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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Cape Cod, Massachusetts
    Posts
    6

    Default One-way cross country

    I'm planning a one-way cross-country road trip with my family for my 50th birthday in the summer of '08.

    Is this route too ambitious for 3 weeks?
    Cape Cod to St. Louis (visit relatives) to Colorado (stay in Rocky Mountain National Park) to Santa Fe and Flagstaff, via Route 66, to Grand Canyon, Las Vegas, Death Valley, Yosemite and San Francisco?

    Should we fly to St. Louis and rent a car there? I'd sort of like to be able to say my family did the whole cross-country thing (and save on air fare). But the priority is to spend time out West, after visiting with relatives in St. Louis.

    Also, how far in advance should I book lodgings at the YMCA of the Rocky Mountains, Grand Canyon and Yosemite? Any suggestions for fairly inexpensive rustic cabin lodgings or nice motels?

    Should we rent an RV or a car for the trip?

    Various family members from several states may be joining us along our westward trek. They aren't too keen on Las Vegas, but I think it would be fun to do at least an overnight there, enjoy the pools and see the strip lit up at night. What do you think? (We'll be traveling with kids ages 9 to 16.)

    Thanks!
    Last edited by cindylouwho; 09-01-2007 at 11:50 AM. Reason: added word

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,060

    Default The Gateway to the West!

    Quote Originally Posted by cindylouwho View Post
    I'm planning a one-way cross-country road trip with my family for my 50th birthday in the summer of '08.
    This seems like a lovely way to celebrate your birthday. Welcome to the Great American RoadTrip Forum! Since you really want to focus on the western part of the country I would fly to St. Louis (also known as "The Gateway to the West") and take the ride to to top of the Arch.... You can certainly travel the entire route in three weeks, but there is so much to see and do in the western states.
    How far in advance should I book lodgings at the YMCA of the Rocky Mountains, Grand Canyon and Yosemite?
    This is interesting to me -- I haven't heard anyone speaking of booking lodging at a YMCA in years -- I didn't know that was still an option. Are you connected with YMCA in some way? I also was unaware of any YMCA facility at either of these places.
    Any suggestions for fairly inexpensive rustic cabin lodgings (no tent camping)?
    You might find hostels filing this bill well for you. Here are a couple of articles about this option. An overview and some featured choices.
    They aren't too keen on Las Vegas, but I think it would be fun to do at least an overnight there, enjoy the pools and see the strip lit up at night. What do you think? (We'll be traveling with kids ages 9 to 16.)
    Las Vegas is the corporate home of RoadTrip America and we chose this location because of the huge variety of road trip options that are day trips. Plus, of course, Las Vegas is fun place to live and work. Here is our take on this boomtown!

    Here are some more ideas and resources for planning your adventure:

    Route 66 -- Best Planning site out there
    Route 66 -- Field Report from RoadTrip Advisor Don
    Rotue 66 -- Sitgreaves Pass and the friendly burro cops....
    Routes between Las Vegas and Yosemite and San Francisco
    Another one worth reading!

    Happy Planning!

    Mark

  3. #3

    Default Roadtripping at 50

    I turned 50 a couple of months ago and my goal this year is to do more roadtripping on US Hwy-50. It's a great east/west road. You have the option of flying to St. Louis. Regardless, kudos to you for celebrating 50 by roadtripping.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Cape Cod, Massachusetts
    Posts
    6

    Default One-way cross-country again

    Hi,
    Thanks for the replies. Sounds like it would be best to fly to St. Louis and rent a car there. I better start saving air fare!

    I'll check out the hostels. I've heard there are several good ones in the San Francisco area.

    I'm not connected with the Y, but I found a place called the "YMCA of the Rockies" in Estes Park, CO, where lots of families stay. Pretty rustic, but the prices look good and the views look - priceless!

    Cindylouwho

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,064

    Default Looks cool

    The YMCA place looks neat. I'd never heard of them before, but it does look like it could be fun. You'll have to tell us how it goes when you get back!

