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Road Trip!

Karen_CMKaren_CM Posts: 5,038
When I was a kid, our vacations were always a road trip to various state and national parks. All seven of us slept in my Dad's canvas tent that was only meant for four people. We had most of our meals at the campsite prepared over a wood fire or the camp stove. It was an inexpensive and fun time, even if my brother's feet always ended up in my face by morning.

Now? Who can afford the luxury of a road trip with gas prices pushing towards $5 a gallon? What are your vacation plans this summer?

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  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 22,292
    Normally in late June, two friends and I go out to Cedar Point amusement park in Sandusky, Ohio. This year, we're planning on stretching the trip out, hitting Cedar Point for a couple days and then going down to Kinds Island, near Cincinatti, for a couple days.

    So, in my case, the total miles will actually go up a bit. It's about 420 miles from my place to Cedar Point, or around 840 total, but this time around, swinging down to Kings Island and then back home, I think might bump the total up to around 1100 miles.

    My buddy's '06 Xterra got around 22-23 mpg on that trip last year. I had thought about taking my '00 Park Ave this year, as it might get more like 27-28, maybe a bit better. But it also takes premium fuel, which would cut into the savings. And while it's more comfortable for passengers, it won't hold as much crap. And my two friends are sort of like Mr and Mrs Howell, packing for a three-hour tour!
  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTPosts: 10,057
    take a bunch of road trips.
    Next week, getting the kids back from school.
    Closest one is 750 miles one way.
    Summer vaca, about the same one way.
    Next fall, going to a bunch of college football games.
    Closest will be 120 miles one way(more than one time), longest 750 one way.
    Just going to have to suck it up and pay whatever it costs.
    Other than that, I can't afford to leave the house. :surprise:
  • michaellnomichaellno Posts: 4,300
    My wife and I are taking a road trip towards the end of May. Our house in Colorado (halfway between Denver and Colo Springs) to Sedona, AZ. The itinerary breaks down like this.

    Day 1: Castle Rock to Santa Fe - 367 miles
    Day 2: Santa Fe to Sedona - 434 miles
    Days 2 - 6: Sedona and surrounding areas
    Day 6: Sedona to Santa Fe
    Day 7: Santa Fe to Castle Rock

    I figure 1600 miles there and back, with another 100-200 miles of general running around driving.

    At 23 MPG (EPA highway number for our 2010 Mazda CX-7), we're looking at about 78 gallons of premium - at $4 per gallon, that comes out to $312.

    But, to us, the drive is part of the trip, not just a means to an end.

    I just wish there was better scenery on I-25 in northern New Mexico.
  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 42,987
    Take 285. It's all about the drive, right? :)

    Minivan fan. Feel free to message or email me -

  • michaellnomichaellno Posts: 4,300
    Take 285. It's all about the drive, right?

    I've done 285 from Salida to Denver a number of years ago. Nice scenery, I agree.

    Probably the same in NM as well, would expect.

    Hmm .. just did Google Maps on that route and it's about the same distance (379 miles on 285 vs. 364 using I-25).

    However ...

    The speed limit on I-25 is 75, whereas on 285 I'd guess it would be 65, max. So, a bit longer in the car on day 1.

    Have to discuss with the wife; perhaps a different route might change things up a bit.
  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 42,987
    edited May 2011
    Bit longer, but so long as the deer aren't out, you can make pretty good time on most stretches. Española is a drag though and no easy way to bypass it, so best add in another half hour for that town.

    Minivan fan. Feel free to message or email me -

  • gambit293gambit293 Posts: 406
    Of course, it's all relative. In this country, what are your alternatives to the car trip? TSA and the airline industry have worked overtime to make flying more inconvenient over the years. And gas prices will hit airline tickets just as hard. It looks like we're decades from developing an efficient, reliable, extensive passenger rail system. So when you talk about the death of the car trip, you're really just talking about the death of the trip. And these are never deaths, just slowdowns/mini-recessions.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 34,733
    With the way existing infrastructure is crumbling, I have to wonder if the US will ever develop such a system.

