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Thread: Going West

  1. #1

    Default Going West

    My husband, daughter, her boyfriend and I are planning a trip out west at the end of June. We will be leaving North Carolina on June 28 and hope to return to NC on July 15. We would like to see Mt. Rushmore, Gateway Arch, Grand Canyon, Yosemite, and Hover Dam. We are planning on going northwest on the trip out and then returning via interstate 40 on the way home. I really need advise on how many days it should take to reach all of these destinations and any tips or moneysaving ideas! THANKS!

  2. #2
    RoadTrippers A & R Guest


    I suggest reservations for your accomodations for Yosemite and the Grand Canyon.
    Perhaps a budget motel in the greater areas, but none-the-less get a reservation.

    Yosemite is very popular, as is the Grand Canyon.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula

    Default I hate to be the bearer of bad news...

    I just see no way that you can see all of this in the time you have. It takes 5 days to cross the country when doing a speed run. This means little, if any, time to sight-see and explore. And that is if you're driving across by the quickest route. With the meandering you're planning by heading NW to Mt. Rushmore, then south towards the Grand Canyon, then west to Yosemite....well, nah, there's just no way. Well, unless you only plan on driving by these places and not stopping. And arriving home totally exhausted.

    I suggest you pick just one of these areas. Mt. Rushmore is really the most do-able for you in the time you have. There are many things to see in South Dakota near there like the Crazy Horse Memorial, Black Hills, Wall Drug, Badlands, Deadwood, and more. It would make a nice trip and you shouldn't arrive home exhausted by it.

    If you want to go just to the Grand Canyon, it's still do-able...but just barely. It would be a shame to go that far and not have time to see all the other majestic parks in the Utah-Nevada-Colorado area. But you wouldn't have time to see much of them before you'd need to return home.

    Yosemite is out. Really. You would simply drive straight there and then only have a day or so before you'd have to head home.

    Now, there are a small minority of folks who can travel these distances and enjoy it. If you absolutely, positively know you are one of them, I guess you could go for it. But, if you do, give yourself permission to turn back sooner if you realize you just can't do it. I just don't think it's worth the time or money spent to try it though.

    The best ways to save money are to eat most meals out of your cooler that you replenish at grocery stores (not mini-marts). It's healthier, too. And camp. Campground fees are only about 1/3-1/4 what a typical hotel will cost. And, of course, staying closer to home will save on gas, too.

    If I were you, I'd really plan on going no further than South Dakota and just enjoying that area. I don't think you'll regret it.

    Once you've decided what area you are going to do, please let us help you further.

  4. #4

    Default Thanks

    I really appreciate all of the advise. I'm afraid I misspoke about Yosemite though. I meant Yellowstone! I should also have said that the main thing I want to see is Fort Huachuca, Arizona, where I lived when I was little. I want to take my daughter there and had hoped to see as many of the sights out west as we could. Then we got the bright idea to try to go north to see the Grand Teton's. Then we decided, since we were so close, that it would be a shame not to see Mt. Rushmore...and on and on. We are going to be traveling Interstate 40 out to Arizona and had hoped to go over to San Diego so that the kids could see the Pacific Ocean. Our trip home is what is in question. How close to Montana and South Dakota do you think we could go in that amount of time? We don't want to go home the same way we went out! We definately want to see some new territory on the way home. We will be leaving NC at 3:00pm on the 28th of June. When could we logically expect to get to Tucson, Arizona. My mother says from memory, we could do it in three to four days. Is this logical? We are directly in the center of NC. How long does it take to get from San Diego to Las Vegas.
    I know this is a lot of questions, but I have faith in all of you travelers! Thanks So Much!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Central California

    Default why not fly

    Hi, I agree with Judy that unless you have a StarTrek transporter you'll be spending all your time driving and very little time sightseeing. In fact, it isn't possible to see all on your list in the time you have. You really will have to draw a line around an area and say, this is it, we can't go further


    I've made this suggestion to others (who mostly ignore it) but why not fly to Denver, rent a car and save yourself 6-8 days of driving across country? Yes, there are things to see along the way, but you haven't mentioned anything east of Kansas except the Arch. Consider the cost of gas this year, the depreciation of the value of your car, your motels and food that you'll spend on the getting there and getting home part of the trip. If you book your flights right now from Raleigh, they'll cost about 350 each! A bargain!

    Then you can do a loop that includes almost everything, except the Arch, and you'll arrive home in decent shape.

    I know everyone wants to do the Great American Roadtrip (my son did one about like yours by six weeks!). There is so much to see, and you could see a lot in your two weeks if you don't spend all your time driving.

    How long has it been since you've been to Fort Huachuca? I have a friend who lives there who could send you a picture. It is pretty bleak there during the summer.

    If you truely do want some recommendations, I'm sure there are several of us who have ideas, but you need to scale down your trip first. Sorry.


  6. #6


    Thanks for the advise Craig. It has been about 32 years since I was in Fort Huachuca...I was 5 years old when we left! I would REALLY love to see it again. I remember we used to go over to Nogales for the day. Is that still an option (wasn't sure how much it had changed since the 70's and if it is still safe!)? OK, I have decided to take all of the advise I have gotten and scale down my trip. I have decided to concentrate on the Southwest. I would like to see the Grand Canyon, Carlsbad Caverns, Petrified Forest, Hover Dam, Roswell, Joshua Tree, and the Pacific Ocean (not sure where...South of San Diego?). Any other suggestions would be appreciated! I would really love some ideas on things to do in Oklahoma and Northern Texas also. Thanks so much for your reply!

  7. #7


    My sister wee daughter and I are going to Montana, Leaving monday night or so from Huntsville, AL and headed West on 40
    going to sante fe NM for a short visit, Canyonlands and Arches, UT then up through the Tetons into Montana.

    Camping all the way except in Sante Fe, and plan on being in Montana July 1
    cooking food, bringing pancake mix, granola, dried beans and rice, dried fruits, cous cous... and other easy to make/on the road things

    Have fun!

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