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  1. Default Seattle to Flagstaff and back, 7 days

    My husband and I and three dogs are heading down to Cottonwood, AZ for a dog agility competition at the beginning of April, and decided to make a *very fast-paced* road trip out of it. A few parts (the beginning in particular) are set in stone, but I want to make sure we aren't driving past anything really really cool without stopping to see it. We are constrained by my Spring Break (I am a teacher), so we have about 8 days.

    Here is the planned route:

    Day 1: Seattle to Salt Lake City - camping on Antelope Island
    Day 2: SLC to Cottonwood - Camping at Dead Horse Ranch
    Day 3-4 : All day in Cottonwood. Evening of Day 3 might go see Tuzigoot, and evening of Day 4 Drive up to South Rim Grand Canyon- Camping at Mathers
    Day 5: South Rim - Camping at Mathers
    Day 6: Drive the East Rim Road, head over through Monument Valley, Camping at Arches
    Day 7: Drive northward. Camping at Bruneau Dunes, ID.
    Day 8: Final Drive to Seattle

    We can't change days 1-4 other than to add some very brief stops to day 1 or 2, or different side trips to day 3 (we won't be able to do anything until about 4-5 pm that day though). Would love suggestions of can't miss pull-outs etc along the route though. I know we are missing some really cools stuff (Bryce, Zion), but contraints of time etc forced us to choose. Neither of us has seen any of this area before (aside from the parts in WA/OR) so up for any suggestions. Kitschy tourist crap, anything science related, or just awesome scenery for folks used to the Seattle green and rain. Bonus points for dog friendly.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula
    Posts
    3,318

    Default Agility Trials....cool!

    What kinds of dogs do you have?

    Welcome to the Roadtrip America forums!

    Well, I hate to tell ya, but I see a few red flags with your intended route.

    Day 1: Seattle to Salt Lake City - camping on Antelope Island
    This is 850 miles and is really more of a two-day drive. We generally figure that you can average 57mph while on the road. This includes time for very quick fuel/food/bio breaks. Using that figure, it will take you about 15 hours to travel Seattle-SLC. But you'll need to stop more often with dogs and probably for a bit longer periods of time in order to let them exercise a bit. So 15 hours might really be pushing it. I see no way you can squeeze extra sightseeing in along this leg of your trip.

    Day 2: SLC to Cottonwood - Camping at Dead Horse Ranch
    You've got another extremely long day of almost 600 miles. Figure 11 hours minimum. More if adequate dog stops are made.

    Day 3-4 : All day in Cottonwood. Evening of Day 3 might go see Tuzigoot, and evening of Day 4 Drive up to South Rim Grand Canyon- Camping at Mathers
    Day 5: South Rim - Camping at Mathers
    The South Rim is along your way and would make a nice stop. You will need to balance your desire to explore against your dogs needs, of course. This looks like the most leisurely portion of your trip.

    Day 6: Drive the East Rim Road, head over through Monument Valley, Camping at Arches
    About 330 miles, about 5.5-6 hours. This is very do-able and is a beautiful drive.

    Day 7: Drive northward. Camping at Bruneau Dunes, ID.
    Day 8: Final Drive to Seattle
    Two more marathon driving days of 530 miles and 570 miles respectively. These are more do-able than your first two days (Seattle-SLC-Cottonwood) but you are going to be tired by this point. Unless you've had enough leisure at the GC to revive yourselves a bit. Anyway, I think these are going to take long enough where the breaks for your dogs are about all you'll have time and energy for.

    I hesitate to offer any other stops because of the miles you're trying to cover and the need to care for your dogs. However, you won't be missing any scenery. The roads you're driving, especially the GC-Monument Valley-Arches leg, will be taking you through some of the most incredible scenery in the world, imho. You won't be lacking in eye candy.

  3. #3
    RoadTripper Brad Guest

    Default Seattle-SLC

    I agree with Judy on the Seattle to SLC run taking some time. I drove from Wenatchee to Salt Lake City on day 1 of a 2 day drive to Phoenix, and we didn't get into Ogden until after 7 PM, and that was leaving Wenatchee at about 3 AM.

    It's a long stretch of road and coming from Seattle, it'll be even longer.

    -Brad

  4. Default I know the first days are way long.

    Thanks for your replies,
    I am a teacher, and the more leisurely part of the trip falls on my kids' spring break. The first two days I am taking off and sending in a substitute, and we need to arrive in Cottonwood by late Friday night. We have considered heading out Wednesday night after work and getting a few hours in (maybe 3-4). That would shorten the Seattle-SLC day.

    Problem is, we really can't add any more days on the beginning, and we've got a destination with a very strict deadline. According to Google Maps- the original plan has the first day at just over 12 hours (from our house to the campground at SLC) and the second day at just over 11 hours (SLC to Cottonwood). Are these numbers seriously underestimated?

