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  1. Default Halfway dropoff/pickup point for Los Angeles to New York

    I'm planning a roadtrip from Los Angeles to New York city in early June. It is part practical (I'm moving), and part pleasure (I'd like to see some cool stuff). I'm tentatively budgeting 10 days for the trip. My problem is that I'm going to have 2 driving partners for the trip, and I need to pick a good halfway point for my first partner to fly home from, and for my 2nd partner to fly into. The constraints I'm working with are the following: it needs to be a big city with a good airport; I don't want the drive time to be too unbalanced for either partner; and I want each partner to see some interesting scenery/sights. I've already done the I-40 to I-44 to I-70 (Grand Canyon) route before so I don't need to see that again. I know there's plenty to see in the Western half of the country. I'm more worried about keeping it interesting through the midwest/central area. On the east coast I'm thinking it might be nice to hit the Smoky Mountains and Shenandoah. Based on some research, Denver, Dallas, or Kansas City seem like good candidates. I'd appreciate any suggestions on a route and midpoint city. Thanks!!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default A Solomon Compromise

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    Ideally (this has come up before) there would be a major airport smack dab in the middle of the country, somewhere in north central Kansas. Unfortunately, there is not. I think Dallas is too far off the shortest route, and bypasses some of the most scenic parts of the west to be of use to you, even though it is the most equidistantly placed from your two endpoints. I think that Denver is too close to LA (1015 miles), too far from NY (1775 miles), and places all the onus of crossing the prairie on the second driver. That leaves KC. While it's farther from LA (1620 miles) than NY (1203 miles), it does more evenly divide the middle part of the country between your two friends, and with 10 days, there's nothing that says you can't then add a little bit to the eastern half of the trek to add some scenery for that driver.

    So, what I'd do is use KC as my pick-up/drop-off airport, and follow I-15 and I-70 to get there. This gives your western co-pilot: Las Vegas, some of the most gorgeous Interstate roadway in America, and some wide open plains. This can easily be covered in 4 days, so with 5 you can take some time to actually visit some attractions along the way. You can then add a few hundred miles to the eastern half of your adventure and use I-70 to St. Louis, then drop down into Kentucky on I-64, I-164, and the Green River Parkway, see Mammoth Caves, continue east on the Cumberland Parkway to I-75 south and the Great Smokey Mountains, and then either follow the Appalachians on the Blue Ridge Parkway and Skyline Drive, or come up the coast on I-95 to see Washington and Philadelphia. Again, this 'extended' eastern portion could be covered in 4 days, but with 5, you can take it a bit more leisurely.

    I think that ends up being a better division between your two friends, and they each get a great drive. You, of course, get two.

    AZBuck

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default Same song, different verse

    Quote Originally Posted by jmascia View Post
    I'd appreciate any suggestions on a route and midpoint city. Thanks!!
    Here is another recent thread that discusses a variation of this issue.

    Mark

  4. Default Thanks! 2 follow-up questions...

    Wow. AZBuck, thank you so much for the insightful reply. After doing so much speculation second-guessing on my own, it is very reassuring to get advice from experienced travelers.

    I will definitely use KC as the changeover. Perhaps you could humor me by answering a couple more questions. It appears that there are a ton of possible National Park/Recreation areas to see along I-70 in Utah: Lake Mead, Zion, Capitol Reef, Glen Canyon, Canyonlands, and Arches to name a few (I'd like to see Rocky Mountain in CO as well). Of these which would you recommend as the most worthy of seeing given my timetable, and which are best for spending a night (I'm fine with recreational camping). I was considering spending the first night in Vegas, but I saw another post which proposed it was too close to LA for a first night's stop.

    Lastly, I'm planning to drive Denver to KC for the last day of the first leg. Are there any good detours/attractions across the Kansas plains?

    Again, thanks so much; tremendously helpful.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default Zion would work the best

    Quote Originally Posted by jmascia View Post
    Of these which would you recommend as the most worthy of seeing given my timetable, and which are best for spending a night
    Zion is probably the easiest for the time period you are considering. It is 4-5 hours from LA to Las Vegas and another three to Zion NP. (Here is a field report from Zion and another one for an extended trip to Bryce.) Arches is a nice detour from I-70, the other parks would require too much time for you.

    Mark

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default or arches...

    Zion would be a good choice, and it would let you make more miles than just getting to Vegas in one day. My other choice might be Arches. Its also pretty easy to access and is a relatively short detour off of I-70.

    My one tip about Denver to KC: its a much longer trip than you'll probably expect. Its feasable to complete this drive in a day, but at 600 miles it really is a long day. It always seems like it should be an easy trip, where you just have to get across Kansas, but its just as easy to overlook that its is 150 miles just to get from Denver to the eastern edge of Colorado.

  7. Default Western splits

    Thanks for the great input!

    I'm trying to ballpark the nightly stopping points for the western half of the trip (LA to KC). I don't mind going with the flow and finding lodging the day of, but I'd like to have a notion of the area I in which I end up. In an attempt to make the daily driving as even as possible, while sleeping somewhat near civilization, I ended up with the following nightly stops.

    Day 1: St. George, UT
    Day 2: Green River, UT
    Day 3: Rocky Mountain Park or Denver. CO
    Day 4: Oakley, KS
    Day 5: Kansas City, MO

    I'm taking the good advice of Michael and the Editor, and plan to see Zion (Day 2) and the Arches (Day 3), and I also broke in half the segment from Denver to KC. I'm wondering what the lodging situation is like in St. George, Green River, and Oakley. Has anyone stayed in these places before? Or would you recommend pushing a little further on Day 1 and 2 and staying in the parks themselves (Zion and Arches)? Thanks again.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default Some alternatives

    Quote Originally Posted by jmascia View Post
    while sleeping somewhat near civilization, I ended up with the following nightly stops.
    Day 1: St. George, UT
    St. George is one of the fastest growing cities in the nation with plenty of motel options.
    Day 2: Green River, UT
    I usually stay at the Holiday Inn Express and eat at Ray's Tavern, but you can easily make Grand Junction for this second night and I recommend it.
    Day 3: Rocky Mountain Park or Denver. CO
    See if you can get lodging at the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park!

    Mark

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