    In the dumbed down brave new globalized world, perhaps the masses simply won't travel much.
  • michaellnomichaellno Posts: 4,300
    Bit longer, but so long as the deer aren't out, you can make pretty good time on most stretches. Española is a drag though and no easy way to bypass it, so best add in another half hour for that town.

    Good to know. The other part of the trip that would be a drag is US 50 from Canon City to Salida - can't really make good time there, either.

    The more I think about it, the more I'll probably just take I-25 ... get to Santa Fe early enough for a nice dinner and a walk through the Plaza. We're at a hotel only a couple of blocks away.
  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 42,987
    edited May 2011
    We drove down a few times from our house-sitting gig in Taos last summer to listen so some of the free concerts on the Plaza. Fun. (ah, shoot, the bandstand doesn't get going until July 5).

    The Shed is about a block from the Plaza and we had a nice lunch there. The Tune-Up Cafe is another one we liked.

    Minivan fan. Feel free to message or email me -

  • jchan2jchan2 Posts: 4,956
    that as gas prices rise, my parents might actually take more road trips instead of flying.

    If you can get above 30 mpg highway (like they can in a '08 Altima or '11 Sonata) and put 4 people in the car, driving typically saves money (but costs a lot of time...). We've downsized from a minivan into a Sonata so road trips should be a little more wallet, gas, and environmentally friendly.
  • loucapriloucapri Posts: 214
    I just asked my kids if they want to go somewhere, how about a road trips....
    Our problem is to what cars we should use. My kids are 2-1/2 and 7yrs old. The suburban is the biggest but kind of old (1988), mpg is ~15 on hwy, AC doesn't work, some power windows doesn't work :(

    Also has a 05 Toyota Avalon and 07 Highlander. Thinking about the highlander since it probably hold more stuffs.

    I like the suburban just because it's bigger but it maybe a problem once we get into town or something.
  • michaellnomichaellno Posts: 4,300
    just asked my kids if they want to go somewhere, how about a road trips....Our problem is to what cars we should use. My kids are 2-1/2 and 7yrs old.

    Also has a 05 Toyota Avalon and 07 Highlander. Thinking about the highlander since it probably hold more stuffs.

    I suppose it depends on how far you are traveling. I've done 2 trips from CO to CA and 1 from CO to NV. First trip was in a rented Ford Taurus with a 9 and 11 YO. Barely had enough room in the trunk for luggage. Second time, the kids were, I think, 12 and 14 and we did it in a Ford Expedition (3rd seat removed). More than enough space. 3rd trip the kids were 14 and 16 and had a Ford Explorer - again, no problems with space.

    The Avalon would probably get better mileage than the Highlander, but you'll sacrifice the extra cargo capacity. I imagine rear seat room in both is about the same.
  • You are correct in saying this. Gas prices never stops to go higher! I think this happens whenever possible! And of course this affects certain activities like road trips, camping trips and many others. So, I guess I'll have to think of backyard camping and other in-the-house fun activities that we can do. I know we can still make it fun and exciting after all family bonding is what's important.
  • loucapriloucapri Posts: 214
    Wonder how many days people spend in avg. on their road trip.

    I plan to go not to far away since my kids are still young. Maybe just from Seattle to Portland, or Vancouver to spend a day or two.

    I am not the kind of folks who enjoy camping since I have bad back, and I can't live without a good hot shower :)
  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 42,987
    edited May 2011
    Good question. My last 10 day trip in April was a bit less than 3,000 miles, and about 5 days of driving. And only one night camping on the ground - one motel and the rest of the time at family. Although the ground would be more comfortable than my sister's antique bed, supported by ropes. Could only manage one night there. :P

    For a true road trip, I like to limit miles to around 300 a day. There shouldn't be any limit on the number of days. :D

    Minivan fan. Feel free to message or email me -

  • fezofezo Posts: 9,592
    For a true road trip, I like to limit miles to around 300 a day. There shouldn't be any limit on the number of days.

