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      11-21-2008, 01:14 AM   #1
jamboMR
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Road trip around America in a Z4M Roady

Hey all
So the time is approaching where I will have to leave the USA and return home to Australia. I always vowed that I'd take a couple months or more at the end to do a big road trip before I left for good. My butt and thighs are gonna be sore in the M but I'm sure there will be plenty of things to take my mind off it!

So my basic plan is... Late Jan/early Feb drive from San Francisco to Orlando for the first big leg where I will stay with a friend for a week or two, she will then join me for the rest of the journey. Any must-sees and scenic routes to take from SF to Orlando? Time is not really that big an object, I'd like to see all the sights along the way. I am also really into photography so plan to take a whole bunch of beautiful M shots along the way

The only road trips I've done are San Diego to SF and Vegas to LA really.... and gas was quite plentiful as well as Travelodge type places to stay. Is decent quality 91 gas pretty readily available along these highways? Should I take a spare container of gas to be sure? How about little overnight places to stay on this route? Are the roads OK for a Z? I'll be getting full service etc done on the car before I leave.

After spending some time in FL we'd like to head up the east coast to see friends in NYC and Boston. This will probably be late Feb early March by this stage. Is it going to be snowing? I really don't want to drive in snow, never done that before, might be time to rent something else up here. Are the roads from FL to Boston OK for a Z?

Thanks all! I figure I'll ask the locals before potentially setting myself up for disaster
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      11-21-2008, 05:21 AM   #2
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Feb and March is prime time snow on the east coast. Could get lucky and have warm sun, but would plan on not. Gas is always available, don't waste your speace with a spare can. You need to go to Key West to be at the most southern part of the USA, then head north. The Keys are great roaddy weather. A couple of days in DC would be great. If you decide to do DC come back here before you go and we'll tell you the easy way to see DC without your car.
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      11-21-2008, 10:14 AM   #3
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To Orlando: Grand Canyon for sure; Dallas and/or San Antonio, TX (nice downtowns); maybe New Orleans if there's anything left to see (French Quarter).

While in Florida: Miami Beach

From Orlando to NYC: Capr Canaveral (NASA), FL; Charleston SC (downtown); Myrtle Beach SC (50-mile grand strand beaches); Wilmington NC (downtown and USS North Carolina); Washington DC (including Georgetown).
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      11-21-2008, 11:41 AM   #4
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Tail of the Dragon on your way to Florida. Depending on how far south you initially start, you might want to visit Carlsbad Caverns national park in New Mexico.
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      11-21-2008, 01:13 PM   #5
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Thanks for the replies

Glad to hear i dont need to waste trunk space on a container of gas - just wanted to make sure, I guess I am used to road tripping in Australia hehe

MVF4Rrider and 03BeastCharmer, this stuff sounds awesome, it would be great to see down towns as well as other scenery. I'm writing all this down.

So my big concern is snow then up east. How far could you go up the east coast in late Feb/March before hitting snow? Should I just go up the east coast for a short while then head inland across the middle of the country instead?

I may be staying in Orlando through til April depending on the situation, is this a better time to head up the east coast?

Thanks! I am still getting used to the US seasons since they are opposite to Australia (xmas is the middle of summer back home and about 110+ degrees - god knows why we still give each other cards with santa and snow on them!)
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      11-21-2008, 01:32 PM   #6
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April/May would be a beautiful time to hit up the NE. Its beautiful that time of year. It tends to rain a lot tho, but there is plenty to see. Definatly avoid the NE in the winter months.
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      11-21-2008, 04:00 PM   #7
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Death Valley national Monument in California.
Arches National Park in Utah.
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      11-21-2008, 04:16 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jamboMR View Post
Thanks for the replies

Glad to hear i dont need to waste trunk space on a container of gas - just wanted to make sure, I guess I am used to road tripping in Australia hehe

MVF4Rrider and 03BeastCharmer, this stuff sounds awesome, it would be great to see down towns as well as other scenery. I'm writing all this down.

So my big concern is snow then up east. How far could you go up the east coast in late Feb/March before hitting snow? Should I just go up the east coast for a short while then head inland across the middle of the country instead?

