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  1.  (10842.1)
    I am flying out to New Mexico with my best friend on October 1st, and after a few days we are road tripping it back to New Jersey. So, I thought I'd ask you lot what a good route might be to take, what to avoid, what to seek out, and any good places to crash en route (camping grounds, cheap motels, couches, etc).
  2.  (10842.2)
    I'm taking a smiliar trip from L.A. to Jersey around the same time. I'm interested in the responses you get.
    I was planning to try to take a slight detour check out Austin on my way east.
      CommentAuthorAlan Tyson
    • CommentTimeSep 22nd 2012
    I need to go run a few errands soon, but when I get back, I'd be happy to be your travel guide!
  3.  (10842.4)
    My family has done lots of roadtrips, and though that is certainly not a route we've ever really gone on, I can tell you that we've certainly visited friends and family as much as possible. I would almost try to find out who lives in the areas you may or may not be going through, and then try to figure out a route based on that. I don't think I'd have to explain why couch hopping, when possible, is my favorite way of traveling. The only downside for couch hopping is that there is sometimes less independence in visiting the host's area, and if you've never visited them before, you don't know how good of a host they will be. But it's a rare occasion to come across bad hosting. I'd offer up the couch-bed in my apartment, but obviously the northern tip of Wisconsin is no way near your route.

    @William Joseph Dunn: if you do plan on going through central California (coast included), I can point out some great National Parks to visit, and other interesting places.
  4.  (10842.5)
    @ trini- Thanks! I've been meaning to do another coastal drive up California, but I think I'm just going to point the car east this time since my destination is NY/NJ. I was thinking of checking out the Four Corners either out or on the way back.
  5.  (10842.6)
    Have fun and take a LOT of pics. And have more fun! :D
    • CommentTimeSep 25th 2012
    @Rachael Austin is definitely fun. Just remember, Texas is way bigger than everyone thinks. Pretty much thirteen hours across coming in from New Mexico and leaving by way of Louisiana. You should check and see what shows are going on, if you are a music person. My good friends once planned a whole 2 week tour of their band to go from LA to Houston to watch Radiohead, and then back.What kind of things are you interested in? What part of New Mexico?

    @William four corners was cool as I remember it, but I was pretty dang young the last time we went.
    • CommentAuthorMrMonk
    • CommentTimeSep 25th 2012 edited
      CommentAuthorAlan Tyson
    • CommentTimeSep 26th 2012 edited
    Rachael, after taking a quick look at Google Maps, I think I've found a good route for your return trip.

    View Larger Map

    (I wasn't sure where in New Mexico exactly you were in starting out from or where in New Jersey you ultimately want to end up, so I just put in the first two cities that came to mind. The overall route should be about the same no matter your exact origin or destination, though).

    This route has a couple of neat advantages. With no tolls, it's only a 34 hour drive, which for me would be three days of driving, though for people who don't like driving for twelve hours straight, four or five might be a bit more realistic. Adding in a toll road only cuts it down by about an hour, which seems silly to me - you may as well save the money for gas, food, and roadside attractions, should you happen to find any.

    Though driving up via I-44 and I-70 may seem more direct, the time actually barely changes at all, and by going that route, you'll find yourself in Kansas, Missouri, and southern Illinois, which I can tell you from experience is no fucking fun to drive through. I'm a midwesterner born and bred, and even I can't stand to drive through the southern plain states because they are just about the most boring and dull driving experience in these entire United States. That route will also take you through St. Louis, which, and I want you to keep in mind that this is coming from someone who lives inside the Washington Beltway, has the absolute worst highway traffic of any city I've driven through, and is, on the whole, the last city I'd ever want to spend a night in. I have gone sixty miles out of my way to avoid going through St. Louis again, but in your case, you don't have to because, again, taking I-40 and I-81 for the majority of the trip will actually get you there in about the same amount of time.

