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  1. #1

    Default Go west young man?


    For some reason my mind has been swamped with thoughts of driving out west to see the sighte those great states have to offer. I would love to see the Grand Canyon but feel this would be too ambitious a solo trip for a first time wanderer given the time I have available. That said, I would love to see some of the majesty of the central and/or west if possible.

    Now, just to make things amusing, I have 14 days I can use for travel starting May 17th. Yup, later this week. Sooo, any suggestions for a newb who yearns to see some natural wonders?

    My funds are somewhat flexible (though I am generally careful with my money) and my car just had a nice tune-up and inspection last month so I'm feeling pretty good about the mechanicals. I'll be driving my Honda Civic Hatchback (5 speed manual). I'm open to camping and have a very decent tent, sleeping bag, etc. I use when I go back east to Maine each summer. I don't use it often enough to make setting up and striking camp as fast and flawless as I'd like, so if there is someplace with enough sights that I could leave camp up for a couple days that would be ideal. :)

    I look forward to hearing what you seasoned travelers have to say.


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Closer Than You Think

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    The Grand Canyon and the great National Parks of Colorado and Utah are well within your range given two weeks from central Michigan. Las Vegas is just under 2000 miles from Lansing, which means that you can be there in 4 days of driving 500 miles per day. That leaves you 6 days to explore Bryce, Zion and the Grand Canyon, or you could take a little longer getting there and make stops at Rocky Mountain and Arches National Parks. I think that all of that is within your reach. Go for it.


  3. #3

    Default Is 500 really doable?

    Thanks for the welcome. I'm very much enjoying reading the different threads.

    Thanks for the quick response too. So you feel that 500 miles per day isn't too much for someone who isn't a roadwarrior? It looks like it might work out to about 7 hours a day driving. With breaks that could easily become 8+ hours on the road between points. Not being used to long drives am I overly worried about the fatigue factor?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Not All At Once, But

    500 miles per day is eminently doable. The key is to not even think about doing it all at once. But consider doing 3 drives of 170 miles or 4 drives of 125 miles. Such drives are only 2-3 hours. If you take a half hour to hour break between each of them, for a meal or a hike though a local park or to stop and see a small museum, you're still talking 11-12 hours a day, which leaves plenty of time to relax in the evening, get a full night's sleep, and take your time breaking camp in the morning. We normally recommend a rule of thumb that a day on the road will net you 500-550 miles. Just take it easy and take breaks as needed.


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

    Default Only with a police excort!

    Quote Originally Posted by michiganbrian View Post
    I'm very much enjoying reading the different threads.
    Yes, there is a lot of information here -- even those of us who work here tend to forget how much material is found herein.
    Thanks for the quick response too. So you feel that 500 miles per day isn't too much for someone who isn't a roadwarrior?
    500 miles per day is the maximum we recommend that folks travel when in solo mode. I am an experienced roadtripper and sometimes do nearly twice that much in a day, but it is not wise....
    It looks like it might work out to about 7 hours a day driving.
    Our rule of thumb is that you can average about 57 mph west of the Mississippi River and 53 mph east of the river over the course of full day's driving. So, for most people, a 500 mile day takes about nine hours to complete.


  6. #6

    Default Sounds like I should be looking at the northern rte?

    Thanks to you both for the info. It's sounding as though I should consider a fairly northern route.

    What would that be and are there any particular things I should look for along the way? (Directing me to the appropriate forum topic(s) would be great!)

    I am deeply unschooled when it comes to the beauties of the plains and western states. Pointing out the obvious sights is not at all too obvious enough for me. :)



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Just Some of What's Available

    Yes, your shortest route would be I-80, I-76, I-70, and I-15 to Las Vegas. Across much of Nebraska you'd be following the old Oregon Trail. You will then pass within easy side trip distance of Rocky Mountain, Arches, Bryce and Zion National Parks. Be sure to get a National Parks Pass. You can take a somewhat different route back, seeing more of the country, by heading southeast from Las Vegas on US-93 and I-40 to Williams, AZ and the Grand Canyon. Continuing eastward on I-40, I-44 and then I-55 back home to southwestern Michigan would take you by the Petrified Forest National Park, Petroglyph National Monument, the Oklahoma Memorial, through the Ozarks and St. Louis - all while following the old alignment of the now decommissioned Route 66.


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