Honeymoon Road Trip - Americas advice

Diet Kirk

Silver Member
Hi guys,

My new wife and I are planning on an Americas road trip for our honeymoon this summer. Seeing as a lot of you are from said continent, I thought I would ask for your advice.

Attached (Hopefully) is our tentative itinary. I think its doable, and the intention is that it was more of a road trip and an adventure than getting to tour major cities extensively. We would also like to see and experience the real small town America too.

Anyone think we are trying to do too much in a short space of time though?

Any suggestions of things to do, places to see, places to eat, alternative stops/routes etc throw your hat in the ring!
 

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Notbob

Senior Member
I am familiar with the northeast so i'll comment on that. Niagara Falls is worth seeing but the surroundings are overly commercialized in my opinion. I think the best time to see it is in the middle of winter when there aren't any crowds, especially beautiful on a clear day as the nearby trees can be coated with ice and they look like they're made out of glass.

On the ride east, if your overnight stop in Utica vs. Albany is just a sleepover, I suggest Utica. It's a smaller city and there will be less hassle. Driving through Albany can be a bit of a pain as it's busier. If you like the outdoors, you might wish to go north from Utica into the Adirondack Mountains. From there you could either swing back down to Albany and across to Vt. or you could just go down part way and go into Vt. About midway.

The Presidential range in New Hampshire is nice. The peaks are higher than the Adirondacks but the 'dacks have a lot more lakes. Cape Cod is nice (love the rail trail bike trail) but I've only been there in the off season (early June) and I understand it's a mad house during peak.

Have fun.
 

tamadrm

Platinum Member
I'd spend less time in Vegas,and more time in Arizona.The Grand Canyon dosen't dissapoint,and when leaving, the access road has to be traveled at night.It's like the best planatarium you've ever been to.I would also spend some time in Sedona.It's amazing and there are lots of little shops and restaurants see,as well as the Sedona desert and the church there.The red sand and hills are just beautiful.

Vegas will just take your money,but I'm not really a gambler anymore.But that's really up to you.But if you do gamble,the place can be addictive.Just one more spin,just one more hit.........and before you know it....well you know.

The Adirondacks are beautiful,picture post card stuff.

No stop over in NYC?Lots of stuff to do in the Big Apple,especially if you like landmarks and museums.

Steve B
 

geezer

Senior Member
I'd vote New Mexico over Las Vegas meself, also Northern California and the Pacific Northwest are great road trip destinations though understandable if they're not do-able for you as far as logically connecting from place to place. Still, great spots to see.
 

Red Menace

Platinum Member
I'd spend less time in Vegas,and more time in Arizona.The Grand Canyon dosen't dissapoint,and when leaving...
I feel embarrassed to admit that I have lived in AZ as long as I have and have never been to the Grand Canyon. My wife and I are waiting for someone to come into town so we can take them to see it.

For New Orleans, check out Frenchman Street, some great music venues down there. Vegas is a fun time if you like drink and gambling. I'd drive down the strip just to see it but the real action is on Freemont Street. Cheap bars, dingy, smoky gambling halls and live music on weekends.

Hit me up if you do come through AZ. My wife and I can take you to some real Mexican food with a real Mexican.
 

Dr_Watso

Platinum Member
You might want to add some time for your section "drive LA to SF". During the day, LA traffic is probably the most fun you'll have on the whole trip.
 

Notbob

Senior Member
Forgot one thing, on your drive from Portland you mention Portsmouth. I've only been there once but it seems like a nice town and you can stop by Drum Center of Portsmouth. They seem to have quite a selection.
 

ncc

Silver Member
Sounds really nice. I'm on the west coast (lived in San Fran Bay Area for a long time) and can give you some suggestions. I did notice you are pushing it for time. It will take you 4 hours minimum to get to Yosemite from San Fran, assuming off commute hours and no accidents. Same with driving from LA to SF. If you are coming up 101, at least 8-10 hours. If you are coming up I5, at least 7 hours if you drive 75 miles plus. I'd plan on 8+ hours from downtown to downtown. Again add time if you are in commute hours, which are 7AM to 10AM, 11AM to 1PM and especially 3PM to 7PM. (Welcome to California). You may want to consider LA to Yosemite, with Yosemite your overnight location driving up to the city in the morning.

You can easily spend a whole day in San Fran. It is a beautiful city. The one stop I was surprised not to see on your list, especially since it it a honeymoon trip, is a visit to NAPA valley. A lot of nice bed and breakfast place there and again you can easily spend a whole day there.
 

KamaK

Platinum Member
If you're around Albany and need backup accommodations, or shit happens, or just want to drink a beer, smoke a bowl, play drums, and eat some home-cooked grub, PM me.
 

