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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Barcelona, Spain

    Default San Francisco to New York City, late Sept./early Oct. 07

    Hello all,

    I'm French, never been to the US before. I plan a solo visit to the States later this year and I thought hitting the road would be a crazy cool idea to discover the varieties of landscapes and atmosphere of your country. :)
    My starting point would be San Francisco, as I'll most likely arrive to the US to go to the Monterey Jazz Festival, Sept. 20 to 23.

    I would then rent a car and starting Sept 24th, just drive across the States. Basically, my preliminary itinerary as it is now would be:

    from San Francisco to Las Vegas
    Las Vegas to Grand Canyon
    Grand Canyon to Salt Lake City
    Salt Lake City to Boulder
    Boulder to Rapid City, Wyoming (to see the Devil's Tower)
    Rapid City to Sioux Falls
    Sioux Falls to Des Moines
    Des Moines to Chicago
    Chicago to Toledo
    Toledo to New Jersey
    New Jersey to New York

    I would probably have 14 full days to do that, with arrival scheduled at NYC on Oct. 7th, but even if I don't plan any long stay anywhere maybe that's a bit optimistic. Maybe I could push to 16 days, but I'd work with a 14-day plan. A shorter route would be to skip LV and Arizona, and take the I-80 directly from SF to Reno and then Salt Lake City, but it's really somewhat less attractive, since I'd skip two pretty memorable landmarks. I do plan to visit some online friends along the way, if they agree to, that is! ;)

    Any advice, help and orders to check myself in a mental institution will be welcome! I'm really looking forward to this.



  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default Some suggestions

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    While I think you are on the right track, I do have a few suggestions.

    Since Monterey is a pretty decent distance from SF, you could be better off renting a car from day one and just driving down there yourself. It could be more easier and cheaper than trying to find other transportation there from SF.

    A quick geography lesson. Devil's Tower is in Wyoming, but Rapid City is about 100 miles away in South Dakota. Rapid City makes a good base if you plan to be touring the entire Black Hills region, but if you are only going to focus on Devil's tower, then I would look at someplace closer.

    You also don't need to go through Des Moines from South Dakota to Chicago. Going through Minnesota and Wisconsin would be shorter if you plan on visiting Chicago.

    Otherwise, your trip looks pretty good. 2 weeks should give you enough time to cover this ground without feeling too rushed.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Barcelona, Spain



    Initially I wrote Devil's Tower, but since I was listing cities, I put the closest one according to wikipedia and forgot to change the state... Is Sundance, WY more closer as waypoint then?

    I just added Madison, Wisconsin to the trip, which would render Des Moines downright impractical.

    I have browsed the boards a bit, I will probably follow your advice on the SF to Monterey bit, I read that it's a nice coastal ride. I wouldn't want to miss the view!

    I'll be working on getting proper mileage in the next few days, that should give me a more precise idea of what I'm looking at.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Barcelona, Spain


    I consulted GoogleMaps and came up with the following road plan:

    Monterey > Barstow, 375 miles, 6h10

    Barstow > Las Vegas, 157 miles, 2h19
    Las Vegas > Bryce Canyon, 264 miles, 4h20

    Day Off

    Bryce Canyon > Salt Lake City, 273 miles, 4h30

    Salt Lake City > Rawlins, 292 miles, 4h09
    Rawlins > Buffalo, 228 miles, 3h41

    Buffalo > Carlile Junction, 125 miles, 2h02

    Day off
    Carlile Junction > Sundance, 20,7 miles, 0h30
    (alternatively, leave earlier and visit Mt Rushmore NP, spend night in Rapid City)

    Sundance > Worthington, 475 miles, 6h30

    Worthington > Madison, 375 miles, 5h45

    Madison > Chicago, 149 miles, 2h41

    Day Off

    Chicago > Sandusky, 289 miles, 4h42
    Sandusky > Cleveland, 65,5 miles, 1h11

    Cleveland > Pittsburgh, 134 miles, 2h20
    Pittsburgh > Philadelphia, 304 miles, 4h59

    Philadelphia > NY, 108 miles, 2h10

    What do you think?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default Rule of thumb rules!

    Those Google Maps driving times are fictional. You can figure that your average driving time will be close to the following:

    57 mph west of the Mississippi River
    53 mph east of the Mississippi River


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Barcelona, Spain


    Thanks for the tip!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    The Great Midwest, Illinois to be precise

    Default America's North Coast

    As they call the shoreline along Ohio's Lake Erie. When in Toledo, try to stop at Tony Packo's for a great meal. Even one MASH episode had them ordering a delivery from Packo's. A real experience.

    East of there, by Port Clinton, there is an island out in the lake called South Bass, but more commonly known as Put-in-Bay. This is a great sidetrip if you can fit it in. You can visit the world's longest bar at the Beer Barrel. A real good time. This is a major party area.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Barcelona, Spain


    Sounds good, I'll try to squeeze that in, thanks!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Barcelona, Spain


    Browsing the boards yesterday I read about June Lake and I'm seriously considering going there instead of Vegas, and then on to Bryce Canyon. The scenic highway to JL also looks great.

    Would you have any other tips/scenic views on the Monterey > June Lake > Bryce Canyon itinerary? Especially the Nevada part after JL which seems quite empty...

    I'm also planning to include Niagara Falls at the other end if time permits.

    Thanks a bunch in advance!

  10. Default Do both?

    You have the option, if you're starting from SF/ Monterey area in September to do a very scenic option -- from the heights of the Sierras through the lowest point below sea level.

    That is, cut across California from Monterey to Yosemite (very very scenic), then over the Sierras on Tioga Pass. That will bring you down at Lee Vining, about 10-15 miles north of June Lake. From there, if you continue down the 395, you can cut east through Death Valley to Las Vegas on the way to Bryce. This looks like its about the quickest way through to June Lake area, and then to Bryce.

    And to be honest, coming all this way and missing Yosemite and Las Vegas -- I'd hate to do that.

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