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  1. #1

    Default Cross country road trip


    I originally posted on this site a couple of years ago. I'm a 22 year old English guy. My friend and I will be embarking on a 10 week trip across America in two weeks time. We have our route pretty much worked out:

    We're going to start in Washington where we will travel by coach or train to Philadelphia, New York then possibly Boston before moving on to Canada to check out Montreal and Toronto. From there we will move on to Detroit then Chicago where we will rent a car and take the long drive in the general direction of the Grand Canyon. Then it'll be Las Vegas, Los Angeles and finally San Francisco from where we will fly home! Quite an epic journey!

    You may notice a pretty large gap in our route where I haven't mentioned any cities (between Chicago and Grand Canyon)! Basically, we don't really know anything about the places in between Chicago and Grand Canyon and were wondering if anyone could recommend any places to visit. Obviously, we have plenty of time to spare so we're not really bothered about straying too far off course.

    For example, is Des Moines worth checking out? Or maybe Kansas City? Oklahoma City? Denver? Any advice would be much appreciated!

  2. #2

    Default Welcome back!

    I will leave it for those with more knowledge of those areas to comment, but I just wanted to welcome you back to this site, sounds like you have a real epic planned there!

    What route are you thinking of taking from Chicago to the Grand Canyon? I hope that you will find time to at least take in part of the old Route 66 experience as you jourey across!

  3. #3


    Thanks! We've been planning and saving up for about 3 years and can't believe it's only two weeks before we leave. It's really crept up fast!

    I'm not sure what route we're taking from Chicago to the Grand Canyon. The old Route 66 is definitely an option. Like I said, we don't really mind straying too far off course so I'll leave it up to the experts to recommend the best route! There's obviously quite a lot of possibilities though!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Central California

    Default Sounds like fun, lots of possibilities!


    I'm going to throw a few different ideas at you that will give you some places that are interesting and may reveal some aspects of American history and culture that you may find worthwhile. I'll leave it to you to pick and choose, then string them and suggestions from others into an itinerary. Roughly in order:

    Lincoln's New Salem, Petersburg, IL (a restored village of log cabins where Abe Lincoln lived and worked when he was young)

    Historic Nauvoo, Nauvoo, IL (the large, partially restored town on the Mississippi river where Mormon prophet Joseph Smith lived and was killed, and where Brigham Young took over. Good restorations, demonstrations and interesting history)

    Living History Farms, Des Moines, IA (great 1800s living history farm and town)

    Cahokia Mounds, Collinsville, IL (east of St. Louis are the largest ancient indian mounds in the US. One has a footprint larger than the great pyramid in Egypt and stand over 10 stories high.)

    St. Louis Arch and Jefferson National Expansion Museum (great view from the top of the arch and fabulous museum on the westward expantion of the US, located below the arch)

    Meramec Caverns, Missouri (famous cave southwest of St. Louis, lots of other caves in the area)

    Eureka Springs, AR (quaint town in the northern Arkansas Ozark mountains)

    Cherokee Heritage Center, Talequah, OK (reconstructed Cherokee village with excellent tour by Indian guide)

    Indian City USA, Anadarko, OK (several reconsructed Indian dwellings from different tribes. Good Indian dance demonstration and interesting Indian cultural tour)

    Tallgrass Prairie, north of Pawhuska, OK (great chance to see large herd of bison, as many as 1,200, though the grass won't be tall until fall)

    Bents Old Fort, La Junta, CO (excellent reconstructed fur trading fort)

    Pikes Peak, Colorado Springs, CO (exciting drive to top of 14,110 foot mountain, much of the way on gravel, but easily drivable. Or you can take the cog railway from Manitou Springs, the view inspired the line "purple mountains majesty" from the song "America the Beautiful")

    Black Canyon of the Gunnison, CO (not the Grand Canyon, but very impressive, good campground)

    Ouray, CO (unique town situated in the middle of a box canyon with towering rock walls thousands of feet high all around, waterfall in cavern in SW corner of town could be spectacular)

    Million Dollar Highway, Ouray, CO to Silverton, CO (amazing road and wonderful scenery through Rocky Mountains)

    Durango-Silverton or Silverton-Durango Steam Railroad (full day round trip on classic steam train through the Colorado mountains)

    Mesa Verde, Cortez, CO, (best, Indian cliff dwellings in the US)

    Monument Valley, CO, (best, sandstone buttes in the US, take Indian guided tour)

    Aztec Ruins, Aztec, NM (interesting pueblo ruins, and unique reconstructed kiva [traditional Indian spiritual "sanctuary"], there is probably a better term, but I can't think of it)

    Chaco Canyon, NM (most impressive pueblo ruins in remote, almost tourist-free, setting, good petroglyphs)

    Taos Pueblo, Taos, NM (classic ancient pueblo, still occupied but tourable)

    Santa Fe, NM (great place for Indian art and traditional/modern Spanish-influenced architecture)

    El Rancho de las Golondrinas, Santa Fe, NM (excellent living history restoration of colonial spanish home and community)

    North Rim of Grand Canyon (if you have time, see this side too. Fun to just hang out on the terrace at the lodge, good campground)

    Acoma Pueblo, Acomita, NM (marvelous butte-top ancient pueblo, still occupied but tourable, great Indian art available)

    I'm sure there are more that I'll kick myself for not thinking of, but its late.


  5. #5


    Thanks for the reply! Some of those places sound really interesting - we'll be sure to check out a few of them. The first part of our trip will be quite frantic, as we'll be spending a lot of time in the big cities on the east side of the country, so it would be nice for the second part of our trip to be slightly more laid back... so this is exactly the sort of thing we're looking for. Thanks!

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