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  1. Default NY -> SFO, one way in two weeks

    Hi all,

    I am planning a road trip from New York to San Francisco with a friend, between 3 and 19 August.
    We already had a shorter trip last summer within California and Nevada (SFO, route 1, a couple of days in LA, then Las Vegas, Death Valley, Yosemite, Mt. Shasta, and northern coast of California again on route 1 back to San Francisco, in about ten days).

    This year we plan to spend a couple of days in NY, rent a car there, and go to the Niagara Falls, Cleveland and Chicago.

    From there I see a couple of main options:

    One is going along I-80/I-90 through Sioux Falls and Rapid City, stopping by Mt Rushmore and the Badlands, and getting to San Francisco through Salt Lake City, and Tahoe (I-80).

    The other is going South, to St Louis and Kansas City and then along I-70 until Denver stopping by some national park along the way.
    From there either going North to Salt Lake City and getting I-80 to San Francisco otherwise going South-West to Monument Valley and Grand Canyon (but then I don't know if we will be able to get to San Francisco in time).
    Moreover, we already were in Las Vegas and Los Angeles last time, so we don't want to spend too much time on the same places this year.

    I am a bit concerned about the wide spaces in the great plains: is there some interesting place where to stop by and spend half a day or should we just consider a full day driving (and save some time for the south-west) ?

    What are the other interesting places to stop by along the way (in either routes) ? We are coming from Europe, so probably we might be unaware of some great places in those areas...

    One more question: I've read on some threads on these forums about a rental car site "holiday autos" with interesting drop-off fares, but I was not able to find a site that allows to pick the car in NY and drop it in SFO. Does any one has the specific URL for a website were this kind of deal is possible ?

    Thanks in advance,


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default The Choice is Yours

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America forum.

    The shortest route from Chicago to SanFrancisco (2135 mi - all mileages are approximate) is I-80 through Iowa, Nebraska and Wyoming to Salt Lake City and on across northern Nevada to Lake Tahoe and on into SF.

    Your I-80/I-90 route, using I-25, WY-220 and US-287 to get from I-90 to I-80 is 240 miles more, at 2375 miles. As you note, the highlights of this route include Mt Rushmore and Badlands National Park, but also Devil's Tower National Monument, Great Salt Lake, Lake Tahoe, and could include Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks with a small detour (a couple of hundred miles)

    Going by way of St. Louis, Denver and Las Vegas is 2480 miles so 100 more than the northern and 340 more than the central. You can also continue on to the coast and come up the PCH, Adding this option raises the total miles to 2585 miles. The highlights of this trip would be St.Louis (the Arch), Kansas City (blues and barbeque), Rocky Mountain National Park, Arches National park, Zion National Park, Las Vegas, Mojave National Preserve, and possibly the Pacific Coast Highway and Monterey.

    So the longest route is 440 miles longer than the shortest route, but with 10-11 days to make this part of the trip, this is not a big difference. All these routes are within the realm of comfortable possibility. You can choose whichever of these routes goes to the most things you want to see.

    There are interesting stops along the way as you cross the plains, but you should probably pick your route on the points above rather than what's in between the Midwest and the Rockies.

    Finally, Holiday Autos is a UK based car hire firm with minimal facilities in the US. We don't know much avout them but I was able to find there website with no problems.


  3. #3


    Yeah, it seems that the way the drop-down menus work on the Holiday Autos website doesn't allow you to select a different drop-off location from where the car is collected.

    A quick glance suggests that with Budget the drop-off will be just under $1000 on a midsize ca from NY to SF, and a bit over $600 with Hertz, but my experience with Hertz was that there's some room for manoeuvre when you actually collect it at the desk, (on one rental in CA in April they scrapped my $300 drop-off charge just cause I raised one eye-brow, I didn't exactly haggle hard; and the previous week in AZ they took $150 off the rental price when I upgraded vehicle with the same eagerness) though this will by no means be guaranteed.
    Last edited by dj toast; 06-21-2006 at 09:03 AM.

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