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Old 08-25-2012, 06:58 AM   #1
Destroyer of the Aussie Dollar
Andona's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Sydney, Australia
Posts: 920

TR - 5369 miles later! - Coast to Coast with a little Disney Magic

Here's a little background ..

Andona ( The Navigator) -
  • Like most of us here on the AusNZ-DIS, I'm not really happy unless I'm planning a trip, and I'd rather plan a trip to the USA than anywhere else in the world, especially if it involves a little Disney magic...
  • Gadget and gizmo fiend - I.T. is my business and gadgets are my passion. Give me a few travel apps and a new gadget and I'm like Winnie the Poo with honey...
  • I love road trips because I get to watch the scenery go by with a GPS in one hand, my iPad in the other and a road atlas in my lap..

DH - (The Driver) -
  • This man is at his happiest behind the wheel of a car with a long stretch of open road ahead of him. The German autobahns were one of his favourite playgrounds but he says there's nothing better than hitting the road in the USA. He's also a music nut - he has downloaded 16 hours of "topical" road trip music to entertain us (?) along the way.. it's lucky I love him!
  • If I let him, our holidays would consist of 8 hours driving a day. He's always on the go - he doesn't "DO" leisure - if we have a free afternoon somewhere and I'm planning a little quiet relaxation he gets twitchy "We're not just going to stay around the hotel are we????" He'd be the perfect candidate for one of those 20 countries in 15 days organised tours, except that he couldn't bear the thought of someone else doing the driving...
  • As far as I'm concerned, he only has one flaw, he isn't a Disney nut! He's enjoyed our visits to WDW and DL but he's reached the stage where he doesn't see the point in going back ( "there's too many new places to see!!" ) So this will almost definitely be my last visit to WDW .

DS - (The Teenager) -
  • He's 15 and he's happiest when he's wired up to a variety of devices ( iPod, Netbook, Xbox, etc) His older siblings haven't travelled with us for the last few years so it's just as well that he still enjoys the company of his Mum and Dad. He's also very interested in military and aviation history ( like his Dad) so anything that involves armies and battles and planes is a must see for him
  • He's also perfectly happy to sit for hours in the back of the car ( preferably a nice big American SUV) and watch DVD's on his netbook, just so long as we stop for food frequently...
  • He used to be as crazy about Disney as I am but he's getting more like his old man every day...

Where are we going??? Why are we going???

On our previous trips we've seen a lot of America - NYC, Washington DC, New England, The Southwest , Florida, The Rockies, the High Plains, and California but it's a big country and there's still an awful lot to see! My bucket list includes a plan to visit all 50 states eventually.

This trip is our "Deep South" adventure, with some Texas and more of the Southwest thrown in for good measure.

And, once the concept occurred to him ,The Driver couldn't resist the idea of a coast-to-coast trip!

I think the recurrring theme of this trip will be FOOD! We're excited about digging into some Southern specialities - Lump Crab Cakes, Catfish, Shrimp & Grits, Gumbo, Jambalaya, and some Texas B-B-Q and some Tex-Mex thrown in for spoce. Yummm! ( My apologies to everyone on the "Get fit for your Trip" thread, I think I'll be spending more time over there after this trip but more as a "Lose the weight you gained on your trip" participator... )

We can't wait to sample that wonderful Southern cooking, listen to some Blues and some Jazz and just enjoy some of that southern hospitality. So here's the plan....

The Plan

-> We're flying to LAX with Air NZ. Weve never flown with them before - looking forward to trying something new. The flight arrives mid-afternoon so we'll stop over in L.A. , to rest our weary heads in a LAX hotel (the Marriott) and wake up fresh for our cross country flight the next day. We're pretty lucky in that we don't usually get jetlagged when we fly to L.A.

-> Fly across the Country ( Virgin America) to Fort Lauderdale and Spend the night in Hollywood....the Florida one!

-> Really looking forward to one of the classic American scenic drives, heading down through Miami and the Overseas Highway to Key West. We're booked into the Pier House Resort right on the gulf.. Cocktails and key Lime pie anyone???

-> We'll have to back-track up through the keys to the Everglades National Park and on up to the Gulf coast. Nothing booked here but planning to stop in Naples or Fort Myers or Tampa. We're aiming to stop at "Gator Park" en route and do one of those classic airboat rides through the sea of grass along the way.

-> WDW !!!! - hopefully arriving by lunch time. I could only negotiate 2 nights in the world but I'm making the best of them.
  • Since this will probably be my last trip to WDW I decided that I'm planning this part for ME,ME,ME!! - DH was fine with this, just said this is my part of the trip so just tell him where we're going each day and he'll be there . I think DS will be happy with my plans but if not, luckily he's old enough now to go off and do his own thing if he wants.
  • We're Staying at the Beach Club, so after lunch on our arrival day we'll have a swim at Stormalong bay and head over to MNSSHP around 5 ish. We're really only going for the rides, the candy and the Fireworks - none of us does characters . We have an ADR at Liberty Tree Tavern which should make my carnivore boys happy.
  • Second day, we'll be at HS for Rope Drop - gotta get my TSM fix! Then DS will head to Star Tours while DH and I go to RnRC. Our DS loathes coasters and I can only cope with the ones in the dark, but DH will enjoy an Aerosmith fix. Then we'll join DS at Star Tours and potter around a few old favourites. Another

    afternoon back at the pool and then we'll stroll into Epcot for evening EMH. Our ADR is at Le Chefs de France and our only must see is Mission Space ( DS's favourite) then a leisurely stroll around the World.
  • Next morning I've booked us breakfast at Captains Grille and then it's goodbye WDW... Boo, Hoo!!

