Holidays 2019 Cross Country Roadtrip Planning

EyeMWing

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I've decided I need to take a fucking vacation. A quiet, contemplative vacation. By myself.

I had another much more boisterous vacation planned but things fell apart and shit sucks, so now I have this giant 2-and-a-bit-week hunk of space to fill.

Resources:
1 - driver with an iron butt and an uncanny ability to sleep in the car
1 - Quarter million mile Subaru BRZ that is fucked in every single cosmetic way, on all season tires (I am not doing snow tires this year)
1 - Big wad of gas money
A couple but not nearly enough - hotel comps.

Theoretically possible but vastly unlikely resource swaps:
- BRZ for Legacy. That thing still needs its engine transplant, and that's going to require engineering. In theory if I bust my ass that MIGHT be done in time, but it's unlikely. Especially with 7 tons of New Project Coming Soon.

Constraints:
  • Depart no earlier than 4PM, December 20th 2019 from Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
  • Return home no later than 6PM, January 5th 2020 in Baltimore, MD.
  • Spend ~3-4 days in Los Angeles in the middle.


Route suggestions? Places to see? Things to do?
 

GRtak

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You need to go to Hell. It should be frozen over that time of year.

The only reason to go there is to get a picture of the sign frozen over.

Oh, that is Hell, Michigan by the way.
 

EyeMWing

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Outbound leg....

Thinking I might want to take the evening of the 20th and reposition near the head of Skyline Drive, VA.

Then on the 21st, drive the entirety of the Blue Ridge Parkway in the light. This means stopping off somewhere in North Carolina, probably.

Start off at astronomical twilight, that's 13 hours and 46 minutes of light. At 35mph (which I suspect MAY be the speed limit), it would allegedly take 13 hours, 30 minutes for the Blue Ridge, and 3 hours for Skyline. Add in Scenery Meditation, bathroom, munchies stops (15m each every 3 hours)

Wrap the Parkway on the 22nd. Maybe stop for an hour or two in Cherokee to Tourist a little. follow it through to Tail of the Dragon.

That leaves us in... Approximately Chilhowee, TN, sometime on the 22nd. I have driven the length of TN several times for Lemons Rallies, and I have NEVER had fun doing it. This means it's a crossroads for how the entire rest of the outbound leg is going to go.

Three major routes make sense from there:
A) I-40 through TN, Arkansas, Ozarks, Oklahoma, the Texas panhandle, Albuquerque, Flagstaff, and then pick up the 15 commute into LA.
B) Cut down through Chatanooga to Birmingham AL and pick up I-20, Jackson MS, Shreveport, Dallas, The Vast West Texas Nothing, pick up I-10, El Paso, Tuscon, Phoenix, into SoCal.
C) Chatanooga, Birmingham, Mobile, New Orleans, Houston, San Antonio, join up with route B in the Vast West Texas Nothing.

I could also detour down through Mexico, but I know little Spanish and I suspect that groping across a highway system I don't know with no language, sleeping in the car, would be a VERY BAD PLAN




Return leg: I'd kind of like to do the full length of I-70.
 

CraigB

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I-40 sucks through Arkansas, well most states actually, you won't really see much of the Ozarks unless you take I-49 or one of the many Arkansas highways.

I've not been on most of I-20 to the east, but I have driven through the west Texas nothingness. It is what's on the tin...

I-10 is busy, busy, busy in and out of Houston, but I avoid Houston (if at all possible) because I don't like it.

Look into US 412. My brother and I picked up a section of it in Tennessee and really liked it compared to I-40. It'll also take you through some more interesting parts of Arkansas and Oklahoma.

Speaking of Oklahoma, be prepared for tolls. They don't do pay by plate, so look into their PikePass. Small sticker you put in your windshield and it deducts tolls from your prepaid account. I think it's $40 to start.
 

EyeMWing

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412 looks to be very interesting properties in that it also hits Missouri and completely avoids Texas apparently out of sheer spite.
 

CraigB

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I never noticed it avoids Texas. Looks as if part of the shoulder for the east bound side does just touch the northwest corner of the state though. 🤣
 

EyeMWing

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Completely routed all the way to Dec 23rd, where I encounter the first actual city transit.

