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  1. Default Ohio - Grand Canyon and back in August

    My husband and I are considering taking our first roadtrip this August. I've never been West of the Mississippi, so we thought it would be fun to go West and see what we can see, culminating at the Grand Canyon (if time/budget allow).

    Problem is, we have no idea where to begin. Our starting point is Columbus, OH, and we're open to going pretty much anywhere. My husband used to be an avid backpacker/rock climber, so we have lots of gear for camping, etc., but we'd prefer not to camp every night or sleep in our car.

    We both like good scenery, good food, exercise, and animals (I know, weird combo, but we'd like to incorporate those things into our trip).

    We'll have about 15-16 days to do this (last week in August to second week September) and have a max budget of 3k. We both like really good food, so in addition to cereal, sandwiches, etc., we will probably have at least one or two $100+ meals if there are really great restaraunts on our route.

    Any suggestions of what to see, which route to take, etc? I've been going through the roadtrip planning section, and there's a lot of good info there, but I like personal opinions as well!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
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    10,059

    Default West of the Mississippi

    Quote Originally Posted by sooprnova View Post
    My husband and I are considering taking our first roadtrip this August.
    Welcome to the Great American RoadTrip Forum!
    I've never been West of the Mississippi,
    This reminds me what it was like the first time I crossed the Mississippi River going east.... s
    o we thought it would be fun to go West and see what we can see, culminating at the Grand Canyon (if time/budget allow).
    The Grand is pretty magnificent.
    I've been going through the roadtrip planning section, and there's a lot of good info there, but I like personal opinions as well!
    You have given us a good start, but perhaps you could share a little more about your goals and expectations for this adventure. Your time and cost budget seem reasonable, but how many total miles were you intending to travel?

    Thanks,

    Mark

  3. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Editor View Post
    You have given us a good start, but perhaps you could share a little more about your goals and expectations for this adventure. Your time and cost budget seem reasonable, but how many total miles were you intending to travel?

    Thanks,

    Mark

    Considering it's about 1800 miles straight to the Grand (shortest route), I figure we'll travel around 5000 miles total, with stops, detours, sightseeing, etc. Goals and expectations? Honestly, we really just want to see as much as we can, camp a little, maybe do some hiking, rock climbing, or caving, visit interesting places, and run into interesting people.

    We're both very laid back and tend to go with the flow, so there are no "must do's" for us - other than the trip itself!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
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    9,358

    Default Cramming In as Much as Possible

    Voyages of Discovery, and yours is one, should be a series of new adventures every day. So I'm going to recommend a couple of different routes for going and coming so that you can experience as much as you can on your first trip 'out west'. You can, of course, take them whichever way you want or find different routes altogether.

    Starting from Columbus head west on I-70 to St. Louis, the most appropriate place to cross the Mississippi on your way west - be sure to ride to the top of the Arch, a monument to the westward expansion of the US. From there continue on past Kansas City before dropping southwest on I-335 and/or I-35 to Wichita where you'll pick up US-54 and US-400 across old west cattle country to Dodge City and US-50 to Pueblo, CO at the start of your crossing of the Rockies. US-50 will take you through the Black Canyon of the Gunnison to Montrose, where you will join US-550, the Million Dollar Highway, south to Durango. A short drive west on US-160 will bring you to Mesa Verde National Park. Next, I heartily recommend a detour on some 'back roads', CO-41 and UT-262 which will take you to US-191 south. The point is to be set up to take the fork onto US-163 down through Monument Valley. You will rejoin US-160 for the run to the Grand Canyon by way of US-89 and US-180.

    For your return journey, leave the park south bound on US-180 to Flagstaff, where you join I-40 eastward with a number of possible stops in Arizona (Walnut Canyon National Monument, Meteor Crater, Petrified Forest National Park) and New Mexico (Red Rock State Park, Petroglyph National Monument, Santa Fe). Santa Fe requires a short detour up I-25 and back to I-40 by way of US-285, but would be my choice for a location to have a $100 meal. As you recross the plains, be sure to stop in Oklahoma to visit the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum. Take one last chance for some west-of-the-Mississippi hiking in the Ozark National Forest and then head for some night life in Memphis and Nashville. Then hop on I-65 north for a final exploration stop at Mammoth Cave National Park before making the run for home via I-65 and I-71.

    AZBuck
    Last edited by AZBuck; 04-15-2007 at 04:50 PM.

  5. Default

    Thanks for the suggestions and the links - I'll definitely check them out!

    Would it be feasible to go North from the Grand to Salt Lake City, then head toward Yellowstone for a day before going back East? I want to see as much as we can, but I also don't want to be exhausted the whole trip, nor do I want to spend 8 hours in the car every day.

    I really appreciate all the help and the info available here. What a great resource!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
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    Tucson, AZ
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    9,358

    Default Afraid Not

    Unfortunately, adding a third leg to this trip would add around 1000 miles making your total driving distance 4700 miles. That would require driving 300 miles (and 6-7 hours) a day on average and would, I'm almost sure, turn this from a relaxing RoadTrip into a Long March. Remember, there WILL be a next time.

    AZBuck

  7. Default True.

    Quote Originally Posted by AZBuck View Post
    Unfortunately, adding a third leg to this trip would add around 1000 miles making your total driving distance 4700 miles. That would require driving 300 miles (and 6-7 hours) a day on average and would, I'm almost sure, turn this from a relaxing RoadTrip into a Long March. Remember, there WILL be a next time.

    AZBuck

    Yes, there will be a next time. Living in the Buckey state and being surrounded by OSU football fans all the time tends to make one want to "go big or go home"!!!

    Plus, husband is now saying he'd rather spend a week at an all-inclusive in Mexico to relax.....and I'm all riled up about about a cross-country adventure! Any sure-fire ways to get him to see my point of view? :-)

    We've talked about doing this for a while, not sure why he's uncertain all of a sudden.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default Not Me

    Sorry, but I can't get between you and your husband. Besides, I enjoy both types of trips and so would be hard pressed to come down too strongly on one side or the other. I am, in fact, going to be doing one of each this summer, a 'stay put' trip to Acapulco, and a RoadTrip through the upper Midwest.

    I also understand the "THE Ohio State University" mentality, as my next door neighbors are big OSU rooters, and needless to say, no fans of Florida at the moment.

    Whichever trip you end up taking will be rewarding

    AZBuck

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