A few weeks ago, I shoved all my stuff into a uhaul box, (the kind where they do all the driving for you), rented a car, and began a trip I've always wanted to do : a drive across the country!!
Here's the route I took (starting in the San Francisco bay area and ending in Boston) :
Highlights included a few national parks like Yellowstone, Crater Lake, a lot of beautiful landscapes and some famous sights like Mount Rushmore.
We ended the trip with a solid 4,524 miles on the car!
Driving across the US reinforces just how massive the country is! I was surprised at how vastly different the landscapes were.
The western areas, (especially the areas between Idaho and South Dakoda), were the most spectacular in my opinion. I love the rugged mountains, canyons, vast open space, and wildlife! Still, I thought the scenery was interesting throughout all sections of the trip. :)
I think the timing (starting October 15th) turned out to be fantastic. It was the week after 'peak season' for most parks, (meaning that some things might have limited hours or be closed), but the weather was still nice, the animals were really active, and there were hardly any people at the destinations we went to! After living in crowded LA for so long it was a relief to explore places that were so calm! In fact, it was so dead that some parks that you normally have to pay a fee for didn't have people working the booths, so we got in for free. :P
The only negative is of course some things will be closed... For instance, I really wanted to do a hot air balloon tour of Lake Tahoe, but we were there the week they shut down for the year :*(
Trip Structure -
Apart from 2 days in Yellowstone and 2 days in my hometown in Illinois, each destination was just one night. We spent between 6-8 hours traveling each day, varying depending on the locations and things I had planned for the day. We usually arrived at our motel around 8-9pm each night, and woke up between 7 and 8am each morning.
Things to keep in mind -
If you are thinking about doing a road trip like this, here's some things that I encountered that you might not have considered :
any locations we went to had drastic differences in elevation; some places were gorgeous, sunny, 70 degrees while other places had snow. I knew it was going to be on the cold side since it was mid October but I didn't think it would be SO cold for certain areas! I was very happy we had lots of layers and our winter coats.
If you go east to west, you get hours back as you cross time zones. Neat!
If you go west to east... you lose hours D:
Be wary that in some areas way out in the boonies, google maps might try to send you down a dirt path and call it a "road". Maybe there's a setting for it... but I couldn't see a way to tell if a road was going to be paved, dirt, or rocks before arriving to it. We almost got stuck in the mud at one point! Something to keep in mind.
Not every state has an exciting welcome sign :(
It's taken me a while to get settled into my new (chilly!) home and sort through all my photos, but in the next few posts I'll go into more detail of our journey across the states!
Sophie is a video game developer who has a variety of passions including yoga, traveling, and photography.