In Tulsa, OK.
Where I will sleep in a hotel.

That's right. Halfway across the country without entering a city.
 

CraigB

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Well, as a former resident (birth to the age of 19) of that particular town, I could make an argument for it being an armpit rather than a city.
 

EyeMWing

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I am having problems with the back half of the route... I wish to avoid interstate miles, and would also prefer to avoid Route 66 (as I'll be taking a separate trip on that sucker next year).

Design rules:
- Avoid interstates whenever possible.
- Avoid major cities
- Paved roads or maintained dirt only. The BRZ can do dirt, but it has no ground clearance.
- MUST stay at a hotel the night of the 25th, as I am not allowed to arrive smelling like I slept in a Walmart parking lot.

Dec 25th
Origin point: Cortez, CO.
Would prefer to route to Avi Resort and Casino (at the tri-point of CA/NV/AZ) for the stopover. Would prefer to swing by the Grand Canyon for a photo stop.

I don't seem to be able to pull that off without either some extensive detours to Flagstaff or using a bit of I-40. Problematically, these bits of I-40 also used to be 66.

https://www.google.com/maps/dir/37.3529864,-108.5622096/36.052468,-112.1002445/35.0138074,-114.6386191/@35.6716618,-113.201356,7z/data=!4m50!4m49!1m10!3m4!1m2!1d-109.1778004!2d37.3319739!3s0x873994b9f0e13677:0x5e750d1dfbfc15fa!3m4!1m2!1d-109.8784867!2d37.1415676!3s0x87374665c95e7b27:0xad979ba927d1718b!1m35!3m4!1m2!1d-112.1747721!2d35.256439!3s0x87329ee94f4042af:0x6fb04087e176080f!3m4!1m2!1d-112.2523858!2d35.2243608!3s0x8732a04aa99b87b7:0xfdf68c28e9a340e1!3m4!1m2!1d-112.2967495!2d35.2218444!3s0x8732a1039c7c579b:0xf6e42e8da7cab350!3m4!1m2!1d-112.4417461!2d35.2181215!3s0x8732a8bac6977b37:0xbab0cb0b88e90e05!3m4!1m2!1d-112.817196!2d34.1910532!3s0x80d33a7de4222d6d:0x2add82ab51832a31!3m4!1m2!1d-113.7779143!2d35.1720858!3s0x80cdead62b6c55e3:0xe385b5478305bc10!3m4!1m2!1d-114.4544695!2d34.9922402!3s0x80ce1419267d1c69:0x3b5067c1eaaf3c09!1m0!3e0

vs

https://www.google.com/maps/dir/37.3529864,-108.5622096/36.052468,-112.1002445/35.0138074,-114.6386191/@34.3595113,-115.0068741,7z/data=!4m45!4m44!1m10!3m4!1m2!1d-109.1778004!2d37.3319739!3s0x873994b9f0e13677:0x5e750d1dfbfc15fa!3m4!1m2!1d-109.8784867!2d37.1415676!3s0x87374665c95e7b27:0xad979ba927d1718b!1m30!3m4!1m2!1d-111.7740138!2d35.3899959!3s0x87327c7adb6f9dcb:0x739b1e93397ec065!3m4!1m2!1d-111.7832426!2d34.8626177!3s0x872da1485d6b04ef:0x78fd3d0090a752e5!3m4!1m2!1d-112.0512007!2d34.7522594!3s0x872d1027f3b563f7:0x74fa5c4bdf8ee55d!3m4!1m2!1d-113.904791!2d33.8513508!3s0x80d3e9d0b4bdfc23:0xdd5602496bbfaac2!3m4!1m2!1d-114.5964269!2d34.8339745!3s0x80ce2374d985de77:0x83307924fc11ebae!3m4!1m2!1d-114.6109982!2d34.8417829!3s0x80ce23645321cac9:0xf43f418cb4f88587!1m0!3e0

Difference is about 3 hours. There's also a slice of 66 in the alternate (through Needles)

Dec 26th
Origin point: Wherever the previous day ends. Preferably Avi Resort and Casino.
Destination: Redondo Beach Pier, CA. Because ALL trips terminating in LA must end at a pier. Usually Santa Monica pier, but Redondo Beach is more convenient to my goals and there's a bitchin' Mexican restaurant that serves jalapeno cucumber gin martinis that are to die for.