    I like that.

    When in new areas I try to keep with a no driving at night rule. This is more to see what I'm going through rather than a safety issue though the older I get the more that latter item becomes a consideration.

    Anymore I don't get to do much of that but am trying to convince my wife that driving to Florida isn't the end of the world. It's just a hair over a day as long as you don't mind putting on the miles.

    We do every Memorial Day up at a friend's place in New Hampshire. From South Jersey it's a pretty good haul but I have a really good time...
  • fezofezo Posts: 9,592
    Good place to find excuses for road trips - Roadside America.
  • kathyc2kathyc2 Posts: 159
    Normally in late June, two friends and I go out to Cedar Point amusement park in Sandusky

    Here's a couple ideas of things you might consider in that area:

    Drive thru Safari is pretty close. I thought it was pretty cool to have a giraffe try to put its head in my window!

    Put in Bay during the day is a quaint little island. Every night it becomes big time party town.
  • kathyc2kathyc2 Posts: 159
    Fezo, can I get your input on a couple places?

    Steve mentioned you in another post as being an expert on the UP. 3 friends and I are planning on heading that way mid June. We're taking off from northern IN, going thru WI, checking out the Apostle Islands and then heading to UP and coming back thru MI. We have Picture Rock, Escanabo and Lake Linden (someone has a relative there) on the agenda. Anything else you would suggest?

    We had also considered Atlantic City. Being from Jersey what are your thought on it? I've read quite a bit that it's pretty run down and anything that's not right on the strip is pretty unsafe for 4 middle-aged gals. Is that your feeling, or are the people writing this fear mongering?
  • fezofezo Posts: 9,592
    Now, Steve being an actual resident of the UP will be a whole lot better on it but it is beautiful beyond words.

    Things that I've done up there - the Soo Locks are a great way to spend a little time. You can get one of the tour boats and they take you out, give a little tour and you go into a lock twice - once to bring you up to the Lake Superior level and once to bring you back down to the Michigan - Huron level.

    Even if you don't need to hit the lower peninsula for anything I still recommend going over the Mackinac Bridge just for the beauty of it. It's am amazing piece of engineering and has a breathtaking view. A word of warning - some people are so intimidated by the thing that they are afraid to drive it. They have guys there whose job it is to drive cars over the bridge, carrying the timid drivers as passengers in their own cars. This would be a perfect job for me - just driving back and forth across that bridge.

    We had, shall we say, a funny little excursion back in 1988 which is really the last time I was able to get up there. There is a boat out of Munising, Michigan that takes you out to see the Pictured Rocks from Lake Superior. We got into town late and night and got a cabin for the night. Mention we were going on that trip and the guy at the cabins says "I hope they go out tomorrow. It was too rough yesterday."

    We get there bright and early the next day. They take our money and we get on the boat. A little bit out into the harbor they mention the lake is a bit rough and 2 to 4 foot waves but they are game. The first mate says they have three life jackets - one for the captain, one for him and the third was up for bids. They point out all sorts of things on either side of the harbor as the waves get bigger as does their estimate of the size of the waves in the open lake.

    Great Lakes waves are always fun - more straight up than ocean waves. We and my wife (who was maybe two or three months pregnant with our oldest at the time) area having a good time of it and I'm checking to see if this boat is named Edmund Fitzgerald bu the time they announce that the waves are running over ten feet in the open lake and topping out at 15 feet and, no, they weren't putting their boat out in that and they'll refund half our money when we get back to shore.

    We still had quite a bit of bounce before things calmed down and then they announced they were going to give us all our money back when we got back. I had paid by check and they paid me back in cash. Apparently they'll cash checks for you but only if they test your worthiness on the boat first.

    It turns out the way they decide if the lake is safe for the tours is to take the first one of the morning out and have a look. That day that was us. One day I must go back and try that again.

