Hello everyone! I've been reading this forum obsessively for the last week or so and really love all the great info available. My husband and I are planning a trip from Maryland to San Diego (and back!) this fall and thought I'd post our tentative itinerary here to get some feedback and suggestions.
We are planning to purchase a Class B RV/conversion van soon, so we would be doing a mix of camping, boondocking and motels. We plan to take about 20 days for this trip. We did a Md to Vegas and back trip 2 years ago in 12 days and had a blast. We're very compatible roadtrippers and tend to drive pretty long days towards the beginning and end of our trips so that we can slow down a bit in the middle. We did several 600-700+ mile days on our last trip and still managed to really enjoy ourselves.
Here's our plan so far.
Day 1: Leave Maryland in the late afternoon/evening and head towards Cleveland (408miles). We would probably just drive until we are tired that night and then pull into a Cracker Barrel, Flying J or Walmart for some sleep.
Day 2: Head towards LaCrosse, Wi (625 miles). We were thinking about going to the Rock and Roll Hall of fame that morning but they don't open until 10:00 and I'm afraid we would be too rushed and then get too late a start on the Cleveland to WI leg. It's close enough to our home to visit it another time when we would have the whole day. This will probably be on a Friday so I'm a little worried about the traffic we might hit passing through Chicago. I'm looking at alternative routes to bypass Chicago without adding a lot of miles.
Day 3: Head towards South Dakota. LaCrosse to Interior, SD is 573 miles. We would probably stop for the night before then so we could drive through the Badlands in the day time.
Days 4&5: We would slow way down on these days and spend time in the Badlands, Wall Drug, Mount Rushmore and Devils Tower, Wy. Possibly leave this area in the late afternoon or evening of the second day to try to get 100 miles or so into the next leg of the trip.
Day 6: Head towards Salt Lake City. (652 miles from Devils Tower/644 from Mt Rushmore) We're not planning to spend much time in SLC-maybe just a drive-through to see the Mormon Tabernacle if we get there during the daytime. I'd like to be past SLC when we stop that night which is the main reason we would be leaving the Devils Tower/Mt Rushmore area the night before instead of waiting until the next morning.
Day 7: SLC area to Lake Tahoe. 564 miles. This would probably be a night where we would try to stay at a nice hotel with a good view of the lake, especially if we've been camping a lot at this point. We wouldn't be doing a lot of sightseeing in Tahoe, maybe just a nice dinner somewhere.
Day 8: Lake Tahoe through Yosemite to Big Sur. (410 miles) Camp that night in the Big Sur/Morro Bay area.
Day 9: Big Sur to San Diego area. (We'd actually be staying about 30 miles north of San Diego, near my husband's daughter, so it's 386 miles if we take the coastal route most of the way .)
Days 10 & 11: Visiting with hubby's family in San Diego area. He's from there and I've been there pretty often so we'd be doing more relaxing than sight-seeing. Perhaps a visit to Balboa Park and the Wildlife Park.
Day 12: Leave San Diego area and head towards Sedona, Az. 438 miles
Day 13: Sedona to Monument Valley (215 miles) through Canyonlands into Moab (164 miles)
Day 14: Moab to Albuquerque (387 miles)
Day 15 & 16: Albuquerque Balloon Festival. Possible side trip up the Turquoise Trail to Sante Fe.
Day 17: Head towards Elk City, Ok (433 miles)
Day 18: Elk City to OKC (111 miles) I'd like to see the Route 66 museum, stop at Jiggs Smokehouse in Clinton for beef jerky and possibly go to the OKC memorial museum. I've been to the memorial but not the museum. We would head out from there towards Springfield, Mo (397 miles)
Days 19 & 20: Head home to Maryland's Eastern Shore. It's around 1100 miles from Springfield if we go through Louisville, Ky and across Western, Md. I'm still looking at alternative routes on this leg of the trip.
Whew! That made me tired just typing all that. I'm pretty sure everyone's going to say this is way too ambitious of a trip but we're fairly experienced roadtrippers and I think having the Class B will help out a lot when we're doing the "speed run" legs of the trip because we"ll have our own bathroom and food and can stop and take naps, if necessary. Our last cross-country-and-back trip was around 5700 miles and we did that in a rental car with a dog along and managed to fit in side trips to the North Rim and the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, Hoover Dam, Zion and a lot more. I think the roadtrip gods were smiling upon us as we had a perfect trip. Great weather and we even won money in Vegas! This trip is at least 1300 miles longer but we have 8 more days.
Any and all feedback would be welcomed. I'd really like some input on the Maryland to South Dakota leg to see if we can avoid Chicago without going too far out of the way. I'd also like some info on what the drive from Mt Rushmore/Devils Tower to SLC would be like. None of this is etched in stone and we might decide to go a completely different route, but I think this could be a great trip. This would be around the end of September and the first 2 weeks of October so we should be okay on weather in these areas.
Thanks for reading this. Sorry it was so long.