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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
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    Dreads Big USA Holiday

    I know this a photography forum not a holiday blog ... but Jeff can you live with me posting a few photos each day as I travel across the USA (from LA to NY) with a few words about my experience?

    I'm also keen to get a bit of travel advice both as I go and as I plan.

    So assuming this is ok as a thread and that since all photo's will be taken with a Nikon D800, D300 or D90 the Nikon section is an ok place for the thread (or psuedo blog) here goes some questions:

    I'm not trying to make an exhaustive list but I'm looking for a few teasers around which to build my route plan - which I'll flesh out in more detail when I'm actually in the area. So here's what I have so far:

    California:
    LA: Sunset Boulevard, a themed tour of some kind eg movie set locations, Disneyland, San Fransisco: Alcatraz, Golden Gate Bridge, Yellowstone, Sequoia, Kings Canyon, Death Valley

    Colorado:
    Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon, Monument Valley

    Arizona:
    Winslow Meteor crater

    New Mexico:
    Gila Cliff Dwellings, White Sands Missile Range

    Texas:
    Glen Rose Dinosaur prints

    I haven't found much yet between Oklahoma and Chicago - has anyone got some point form suggestions (so I know what to google)?
    In Oklahoma, due to a lack of better ideas I'm considering doing Route 66 historical Americana stuff and Indian culture


    Illinois:
    Chicago, Museum of Science and Industry, Museum of Natural History, sky scrapers

    Ohio:
    National Aircraft Museum

    New York:
    Niagara, B&H, Staten Island Ferry, Statue of Liberty, Central Park, Museums
    Last edited by Dread Pirate Roberts; 03-10-2013 at 06:55 AM.
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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
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    DPR,

    What month(s) are you traveling? It might make a difference in the suggestions especially as you get way from the desert areas. For Alcatraz, book yourself a tour in the evening if you can. That can give you good views of the city on your return. But make sure you book Alcatraz at least two weeks out or it will sell out. I am sure Lukas can give you better Bay Area advice. You will want to travel up the coast between LA ans San Francisco. A stop at Hearst Castle is a bit pricy, but worth it to see an incredible house (I recall that you cannot take interior photos).

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
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    Monterey Bay
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    I Think that I have already put in my 2 cents worth on the California and Arizona parts (since I have lived in both for many years. See my thread hijack on the POD. Hearst Castle is in San Simeon (on Hwy 1-coast highway), and is a worthwhile stop.

    California: I think you meant Yosemite (vs. Yellowstone). A good studio/theme park in addition to Disneyland is Universal Studios. Once departing the LA Basin, if you head North on Hwy 101 to San Louis Obispo (via Santa Barbara, and Pismo Beach) then head to the coast (Los Osos Valley Road to Hwy 1) you will pass through Morro Bay, San Simeon, Cambria, Big Sur, Point Lobos, Carmel, and Monterey. At this point you can go inland (highway 101 via 156) through Gilroy, Morgan Hill, and the Silicon Valley (Intel, AMD, Apple, etc)... or continue on the Coast Route via Santa Cruz, Davenport, Half Moon Bay, and on to San Francisco. Both routes will get you to San Francisco.

    Note: Slightly North of San Francisco is the original California Wine Country (Napa and Sanoma Valleys).

    Other notes:
    - The Grand Canyon is in Northern Arizona.
    - Bryce is just slightly North in Utah.
    - Yellowstone is well North in Wyoming (In The Grand Tetons, almost in Montana).
    - Monument Valley is on the Utah-Arizona border.

    Recommend a trip to Washington DC, specifically for The Smithsonian. Air & Space, Natural History, and National Art Mueseum. The Lincoln Memorial and the view of the reflecting pool to the US Capitol.

    If you decide to take US66 (now mostly I40) you will pass through Memphis (Elvis Presley's home) and Nashville (Country & Western music capitol). At Memphis you will cross the Mississippi River.

    At that point head North up I65 to Indianapolis (Fantastic Indy 500 Museum at the racetrack). You may catch one of the racing teams testing cars as well. The Indy 500 is the end of May (Memorial Day here). I65 will take you north to Gary Indiana and Chicago. From there I80 east will take you to NYC through some of the American Industrial North and some nice areas as well.