-> Heading up to Georgia next, we'll drive via Daytona beach and St Augustine to lovely Savannah. A carriage ride past the fountains and green squares in what is often described as one of the most beautiful cities in the USA - can't wait!

-> Atlanta! DS's priority is The World of Coca Cola, mine is Stone Mountain and The Margaret Mitchell House ( Gone with The Wind was a favourite of mine..) and DH will try to drive a detour via Augusta ( the Home of the US Masters Golf) if I let him...

-> Crossing "Sweet Home Alabama" and spending the night somewhere along the road towards Memphis. Maybe Tupelo, to see the birthplace of "The King" ??

-> We're in Memphis! "Thank you very much" ( with apologies to Elvis) - Graceland (of course!) , Beale Street for some blues, and the National Civil Rights Museum ( it's located in the hotel that Martin Luther King was assassinated in) We're staying at the gracious, Memphis hotel "The Peabody" - this place has an interesting history and it's all to do with ducks...

-> Next we'll cruise down the Blues Highway , stopping to visit the Delta Blues Museum and having lunch or a snack at Morgan Freeman's Ground Zero Blues Club ( I had a dream that the wonderful actor just happened to drop in while we were there.. I wish!) Also plan to visit the Vicksburg National Military Park - you really can't visit the Deep South without absorbing some Civil War history I think?

-> We'll also be living out a fantasy of mine and spending a night in a Plantation Home in the gracious old Mississippee river town of Natchez, MS. Give me a Mint Julep to sip on the wide verandah and I'll be happy little Scarlett O'Hara wannabe...

-> New Orleans!! So much to see in the French Quarter here, Bourbon Street, Royal Street, Jackson Sqaure, The Natchez Steamboat, Mardi Gras and Hurricane Katrina exhibits. Coffee and beignet at Cafe Du Monde, a little shopping at the French Market, some Gumbo for lunch and a dinner at Bubba Gumps are the plan. New Orleans is also home to the Unites States World War 2 museum so that is a must visit for DS and DH.

-> On to Texas! Houston is our first base - we'll be visiting the Nasa Johnson Space Center, The Kemah Boardwalk and maybe do a little drive down to Galveston..

-> "Remember the Alamo!"- we're heading to San Antonio next. Can't wait to wander along the beautiful Riverwalk and let DH live out his John Wayne fantasies at The Alamo.

-> Heading down to the Rio Grande to visit Big Bend National park. The stars at night are big and bright...deep in the heart of Texas!!

-> On towards New Mexico with some Western Fort's to visit along the way and Carlsbad Caverns National Park in our sights. We have tentatively booked a night in the little town of Pecos ( there's a lot of miles between towns in West Texas and i don't want to be stuck without a bed) but we might make it all the way to Carlsbad instead.

-> Our caving experience behind us we're heading up over the scenic mountains of southern New Mexico . I've always been a Sci Fi fan so I hope we have time to detour via Roswell - I want to find me some aliens!!

-> Stopping to visit the otherworld landscape of White Sands National Monument , they say these stark,white sparkling sand dunes have to be seen to be believed. You can even hire sleds at the Visitor centre to go for a ride down the dunes. Then into southern Arizona with a visit to Tombstone. We have to be there by 2.30pm because they re-enact the "Gunfight at the OK Corral" every day. Only in America!

-> Tucson is our next base. Lots to see here including the beautiful Mission San Xavier del Bac, The Titan Missile Museum , The Pima Air and Space Museum ( this includes the Official US Aircraft Graveyard, everything from stealth bombers to JFK's and Nixon's "Air Force One" jets! ) Finally a drive through Saguaro National Park.

-> On to Flagstaff via Montezuma Castle National Monument and the beautiful scenery around Sedona. We really love the Southwest, we just can't get enough of those spectacular skies and red desert scenery.

-> Next We're getting our kicks on Route 66...or at least a short part of it! Dropping in to see the Meteor Crater - a mile across and 550 feet deep. If anyone is getting on my nerves by this stage of the trip they might get dropped in! More quirky Route 66 sights, the Road Kill cafe at Seligman for a snack and some souvenir shopping at Williams, a drive across the amazing new bridge at Hoover dam, before we make tracks for ...

-> Las Vegas!!, our final stop on the trip. We're booked into a Bella Suite at The Venetian and have tickets to see the Cirque du Soleil show - LOVE , showing at the Mirage. We all love Beatles music so this will be a great way to spend the last night.

-> On our last day we're on the road to Los Angeles, we have all day to get there as our flght doesn't leave till 10.30pm. Hopefully time en route for a little outlet shopping at Primm and Barstow and a visit to Santa Monica Pier and a walk on the beach - then I can truly say I've driven all the way from the Atlantic to the Pacific!!

Well that's it! I already have both an AT&T sim and a T-Mobile Sim in my possession and with free wifi in all our hotels I'm hoping to take time out from navigating to pop back into the DIS and turn this PTR into a TR as we cross the miles.

2005: DL - 3/50 states | 2007- UK & Paris | 2008: WDW - 14/50 states| 2009: DL - 18/50 States | 2011 European roadtrip - ANZAC day in France | 2012: USA Coast to Coast Roadtrip! 25/50 states Read my TR|2013 Italy

Dec 2014 Hawaii Here We Come!

Aug 2015 Pacific Northwest Roadtrip finishing up in DL. Yay!

Last edited by Andona; 10-10-2012 at 01:24 AM.
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