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Old 08-30-2012, 03:24 PM
 
50 posts, read 81,149 times
Reputation: 142

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Hello everybody!

I am leaving on a cross country road trip for three weeks in Sept. I was wondering if anyone had any route recommendations between the different legs of the trip.

We are doing A LOT in a short period of time, and our general goal is to get to our different destinations as fast as possible, and then spend a couple of days in the cities we'll be visiting. Not the ideal road trip, but we have time constraints on getting back, and we are staying with friends/family the whole way, so we have to be accommodating of their schedules as well.

Anyways, can anyone comment on the best routes between these destinations? Specifically, add some common sense into a google maps or GPS guided route, such as roads to avoid, as we know that sometimes they are not helpful at all! Or any sights along the way that we would be crazy not to see.

Philly to Chicago
Chicago to Waterloo, Iowa
Waterloo to Denver
Denver to Yellowstone (I think we're doing the South Entrance and passing through the Grand Tetons)
(Yellowstone to Seattle has already been determined)
Seattle to Portland
Portland to San Fran
...we were going to do the entire Cali coastline to San Diego, thoughts?
San Diego to the Grand Canyon

Thank you everyone!!
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Old 08-30-2012, 03:58 PM
 
Location: Trumbull/Danbury
6,553 posts, read 4,508,554 times
Reputation: 2488
Philly to Chicago I'd go PA turnpike (interstate 76 to interstate 80 and then take 80 to Chicago). 76 traverses close to Gettysburg, Pittsburgh, Youngstown & Cleveland, and then when you get on 80 if you have kids you can take them to Sandy Point amusement park, or high school aged kids can go look at visit Notre Dame in Southbend.
Seattle to Portland. The "fast" way is interstate 5 (will take about 3 hours) as it connects both cities, however the more scenic route is cut over to US-101 follow that along the cost and once you cross the river into Oregon make your way back over to route 5 or Portland. If you really don't mind going out of your way, take 5 south out of Seattle to route 16 in Tacoma. In Port Orchard or Bremerton follow route 3 towards Olympic park (I believe it's 3 East), then take that to route 101 north. Route 101 does a loop around the park and the mountains. I said its a little out of the way, but if your doing a road trip, may as well make it a scenic one!
From Portland to San Fran and down to LA just take route 101. 101 runs through San Fran so you can take that all to way from San Fran to Portland. If you want an even better scenic route in CA at Leggert follow route 1. Both 1 and 101 go to San Fran, but 101 is more inland in CA while 1 is the coast route.
Do the same thing from San to San Diego; 1 is the coast route, 101 is the inland route. If you take 1 you'll pick up 101 again around Santa Barbara. Once in LA, follow 5 south to San Diego. Once again, if you want to drive on the water, there's an exit in Oceanside (the exit for route 76 I believe) you can get off, and follow that road all the way into the outskirts of San Diego. You'll have to get back on 5 to get into downtown (I think that route is S21 and I believe the road is Carlsbad Blvd once you get off the highway in Oceanside).
From San Diego to Grand Canyon I'd do interstate 15 to US-93 in Las Vegas, to interstate-40 in Kingman then take that to the canyon exit. You cross the desert, go through Vegas if you want to spend a day there, and go over the Hoover dam when you leave Vegas.
I'll let the others fill in the rest or add in more advice.
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Old 08-30-2012, 05:50 PM
 
Location: We_tside PNW (Columbia Gorge) / CO / SA TX / Thailand
22,696 posts, read 40,074,231 times
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There are several threads with good ideas (not to keep repeating myself).

On your way IA to DEN,
AFTER TOURING STATE Capital building in Lincoln, Consider stopping at Windmill State Park in NE, and if TIME (I hope...) Pioneer Village in Minden (Very, VERY nice, discount if camping or lodging EZ way to spend a day, but VERY nice history lesson on the prairie... The owner BROUGHT in and reconstructed his school house / general store, farm houses... ).

Also go to Ollie's Big Game bar in Paxton, NE (Great steaks and burgers and SHOWPIECE of mounted game)

But if going DEN to Yellowstone BE SURE to see Encampment, WY > Snowy Range > Saratoga (free hot springs)
Snowy Range Scenic Byway I would leave COLORADO via 34 through Loveland, Big Thompson Canyon, Estes, RMNP, Grand Lake, then north to Waldon. (Or via rte 14 through Ft Collins and up Pudre Canyon (not nearly as nice but several hours shorter).