Dr_Watso

Platinum Member
Yeah, sometimes it can take 2 hours just to get out of LA. haha!
Last year we went down to the long beach/san pedro area to play music for people. The drive back home was terrible because we got stuck in traffic for longer than that. Anyhoo, it was the same drive, we're from right near SF, and I don't often hear of people making that drive in 6.5 hours. Maybe in the dead of night you could do around 7 hours at a reasonable speed. If you push your luck speed-wise, it could be faster I guess.
 

JustJames

Platinum Member
Unless you really enjoy driving (I do, but not everybody does), anything over 4 hours tops in the car will start to feel like a chore.

I love road trips!

Oh, and compile a suitably loud and uptempo "road trip" playlist to enjoy in the car.
 

geezer

Senior Member
Drum shop road trip! Take in Portsmouth Drum Center, Steve Maxwell's in NY, Memphis Drum Shop, Forks in Nashville, Steve Maxwell's in Chicago, and on the West Coast you'd have Professional Drum Shop in LA, A Drummer's Tradition in San Rafael (near SF) Bentley's in Fresno, then up to the Pacific Northwest to Oregon to take in Sam Adato's in Eugene and Revival in Portland! Your future wife is up for that, right?
 

Diet Kirk

Silver Member
I'm about to post a massive string of quotes and questions.

But firstly, thanks guys for all chipping in. This kind of stuff is invaluable. As a brit its hard to get the scale of America in your head and all I've had to guide me is goole maps.

Trickiest thing is that unless you zoom right in you only see the major cities and none of the smaller places that might be fun but I have no idea about.

Advice on travel times and traffic is also gold dust. We obviously don't want to try and cram too much stuff in if it isn't doable.
 

Diet Kirk

Silver Member
I am familiar with the northeast so i'll comment on that. Niagara Falls is worth seeing but the surroundings are overly commercialized in my opinion. I think the best time to see it is in the middle of winter when there aren't any crowds, especially beautiful on a clear day as the nearby trees can be coated with ice and they look like they're made out of glass.

On the ride east, if your overnight stop in Utica vs. Albany is just a sleepover, I suggest Utica. It's a smaller city and there will be less hassle. Driving through Albany can be a bit of a pain as it's busier. If you like the outdoors, you might wish to go north from Utica into the Adirondack Mountains. From there you could either swing back down to Albany and across to Vt. or you could just go down part way and go into Vt. About midway.

The Presidential range in New Hampshire is nice. The peaks are higher than the Adirondacks but the 'dacks have a lot more lakes. Cape Cod is nice (love the rail trail bike trail) but I've only been there in the off season (early June) and I understand it's a mad house during peak.

Have fun.
I had heard that about the falls, hence why we are just swinging past it really. Quick stop to break up the journey from Toronto towards Maine. Its going to be July/August though this year so sadly no glassy trees!

This whole section between Niagra and Portland is the bit I just made up off the top of my head looking at google and rough drive times. Its cheaper for us to fly into Toronto (plus I get to see the HHOF), but we really want to go to Maine. Portland/Portsmouth seemed like reasonable choices (ie not too far north but nice).

I suppose we are thinking of this section as being a jaunt through the real America, smaller less famous places. Basically we have two days to get to Portland so any better suggestions on which route we should take and where we should stop for lunch and overnight would be greatly recieved. Utica, Albany and Manchester just happened to fall under my cursor and were names I recognised!

Would the 'dacks' be a bit too much of a detour? Obviously the problem with using google is that it always takes you on the most obvious/fastest route. I'm guessing you can't see much in the way of places to stop on the Interstates?

Based on the populations of Utica and Albany (All I can think of to get my sense of scale) in UK terms they are quite small places, but again I really have no idea here. All my knowledge of the US is built on watching hockey, movies and tv!

Wow you'll be seeing more of this country than I have in my 35 years of life. Enjoy!
Its always the way dude. I lived in our capital London for 7 years and now I have moved away there are tonnes of things I wish I'd seen. When its on your doorstep you always think there's plenty of time!

I'd spend less time in Vegas,and more time in Arizona.The Grand Canyon dosen't dissapoint,and when leaving, the access road has to be traveled at night.It's like the best planatarium you've ever been to.I would also spend some time in Sedona.It's amazing and there are lots of little shops and restaurants see,as well as the Sedona desert and the church there.The red sand and hills are just beautiful.

Vegas will just take your money,but I'm not really a gambler anymore.But that's really up to you.But if you do gamble,the place can be addictive.Just one more spin,just one more hit.........and before you know it....well you know.

The Adirondacks are beautiful,picture post card stuff.

No stop over in NYC?Lots of stuff to do in the Big Apple,especially if you like landmarks and museums.