    Speaking of I-40, what a beautiful interstate. Yes, it'll take you through a good chunk of Oklahoma, but you'd have to go through that anyway. Arkansas deserves every awful joke ever made about it, but it is beautiful country to drive through, and your reward for getting through Arkansas is the wonderful city of Memphis, Tennessee. This would be a great place to kick off your driving shoes for your first or second night, especially when compared with St. Louis. The rest of Tennessee is a truly lovely sight, especially the old coal hills that I-40 cuts its way through. I came through here all the time (though on a different, more norther-pointed highway) whenever I'd drive home from college, and it was always my favorite part of the drive. I can't recommend it enough. If you're so inclined, stop in Nashville for lunch or an early dinner. Nashville is also a really great town, one that I've stayed the night in many times and always enjoyed it (except for the time when I was driving my ex back to school with me, but that really wasn't Nashville's fault). Alternately, you might plan your route so you stop in Nashville for a night, because the trek after that does get a bit empty, stop-wise.

    After Knoxville, your highway will change from I-40 to I-81, another old driving haunt of mine. After you push through eastern Tennessee (which is the part I'm most-acquainted with, and I think the most beautiful to look at), you'll pass into Virginia, and once you're there you'll basically ride the western border all the way up. Virginia isn't usually as pretty as Tennessee, but you'll be driving up in autumn, and Virginia has a well-deserved reputation for having some of the prettiest autumns of any state. Roanoke's not a bad town to stop in - it's not exactly a happenin' joint, but it's decent-sized. Keep heading up 81, and, if you're so inclined, feel free to take a short detour on I-66 toward Reston, Virginia. Now, Reston ain't much to look at, but I personally guarantee that if you do stop by, a jolly bearded fellow, probably dressed a bit like a grown-up rockabilly, will buy you and your friend lunch and happily listen to your road stories. Should you choose to do so, you can easily get back onto I-81 via I-70, or if you're feeling brave (and would take the advice of a semi-local guide) you could just go straight from Reston onto I-95, and stay on that all the way to New Jersey. If your destination is in the southern part of NJ, I actually recommend this, because it could save some mileage off your trip.

    However, assuming you stay on I-81, you'll get to avoid most of Maryland and head straight into Pennsylvania, which I think is prettier country to drive through. Here my advice kinda doesn't work anymore, since depending on where in New Jersey you're going, your route will change rather dramatically. However, if there's one thing Pennsylvania does well, it's highways that take you into New Jersey, so I'm sure you'll be perfectly fine getting to where you're going from there.

    I hope this helps!
  6.  (10842.10)
    Depending on your and your friend's taste (or lack thereof) Roadside America may provide some ideas for stop-offs along whatever route you eventually take.
    • CommentTimeSep 26th 2012
    Oh! OH! I live in Nashville, if you're interested in the route Alan suggested. I don't have a couch, sadly (ours fell right the fuck apart, and we decided to spend the money and some of the space for computer desks and chairs instead; our priorities are clear :/), but I'm sure I can make the floor more comfortable if you'd like a free place to crash (pending the fella's approval). And lunch or dinner here would be fantastic; there are a lot of really cool hidden places to eat nowadays.
  7.  (10842.12)
    Good GAWD Alan, you seriously went to TOWN! Wow! I will pass all of this on to my friend. We are winging it, I think, and it all depends on how long we stay in New Mexico versus how long we want to road trip the way back. I have very little to do with the deciding of all of this. If I can, I will try to swing through and visit you both, Brit and Alan! WHEEEEE!!!!! I will fly to New Mexico on Monday, stay there for 4 or 8 days, depending, and then trek back to NJ. I'm sure I'll end up online quite a bit while hanging in New Mexico and figure out our route. I'm so excited!
      CommentAuthorAlan Tyson
    • CommentTimeSep 28th 2012
    Hahahaha, glad it helped! If your friend would like some help figuring out the route through Tennessee and Virginia, feel free to put him or her in contact with me, and I'll be happy to lend a hand.

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