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  1. Default Whirlwind trip advice

    I just discovered this site a few hours ago and I have to admit I really wish I had stumbled upon it earlier. So much good advice here; I decided to post myself asking for input from all of the helpful members.

    Not wishing to bore with unnecessary details, I am heading out to California with my fiancee to deal with some family matters, and we decided to turn it into a road trip. We have the general route planned out, made three budgets (the ideal budget, the likely budget, and the "everything went wrong" budget. The plan is to do a combination of car camping, budget motels, and we have several places to stay for free along the way (always nice to have friends scattered about the country). Seven to ten days will need to be spent in northern CA... the rest of the trip is at our discretion for the most part.

    Details: 50 days. Start in Madison, WI, end in Iowa City, IA. The rough route: Madison -> Minneapolis, MN -> Rapid City, SD -> Bozeman, MT -> Seattle, WA -> Portland, OR -> Northern CA (the necessary part of the trip) -> Southern CA -> Vegas -> Flagstaff, AZ -> Santa Fe, NM -> Denver, CO -> Omaha, NE -> Iowa City, IA

    California is somewhat glossed over because I have spent much time there and we do not plan on doing much sightseeing there this trip.

    Realizing that we do not have enough time to do a fraction of the things we would like to with unlimited time and money, I am asking for advice on MUST SEE things/places on the route. Things that regardless of the time constraints would be almost criminal to miss. A few spots on our radar are The Badlands/Black Hills/Rushmore, Glacier Nat'l Park, Yellowstone, Grand Canyon, White Sands... the well known tourist spots. Having never spent much time anywhere along this route though, I am sure many members of this forum have wonderful suggestions of other well known or even out-of-the-way gems. Any suggestions on sights, places anyone recommends for camping, eating, unique side trips (like the world's largest ball of twine), etc. would be most appreciated.

    Looking forward to lots of driving... :)

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
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    Las Vegas, Nevada
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    Default Quite an adventure!

    Quote Originally Posted by roark303 View Post
    I am heading out to California with my fiancee to deal with some family matters, and we decided to turn it into a road trip
    Welcome to the Great American RoadTrip Forum! Since you have now found us... we look forward to chatting with you for a long time.
    made three budgets (the ideal budget, the likely budget, and the "everything went wrong" budget.
    I like that -- you might also check your budgets against these considerations.
    Details: 50 days. Start in Madison, WI, end in Iowa City, IA. The rough route: Madison -> Minneapolis, MN -> Rapid City, SD -> Bozeman, MT -> Seattle, WA -> Portland, OR -> Northern CA (the necessary part of the trip) -> Southern CA -> Vegas -> Flagstaff, AZ -> Santa Fe, NM -> Denver, CO -> Omaha, NE -> Iowa City, IA
    Yep, that is a lot of ground to cover!
    Any suggestions on sights, places anyone recommends for camping, eating, unique side trips (like the world's largest ball of twine), etc. would be most appreciated.
    Here are a few ideas and field reports from the areas you will be driving through:

    South Dakota Field Report

    Black Hills Field Report -- Excellent!

    Going-to-the-Sun-Road in Glacier NP!

    Eastern Oregon Report

    Oregon Outback and Summer Lake Hotsprings

    Northern California

    Coastal Roads and favorite beaches

    A little visited town in Montana that is very charming is Fort Benton and the walk along the river (and the Shep statue) is pretty neat too. You may also come across some of these Shoe Trees on your way south from Portland.

    Be sure to look at the bottom of this page for more ideas.

    Happy Planning!

    Mark
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 06-14-2007 at 09:18 AM. Reason: Navigation

  3. Default

    Thanks so much for all of the helpful information. It will take some time to go through all of it, but will have plenty of time soon. Very much looking forward to SD...

  4. #4

    Default A few places you need to hit

    You look like you have one heck of a trip planned out. On your drive from Rapid City to Bozeman make sure to stop off at Devil's Tower in Wyoming, this isn't too much out of the way. And the other stop which I absolutely loved was Little Bighorn National Battlefield in southern Montana.

    If you have time in Colorado, Rocky Mountain National Park is well worth it. That might actually be my favorite National Park. If your into big mountains and abundant wildlife, this is a must.

    Also, if you have time on your Seattle-Portland-Northern California leg you can take a couple detours and visit Olympic National Park in Washington. Then coming from Portland to NorCal, a scenic route could be going east on I-84 through the Columbia River Gorge and pick up 97 south. This way you can go through Bend and Crater Lake. I'm gonna be driving this leg next month myself.

    Hope this helps a bit.

    Brett

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