Steve B
In terms of Vegas, I'm not bothered about it at all, but the wife really wants to see it. Plus the hotels are cheap so we can stay somewhere swanky for a couple of nights. I figured I best leave most of a day for the internal flight from Houston and that the Grand Canyon trip could take most of a day, so by my reckoning we don't actually spend too much time in Vegas. Correct me if I'm wrong though.

Arizona was on our original list, but that covered most of the US! So we had to slim down. Do you think there is any way of slotting Sedona in?

Happily my wife's uncle lives in NYC, so we have been there a couple of times. Means that there is one lengthy "must see" that we don't need to include. Unfortunately (for me!) we apparently still have to go see them for at least an eveing meal. Hence instead of flying straight out of Boston, we have a day spent trekking into Garrison where they have a second home and then having to shlep down to JFK to pick up a flight. I have no idea if you can fly from smaller airports in the NYC area that are nearer!

I'd vote New Mexico over Las Vegas meself, also Northern California and the Pacific Northwest are great road trip destinations though understandable if they're not do-able for you as far as logically connecting from place to place. Still, great spots to see.
I really wanted to do Seattle and Vancouver and also Florida, but we had to be pretty ruthless and cut some places.

I feel embarrassed to admit that I have lived in AZ as long as I have and have never been to the Grand Canyon. My wife and I are waiting for someone to come into town so we can take them to see it.

For New Orleans, check out Frenchman Street, some great music venues down there. Vegas is a fun time if you like drink and gambling. I'd drive down the strip just to see it but the real action is on Freemont Street. Cheap bars, dingy, smoky gambling halls and live music on weekends.

Hit me up if you do come through AZ. My wife and I can take you to some real Mexican food with a real Mexican.
Haha see my bit on London earlier! I know the feeling. Its worth taking a weeks holiday and seeing where you live as if you were a tourist. I did that when I moved to London before I got too used to living there and it was one of the best things I did.

We could always meet you at the Canyon, force you to go! As above though, do you think AZ is about too much of a reach for us to get to? It would be cool to see some of the states with real life living locals!

You might want to add some time for your section "drive LA to SF". During the day, LA traffic is probably the most fun you'll have on the whole trip.
The curse of google maps! In effect we have a full day to get from LA to SF, but ideally we are going to want to stop every 2-3 hours for a break. Will we get it done in a day do you think? Also that whole chunk, I have no idea where would be fun to stop off at along the way.

Forgot one thing, on your drive from Portland you mention Portsmouth. I've only been there once but it seems like a nice town and you can stop by Drum Center of Portsmouth. They seem to have quite a selection.
I'm sure I could slot a new cymbal into my suitcase haha. Yeah we both had "visit Maine because its apparently pretty" in our heads, but didn't know where in Maine we should go. Portland looked bigger, but both are southern enough to not mean we have too long a drive to get down to Boston.

Sounds really nice. I'm on the west coast (lived in San Fran Bay Area for a long time) and can give you some suggestions. I did notice you are pushing it for time. It will take you 4 hours minimum to get to Yosemite from San Fran, assuming off commute hours and no accidents. Same with driving from LA to SF. If you are coming up 101, at least 8-10 hours. If you are coming up I5, at least 7 hours if you drive 75 miles plus. I'd plan on 8+ hours from downtown to downtown. Again add time if you are in commute hours, which are 7AM to 10AM, 11AM to 1PM and especially 3PM to 7PM. (Welcome to California). You may want to consider LA to Yosemite, with Yosemite your overnight location driving up to the city in the morning.

You can easily spend a whole day in San Fran. It is a beautiful city. The one stop I was surprised not to see on your list, especially since it it a honeymoon trip, is a visit to NAPA valley. A lot of nice bed and breakfast place there and again you can easily spend a whole day there.
Wow no wonder you Californians are so laid back (I've seen the adverts for the tourism board!) you have to be to cope with the traffic! Thanks though thats good to know!

As I said to Dr Watso, are we leaving enough time to do that in a day?

Our travel agent recommended that Yosemite was a short hop from SF! But LA to Yosemite sounds quite fun. See I didn't even know there was a town we could stay in there, thought it might just be a national park! If we did that instead, anywhere you would recommend to stop on the way? Google tells me it would take 4hrs 30 to get from LA to Yosemite.

As for NAPA, honestly never heard of it! I notice its just outside SF. Worth a day trip or is it just too much to try and squeeze it in?

