My dad and I are looking to make a big loop from suburban D.C. down south, then up to North Dakota and back during this summer, starting late June.
Specifically, we must, at a minimum, drive through the following states (not necessarily in this order):
(and if you're wondering, it's part of my attempt to visit every U.S. state by 18. currently, i'm up to 30 states.)
We're hoping to stop at the following National Parks along the way:
-Great Smoky Mountains
-Wind Cave (including Mt. Rushmore)
A drive through the Sand Hills in Nebraska is also a must, and we intend to make the quick drive out from the Badlands to see Devil's Tower in nearby Wyoming. If we end up driving from Great Smoky Mountains to Hot Springs, we'll probably spend a little time at the Tupelo National Battlefield.
We're also considering tripping through the Geographic Center of the 48 Constiguous States (in north-central Kansas), Geographic Center of North America (in north-central North Dakota), Abraham Lincoln Birthplace (just north of Mammoth Cave), and the KVLY TV Tower (between Fargo and Grand Forks).
Is it possible to do this in 10 days? If not, we can extend it to 11 or 12 (possibly), and we could expunge most things in the above paragraph.
At this point, we're pretty sure we're gonna rent a car and just wing it when it comes to sleeping accomodations. (We're planning on bringing camping gear too, if the need arrives.) I'm thinking about this route thusfar (though we're very open for other suggestions, and this is only a very rough route):
Day 1: D.C. --> Great Smoky Mountains NP (8 hours)
Day 2: Great Smoky Mountains NP --> Tupelo National Battlefield --> Hot Springs NP (12 hours)
Day 3: Hot Springs NP --> Salina, KS (8 hours)
Day 4: Salina, KS --> Wind Cave NP (10 hours)
Day 5: Wind Cave NP/Mt. Rushmore/Badlands NP
Day 6: Wind Cave NP --> Devil's Tower --> Theodore Roosevelt NP (7 1/2 hours)
Day 7: Theodore Roosevelt NP --> Omaha, NE (10 hours)
Day 8: Omaha, NE --> Mammoth Cave NP (12 hours)
Day 9: Mammoth Cave NP
Day 10: Mammoth Cave NP --> D.C. (10 hours)
All times are approximate and taken from a route built on Mapquest.com. I'm sure these aren't very accurate, so I'm also wondering what times look like from people that have already done a similar trip. (This past summer, we drove up to Nova Scotia. Coming back, we had a 12-hour day from Kejimkujik NP to Nashua, NH, so we are accustomed to long drives.)
Thanks for reading and ANY and ALL help is unbelieveably appreciated!
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