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parker1895
08-13-2007, 09:26 AM
My husband and I are trying to plan a road trip out west for next summer. We've been to California but he's never been out west (besides CA) so we're trying to see as much as possible as this will probably be our last big vacation before kids. Besides visiting a friend in Phoenix, we are very flexible. Any suggestions are welcome!
Here's our plan:

Lexington, KY
Oklahoma City, OK
Flagstaff, AZ
Phoenix, AZ (Grand Canyon)
Phoenix, AZ
Las Vegas, NV (Hoover Dam)
Las Vegas, NV
Bryce/Zion, UT
Grand Tetons, WY
Grand Tetons, WY
Grand Tetons, WY
Yellowstone, WY
Yellowstone, WY
Glacier NP, MT
Glacier NP, MT
Glacier NP, MT
Devils Tower, WY
Omaha, NE (Mt. Rushmore, Badlands NP)
Lexington, KY

AZBuck
08-13-2007, 10:42 AM
Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

Looks like a great RoadTrip you're hoping for, and you can get it, but a few warnings. It looks like you intend for your list of destinations to represent a day's travel each. If that's the case, then you are going to start very much on the wrong foot. Lexington to Flagstaff is 1,700 miles and is not, under any circumstances, a two day drive. Similarly Omaha back to Lexington is over 750 days. So you're scheduling killer days at both the front and back ends of your vacation that will sap a lot of the fun out of it. Two of the biggest mistakes people make on their first such trips is to have eyes that are bigger than their stomachs (so to speak) and to try to hit all the 'must-sees' on some mythical list of places to visit. Another big error is to believe the travel time estimates from on-line software such as Google Maps, MapQuest or the like. A far better rule-of-thumb for an enjoyable driving pace is to plan on doing around 500, maybe 550, miles a day. And rather than just try to rip through the plains, take the time to enjoy the more subtle but no less rewarding stops and attractions on offer there. If you take 3 or even 4 days to get to Arizona and 2 or 3 days to get home from western South Dakota, you'll still have 9 to 11 days (over a two week vacation with the 'extra' weekend) to explore the west at a reasonable pace. That's plenty of time to see much of the best of it without knocking yourselves out getting there and, again, see some things besides the major tourist draws. Finally, as someone who has taken multiple RoadTrips both as a child and with grandchildren, I'm going to tell you right now that if you do this one right, it will be the start of any number of adventures you'll have with your kids (OK - once they get out of diapers!).

AZBuck

parker1895
08-13-2007, 11:41 AM
Thanks for the advice!! I was a little nervous about the long days at the beginning and end of the trip. You're right, I'd been going by mapquest for the times. We can try to add a couple days to break up all the driving!

UKCraig
08-13-2007, 11:55 AM
Something that people have advised me in the past (I tend to really get a little carried away when planning my own roadtrips) is to be sensible with the miles. You are concerned that this might be your last opportunity before you have kids, I have the obstacle of a rather large pond between us and the knowledge that, should the exchange rate change, I won't be able to afford to come to the US anymore. The truth of the matter is there will always be another opportunity someday and, if there isn't, then it's not the end of the world. I'd sooner have just one really great holiday/vacation now than one which I am too tired to enjoy.

Of course, with enough time and money, your plans are completely 'do-able', all I'm saying is make sure the time/money to miles ratio is kept in check! That's what we're here for - to help ensure that the balance is right for you to enjoy your trip. If you can add those extra days you'll really benefit and ask yourself if you would be happier by condensing the route a little so you have more time at your destination and less on the road. Only you can know the answer, of course.

Feel free to ignore my advice, I'm just jealous of your plans really! :p