If you're around Albany and need backup accommodations, or shit happens, or just want to drink a beer, smoke a bowl, play drums, and eat some home-cooked grub, PM me.
Thanks dude, noted. As I said before, would definately be cool to catch up with some real life Americans whilst we are over there, see the real deal! Don't mention bowls to my wife though, she has some strong views on those kind of subjects! ;)

Don't forget to get out and stretch your legs! ;-)
Aiming to drive no more than 2-3 hour stints with nice long stops for lunch etc for a couple of hours. Hence hoping to mine you guys for knowledge of some nice little places to stop on the way :)

Yeah, sometimes it can take 2 hours just to get out of LA. haha!
I thought you guys had masses of road infrastructure!

Last year we went down to the long beach/san pedro area to play music for people. The drive back home was terrible because we got stuck in traffic for longer than that. Anyhoo, it was the same drive, we're from right near SF, and I don't often hear of people making that drive in 6.5 hours. Maybe in the dead of night you could do around 7 hours at a reasonable speed. If you push your luck speed-wise, it could be faster I guess.
Yeah there will be no pushing. We havn't got time to waste spending a night in a cell!

Unless you really enjoy driving (I do, but not everybody does), anything over 4 hours tops in the car will start to feel like a chore.

I love road trips!

Oh, and compile a suitably loud and uptempo "road trip" playlist to enjoy in the car.
Oh there will be a soundtrack :)

Drum shop road trip! Take in Portsmouth Drum Center, Steve Maxwell's in NY, Memphis Drum Shop, Forks in Nashville, Steve Maxwell's in Chicago, and on the West Coast you'd have Professional Drum Shop in LA, A Drummer's Tradition in San Rafael (near SF) Bentley's in Fresno, then up to the Pacific Northwest to Oregon to take in Sam Adato's in Eugene and Revival in Portland! Your future wife is up for that, right?
Oh yeah my wife would love that! I'll take some empty suitcases for all the gear I'll pick up! Actually it appears that US stores have better deals on Paiste cymbals than here in the UK, despite them being made in Europe, so I could happily load up in the states!
 

rustyfingers

Senior Member
In my 21 years in the military I went to some of the most miserable places on earth but none of them compared to New Orleans in the summer time. From July-August it's almost unbearable and I'm from the south. Go to Nashville instead. Tons of things to do and you won't have to worry about passing out from heat exhaustion trying to cross the street.
 

GruntersDad

Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
Before going, watch the movie, The Out of Towners, or If This is Tuesday, It must Be Belgium.
 

Notbob

Senior Member
The coast of Maine is nice in the summer. I've been to the lower areas like Ogunquit and Portland but I understand that Acadia National Park (further up the coast) is very nice.

Getting from New York State to Maine is not the cleanest. You can take Interstate 90 straight to Boston and then turn northeast but the traffic gets very heavy by the time you hit Worcester (you can skirt the city via 495 but it's still busy). I took a more "rural" route in northern Mass. once. Nothing special. You can also go through Vermont to New Hampshire. The lower route is via Bennington and the middle via Rutland. The thing to remember about going west-east through VT and NH is you've got the Green Mountains in VT and the White Mountains in NH. There are major interstates going north-south but not much east-west.

If you detour at Utica and go up into the Adirondacks you have two main routes. Either one begins by going up route 12/8 (it's the same highway which then splits once you get out of the Mohawk Valley). The lower route takes route 8 which you can follow across to Interstate 87 (go down to Albany or cross into VT using the Rutland route). The other way is to continue up 12 to route 28. This will take you past numerous lakes and small mountains (places like Old Forge, Inlet, Blue Mountain). At Blue Mountain, you might want to visit The Adirondack Museum. Lovely place filled with the history of the 'dacks. You can either follow rt 28 past Indian Lake and head toward I87 or follow rt. 30 (and rt. 3) toward Long Lake, Tupper Lake (check out The Wild Center, I love the river otter exhibit where you can watch them underwater), Saranac Lake and finally Lake Placid. Placid is a lovely little tourist town with lots of shops and what not. This is the high peaks region of the 'dacks. They held the 1980 Winter Olympics there. From there you can continue east to I87 and either head south to Albany again or cross Lake Champlain into VT below Port Henry.

The drive from Utica to Lake Placid is a good 3 hours straight through. Maybe 4 if you get caught behind some 'Bagos or a "motorcycle convoy" (routes 28, 30 and 3 are all non-interstate, one lane each direction, some twisty bits, especially rt 28). It's a beautiful drive in the summer.

As you can see, I've spent a lot of time in this area. If you decide to bypass the 'dacks, at least do yourself a favor and take the Saranac Brewery tour in Utica. (Actually, it's the FX Matt Brewery but they are famous mostly for their Saranac line of ales, lagers, stouts, etc.) It's the nicest "industrial" tour I've ever been on. You go right through the brewhouse, by the fermenting tanks, everything, and then you finish at the "1888 Tavern" for a couple brews on the house.
 
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