Results 1 to 9 of 9
  1. #1
    clevelander Guest

    Default OH to CA and back... First timer questions!

    Hi,
    My husband and I are really excited to take our first long road trip this June. We will be starting from Cleveland and want to end up in California to see the Pacific Ocean. Our tenative plan is to take US-20 west or I80/90, and see Field of Dreams, Mount Rushmore, and Yellowstone National Park. After Yellowstone, we will get back to I-80 and take it to San Francisco. We then want to drive south along the Pacific coast, and then go through the Grand Canyon. After that, we don't have anything specific we need to see, but we planned on taking Route-66 back west for some variety and because it looked shortest. As you can see, we are still in the very beginning stages of planning, but hopefully this is a good start!

    For all of the experts out there, how long do you estimate this will take? If we want to keep the trip to around 2-2.5 weeks, any suggestions on what we should cut out? Thank you so much in advance!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,060

    Default A trip to the edge of the continent!

    Quote Originally Posted by clevelander
    My husband and I are really excited to take our first long road trip this June.
    Welcome to the Great American RoadTrip Forum! We are pleased you have found us.
    We will be starting from Cleveland and want to end up in California to see the Pacific Ocean.
    Sounds like a voyage of exploration -- all the way to the edge of the continent.
    Our tenative plan is to take US-20 west or I80/90, and see Field of Dreams, Mount Rushmore, and Yellowstone National Park. After Yellowstone, we will get back to I-80 and take it to San Francisco. We then want to drive south along the Pacific coast, and then go through the Grand Canyon.
    Here is an excellent field report for your time in the Dakotas. On your way back to I-80, be sure to swing by Craters of the Moon and, if you are up to it, take some of the walks in the lava tubes! In fact, Peter Thody, (the author of the Dakota field report) recently posted a report about his trip in southern Idaho that you might find helpful. As you head west from Salt Lake -- keep an eye peeled for the this unsual roadside art near the Bonneville Salt Flats. You might also enjoy reading Gen's report on a recent trip to San Francisco, Las Vegas and points east.
    After that, we don't have anything specific we need to see, but we planned on taking Route-66 back west for some variety and because it looked shortest.
    It might be the diagonal, but it wouldn't be the fastest and you would miss the incomparable Colorado Rockies and the fantastic slick-rock country of Utah.
    For all of the experts out there, how long do you estimate this will take?
    To see it all, would take a couple of lifetimes.
    If we want to keep the trip to around 2-2.5 weeks, any suggestions on what we should cut out?
    Just driving from Cleveland to Los Angeles and back would take 7 days by the most direct and reasonable route. To travel that distance and see those all of those parks would require a minimum of three weeks -- unless you are able and willing to travel more than 500 miles several days in a row. How firm is the 2.5 weeks? What kinds of things are you looking to see? Does natural wonders or urban adventuring appeal more to you? Here are some tips that we use when planning a trip.

    Happy Planning!

    Mark

  3. Default

    Cleveland to San Francisco is 2,457 miles plus all your side trips. you cant do this trip in two weeks or 2 1/2 weeks.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Sarasota, Florida
    Posts
    10

    Default

    You could do this trip in 2.5 weeks but it would be all-driving, all-the-time. Not fun. I would either finagle another week, or consider flying part way and then renting a car. Perhaps try this itinerary:

    Fly to Denver, then Mt. Rushmore, Yellowstone, Frisco, Morro Bay, Sequoia NP (not to be missed!), Zion NP, Grand Canyon South Rim, back to Denver, fly home. About 4,000 miles, which at 300 miles a day is about 13 days. That leaves you 3 or 4 days to have a stopover or sightseeing day, or maybe a recovery day back home before you have to go back to work. :)

    Why go to Denver on each end? Because if you fly to and rent at smaller airports, and/or return the car to a different location than where it started, it will cost quite a bit more money.

    Your problem is, you need about 3 days on either end to drive to/from Cleveland to where you want to tour. You can either get that by taking another week, or by flying and renting. Either way costs extra. :(

    Don't let that stop you! Have fun!