Or is that restaurant at Manhattan Beach pier? Shit.
(Edit: It's the Hermosa Beach Pier. No matter. They're all within a couple miles.)

I'm thinking driving through the Mojave Preserve has to be a mandatory, but doing that makes it about impossible to head towards LA without using I-15 or I-40 the bulk of the rest of the way without a huge detour via Twentynine Palms.

Is the Mojave Preserve via 2WD roads worth the extra like, 3 hours?

https://www.google.com/maps/dir/35.0138074,-114.6386191/Redondo+Beach+Pier,+Redondo+Beach,+CA/@34.6881028,-115.8108996,9z/data=!4m34!4m33!1m25!3m4!1m2!1d-115.1917929!2d35.1544228!3s0x80cfa3ff308090c7:0x83e8fcc7b727cb6f!3m4!1m2!1d-115.6491029!2d35.014438!3s0x80cf877465d43655:0x7fcd3a476e18db87!3m4!1m2!1d-115.7183422!2d34.2582317!3s0x80daa6348ace627f:0x4103fb08658c02d1!3m4!1m2!1d-116.9971982!2d34.2500046!3s0x80c4adfd7e0a5f87:0x5d17087d26a0648c!3m4!1m2!1d-118.304726!2d33.8729542!3s0x80c2b5615b6de46b:0x3dc52a6601049a4a!1m5!1m1!1s0x80c2b4a64e9815fb:0x146d1982925c01e2!2m2!1d-118.389767!2d33.83839!3e0

vs

https://www.google.com/maps/dir/35.0138074,-114.6386191/Redondo+Beach+Pier,+Redondo+Beach,+CA/@34.6881028,-115.8108996,9z/data=!4m29!4m28!1m20!3m4!1m2!1d-115.3486498!2d34.6644418!3s0x80cfe6565a9410a3:0xa25171d9e6b56bfb!3m4!1m2!1d-115.7183422!2d34.2582317!3s0x80daa6348ace627f:0x4103fb08658c02d1!3m4!1m2!1d-116.9971982!2d34.2500046!3s0x80c4adfd7e0a5f87:0x5d17087d26a0648c!3m4!1m2!1d-118.304726!2d33.8729542!3s0x80c2b5615b6de46b:0x3dc52a6601049a4a!1m5!1m1!1s0x80c2b4a64e9815fb:0x146d1982925c01e2!2m2!1d-118.389767!2d33.83839!3e0


Incidentally, the list of sleep sites so far is:
- I-81 southbound Welcome Center, VA. This is technically the kickoff site, since I'm not really counting my after-work get-near-somewhere-interesting commute. I get off the Interstate at the first exit.
- Rocky Knob Campground, Blue Ridge Parkway, VA. Plop the BRZ right in an RV space! There's running water at this site.
- I-75 Southbound rest area, Athens TN. I get on the interstate 1 exit up, get off at the next exit.
- Unidentified hotel, Tulsa OK
- Walmart parking lot, Cortez CO
- Avi Resort and Casino, Laughlin, NV. $30 a night after fees and taxes
 
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CraigB

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On the Cortez west leg, I'd go for route A. I'd imagine at this point in the trip 2 hours spent in a hotel vs in the car? The hotel with a warm shower, a warm bed and booze/gambling/debauchery is probably going to be more palatable.

Not sure about the Avi Casino west route. Guess it would depend how you feel when you head out that morning and how bad you want one of those martinis.

Hotels in Tulsa: Despite me living there I have since had several occasions where I have needed to stay the night during races at TRP. Avoid, with all certainty, Garnett Road around I-244. Many racers have lost cars, trucks and trailers in this area. I normally stay in the 31st and Memorial Rd area. I've had no problems and there's several hotels to choose from (it's right off of I-44).

If you are looking for places to eat in Tulsa I can give a few suggestions.
 

EyeMWing

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Heh, there's a nonzero chance I get up early on that last day and decide to skip all the meandering and just do a highway blast into town.

