Giantbomb to decide my road trip?

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mason20

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I've got some vacation time banked and I figured that I'd put my faith into the giantbomb community with ideas with what to do on said road trip.

So some simple things to mention before I get road trip advice. I've got up to 2-3weeks scheduled from Friday Feb. 5 to whenever depending on price? I'll be starting from Alberta on that day and just,.. kinda, traveling really. I do intend to drive down to California because why not? I've never been in a hostel so I plan on checking what that's like, so good suggestions for a new timer? Or even, any big convention happening?

I've never really had a vacation before so any ideas or things that may be worth checking out would be greatly appreciated!

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sparky_buzzsaw

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Wall, South Dakota is the greatest vacation destination experience you could ever dream of. I do recommend going later in the year, but it's glorious. Glorious!

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htr10

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@sparky_buzzsaw: There's a life size Brontosaurus, right? Which I might add, isn't even what that dinosaur is called anymore, so yeah, people should go there.

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sparky_buzzsaw

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@htr10: They renamed the brontosaurus? I'm so out of touch I feel like a... wait for it... waaaaaaaait for iiiiiiiit... dinosaur.

Kill me now.

Also, yeah. It's also home to a bar with a lot of silver dollars, a place where you could get a pretty good chicken fried steak, a shooting gallery, and some pretty terrific bumper stickers. So yeah, it's basically like the Paris of the midwest... if Paris was awesome.

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SilverBolt

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I did a road trip to California last summer (I'm also from Alberta). I think that Utah and the Sierra Nevada mountains are worth going to if you're at all interested in hiking or just seeing some cool-looking terrain.

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Driadon

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All of these Alberta folk! (yes, I am another one)

I'd say hit the west coast as a while either on the way down or on the way back up. Portland and Seattle are fantastic cities, and the landscape that whole drive is pretty fun.

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mason20

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@sparky_buzzsaw: I can't say Wall, South Dakota sounds immensely interesting but it's not too far out of my way so I could check it out. Also, a life size Brontosaurus and chicken fried steak(whatever that is?) sounds pretty awesome!

@silverbolt I was planning on checking out Nevada/Utah from what I've heard. Never been to Las Vegas so I think I'll check it out though I've never really gambled. Anything I should keep an eye out for?

@driadon I do plan on driving up the coast basically from L.A. to Victoria on my way back. I was planning on checking out Seattle but I don't know much about Portland sadly so I guess I should add that to the list?

Also thanks for the ideas so far and I'd love to hear more! Anything to check out in Nebraska, Kansas, or Colorado?

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sparky_buzzsaw

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#8  Edited By sparky_buzzsaw

@mason20: don't, uh, don't actually go to Wall.

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Mechanical_Ape

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If you plan on heading down the West coast, I'd definitely recommend Crater Lake in Oregon, Mount St Helens in Washington, and the Grand Canyon in Arizona. They all look nice in pictures, but seeing them in person is very different. I'm not sure if all of them are open during the winter though.

There's also the Experience Music Project and Pike Place Market in Seattle. Both are kind of touristy, but still worth checking out at least once. Besides music stuff, I think there are video game and Star Wars exhibits going on in the EMP right now if you're into either of those.

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SilverBolt

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#10  Edited By SilverBolt

@mason20: If you care about the drive being scenic, consider taking some of the secondary highways instead of the interstate. From my experience, National Parks are a good bet if you have some time to stop. I went to Zion and Yosemite, and those were good, but there are many other highly-regarded ones in those states as well. I'm assuming that those places don't turn into total wastelands during the winter.

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deactivated-601df795ee52f

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Stay the hell out of Wisconsin. That's really all I can advise.

To be fair, Wisconsin has some beautiful scenery and all, but not in February where it's freezing cold and with ten feet of snow on the ground. That and, well, there is never shit to do here. Unless you fancy fishing or lots of recreational activities.

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snakeitachi

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PandaBear

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I've driven a heap of California (I'm from Australia and done two road trips). Highway 1 from San Fran to LA is an incredible drive, and you go through some cool places like Big Sur and those old redwood forests. There's good places to stop too, but I found that in all parts of America the difference of a few blocks is monumental.

Also I've used AirBNB a lot and fully recommend it. You can rent entire apartments or a single room. And you get to stay in cool areas that you may miss on tourist routes.

Also as mentioned above, Yosemite is like a painting it's that pretty.

Vegas is fun. Then it becomes not fun. It's like there's millions and millions spent on make some giant fire-spewing volcano and next to it is a dude injecting heroin with his family (I actually saw that). It's a hell of a town and well worth seeing, but I found the poverty overwhelming at times.

All that said, I've been planning on moving to LA this year. California is brilliant...

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isomeri

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I'm sure that I posted a comment in this thread yesterday, but I guess not. Anyway here's a condensed version of what I was going to say.

Hostels are fun! They are a great way to meet likeminded people while traveling, especially if you're traveling alone. On top of the usual toiletries etc. always bring with you a padlock, set of earplugs and a flashlight. The padlock is for using the secure locker most hostels provide, where you can leave your stuff when you're out and about. Earplugs are pretty self-explanatory and the flashlight is for when you need to move in the dorm during the night. It's useful to also bring a set of sheets or a sleeping bag with you since many hostels charge extra for fresh sheets.

