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  1. Default Cross Country - NH to Portland, OR

    Hi folks,

    This is my first post to this forum. I have accepted a new position in Oregon and will be heading out in early September. After a couple of days to visit friends and family in NY, my planned stops are Toledo, Des Moines, Cheyenne, Salt Lake City, Boise, and finally Portland. It seemed as though these general stops would have two long days of ~600 miles, but the rest of the trip would be less than 500 mile days.

    This will be a solo trip and I will be pulling a pop-up camper (but not using it on the way out, too long to set up and tear down). The Jeep has been checked out for the trip (oil change,check hoses and belts, new brakes, and transmission fluid changed) and the camper wheel bearings will be re-packed for the trip.

    Although, I do not have the time to make a lot of side trips, I'm open to any suggestions for stops along the way. Another question that I have for folks is whether or not I should worry about hotel reservations. I chose these stops assuming that a large city would likely have an abundance of hotels with rooms this time of year.

    I hope to see some of you on the road.


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Western/Central Massachusetts

    Default Welcome

    Welcome to the RoadTrip America forum!

    How long do you have to actually be on the road? Those longer driving days, while doable solo, can be tiring. If you can add in an extra day there, you'll find it more relaxing.

    As far as hotel reservations, you shouldn't have too much trouble at this time of year. Families tend to vacation in the Summer, and as soon as school starts, the road becomes a different place. Most places make the majority of their income during the Summer months, hence the higher rates at that time of year. You should be fine.

    Happy travels!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula

    Default No side trips

    I really think you should not bother with side trips. A trip of this length, by yourself, in the time you seem to have, and pulling a camper, is going to be tiring enough as it is. In fact, I doubt you will have time to even stop to see things right next to the highway for the first few days. And, by the latter part of your trip, you're probably gonna be too tired to do so.

    Conventional wisdom here, based on thousands of roadtrip miles, is that you will average 53mph in the east and 57mph in the west. This includes times for very brief stops for fuel/food/restrooms and for the varying traffic conditions you might encounter like heavy traffic, construction, etc. Based on this, these are your miles and estimated timeframes:
    NYC (guessing starting point)-Toledo: 560 (10.5 hours)
    Toledo-Des Moines: 563 (10.5 hours)
    Des Moines-Cheyenne: 629 (11.8 hours)
    Cheyenne-SLC: 440 (7.8 hours)
    SLC-Boise: 340 miles (6 hours)
    Boise-Portland: 430 (7.5 hours)

    As you can see, you start out with some extremely long days. All of us here sometimes do speed runs but this might really turn out to be too many days of speed runs in a row. I would guess that by the end of the 2nd or 3rd day, you will be too zonked to drive your planned miles the next day and will need some time to rest up. Of course, the magic of being on the road and seeing new things will also probably give you an adrenaline rush (I know it does for me) that will sustain you a bit but, eventually, that will peter out, too. If it were me, I would plan for day 3 to be mostly a rest day where you can explore the area (by this time you will really want to get out-and-about and stretch those legs), and get a bit of a mental break from the road. You can plan for some driving that day but keep the miles shorter.

    But, really, I think you should add a day, or even two, to make this trip more enjoyable and less of a marathon. And I think you might benefit from reading The Art of the Speed Run (shameless self-promotion, LOL).

    I don't see hotels being a real problem on this trip. Unless you happen to hit a festival of some kind, even small towns should have plenty of rooms available so you can stop whenever you feel fatigued instead of trying to make it to a certain place.

  4. Default Great ideas

    I will be leaving from Binghamton, NY on Thursday, Sept 8. The only stop that I actually need to make is Toledo to see some friends.

    I have added a day to the trip, so that instead of driving from Toledo to Des Moines, I will stop in Davenport, IA (or somewhere thereabouts) with the next day in Lincoln, NE. The rest of the trip will probably remain. These days should be less than 500 mile driving days.

    I start work in Portland on September 18, so I would like to get there a couple of days early for a bit of R&R.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula

    Default I think that will make for a nicer trip.

    It is more balanced with more reasonable drives. Good job.

    When going through Nebraska, you might enjoy a stop at Fort Kearney. It was one of the first major stops on the Oregon Trail.

    In Cheyenne, the Old West Museum in Frontier Park is full of very cool exhibits about the history around Cheyenne.

    In Laramie, there's Fort Laramie. There's also a very cool museum next to a mansion but I don't recall the name off-hand. The museum focused on life in the plains in the Old West and, if I recall correctly, how life changed over time. Anyway, it's worth a stop.

    If you're coming from Cheyenne to SLC, you really don't need to go into SLC itself. When you hit Utah, I-80 will come to a junction with I-84/86. If you go north on that, you will go up to Ogden, UT. This will save you a few miles. However, if you have the time and energy at this point, SLC might make an interesting stop. The various Mormon Temples are interesting to check out. Personally, I don't know if it is worth it and I would probably go north into Ogden and save the time and miles. And beware that SLC traffic during rush hours is quite nasty.

    Twin Falls, ID, takes you by the Snake River Gorge. If you have time, a detour off the freeway to drive through this area is a pretty drive. And, well, this is really kinda silly, but you can still see the ramp that Evil Knieval had built for his death-defying attempt to jump across. About 20-30 miles past Twin Falls is the Hagerman Fossil Beds.

    Boise is a charming, little city. The downtown area has a nice square with restaurants with outside seating areas overlooking a place where music plays on some nights. I don't recall which nights so I don't know if you'll catch it. I heard everything from rock bands to country to bluegrass to blues and more when I was there. However, if you're planning on spending the night there, I would do it on the western outskirts of the city as Boise traffic can get pretty congested during rush hours. Either that, or leave quite early or plan on leaving later so you don't have to deal with it. I would really suggest pushing onto Caldwell or Nampa for the night.

    Pendleton, OR, is worth a stop. The world-famous Pendleton Woolen Mills are located there. They give a tour of the factory and the factory store has some great prices.

    Once you hit the Columbia River, you will find a lot of interesting things to stop and see. However, this is a quick jaunt from Portland and would be saved best for a weekend trip once you settle into your new home.

    Hope this gives you some ideas! Have a good time.

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