AND a MUST do, is the Beartooth / NE Yellowstone entrance (you will probably want to LEAVE this way if you are entering through Tetons.) (I often enter via Sheridan > Lovell WY (Bighorns are my favorites), then NE to Mt / Beartooth and out through Tetons to Idaho Falls, then up through Salmon ID (If I'm headed North / MT / BC) or across to Boise / via Craters of the Moon, if headed to Portland or points south.

Beartooth Highway - Map


For west coast... IF CLEAR see Mt Rainier and Mt St Helens. (Visitor Center in Castle Rock is only a few miles off I-5 and is VERY good). I enjoy a stop @ danielklennert
Ashford, WA - Ex Nihilo - Spirits of Iron

The Northern OR Coast is worthwhile from Cannon Beach south to Newport. Then you can jet over and see Crater Lake, then cruise back to Grants Pass and down to Crescent City (redwoods). Stop in Samoa, CA and at least see the museum at Cookhouse, but I often go there to eat (Breakfast on days they have french toast (varies... set menu). Welcome to the Historic Samoa Cookhouse - Since 1890 on California's North Coast

I usually take 101 to SF, cuz 1 is VERY slow and curvy. I recommend a trip out to Bodega Bay, and again at Monteray / Carmel.

Tons of FREE and fun in SF. DO see the Hall of Valor (in Presidio) NICE view of GG Bridge and bay. I stay at Ft Mason Youth Hostel (free parking and CLOSE in). Exploritorium for rainy days. LOTS of walking / biking, Ferry ride in Evening is a nice and CHEAP way to get a good view of the city lights.

Southbound I do 101 rather than coast (slow and curvy) It can be nice drive if you have forever and have a FUN car / motorcycle. The WORST is an RV or Motorhome of VW van (BTDT a few times). Hearst Castle area is nice. I like the route from San Luis Obisbo to Santa Barbara and you can stop in Solvang for a Danish Bakery item.

When in LA, go to Train Depot and look west across the street (best food / affordable, quite fun)
Philippe the Original | Home of the French Dip Sandwich (open since 1908)

Besides Scenic Byways and Road trip, I also use 'road food' travel hints and Where We Eat | The Splendid Table with Lynne Rossetto Kasper | American Public Media
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Old 08-31-2012, 02:46 AM
 
34,457 posts, read 41,580,248 times
Reputation: 29930
3 Weeks? you may want to prune back some of your destinations as its going to take you the best part of a week driving each way leaving you with 1 week free time to visit all your west coast destinations.
I tried to do it in a month and found the time way too short as there are so many attractions that are going to tempt you along the way,ultimately took us 6 weeks and much of that was just a blur as we drove by trying to make time. A se4cond driver will be mandatory if you want to accomplish your trip within the 3 week time frame..
Let us know how it went and if you could give any tips to others trying to do a similar trip in 3 weeks.
Thanks..


PS. my daughter at the moment is on a 3 week trip to LA from Montreal, she is having a wonderful time but it took the Greyhound bus 3 and a half days to get there, she's leaving this Sunday to return,i pick her up at the Montreal bus station at 3am Wednesday ..
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Old 08-31-2012, 07:21 AM
PDD
 
Location: The Sand Hills of NC
8,774 posts, read 14,900,576 times
Reputation: 11886
Quote:
Originally Posted by bnp0307 View Post
Hello everybody!

I am leaving on a cross country road trip for three weeks in Sept. I was wondering if anyone had any route recommendations between the different legs of the trip.

We are doing A LOT in a short period of time, and our general goal is to get to our different destinations as fast as possible, and then spend a couple of days in the cities we'll be visiting. Not the ideal road trip, but we have time constraints on getting back, and we are staying with friends/family the whole way, so we have to be accommodating of their schedules as well.

Anyways, can anyone comment on the best routes between these destinations? Specifically, add some common sense into a google maps or GPS guided route, such as roads to avoid, as we know that sometimes they are not helpful at all! Or any sights along the way that we would be crazy not to see.