Tulsa hotel wise, I'm thinking one of the hotels around the Hard Rock Casino would be sufficient. Since the drives on either side of it are so long I basically plan on eating whatever is close to (preferably inside) the hotel, taking a shower, and passing out for 8 hours before getting back on the road.

Note the entire return trip is:
LA via CA-2 (Angeles Crest Highway) to I-15 to Cedar City Utah (about 8 hours)
Cedar City to Kansas City via I-70 (17 hours)
Kansas City to Home via I-70 (17 hours) (or maybe I-64, weather depending)
Maximum highway bomb.
 
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CraigB

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Never stayed at the Hard Rock (although it's technically Catoosa, not Tulsa), but I've heard good things.

34 hours of I-70. Kill me... :ROFLMAO:

If you are bombing through NWA on 412 and want to have a meal with a FG member, let me know.
 

73GMCSprint

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Heh, there's a nonzero chance I get up early on that last day and decide to skip all the meandering and just do a highway blast into town.

Tulsa hotel wise, I'm thinking one of the hotels around the Hard Rock Casino would be sufficient. Since the drives on either side of it are so long I basically plan on eating whatever is close to (preferably inside) the hotel, taking a shower, and passing out for 8 hours before getting back on the road.

Note the entire return trip is:
LA via CA-2 (Angeles Crest Highway) to I-15 to Cedar City Utah (about 8 hours)
Cedar City to Kansas City via I-70 (17 hours)
Kansas City to Home via I-70 (17 hours) (or maybe I-64, weather depending)
Maximum highway bomb.
Watch your weather reports. I-15 north of St. George and I-70 can be treacherous during winter storms. Lots of places to hole up in St. George or Cedar City if you need to, but not as many between Cedar and I-70.
 

NotLaw

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Watch your weather reports. I-15 north of St. George and I-70 can be treacherous during winter storms. Lots of places to hole up in St. George or Cedar City if you need to, but not as many between Cedar and I-70.
Between Cedar and Richfield, there is basically nothing. There's a blip of civilization in Beaver, and that's basically it.


Is the Mojave Preserve via 2WD roads worth the extra like, 3 hours?
Mojave preserve is nifty, but its mostly just arid desert with Joshua trees. Most all the area around the preserve looks just like the area inside the preserve.

Between a 6 hour day and an 8 hour day? If you were fresh I'd say go for it, otherwise, meh, it's probably not worth it IMO.



Note the entire return trip is:
LA via CA-2 (Angeles Crest Highway) to I-15 to Cedar City Utah (about 8 hours)
Cedar City to Kansas City via I-70 (17 hours)
Kansas City to Home via I-70 (17 hours) (or maybe I-64, weather depending)
Maximum highway bomb.
Let me know when you're in Cedar. If I'm around I'd probably be up for a meetup, depending on the time of arrival. I've got travel plans myself from the 28th through the 1st, but otherwise I should be in town.
 

EyeMWing

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Thinking about redesigning the starting leg. I can do the Blue Ridge run basically any 3 day weekend.

But a sea-to-shining-sea run is a much rarer opportunity.

Maybe Ocean City MD fishing pier at sunrise, and tighten up the last day so I catch sunset on the other end?
 

CraigB

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Needs a catchy title then. Like Cannonball Run, but with more JDM.
 

EyeMWing

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I'm tentatively calling this variation the "EyeMWing's Sanity Memorial Second Rate Beach To Second Rate Beach Continental Fun Run"

Trying to connect the dots across NC without adjusting the subsequent schedules is a tough nut to crack. I may end up taking some distance off Day 3 which would alleviate the ridiculous two-15-hour-days-in-a-row mostly-US-412 stretch. From memory I really don't like driving across TN the long way, so doing it in the dark is probably helpful.
 

CraigB

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Catchy title. The EMWSMSRBTSRBCFR...
 

CraigB

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A word of advice, if it snows in northern Arizona they shut down almost all highways (starting with I-40) and a 4.5 hour trip between Gallup and Phoenix turns into a 13.5 slog back into New Mexico across snowy mountain passes. This will get you to US 70 where it's bumper to bumper between Globe and Phoenix. Ask me how I know...
 
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