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Old 09-04-2012, 06:14 AM   #1
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your top places to visit in the US

So the wife and I are planning on shipping our Land Rover across to the US in jan/feb time scale into South Carolina. The idea is to head south first then go around the bay and into texas and across the various parks to SF and upto the family house in Tahoe and then east and eventually back to SC. Would love to get a photo of it parked on Broadway!!

My knowledge of american geography and cool places to vist is pretty darn limited! So looking for some advice on where would be amazing to go to on this once in a lifetime trip.

The vehicle is a Defender 130 double cab with a roof tent and various awnings. I have a 200 litre fuel capacity(about 1000 miles) and an 80 litre water tank on board. Also a engel fridge with two zone so will operate as a fridge freezer.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/katynicolson/7921206988/
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Old 09-04-2012, 07:44 AM   #2
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Re: your top places to visit in the US

Welcome to the forum.

While I much prefer this forum to the Expedition Portal, that forum is a great resource as well, and has many more members spread throughout the US, not to mention the world.

How much time do you have? There are so many places to see, and the US is very large, so I would either be very selective, or I would concentrate on a few geographical areas to explore otherwise you'll spend half your time driving rather than exploring. Are you looking strictly for wilderness, or are you interested in exploring cities as well? Forests, plains, mountains, desert, beaches?

I do hope your 200 liters takes you farther than 100 miles ( ), or you'll be hitchhiking in many places in the western US where gas stations can be 200 miles apart.


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Old 09-04-2012, 08:01 AM   #3
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Re: your top places to visit in the US

yeah a 9 month trip and edited to show 1000 miles range!!
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Old 09-04-2012, 09:01 AM   #4
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Re: your top places to visit in the US

As Herb said, the US is HUGE with vast distances between areas. Some National Parks celebrate historical events and places while others protect dramatic natural areas such as Yosemite, Grand Canyon, Glacier, Yellowstone, etc. I suggest you start at the National Park site (www.nps.gov) and mark parks which sound interesting to visit on a map of the US. You could then start to develop a possible route.

I'm biased toward California (since we live here) but if I had limited time, I'd try to visit Yosemite, Death Valley, and drive along the Big Sur coast. Sequoia NP is nice but you can also see sequoia trees in Yosemite. San Francisco is a wonderful city with nice camping south of the City in the many state parks in the coastal redwood area. Note that camping reservations are essential during the most popular months in many state and national parks which can mean more planning and less freedom to make last minute changes.

As you get into your planning, feel free to ask questions about where to camp. Getting reservations in Yosemite Valley can be frustrating but there are places to boondock within 30 minutes of the Valley floor. As you get closer to populated areas (such as the San Francisco Bay Area), boondocking is impossible.
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Old 09-04-2012, 09:43 AM   #5
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your top places to visit in the US

Remember the mantra of William Least-Heat Moon, author of several travel journals starting with Blue Highways: Life doesn't happen on the Interstates. It's prohibited by law. (Back roads are colored blue on U.S. maps; don't know about yours )


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Old 09-04-2012, 10:40 AM   #6
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Re: your top places to visit in the US

Damn, I've been wanting a Defender 110 for years, but LR just won't make one that's NAS compliant. Last ones imported here were in 1993, and if you want one of those (500) you probably pay more now than then. But I did have a nicely setup Discovery for a number of years.