Philly to Chicago
Chicago to Waterloo, Iowa
Waterloo to Denver
Denver to Yellowstone (I think we're doing the South Entrance and passing through the Grand Tetons)
(Yellowstone to Seattle has already been determined)
Seattle to Portland
Portland to San Fran
...we were going to do the entire Cali coastline to San Diego, thoughts?
San Diego to the Grand Canyon

Thank you everyone!!
IMO, Your going to spend all your time driving and not seeing anything. You need another three weeks to see some of the sights you will be passing.
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Old 08-31-2012, 07:38 AM
 
Location: Bangor Maine
3,442 posts, read 5,619,835 times
Reputation: 3980
I agree with the other posters. This is WAY TOO MUCH for 3 weeks time. You would do well to modify some of your espectations.
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Old 08-31-2012, 12:29 PM
 
Location: We_tside PNW (Columbia Gorge) / CO / SA TX / Thailand
22,696 posts, read 40,074,231 times
Reputation: 23849
Quote:
Originally Posted by Newdaawn View Post
I agree with the other posters. This is WAY TOO MUCH for 3 weeks time. You would do well to modify some of your espectations.
You can also modify your travel. (If there is more than one driver). MUCH of USA can be traveled at night. We set the goals for Vistas / Views and transit accordingly.

Such as; enjoy a nice evening in Las Vegas, and arrive to Grand Canyon just in time for Sunrise. (done that many times). Even (especially) with kids we have used 'overnight' driving to knock-off some SERIOUS miles. The driver can take naps during the day at opportune time and locations.

You can always fly home from a point to the west after Grand Canyon (ABQ, DEN, DFW..) and then fly back and get the car some long weekend. (or SELL IT and fly home... it's probably rusty anyway). If it was one of my BEATERS, I would just take off the license plates and leave it at the airport and fly home (BTDT with beaters I buy on CL when rentals are to expensive). Buy them, Drive them, and park them at the airport and fly home. The towing company sells them to collect the fee for towing / impound. BTW, That's where I buy cars for $35 ALSO!) Impound auctions!

You might want to consider the Chama NM Railway. It is GREAT in late Sept. (Aspen Colors).
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Old 09-01-2012, 05:34 AM
 
Location: Mtns of Waynesville,NC & Nokomis, FL
4,248 posts, read 8,104,202 times
Reputation: 5309
Agree with the posters that feel the OP's plan is more of a 'let's drive coast to coast' then to see much of this fabulous country...just the trip from Seattle to SD can easily take 3-4 days and that is hauling fanny, without much pulling off 101/Pac 1 to 'see stuff': it is ~1300 miles on the Interstate, pushing 2,000 miles seeing redwoods in Northern Cali, Crater Lake, the OR beaches, etc. And, SD to Grand Canyon is ~600 miles, a medium 3/4ths day of driving.

We did 13,000 miles last summer, over 2+ months, and we missed stuff...

Not sure why the OP wants/needs to get all the way to Seattle before angling back east, but maybe the visit relatives and friends along the way is the real purpose of the trip, which is fine and their choice.
GL, mD
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Old 09-01-2012, 02:05 PM
 
50 posts, read 81,149 times
Reputation: 142
Hey everyone,

Thank you for your input. We can't go any longer than three weeks because we are all starting up new jobs and have to be back in the northeast by October (we being four mid-20 year olds). Our planning has been affected by board exams and weddings and interviews and family time that hasn't happened for the past two years. Our goal isn't to see sights along the way, as much as it is to spend time with friends and family across the country that we haven't been able to spend time with over the past few years. We understand it isn't an ideal trip, and that we're spending most of our time in a car.

We have all been putting in 80-100+ hour work weeks for the past two years...spending 8-12 hours in a day in a car is way better than anything we have been through, trust me! We're also all accustomed to getting very little sleep, so our days are much longer than the avg persons'.

We actually have a pretty good deal on a rental, ~$200 for the 3 weeks, so split 4 ways, that's not bad at all.

We've been to Vegas for a conference, and it's not our cup of tea (personally it's my least favorite place I've ever visited, and I'm pretty well traveled...I think it's one heck of a depressing place). We've also all been to the Grand Canyon, and plan on going again.

Thank you again for everyone's suggestions!
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Old 09-03-2012, 01:23 AM
 
5,801 posts, read 9,324,855 times
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Bypass Southern California! Strange for me to say, because it's my home, and a gorgeous vacation destination, but you will stay much saner if you cut across south of Ventura and go east on I-134, hook up with I-10 and head straight for the Grand Canyon. Get out of the northern outskirts of Los Angeles as fast as you can, late in the evening or very early in the morning. You risk being trapped for hours in LA traffic (we just drove home to San Diego from Idaho, and it took us 4 hours to get through LA). Unless you're visiting with friends in SD, skip it, and save it for another time when you can take your time and enjoy the sights. If you have to visit SD, avoid traveling on I-5 through LA except late at night. And if you're not interested in seeing Vegas, go north on 15 out of SD, and then east on 10 to AZ and the Grand Canyon. Your route sounds like total madness to me , but I'm sure you'll have a good time, even so.
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