  5. #5

    Default

    Clevelander way to go! Congrats on deciding on your first road trip! Me and my wife did the trip last year from Columbus Ohio to San Diego. 8,000 plus miles in 18 days in a dodge neon. Spending a little over 3,000 bucks on gas food lodging and entertainment. And it was the best trip we have ever taken and one that we will talk about when we are old and gray. Do not listen to the nay sayers they know not of which they speak. I did all the driving there and back. Main thing is pick places you might want to stay a couple of days. You will need 3 to 4 places to stay more then one night in. This is to let you recharge your batteries and break up the trip a tad.

    We chose Hot Springs South Dakota for our first place to stay(2 nights). Two reasons for this. One I grew up there and two it allows you to take in most of the black hills area from north to south. Hot Springs is in the southern black hills and is only 30 mins from mount Rushmore. It is a sleepy little town that will allow you to relax after your first leg of the trip and is home to world largest naturally heated indoor pool. We suggest staying at the souljourner inn or the flatiron inn both put you in mind of a B&B but with your very own privacy of a regular hotel. Places to see in the black hills: Mount Rushmore, Wind Cave (Watch out for bison), Custer State Park wildlife loop, Needles Highway(the eye of the needle), horse back riding at the blue belle, and Crazy Horse. Place to eat: The Cattleman's in Custer SD(order the bison steak medium) Places to see on the way to Hot Springs SD.: The Corn Palace in Mitchell SD., The badlands(buy National Park Pass worth the 50 bucks if you are going to more then one NP), Wall Drug in Wall SD. We recommend driving straight thru to South Dakota. Not much to see other then the places mentioned and you can get a pretty good idea of those places with 1-2 hours in each. We did this leg in 18 hours flat driving at night.

    Next place we stopped at Yellowstone National Park (1 night(mistake need more then one night)). We drove straight from SD to Yellowstone (mistake stay at Cody WY 1 night). Yellowstone has far to much to see in one day but you get a feel for it. Places to see at Yellowstone: Lake Yellowstone, Old Faithful, Mammoth Springs, and canyon falls. Places to see on the way to Yellowstone: Devil's Tower, side trip up to Custer's Battlefield, The Big horn Mountain (Route 14a great place to have a snowball fight on July 4th in a tee shirt), Buffalo Bill dam.

    Next place we stayed in San Diego for 3 nights(try to stay on Coronado much nicer). I know, I know, you say but you just skipped from Yellowstone to San Diego. No we drove straight thru from Yellowstone to San Diego(lots and lots of caffeine not for the person that does not like to drive). First leg we drove from Yellowstone NP starting at 5pm to Zion NP overnight. Sights along the way: The Grand Tetons, Jackson Hole WY (home of the Vice President), The Great Salt Lake. We arrived at Zion NP at sunrise I would not have traded that for anything in the world a brilliant sunrise beaming off the red rock canyons(WOW). Second leg Zion NP to Grand Canyon NP (don't make a wrong turn or you will end up at the north rim instead of the south rim) not much to see on the way just the desert south west. Grand Canyon NP is packed. Be prepared to wait if you want to see the main part of the canyon. The desert over look of the canyon is nice not too crowded here. Third leg Grand Canyon NP to San Diego. Phoenix drivers are nuts so be warned. Had to go this way because of the fires last year would rather have gone thru Vegas. I-10 give you an excellent view of our border security (insecurity). Red and white painted poles and chain hung between is our border protection. Sight to see on the way the Mohave desert sand dunes. Total road time via this route 30 hours minimum.
    San Diego sights to see: Coronado National Monument (over looking San Diego bay), San Diego Zoo, Sea World, and Coronado.

    Next location we chose to stay in is Tucson AZ for 3 nights. Tucson is very restful after a week on the road. Things to see and do in and around Tucson: Tombstone, The Bone Yard (where military planes go to die), Pima Air and space museum, and San Xavier Mission. Place to eat Pinnacle Peaks(order the cowboy steak medium). Due to the hurricane before Katrina we canceled our plans for San Antonio and New Orleans in favor of a return 3 day stay back in hot springs.

    Next location we chose to stay out of necessity was grants Utah(1 night). Places along the way: White sands missile range and The Four Corners.

    Next we were off to Arches NP, The High Desert of Colorado, and The Rocky Mountains. Arches NP is another over looked park by the general public but a place not to be missed by those that enjoy road trips. In this leg you will go from the desert southwest to the pine tree studded snow covered tops of the rocky mountains. I can remember the name of the town west of Denver we stayed in for one night. It was nestled in the heart of the Rocky's and it was a much needed stay to be sure.

