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  1. #1

    Default Looking for sites/"must sees" on road trip

    Good day!!

    Just found this site while trying to finalize a 22 day 7K+ mile trip and would love to hear of any must sees along the way.

    Our itinerary is:

    Leave South Louisiana for Independence, MO (1 day)
    Independence for Des Moines (1 day)
    Des Moines to Pierre, SD (1 day)
    Pierre to Mt Rushmore area (4 days)
    Mt Rushmore to Yellowstone (2 days)
    Yellowstone to Elko, NV (1 day)
    Elko to Auburn, CA (7 days)
    Auburn to San Francisco (4 days)
    SF to Yosemite to Las Vegas (1 day)
    Las Vegas to Santa Fe (1 day)
    Santa Fe to Dallas, TX (1 day)
    Dallas to home.

    We are a conservative family of 8 and love to see historical sites, eat good food, & see God's beautiful creation.

    We have some flexibility and like the attitude of this site that appears in some ways to be "just pull off the road and try the restaurant, etc."

    We don't mind the regular tourist stops, but also love seeing the places that are usually off the beaten path or recommended by the locals.

    We already have a pretty good plan, but are very open to ideas.

    Our Children range in age 17 to 2.

  2. Default

    Independence, MO has both Harry Truman's home, museum, and presidential library, but a church originally sited by Joseph Smith himself 170 years ago. Where the Mormons think Jesus is going to come, I believe, although amusingly the church itself is now owned by some little splinter sect.

    Your route west from Mt. Rushmore would take you in fairly close proximity to Devils Tower, Wyoming, and the Little Bighorn battlefield site in Montana.

    The Lake Tahoe region would include Donner Lake and a museum dedicated to the unfortunate Donner Party.

  3. #3


    Thanks Bogart,

    We'll have to add the Donner Musuem to the schedule.

  4. #4



    I forgot to add we're looking forward to the Truman Library.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default Looking West

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    Can I ask why you are going to Des Moines and Pierre on your way from Independence to Mt. Rushmore? They are both kind of out of the way.

    Speaking of South Dakota, you might enjoy this field report, which includes mentions of some fun historic stuff, like Laura Ingalls Wilder sites. If you are into Lewis and Clark, you could also travel up the Missouri on SD highways 1804 and 1806, named in honor of their trip west.

  6. Default

    Truman's house. Didn't see the library.

  7. Default Let me add a couple more...

    For a couple of other things in California to do..

    I note you have 7 days in Auburn, and 4 days in SF. You might want to maybe do some day tripping around from Auburn, or reduce some of the time in SF.

    - If you like to view God's beautiful creation, you might spend an extra day in Yosemite if possible. It's literally something that you can't see in a quick couple o fhours visit -- and going from SF to Yosemite to Las Vegas in a day is really pushing it. SF to LV is about a 10 hour drive itself, without visiting Yosemite.

    - You might plan a visit to Virginia City in Nevada. This is the home of the Comstock Lode, and rich in history of the west, and a cool place to visit in itself.

    - As you come into the Tahoe area from Elko, be aware you're following one of the old immigrant trails into California, as scouted out by John Fremont. There's several places along the way you can see some of the old trail along the Humbolt River.

    - From Auburn, you should try to visit some of the old California Gold Country. Sutter's Mill is about 90 minutes away, where gold was discovered in California. And there are a number of places full of gold country history along CA-49 not too far from Auburn.

    - There are some interesting places to visit around Sacrmento for a family. One of my favorites is the California State Railway Musuem in Old Sacramento. Sometimes they have some of the old steam locomotives out and running for visitors to ride, as well as a number of other old railroad engines. There's another branch of the museum down at Jamestown in the Gold Country, at the "Railtown 1897 State Park", which also includes working steam locomotives. This is where many movies using trains were filimed, from "The WIld, Wild West" to "Petticoat Junction" to "Back to the Future". Check out their websites for information.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Chicago Suburbs, IL


    In South Dakota, I highly recommend a stop at the Badlands just to the south east of Mount Rushmore. It is so beautiful and unlike any other land that just seems to come up out of no where.

    And if you and your family enjoy wildlife, a stop to the ranger building just 2 miles inside the gate will tell you where you can go for bison sightings and to see prarie dog towns.

  9. #9

    Default Thanks For The Great Ideas


    Thanks for the great ideas. I loved the article and with 5 girls the Wilder area may get some of our time.

    We have studied some on the gold rush and will definitely have to see some of the sites. And of course, you can't learn about California without Fremont. That will be very interesting to experience.

    I know our trip itinerary seems strange, but some of it is for quick (or longer)stops to see family/friends. Such as Des Moines, Auburn, SF.

    We also have a family tradition of never passing a state capital (passing can be translated being within 150 miles of it).

    Truth is we make plans, but often end up in other areas. It all depends on what tickles our fancy at the time. That is, of course, unless we have none refundable reservations!!!!

    My wife and I have been to Yosemite, and truth be told, we do not have time to see it, but thought we would wet the kids appetite for it--I know I love driving today due to my family doing it as a means of transportation and not fun! However, for a young kid (and now a little older kid) it's a blast!

    Again, thanks for the great ideas/sites and taking the time to respond.

    I'll have to post how it goes. However, if anyone else has any others keep them coming!

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