One alternative to long-distance bus torture is the fun, countercultural Green Tortoise, whose buses, complete with foam cushions, bunks, fridges and rock music, mostly ply the West and the Northwest of the country, but can go as far as New Orleans, Washington DC and New York. Highlights include the California Cruiser (11 days; $505), the coast-to-coast USA Explorer (34 days; $2816), and the gung-ho Alaska Expedition (27 days; $2500); food and park admissions cost extra. There are more than thirty seductive options, each allowing plenty of stops for hiking, river-rafting, bathing in hot springs and the like.

Green Tortoise’s main office is in San Francisco (415 956 7500 or 800 867 8647, greentortoise.com).

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