    From there we were on our way back to Hot Springs. With a quick stop in Rocky Mountain NP outside of Loveland Colorado in Estes Park Colorado. My wife was able to experience her first rocky mountain thunderstorm with snow falling at the top of the mountains and and a quick hour long rain in the valley.

    Back in Hot springs we were able to soak in the sights and sounds of the black hills while relaxing away and remembering the sights we had seen.

    From Hot Springs we were headed back to Ohio when we were forced to make a detour and extend our route in western Iowa further south to I-70 due to a sever line of thunderstorms to our east. Due to this detour we were able to break thru the line and catch the St. Louis Arch gleaming in the sun rise of the last day of our road trip. That was the crowning jewel in a road trip that will last a life time.

    My best suggestion to you is treat a trip like this as a sampler trip. On this type of trip you will get to see everything this great country has to offer. Then you will have an idea of what future road trips to take back to the places you liked and enjoyed the most.

    As for us we will be hitting the road in June to travel back to the black hills and Yellowstone for more in depth exploration and excitement.

    I hope some of the things I have wrote will help you to decide what to see and do on your road trip. If you follow thru on your plans you will not regret one minute of what you see and do. Even the rough areas you go thru are all worth the memories they create.

    Tips for your journey:
    Mountain Driving: use low gear with air conditioning on will help with speed control and pump your breaks do not ride your breaks or you may be in for a wild ride.
    Mountain Conditions: your face will feel hot and be beat red in Yellowstone and the high mountains due to change of air pressure.
    Rocky mountains: the Smokey mountains have nothing on these
    Sealed chip bags: may burst at the 9000 foot level. If you choose to take route 14a over the big horn mountain(provides entertainment for kids scares the hell out of the driver)
    Most important rules: have fun and be flexible
    fun thing to do: Write a list of places you have been and are going on your car windows. This provides fun for you and your fellow road trippers on the roads beside you.
    hope this all helps.

    A couple of more tips
    On the stretch from Yellowstone to San Diego watch out for the billion deer after dark in northeast Utah
    Also on the stretch from San Diego to Tucson watch out for the car sized tumbleweeds (we got broad sided by a tumbleweed the size of our car, no damage done) and dust devils

    Happy road tripping
    Jim

    ROAD TRIP!!!
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 04-25-2006 at 02:24 PM. Reason: same thought continued

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,060

    Default South Dakota!

    Quote Originally Posted by jamesdozer31
    We recommend driving straight thru to South Dakota. Not much to see other then the places mentioned and you can get a pretty good idea of those places with 1-2 hours in each.
    Jim, Thanks for the report and the good ideas -- one caveat -- sometimes it is the unexpected places that are the best part of any roadtrip. Read this report from Peter Thody about his experiences in South Dakota last summer.
    We did this leg in 18 hours flat driving at night.
    I have about a million roadtripping miles under my seat/belt/tires/whatever -- I never recommend that anyone drive more than 10 hours in a 24 hour period. Professional drivers rarely do. I have driven a number of those killer legs -- on assignment -- it is not worth the fatigue that can lead to crashes and worse. And that is my professional roadtripper's opinion.
    Next place we stopped at Yellowstone National Park (1 night(mistake need more then one night)). We drove straight from SD to Yellowstone (mistake stay at Cody WY 1 night).
    I agree, I was born in Cody there is plenty to see around there.
    Next place we stayed in San Diego for 3 nights(try to stay on Coronado much nicer). I know, I know, you say but you just skipped from Yellowstone to San Diego. No we drove straight thru from Yellowstone to San Diego(lots and lots of caffeine not for the person that does not like to drive).
    I love coffee and like to mix caffeine with driving -- but it is a terrible combination -- water and some naps is a better combination for making those long drives. We practice the ten out of 2 rule and it works!
    Second leg Zion NP to Grand Canyon NP (don't make a wrong turn or you will end up at the north rim instead of the south rim) not much to see on the way just the desert south west.
    And this would be a bad thing because...?
    Sight to see on the way the Mohave desert sand dunes
    West of the Colorado River, it is spelled Mojave (in fact, only in Arizona would anyone get away with spelling it Mohave)!
    Due to this detour we were able to break thru the line and catch the St. Louis Arch gleaming in the sun rise of the last day of our road trip. That was the crowning jewel in a road trip that will last a life time.
    I have always loved the arch -- did you have time to ride up to the top? Another of those most-loved urban views: sunrise at Pittsburgh!
    Sealed chip bags: may burst at the 9000 foot level.
    Just wait until you open that mustard container -- lots of mustard stains on various clothing over the years!
    Most important rules: have fun and be flexible
    Great advice

    Mark

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula
    Posts
    3,318

    Default Welcome to the forum, JamesDozer.

