. Two weeks just does not give you a lot of time to see all the things on your list. If you are going to do any of the parks in southern Utah, you should hit them on your way to Vegas. (If you do not plan to sleep in the car, you need to work on reservations for the North Rim of the Canyon like yesterday unless you hit it lucky.) I would plan my route so I could go to Yellowstone and Tetons (unless you have already been there)… go out east entrance to Yellowstone. You can always pick up Interstate 80 or 70 to head east. Yellowstone is my favorite park (I spent an entire summer in that part of the country and I never got tired of checking it out). Living in the Grand Canyon State makes me feel bad because it is my number 2 park. Glacier is number 3 with the Rock Mountain Park in CO taking up fourth place. I would recommend that you review your routes and decide EXACTLY what you MUST see or you will just do what I call a “drive by” trip. I live in the Phoenix area which is too far out of your way or you could have some free accommodations. Wishing you lots of fun and safe travels.

    • DangerousBiz says:

      Hi Barb. Thanks for the comment. We have actually altered our route a lot since I posted this tentative plan. We’re cutting out California altogether, and only going as far as Vegas so we can spend more time in Arizona and Utah. Some of the states will be just a drive-by sort of thing, but we have to work with what we’ve got. Yellowstone will unfortunately have to wait for another trip, where we’d have more time to devote to it. The U.S. is big! And unfortunately quite pricey to travel.

  • Laurence says:

    I’d love to see a post on how the plan reflected reality 😉
    Laurence recently posted..(Not) Off To the Seychelles!

    • DangerousBiz says:

      Haha, well, the final route did not include California, and there were some changes to our Arizona/Utah plans. But, other than that, we actually saw most of the things we’d hoped to!

  • This is awesome! I was just talking to some friends how I’ve never done a US road trip and how much I want to – let me know when you are in NYC!
    Bohemian Trails recently posted..Christmas Beauty Around the World

    • DangerousBiz says:

      This is actually an old post, so the road trip is long over by now. But it was fantastic, and I definitely recommend doing one of your own! The U.S. has SO much to see and do. I spent 3 weeks traveling across it with my sister, and we barely even scratched the surface!

  • Alex says:

    Hey, I am planning on pretty much this some roadtrip with my friend but I was wondering where you stopped after the St. Louis arch? MO seems a little unexciting after that but I don’t know…

    • DangerousBiz says:

      St. Louis is actually quite cool. After that, we went to Stanton, MO to the Meramac Caverns, and then on to Oklahoma. Check out my Destinations page, click on “The. U.S.,” and then scroll down to the bottom to see all my road trip posts in order.

  • Neysha says:

    I’m DYING to go on a proper roadtrip! I just drove from the tip of Florida to DC and then up to Jersey with my father, but that was more out of necessity than anything else. Love this post. This next year I plan on putting together short ones like DC to Nashville or North Carolina.
    Neysha recently posted..Festival Marisco Ripiao: Dominican Republic’s Best Seafood

  • Kaila Yu says:

    Amazing and kudos! I’m totally down to go on a road trip, but I’m not down to drive (I hate driving, am a horrible stereotypical Asian woman driver), so I have suck as a road trip companion.

  • Tyler says:

    Hi! I’m looking to road trip as well! Something very similar to this but in two weeks hopefully I’m from Cleveland. I read that you guys didn’t get to all the places that you wanted. Is there any way that you could post like an itinerary or a map of where u did go through and your routes and stuff? Hope you’re doing well! Thanks!

    • Amanda says:

      Our final itinerary was actually really similar to the one laid out here – except we didn’t make it to California. We went as far as Las Vegas (following this route), and then headed up to Utah for the route home through Nebraska, Iowa, and Chicago. Even that was tough to fit into 3 weeks, though, so if you only have 2 weeks you’ll have to cut out a few places!

  • Diam says:

    Love this! & I’m from a city near Youngstown, Ohio so that makes it even more awesome because I know exactly where you’re talking about! The road trip looked awesome & it inspired me to do my own!

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