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West Coast Road Trip

  • 24-09-2013 11:29pm
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 17 ✭✭✭ Conorregan88


    Me and my friend are planning a road trip in America for next year. We are in the early planning stages and have never done this before, so any help with the following questions would be much appreciated!

    1) We are planning to spend upwards of two months in the States. What sort of Visas, legal documents, etc would we need? We are both Irish citizens.

    2) We are both fully-licensed drivers in Ireland. What would we need to be fully eligible to drive in the states?

    3) How should we travel? We would like to keep costs as low as possible, and renting a car for a long period is expensive. We would ideally find a used camper, and then resell on our return home. Is this a feasible idea, and if not, any other suggestions?

    4) Our current plan is to travel along the West Coast, starting at San Diego. Can anyone else recommend any other routes that we should consider?

    5) As I say, we'd like to keep costs down. Can anyone, who has taken a similiar trip, give an idea of daily costs?

    Any help with any of these questions would be a massssive help. Thanks alot.
    Tagged:


Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,063 ✭✭✭ MoyVilla9


    On the visa part, all you will need is an ESTA which covers you for 90 days. It's very basic to get. You just need to fill out a form online and pay the $14 fee.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 1,698 iusedtoknow


    Me and my friend are planning a road trip in America for next year. We are in the early planning stages and have never done this before, so any help with the following questions would be much appreciated!
    1) We are planning to spend upwards of two months in the States. What sort of Visas, legal documents, etc would we need? We are both Irish citizens.
    None, just have some proof that you can support yourselves that amount of time. You probably won't be asked but still good to have (or at least have a credit card, that's usually enough proof)
    2) We are both fully-licensed drivers in Ireland. What would we need to be fully eligible to drive in the states?

    You should be fine, as long as you have a credit card you'll be OK. Most places won't let you rent for more than 28 days, and the one way rentals add a premium to the price
    3) How should we travel? We would like to keep costs as low as possible, and renting a car for a long period is expensive. We would ideally find a used camper, and then resell on our return home. Is this a feasible idea, and if not, any other suggestions?
    You can't buy here - you need a social security card etc to register the change of vehicle registry. To be honest, I would spend time in SD, then rent a car and drive all the way up the 1 to SF and beyond (norther CA is beautiful) over a period of say 3 weeks or so. Then spend a week driving down the 5, go see death valley etc and drop the car back to SD and move on somewhere else
    4) Our current plan is to travel along the West Coast, starting at San Diego. Can anyone else recommend any other routes that we should consider?
    See above

    5) As I say, we'd like to keep costs down. Can anyone, who has taken a similiar trip, give an idea of daily costs?

    CA can be expensive I would go for 150 USD a day including accommodation and food (not including car rental). Once you get to SF you'd need to be getting closer to 200 a day minimum (not including sightseeing)

    Petrol is running around $4 a gallon, and that'll only go up,


  • Registered Users Posts: 815 ✭✭✭ CaliforniaDream


    When you say West coast do you mean up to Oregon and Washington as well? Or do you plan on two months in California?


  • Registered Users Posts: 20,299 ✭✭✭✭ MadsL


    Much of Route 1 isn't that different around Carmel and Big Sur than the West of Ireland.

    I love the desert so recommend Old Route 66 from LA up to Amboy and on to Laughlin. Also the hairpin route from Laughlin up to Kingman through the ghost town of Oatman.

    Las Vegas of course, but also the desert north of LV, heading up into Yosemite is fantastic. Through Yosemite (book campgrounds now if you plan to stay) and back down to San Fran.

    You could then head back to San Deigo on the coast road.

    That would get you the following cities/places explored.

    San Deigo
    LA
    Loughlin
    Las Vegas
    Yosemite
    San Francisco
    Monterey
    Carmel
    Malibu
    Santa Monica
    Route 1 back to LA


    However, why not consider heading East and enjoy some of the best of the Southwest. Much, much cheaper than California, and much more Old West. Gas is $3.07 here right now.

    Northern AZ -Flagstaff, Sedona, Winslow, Williams, Navajo nation
    New Mexico - Santa Fe, Taos, Cimarron, Carlsbad Caverns
    Southern Arizona, Tucson, Tombstone


  • Registered Users Posts: 20,299 ✭✭✭✭ MadsL


    Oh and with gas prices - rent smaller than a monster RV - they are not worth it:
    http://www.examiner.com/article/jucy-rentals-compact-chrysler-motorhome-taking-us-by-storm

    or

    http://littleguytrailers.net/trailer-rentals/


    Go buy an awning to go with it/in it in Walmart.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 20,299 ✭✭✭✭ MadsL


    5) As I say, we'd like to keep costs down. Can anyone, who has taken a similiar trip, give an idea of daily costs?