    If money is a factor, I think I would just start your trip on the road in Mass. You could easily fill up more than 3 weeks in the west, but you'll really only spend two or three days driving to St. Louis (not to mention, your flight/airport time would probably take up the better of a day in and of itself). There are plenty of things to enjoy on that section of the trip, and over the course of 3 weeks, 2 days shouldn't keep you from missing too much in the west.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Cape Cod, Massachusetts
    Posts
    6

    Default one-way road trip again

    Thanks for your replies.

    Does anybody know how long it takes to drive from the Boulder, CO area to Santa Fe? Where are good places to spend the night along the way. Looks like we'd want to stop at Mesa Verde National Park along the way.

    Also, how long does it take to drive Route 66 from Santa Fe to Flagstaff?

    Thanks,
    cindylouwho

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Cape Cod, Massachusetts
    Posts
    6

    Default Boulder to Santa Fe

    Can anyone tell how long long a drive (in hours) it takes to go from the Boulder, CO area to Santa Fe, N.M.?

    My family will be driving down Route 25 next summer from Estes Park (just above Boulder) to Santa Fe. We'll probably be stopping at Pike's Peak and Mesa Verde National Park to view the pueblo ruins along the way.

    Also, how long is the drive from Santa Fe to Flagstaff along Route 66? We'll be heading to the Grand Canyon, planning a stop at the Petrified Forest National Park along Route 66.

    Thanks,
    Cindy H.
    (cindylouwho)

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default The Long Way Around

    Mesa Verde is not really on the way from Estes Park to Santa Fe. Adding it on that leg makes it a 750+ mile drive and would require 2 solid days of driving, with little time to actually view the ruins. I'm assuming that you're going to be driving to the top of Pike's Peak and crossing the Rockies on US-160 through Wolf Creek Pass. So, if that's really your intention, I'd leave three days for the drive to Santa Fe and not even worry about thinking in terms of hours.

    Between Santa Fe and Flagstaff, the road formerly known as US-66 exists only as occasional frontage road, as 'Main Street' through some of the towns along the way, and very rarely as highway. If you plan to drive through the Petrified Forest, then you're not going to have much time for pursuing the old Mother Road, but it would make a good choice for finding meal stops in places like Grants, Gallup, Holbrook or Winslow. If you're approaching Flagstaff around sunset, there is a very nice section of the old highway that runs from near Walnut Canyon National Monument into town.

    AZBuck

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Cape Cod, Massachusetts
    Posts
    6

    Default Boulder to Santa Fe

    Hi thanks,

    I've obviously fallen into the Easterner's trap of vastly underestimating driving times out West.

    We'll skip Santa Fe and Route 66 and head on one of the more direct routes from Rocky Mountain National Park to the Grand Canyon (heading west on 70 to 191).

    We'll be breaking up the trip by stopping overnight near a national park, either Arches or Mesa Verde (which is not too far out of the way along this route).

    Which would be the better experience? Mesa Verde would require a little travel off the main route to the Grand Canyon. Is it worth it or should we spend our time at Arches?

    Thanks again,
    cindylouwho
    Last edited by cindylouwho; 09-03-2007 at 10:52 AM. Reason: correcting info

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula
    Posts
    3,318

    Default Hard choice!

    I love both Arches and Mesa Verde. I guess it depends on what you and your family would be most interested in.

    Arches is best enjoyed by getting out there and doing a bit of hiking. You can just drive through parts of it, and the drive is gorgeous, but it's the outdoor activities that really make the trip great. Hiking, biking (lots of places to rent bikes) and a rafting trip would be great ways to enjoy this area.

    Mesa Verde is also scenically beautiful. But the main thrust here is learning about another culture so it has more of an historical focus. To get to the cliff-dwellings, you will do short hikes led by a tour guide. And there are interesting things to see at the visitor centers/museums there.

    So, if your family is more into outdoor activities, you might want to spend that time in Arches. But if you want to see some fascinating history and cultural stuff up-close, then you would probably want to spend that time in Mesa Verde.

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