Sleeping with a bunch of strangers for long periods of time can sometimes get stressful, so I recommend that whenever you feel like you need your own space invest some money towards your own room. I usually "reward myself" with my own room maybe once a week when I'm traveling.

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Lobster_Ear

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#16  Edited By Lobster_Ear
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Just got back from a trip to Colorado. I highly recommend.

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Driadon

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Hichael

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Go to Colorado and.... smoke weed everyday.

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reverendk

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#19  Edited By reverendk

@lobster_ear said:
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Just got back from a trip to Colorado. I highly recommend.

Colorado is pretty cool if you're into hiking or skying and all that kind of stuff. Great way to get your high altitude practice on.

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Kidavenger

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#20  Edited By Kidavenger
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I'd like to do something like this one year, take off a whole month and just drive 10 hours a day, spend a day or two in each big city

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mason20

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@kidavenger: Wow! Now that'd be an incredible trip to take!


But more realistically to what I'll be doing. Driving south to Denver due to a wedding and then follow the coast with some cool diversions. So far I'll try to check out Zion and Yosemite because I'll be in those states and they look interesting-thanks @silverbolt-.

I'll definitely check out the Red Wood Forest due to memories of Cruizin' USA.. I've heard that there is some messed up things about Vegas but it is a city I must see for myself. Also, I've never heard of AirBnB till now but if it's as accurate as it seems I know I'll be using this more often! Thanks @pandabear

@isomeri That seems like like pretty sound advice! I guess I'm going to pick up a lock, so any other specific advice I may need to know? The room capacity doesn't seem like much of an issue but then again I've never been in a Hostel.

So E-Town or Cowtown eh? What about Red Deer? No, wait, forget I even mentioned it...

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mason20

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@lobster_ear: Great photo! This view is one of the things I'm looking forward to. Where abouts in Colorado was this?

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#23  Edited By JDDrewes

Yeah Seattle's worth a visit. Check out the EMP museum, Pike Place Market, the Pinball Museum, and the Columbia Tower.

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Driadon

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@mason20 said:

So E-Town or Cowtown eh? What about Red Deer? No, wait, forget I even mentioned it...

Your Donut Mill is amazing.

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isomeri

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@mason20: Shower slippers are nice to have, because those communal showers can sometimes get all sorts of funky. I usually bring some laundry powder with me in a small zip-lock bag, since many hostels let you wash your own clothes. But keep in mind that it'll look like you're carrying around a bag of cocaine with you, so be ready to explain it to police or border control.

Make sure to check the hostel rules when checking in, especially regarding checkout and door-lock times. Some hostels don't keep the front door open 24 hours a day, and it can really suck if you're out late drinking only to come back to your hostel and not be able to get inside.

When choosing a hostel, the bigger ones are usually a "safe bet". They're usually not too dirty or too expensive. However they're often pretty soul-less as well. Smaller hostels have a lot more atmosphere, a tighter community among the residents and can have amazing service.The smaller places are also riskier, and a place which seems promising online may have taken a turn for the worse very quickly.

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notnert427

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#26  Edited By notnert427

If I were you, I'd start by heading through Vancouver (I haven't been, but I've heard great things) and down through Washington, Oregon, and California. There's some really great country there, and you should probably include Highway One on the California portion of it. Also make sure to include Lake Tahoe in your California journey. It's one of the most beautiful places you'll ever see. Then head over to Vegas (I recommend staying at or at least having a drink at the bar at Mandalay Bay). Then head into Utah and see Lake Powell. I'd loop in the Western parts of Colorado and stop at a few mountain towns (Durango and Breckenridge are two of my favorites). There is a whole lot of nothing in Wyoming or Montana, where you'd be most likely headed on the way back. It's cool to see some undisturbed country from a nature standpoint, but the vast expanses with little civilization wear off fairly quickly and will be brutal on a long drive. As such, I'd recommend heading back into Utah (Utah is a really nice state) from Colorado and heading up through Idaho and stopping in Boise, which is a cool town. Basically, I'd do something like on the map below.

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I'll +1 airbnb as well. I use it both as a traveler and host. It's a good service, and you can often stay in nicer places for cheaper than a hotel costs. It sounds like you're in for a really fun journey. Godspeed, duder.

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Niceanims

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I've always wanted to take a week off to take a road trip where I just pick a direction and drive.

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mason20

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So the trip has been delayed for about a week and a half but other then that things are all set. Just one major question that's come up from talking to those near me.

Apparently, if I were to simply drive to the border and tell border control I'm going to the States for a road trip I'll simply not be let in? I've not had any convictions or criminal background other than a speeding ticket(107kmh on highway 20 which has a limit of 100kmh). Another issue brought to me is that I also drive a old 2007(Crown Victoria PL71A) cop car and that could be a problem?

Wow! That'd be rough to try to explain @isomeri. And here I was going to bring some detergent to save some money. I'll just pick it up later.

Also @notnert427 That's pretty close to what I thinking originally just in reverse but I think I'll lift your route up the coast but I'll probably go down as far as L.A.