I may be staying in Orlando through til April depending on the situation, is this a better time to head up the east coast?

Thanks! I am still getting used to the US seasons since they are opposite to Australia (xmas is the middle of summer back home and about 110+ degrees - god knows why we still give each other cards with santa and snow on them!)

An option other than costal Carolinas is the Appalachian mountains (which run from Georgia through NY all the way to Maine. You could go to the BMW plant in Spartanburg SC, then just a short drive to the Blue Ridge Parkway and take that all the way to northern Virginia (close to DC). You can pick up the Parkway (amazingly scenic) in Ashville NC (art community and home of the Biltmore House and winery--worth spending better part of a whole day there). The Parkway is a slow drive but beautiful. It becomes Skyline Drive in Virginia. Finger Lakes in NY are cool, as is Niagra Falls.
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      11-21-2008, 07:39 PM   #9
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For the trip you're planning the list of great sights is almost endless.

1. Get a guide to national parks; driving southeast from SF will put you near some outstanding places. But if I started listing them this post would end up being the longest one on record. A parks guide will help you pick a route which suits your tastes.

2. Avoid interstates as much as possible. They're boring. West of the Mississippi, local traffic is often light, so traveling the blue roads wouldn't slow you down much. In the east population density is higher so traffic is heavier. From Ca. through Texas or Oklahoma, you good follow old route 66 instead of I40.

3. Every state has a tourist website providing lots of good info about places to see, things to do.

4. No problems finding gas, food, lodging. Get a gps unit to help you solve local navigation problems quickly. Also check weather ahead of you every evening.

5. From Fla. to NY, avoid I95. Repeat, avoid I95. The Blue Ridge Parkway from Asheville is a very good idea. From Washington, D. C. you can go north through central Pa or head east to the water and cross on a ferry to Cape May, N. J.

6. OpenRoads, an RV forum, has a subforum for asking about routes. They're a friendly bunch who would welcome questions about specific sections of your proposed route.
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      11-21-2008, 07:44 PM   #10
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Call me when you get to orlando.
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      11-22-2008, 10:58 AM   #11
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Just suggestions for you to Google to see if they interest you....
1. Grand Canyon
2. Flagstaff/Sedona Arizona (you can get on Route 66 - not a big deal but you can say you did it - you can look through that big telescope - Sedona scenery is amazing)
2. Hoover Damn
3. Monuments National Park in Utah
4. Carlsbad Caverns
5. Texas Hill Country is nice to drive through especially this time of year when it's not so hot. I would suggest Austin is the only town you probably want to check out (and I live in Houston!)
6. I would recommend the French Quarter in New Orleans. Just be careful outside of touristy areas. Seriously.
7. Las Vegas (I think you said you'd been there).
8. Santa Fe, NM (quaint town with lots of art galleries)
9. Find some place to ski along the way.

Looking at a map, I would probably start by going through Nevada and Utah and then down through Arizona. Then through New Mexico and Texas. Only problem with this route is you miss Colorado but it the weather may not be conducive to a Roadster in late Winter/early spring.
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      11-23-2008, 03:38 PM   #12
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Awesome thank you so much everybody, this is a huge help

I will get myself a national parks guide, you guys have so many of them in the US! I think that will be a good guide to planning the trip, and judging from what friends from CO have told me about that time of year I think I will unfortunately have to avoid it then. Perhaps if we come back west at a different time of year.

I think this route sounds the best so far as the first leg: Cali > Nevada > Utah > Arizona > New Mexico > Texas > Oklahoma > then the 'tail of the dragon' to Orlando. Would also love to take Route 66 for at least some of the way, hey I'm a tourist after all! I also love everybody's suggestions of mountain type back roads to take - I am all for this! I love getting off the beaten track and being out in the wilderness on winding roads without too many people around, so the more mountain/canyon backroads the better I will check them out in the guides. I also have navigation.