    If you are up around Whitefish Point the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum is there. The guy who owns that is a little odd but there are some neat things in there. It;s right at the Whitefish lighthouse - the one that if it had been working that night might have guided the Fitzgerald safely in. What I mean about the guy - he had divers go down and get the ship's bell from the Fitzgerald and then petitioned the Canadian government (it's in Canadian waters) to prohibit divers from the site because it's a grave.

    That's enough for the moment.....

    Part of my theory os taking any ferry that even remotely goes here you want...

    Atlantic City - it pains me to say this but unless you like casinos there's not much to recommend it anymore. Kills me as I used to go down there all the time to walk the boardwalk or check out the now long gone stores on Pacific and Atlantic Avenues. Far too much of the city is now built to experience only indoors which is silly right at the ocean.

    New Jersey has not done right by its coast line with rare exceptions and AC is the worst offender. The place where they got things right was Island Beach State Park which looks like the whole coast did when I was a little kid.

    OTOH, if you end up there anyway let me know. I'm 30 miles north.
  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    I live in AZ, hometown base is TX.

    I drive to TX twice a year to visit family.

    Even with gas prices at $10/gallon, driving is still cheaper than flying.
  • fezofezo Posts: 9,592
    Ah.... The longest day of my life was spent driving from Deming, NM to Kerrville, TX.
  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    I drove 24 hours straight thru from Santa Ana, CA to Winters, TX one hot summer day in 1985 - the day I exited the Marine Corps.
  • fezofezo Posts: 9,592
    Making sur ethey didn't change their mids and wanted you back in right then? ;)
  • kathyc2kathyc2 Posts: 159
    Thanks for the info. I've been to the shipwreck museum and locks. I did not know that you could actually take a boat into the locks though.

    The bridge is pretty cool. I've been over it a few times and that's the first road trip I took after I got my vert. A couple years ago I was on the Island in Oct. The weather turned nasty and they closed the ferry line going to Mackinac City. We had to go to St Ignace and then take a bus back across the bridge. I thought it was fun, but a couple of my travel companions didn't agree.

    That's too bad about AC, but I'm glad we got the scoop before we went. NJ and RI are the only states east of IN that I haven't been to. Hopefully they can get it built back up to a tourist attraction. I'm sure it would bring a lot of money into the state.

    Casino's can be fun. We'll probably stop at a couple in MI. I'd rather make my donations to the Native Americans than to Trump anyway. :)
  • fezofezo Posts: 9,592
    I think that AC suffers from the same sort of thing that Asbury Park (which is really turned a corner these days) has. First, no one has a real plan - they just have a bit of an idea for one thing and figure the city will rise by itself around their jewel of a plan. This never works. Second, all the charlatans come in . They can squeeze money out of a place that sure looks like it doesn't have any in a really breathtaking manner.

    When i moved down here when there was only one casino and a lot of ideas people would buy up old properties and burn them down when it seemed profitable. As a result AC lost many of the old places that gave it its character.

    Because of its lack of casinos Asbury Park avoided a lot of that and like several cities here found folks that were willing - eager even - to buy up these old, dilapidated houses and put the effort into restoring them and living in them. This was the gay community. Worked for a big section of Paterson and is now doing the same in Asbury.

    Anyway, do come to NJ. My best recommendation for places we haven't screwed up too badly are in the northwest corner which is hilly and still reasonably rural, Cape May and, naturally around Long Beach Island which is my current neighborhood.
  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 42,987
    I was just going to suggest the Pine Barrens country.

    Then you could compare beaches. :)

    Minivan fan. Feel free to message or email me -

  • fezofezo Posts: 9,592
    Good point. Technically I live in the pine barrens. The eastern border is the Parkway. I'm just inside the border. In the pines and 5 miles from the beach.

    I could use a place where the water is warmer for more of the year but you would be the last guy I'd complain to about cold water. :blush:
  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    . :shades:
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