    I've been to most of these places at least once, and taken these routes on many occasions.

    Now you have my $.04 worth.
    Last edited by D70FAN; 03-10-2013 at 01:31 PM.
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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
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    6,830
    As we have discussed the time period that you will be there is peak holiday season. It will be very important to book well in advance for most attractions or accommodation at or near popular holiday spots. Places like Alcatraz and Yosemite are booked out weeks in advance. You be to allocate half a day to Alacatraz alone if you want to go there by the time you queue for the (booked) ferry, do the introduction, take the self guided walk around the grounds then get a ferry back to the city. The absolute minimum you want want to spend in Yosemite is a full 24 hour day and even then you will just scratch the surface and do the main tourist sights. A quick stop at Carmel (to see if Clint Eastwood is around) and a drive around the 17 mile drive (you pay for this) on the way through to SF will realistically take 4-5 hours out of the travel time.
    You are going to have to be fairly ruthless about what you see and do not see and accept that fact you have limited time and lots or ground to cover. You could spend the whole allocated time just between LA and SF and their surrounding areas and still not "see" everything.
    Last edited by K1W1; 03-10-2013 at 02:32 PM.

  5. #5
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    Jul 2004
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    As K1W1 has reinforced, plan as far ahead as possible, especially if you are heading here in the summer months (mid-May to end of Aug.). If you devote 2 days to each major stop (and you should), you have burned about 20-24 days. Add about a day of transit time each major segment (avg.) and you are up to about 31 days.

    If you are returning home from New York life will be a little less hectic. Otherwise it's about 2,900 miles (4667 Km) from Washington DC to LA. I've done it in 4 days, but you don't have a chance to see much coming back.

    Note 3: If you head to Yellowstone add 3 days minimum, as it is well off the beaten track.

    Let me know if and when you are in the Monterey area. Maybe I can help navigate the points of interest... If I'm not working.
    Last edited by D70FAN; 03-10-2013 at 04:45 PM.
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  6. #6
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    In Ohio, you show the National Aircraft Museum, do you mean the Air Force museum? If not that is certainly worth a trip. It is at Wright Patterson AFB outside Dayton OH. Many historical aircraft there including one of the two planes that dropped the A-bomb on Japan. As has been said, Washington DC is a must, the Capitol and White house (if sequester is halted) have tours and the museums of the Smithsonian complex are priceless. If time is available the National zoo is also a possibility.
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  7. #7
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    Wow thanks all. I'll populate my map some more and then post a photo of the marked up route.

    Ruthless attraction pruning it is K1W1, much as I'd say to someone arrogant enough to come to Australia and drive from Cairns to Perth in 4 weeks.

    Yes Falconest, thanks I meant the Air Force Museum.
    Yes D70, I meant Yosemite (it was over 100F here yesterday and my computer room isn't air conditioned so I think I had some brain fade going on).
    As K1W1 pointed out I've already accidentally booked peak season so I am going to have heaps of avoidable problems (busy roads, busy attractions, queues, high prices and full accommodation).

    I fly into LA around 2 May 2013 and out of New York around 7 June 2013.
    D800, D300, D90, 24-70 f2.8, 70-200VR f2.8, 300 F4, 105 micro, 16-85VR, 50mm 1.8, Tammy 90 macro, 70-300VR, SB900, 2xSB600, MB-D10, 055XPROB 322RC2. New computers to run photoshop faster. C&C always appreciated. PhotoGallery
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  8. #8
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    That excuse actually works. For me it's 25C and above. That may actually turn out to be pretty good timing. Just the beginning of US holidays (around mid May), but not for Europeans (usually late July and August). We look forward to the planned agenda.
    D7000, D70, CP990, CP900, FE.
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    Ha! See, I can change...


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  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
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    I'd be happy to show you around NYC when you get here. It will be nice to return a favor KIWI and Rooz did for me a few years ago when I visited Oz.
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  10. #10
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    Jul 2004
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    DPR,

    Actually your dates are not quite peak as most schools are in session until the last weekend in May. You will likely find some good late Spring color in the central US and most of the field in the rolling prairies near Oklahoma should be green. It will not be terribly hot yet even in the desert in May. However, if you want to stay in the parks in Zion, Yosemite or the Grand Canyon, book rooms now.

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