When you get to North Carolina, it's going to be pretty, and then you head west through more sort of pretty and then boring landscape until you finally get to where the action is. It starts in Colorado, but the ultimate destination for your vehicle will be southern Utah. Plan on a lot of time there. California will nice nice in some areas, but UTAH is where it's at.
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Old 09-04-2012, 12:57 PM   #7
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Re: your top places to visit in the US

I agree Utah is where it's at. Awesome National Parks and so much public land to explore off road. I can't wait to go back.
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Old 09-04-2012, 01:43 PM   #8
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Re: your top places to visit in the US

I would definitely recommend heading a little North as you go west from South Carolina and seeing a little of the Appalachians (Blue Ridge Parkway, Great Smoky Mountain NP, etc.) Beautiful in the winter, great hiking and rarely a road closure, however you might want to END your trip in this area if you are planning on going more South at the start from South Carolina. I would recommend Monument Valley area, Grand Canyon if you've never seen it, Death Valley, King's Canyon (highly overlooked beautiful place between Sequoia and Yosemite), and if you can get further north as you come back across, Check out the Grand Teton area (Jackson, WY etc.) Utah is awesome too, as in all of it, and there is no substitute for the Northwest coast if you have that much time.
You have found the ultimate destination for people who know where the beautiful places are in this country. I wish I had found the forum 10 years sooner.
Enjoy!
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Old 09-04-2012, 02:12 PM   #9
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Re: your top places to visit in the US

Hi welcome to the forum. Sounds like a great trip. You didn't say exactly what you and your wife wanted to see and do so I will just tell you a few things to think about.

For your trip you should know that it can still be quite cold in the South east in Jan/Feb time frame until you get well into Florida. It will not be very green (trees and plants) that early again I am just saying this so you know not to discourage you in any way.

That said there are many things to see and do on your trip but I too will echo that the US is huge when it come to driving. I used to work at Porsche Cars in Georgia and a few times engineers would come from Germany thinking they were going to drive coast to coast and bad and by the time they got to California they would leave the car and fly back to Germany.

http://goeurope.about.com/od/europeanma ... on-map.htm

While you are on the east coast you might try Savannah/Tybee Island area (AKA a drinking town with a fishing problem) area as it is kind of interesting there. Remember it may be cool to cold that time of year.

http://voices.yahoo.com/the-top-20-plac ... 60665.html
http://tybeevisit.com/
http://savannahvisit.com/

I would avoid the Atlanta area unless you really want to see something specific there.

Driving to Texas around the Gulf Coast (we don't call that one bay for some reason) there are many things to see and do.

New Orleans is worthy of a visit.

http://www.neworleanscvb.com/

Texas is really its own country and very very large 268,820 square miles (696,200 km2)
There are many things do see and do there and the landscape changes as you go from one side to the other.

In the southwest it will start being much warmer. New Mexico is really beautiful I think. Arizona can be too but not everywhere. Once you get to California it is really populated and the roads are in mostly poor condition and the traffic can be really heavy and slow. The Parks are incredibly beautiful and you should see as many as you can. The coast highway drives 1 and 101 while a bit commercial and slow moving are a great way to see some amazing shoreline. And the Tahoe area is truly amazing.

From there depending on how long it takes you to get out there and how long you stay you could drive North to Oregon and take US route 20 all the way back to the North East. It is one of the longest roads in the US and it goes coast to coast starting in Newport ,OR and the road ends in the Boston, MA area.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/U.S._Route_20

Some basic things you might like to see are but there are so many.

Hoover Damn
The Grand Canyon
Yosemite (plus the ones yvrr said)
Mono Lake
The Blue Ridge Mountains (and the others that 86Scotty said)
The Finger Lakes Region of NY (summer or early fall)
The Adirondack Mountains (summer or early fall amazing fall foliage)
Boston and New York City (since you mentioned it) Although Driving can be tough like any big city here. San Francisco is OK but can be cold and foggy in the summer.
Washington DC and the Smithsonian Museum


So as you firm up your trip keep us in mind and ask questions.
There are so many good people on this forum and they have a lot of travel tips and ideas.

...Jamie
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Old 09-04-2012, 02:48 PM   #10
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Re: your top places to visit in the US

TJ,

I forgot to notice the season you will be arriving and traveling. South from NC will not be too bad and into Texas if you stay south. But if you swing up toward Colorado and Utah, you will be in full on winter and snow will be an issue regarding access, camping and your comfort level. However, it's still real pretty.
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