    I took a trip recently over about 8 days (I'm a road trip hound)

    VEyK2Ap.jpg

    2415 miles.

    Including motels (really cheap places sub $40 a night) and admission for 2 at Universal Studios, plus a night at a friends house in SF, the trip ran well over $1000. I drive a 5.2 V8 pickup, so get roughly 11 mpg, a full size camper will get barely 5-6 mpg.

    I struggled to get a motel room under $100 in LA.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 4,408 ✭✭✭ clairefontaine


    MadsL wrote: »
    I took a trip recently over about 8 days (I'm a road trip hound)

    VEyK2Ap.jpg

    2415 miles.

    Including motels (really cheap places sub $40 a night) and admission for 2 at Universal Studios, plus a night at a friends house in SF, the trip ran well over $1000. I drive a 5.2 V8 pickup, so get roughly 11 mpg, a full size camper will get barely 5-6 mpg.

    I struggled to get a motel room under $100 in LA.

    That looks awesome. Definitely should do that. Personally I'd skip LA and Vegas, head through San Diego, unless have the little one for Universal Studios.


  • Registered Users Posts: 20,299 ✭✭✭✭ MadsL


    That looks awesome. Definitely should do that. Personally I'd skip LA and Vegas, head through San Diego, unless have the little one for Universal Studios.

    It was. Saw feck all of Route 1 through the fog though.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 1,698 iusedtoknow


    MadsL wrote: »
    It was. Saw feck all of Route 1 through the fog though.

    that's a shame - it's horrible that prime roadtrip time (summer) is the worst time to do route 1.
    In the last week of August I had to drive from SF to Half Moon bay (about 30 miles from SF), and had a choice of highway/treacherous mountain road or Route 1. I choice route 1 and regretted it - the fog made driving horrible. On the way home I took the mountain road, it was clear as anything and actually gave some nice views out over the fog


  • Registered Users Posts: 9,900 InTheTrees


    A lot of the time the fog clears by afternoon.

    Summer mornings are the worst. Basically when the temp inland gets hot it draws the fog in off the sea but it usually burns off by midday. There are spots it will linger all day though.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 20,299 ✭✭✭✭ MadsL


    The other thing about Route 1 that drives me bonkers is the selfish idiots who drive it at 20mph. "Ohhh look scenic" - with 90 cars piled up behind them, some of whom are trying to complete the trip before nightfall.

    I followed one idiot for almost 20 miles at 20-25 mph with a queue behind me stretching as far as the eye could see. I blasted horn and flashed her at every pull in point after about 12 miles (and there are plenty) but she was utterly clueless.

    If you are going to dawdle, please please also look in your rear view and pull over if you are causing a tailback.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 1,698 iusedtoknow


    If i remember right, there are sections that are 25mph (between carmel/big sur) due to the hairpins.

    That said, there are turnouts every few miles - i think I averaged 45 all the way down to San Luis and was by no means the slowest. The funniest was this couple in Mustang that I passed in my car - think it was too much car on too windy a road for them


  • Registered Users Posts: 20,299 ✭✭✭✭ MadsL


    If i remember right, there are sections that are 25mph (between carmel/big sur) due to the hairpins.

    Yeah. They did 10 mph in those sections. :mad:


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 4,408 ✭✭✭ clairefontaine


    MadsL wrote: »
    It was. Saw feck all of Route 1 through the fog though.

    I'm going to do a SW trip that includes Utah.


  • Registered Users Posts: 20,299 ✭✭✭✭ MadsL


    I'm going to do a SW trip that includes Utah.

    Cool. Utah is great. I recommend getting up into the four corners area too if you are into archaeology/anthropological sites.


  • Registered Users Posts: 126 ✭✭ Kerryfootball


    Just returned from road trip honeymoon and it was fantastic.

    - San Francisco
    - Napa
    - Yosemite
    - Death Valley
    - Vegas

    Northern California is beautiful particularly Napa & Yosemite , the Sierra mountains are fantastic.

    The driving is handy enough.

    We used a great travel agent in Dublin who I must say we will use again, they will build a itinerary to meet any budget.


  • Registered Users Posts: 20,299 ✭✭✭✭ MadsL


    Just returned from road trip honeymoon and it was fantastic.