    And a most excellent post!

    I do agree that pushing yourself to that extent is best to be avoided. I have done a few 16-18 hour drives over the years but this always included a few short naps during the day to rest my eyes. And was always to get to a destination where I'm staying put for a day or two afterwards to rest up.

    But your destination tips and roadtrip report were great reading. (Although I also kinda wonder what's wrong with the North Rim?)

    I hope you'll come back often and enrich our forums with your experiences and knowledge. And that you'll do a roadtrip report for us after you return from your trip to Yellowstone this year.

  8. #8

    Default

    Please do not think I am saying there is anything wrong with the north rim. I am sure in thr future we will make a trip to the north rim. It was just not part of our original route and we never made it to the north rim due to discovering our error before we arrived at the north rim.

    As far as spending 10-18+ hours behind the wheel I do not say I recomend it to everyone. However I do not feel that to be an unreasonable amount of time. That being said the most important rule is know your physical limits and do not push beyond what you are physically able to endure. I agree if you are to push yourself to the edge of your physical limits you should allow yourself at least 2 days to recover from the strain. That is why it is important on a true cross country trip to allow yourself 3-4 points where you have some time to recover before setting out again.

    As to the original post by clevelander I view this type of trip to be a sampler trip. Where you pick a point you want to go to and from and then try to take in as much sights as you possibly can. This is a trip where you have a time limit and need to see all you can before your time runs out. I believe all the places mentioned in my original response to be total with in reason. I believe this type of trip to be one of the most fun trips you can have. Why because you can do several things and it will never get boring. This type of trip is best when you are not sure of what areas you should visit. It gives you a nice cross section of the country on which you can base more trips on to areas that you would like to spend more time in.

    Nothing compares to a true cross country trip for several reasons. It gives you a true idea of the country as a whole and why we are so special. On a trip like this you will see almost all the terrain there is to be had in the U.S. It will give you a basis for future road trips. and it will give you a sense of true accoplishment. Lets face it how many people can say hey I went accross the country in 18 days and saw snow covered mountains and desert sand dunes. I know when me and my wife were planning this trip our friends and co workers were saying you two are nuts. Then when we got back and told and showed them all we saw them saying "wow i wish i could do that".

    Don't be one of the ones saying wow i wish i could do that. Go out and do it you will not regret one minute you spend doing it I assure you.

    Just remember these rules:
    Know your limits and stick to them
    Choose your route but always stay flexable
    And above all have fun
    If you obey the first two rules you will easily keep the third rule.

    Judy I thank you for your welcome. I do plan on being back often and will update you on the roadtrip report to yellowstone and the many trips in the future.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula
    Posts
    3,318

    Default Another great post!

    My time and budget constraints mean I have often made similar whirlwind, whistlestop types of trips. I agree that recognizing your limit and being willing to stop/rest when you reach that limit, and allowing yourself a longer stop for some rest periodically are keys to keeping it safe and fun.

Similar Threads

  1. Replies: 8
    Last Post: 08-02-2008, 09:50 PM
  2. sympathy for the donners
    By Car-Trek in forum Memorable Breakdowns & Back Roads
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 03-16-2006, 08:24 PM
  3. Philly to Ca and back
    By imported_Justin in forum Planning Summer RoadTrips
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 03-27-2004, 11:57 AM
  4. WA to NM & Back Again
    By PNW Judy in forum RoadTrip Field Reports
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 06-30-2003, 11:11 PM
  5. Replies: 5
    Last Post: 01-15-2003, 05:35 PM

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
  • Find the Perfect Hotel
    Search RoadTrip Motels
    Enter city name

    Loading...



  • MORE STORIES