We will hang out in FL for a bit before heading on the next leg (I've always wanted to see the everglades, miami, and a friend works at Disneyworld so free tickets, wooo!) then after this head up through SC/NC and see what the weather is up to. That 50 mile beach thing sounds awesome! Possibly head west through the middle of the country instead of up the east coast depending on time of year.

This is great, thanks so much everyone In two days I have gone from thinking "omg I am going to be out of work soon, and haven't seen most of America" to actually having the beginnings of a decent plan! I've been to a bunch of states on business but generally just fly in to one major city and fly out - so I am missing all of the best bits in between.

At the end of it all, I'll be selling the car very, very cheaply before hopping on a plane home if anyone wants one around then. Will be sad to see it go I am sure.

Thanks again everyone
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      11-23-2008, 06:29 PM   #13
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How much for the Z4mr when your done?
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      11-23-2008, 10:23 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ianbiz View Post
How much for the Z4mr when your done?
I have no clue, it'll be in six months time but it'll be cheap compared to everything else because I'll need to hop on a plane. I'll put an ad up here before giving it to a dealer
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      11-24-2008, 12:05 AM   #15
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Quote:
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I have no clue, it'll be in six months time but it'll be cheap compared to everything else because I'll need to hop on a plane. I'll put an ad up here before giving it to a dealer
How about you PM me first
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      11-24-2008, 12:23 PM   #16
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Quote:
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How about you PM me first
haha will do. Good chance I'll be in FL when I'm selling it too
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      11-24-2008, 12:54 PM   #17
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im interested too if youre coming to the md area
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      11-24-2008, 02:26 PM   #18
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If you come to Charleston, SC, I can tell you were to go, what to see and where to stay!
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      11-24-2008, 05:23 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MVF4Rrider View Post
To Orlando: Grand Canyon for sure; Dallas and/or San Antonio, TX (nice downtowns); maybe New Orleans if there's anything left to see (French Quarter).

While in Florida: Miami Beach

From Orlando to NYC: Capr Canaveral (NASA), FL; Charleston SC (downtown); Myrtle Beach SC (50-mile grand strand beaches); Wilmington NC (downtown and USS North Carolina); Washington DC (including Georgetown).
About the only thing left in New Orleans is French Quarter and uptown.

You might be interested in seeing colonial Williamsburg, VA (SE of Richmod). The town is fully restored and pretty interesting. About 15 years ago they had some real nice ale brewed right in the town.
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      11-25-2008, 01:30 AM   #20
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Thanks guys!

ciliz- Cool thanks for letting me know. Still early days, but I'll let you guys know when the time comes would much rather see the car go to somebody who appreciates it, I know it's too early to talk anything serious, just thought I'd mention it

Z FORE- I will actually be in Charleston probably March/April, staying with a friend's family. It sounds pretty beautiful out there! I might have to shoot you a PM for some advice when it gets closer to the time

RichardTS- thanks for the tips. I saw on the news recently that New Orleans is still having some really bad crime problems. Are there parts I should just avoid or give a wide berth on my way to the french quarter?

Thanks again! Gotta love the Z community
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      02-08-2009, 07:21 PM   #21
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update?
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      02-08-2009, 10:33 PM   #22
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Quote:
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update?
Well I left on 31st Jan, here's a few pics from the journey so far

Byebye SF *sniff sniff*


First stop Monterey, I've always wanted to visit that aquarium




Next stop Carmel



Kings Canyon national park


Sequoia national park


Sierras





Badger CA, population 140


San Bernadino mountains


Awesome road up to Idyllwild overlooking Palm Springs


Palm Springs



Joshua Tree





Death Valley







Hoover Dam


Heavens shining down over NV-AZ-UT border


Rollin in to Utah



Zion, UT



Looking out from behind the falls in Zion


Spent yesterday and today in Dixie forest, Red Canyon and Bryce Canyon UT - holy cow they were all amazing with a fresh coat of fluffy snow! Gotta go through those pics yet and put some up. I am staying in Kayenta AZ tonight and going to check out Monument Valley tomorrow then make my way down AZ to Grand Canyon, Flagstaff, etc. All I can say is I seriously love the hotel search feature on our nav! I never knew it was there until the other day.
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