    - San Francisco
    - Napa
    - Yosemite
    - Death Valley
    - Vegas

    Northern California is beautiful particularly Napa & Yosemite , the Sierra mountains are fantastic.

    The driving is handy enough.

    We used a great travel agent in Dublin who I must say we will use again, they will build a itinerary to meet any budget.

    I think that's a better itinerary frankly. A lot of Route 1 reminds me of Connemara :)


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 9,700 ✭✭✭ tricky D


    It might be a bit obvious, but just in case: For route 1 and in general be sure to get a satnav. I'd also advise to not drive at night due to scenery and safety.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 1,698 iusedtoknow


    MadsL wrote: »
    I think that's a better itinerary frankly. A lot of Route 1 reminds me of Connemara :)

    I disagree...there is nothing like connemara, nor is there anything like route 1 - it's like comparing apples and oranges.

    Also...imagine how pissed we'd be if we had americans telling us that our scenery wasn't like back home...


  • Registered Users Posts: 20,299 ✭✭✭✭ MadsL


    Rajs-080214-us132spotcurv18.jpg

    and

    clare+coast+road.jpg


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  • Closed Accounts Posts: 1,698 iusedtoknow


    Still shouldn't compare, both are amazing. But perhaps I should tell my friends that live on route 1 not to bother with Connemara when they go to Ireland, and maybe go to Drogheda/Monaghan instead.

    usca10053.jpeg


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 4,408 ✭✭✭ clairefontaine


    These a lot of northern Cali/0pacific northwest thata reminds me of Ireland. I can see Mdsls point.


  • Registered Users Posts: 204 ✭✭ nazzy


    Hi!

    Sounds a wonderful plan - we did a road trip a couple of years back

    -we flew to Vancouver from San Fran
    -got a bus to Seattle
    -then train to Portland
    -then hired a car and drove back to north San Francisco.
    -Took 5 days, drove 1000 miles in 3 days so was very hectic but amazing!
    -Oregon Caves, Crater Lake, Mount Hood, Avenue of the Giants the highlights.

    I think Oregon is the most beautiful state, just class. The Shining was partly filmed in the Timberline Lodge (just exteriors) so we visited there - beautiful ski resort. Even lovely in the summer months (we went September). I also wanted to go to Astoria but didn't suit.

    I had planned to go again next year and do Tijuana up but my selfish boyfriend proposed so now we can't afford it, ha! ;)

    I would definitely consider going North too if you can fit it in. Stunning part of the world, so jealous!!

    The ESTA was free for us, not sure if that charge mentioned on the previous page is a new thing.

    We got an International Driving licence for €10 each just in case we got a sticky cop who wouldn't accept our Irish licences:

    http://www.theaa.ie/AA/Motoring-advice/Driving-in-Europe/International-driving-permit.aspx

    We found the Motels particularly cheap but stop before 8/9pm in the evening because we struggled one night when we left it later. The car, I think was $200 or so for the three days. So yeah, expensive for a prolonged period of time. Best of luck!!


  • Registered Users Posts: 204 ✭✭ nazzy


    A pic I took of the fog from the ferry into the city, class to look at!


  • Registered Users Posts: 20,299 ✭✭✭✭ MadsL


    I more was making the point that if you want to see something truly different, there are place in the US that are SO different, there would be no mistaking them with Ireland. They are just as accessible from SF/LA.

    Monument-Valley-Road-resized.jpg


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 4,408 ✭✭✭ clairefontaine


    Where is that? Looks Stunning. What time of year when its not unbearably hot and my paddy genes when get me sunburnt?


  • Registered Users Posts: 20,299 ✭✭✭✭ MadsL


    Where is that? Looks Stunning. What time of year when its not unbearably hot and my paddy genes when get me sunburnt?

    Monument Valley, Utah.

    Do you ride? Amazing tours on horseback. Go in Fall or Spring.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 4,408 ✭✭✭ clairefontaine


    MadsL wrote: »
    Monument Valley, Utah.

    Do you ride? Amazing tours on horseback. Go in Fall or Spring.

    Sure do. Oh will have to do that. My brother was raving about Utah.


  • Registered Users Posts: 20,299 ✭✭✭✭ MadsL


    Sure do. Oh will have to do that. My brother was raving about Utah.

    Utah/Four Corners area there is some amazing stuff out here. Of course, once Govt opens again ;)

    Canyon de Chelly

    spider-rocks.jpg

    Canyonlands NP, Utah

    mesa-arch-view.jpg

    Shiprock, NM

    5171434.jpg


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