    I'm curious if there are any must-see things we're missing on the more leisurely part of the trip- not major side routes, just small stops on the way. Or, if there are any good break points on the longer portions- again, not side routes, but things like - :"if you're stopping to stretch your legs in this area, you might as well stop there".

    For the curious- the dogs are 2 Australian Cattle Dogs, and a Redbone Coonhound. They're all accustomed to long days in the car, they don't need any more breaks than we do.

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

    Default Reality

    Quote Originally Posted by turtblu View Post
    Are these numbers seriously underestimated?
    Judy sort of explained it when she gave her time estimates, but 12 hours to cover a 850 mile trip would require you to average more than 70 miles per hour. While you are actually driving with the car in gear, that's only possible if you are exclusively on a traffic-free interstate and never have to stop or slow down. In reality, it takes time to drive through town to get to the interstate where you can't drive anywhere near 70 mph. It takes time to stop for gas, food, walking the dogs, etc, and you are traveling at Zero mph for all of those things. When you factor in those things, the average speed of 57 is a pretty good estimate for how long it will take you to travel, making minimum basic stops.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula
    Posts
    3,318

    Default Then leave Wednesday night

    Quote Originally Posted by turtblu View Post
    Thanks for your replies,
    I am a teacher, and the more leisurely part of the trip falls on my kids' spring break. The first two days I am taking off and sending in a substitute, and we need to arrive in Cottonwood by late Friday night. We have considered heading out Wednesday night after work and getting a few hours in (maybe 3-4). That would shorten the Seattle-SLC day.
    I think it's critical that you leave ASAP on Wednesday. Be all packed Tuesday night and be ready to go as soon as you get out of school Wednesday. If you could make it as far as the Tri-Cities that night, it would really help for the stretch to SLC. As Michael explained, the estimates on Google or any other mapping program assume that you will never need food/fuel/bio breaks. And I have a dog that travels well, too. But it would be unfair not to give the dogs a chance to run a bit throughout the trip, imho. They need their exercise and you do, too. You might want to read our The Art of the Speed Run for some tips.

    If you can get to the Tri-Cities Wednesday night, that will shave off over 200 miles and make the 615 miles to SLC the next day far more feasible. Figure about 11-12 hours Tri-Cities to SLC with minimal stops.

    Problem is, we really can't add any more days on the beginning, and we've got a destination with a very strict deadline. According to Google Maps- the original plan has the first day at just over 12 hours (from our house to the campground at SLC) and the second day at just over 11 hours (SLC to Cottonwood). Are these numbers seriously underestimated?
    Yes. Michael's explanation why is dead-on. Just as an example, on a speed run I did from Yakima WA to Burley ID, we got stopped just east of Boise for about 45 minutes while authorities tried to get a very angry and HUGE bull with big horns off the freeway. I don't know how he got there but he sure was threatening and I wish I hadn't had dead batteries in my camera when that was going on! You just can't depend on smooth sailing with no traffic jams or other things that slow you down. If you make your trip in a shorter time-frame than my estimates in my first response, consider it a bonus and enjoy the longer time to relax that evening and maybe even exploring where you're staying a bit.

    I'm curious if there are any must-see things we're missing on the more leisurely part of the trip- not major side routes, just small stops on the way. Or, if there are any good break points on the longer portions- again, not side routes, but things like - :"if you're stopping to stretch your legs in this area, you might as well stop there".
    The only parts of your trip that appear to have any time for anything like this is the Cottonwood-Grand Canyon and Grand Canyon-Arches legs. Believe me, there are so many stupendous things to stop and see along the way that just keeping your eyes peeled and watching for any kinds of signs along the highway informing you of what's coming up should be enough. When I've driven these roads, I've rarely gone more than 20 miles without taking at least a quick photo-opp stop at something that catches my eye.

    If your dogs would be fine in your vehicle unattended for a short while, doubtful in the heat you'll probably be experiencing, you might enjoy a brief stop at "Hole in the Rock" which is a home built in a cave (located just a few miles south of Moab). But, really, with your dogs and their need for the A/C, I think roadside stops will be your best bet. Remember, you're not going to be where the weather is like Seattle's!

    For the curious- the dogs are 2 Australian Cattle Dogs, and a Redbone Coonhound. They're all accustomed to long days in the car, they don't need any more breaks than we do.
    Cool dogs. I bet they do great in agility contests. What fun! Everybody, dogs and people, need breaks out of the car every few hours where they walk around (preferably at a pretty good pace, too) in order to get the blood flowing and improve circulation. So, in that sense, you're right. Many people ignore this and it's just not healthy.

  7. Default Glenn Canyon Dam or Navajo Bridge

    Looking at our route on the way down, there appears to be a decision to make as which to take between Route 89A and Route 89 from Kanab, UT. According to my mapping, 89A adds about 10 minutes to the trip.

    So- in your opinion, is 89A over Navajo Bridge a better or worse choice than 89 past Glenn Canyon Dam? (Thinking of general scenery, specific sights, time, road quality, whatever)

    (Oh...and we've added an evening to the beginning- We're going as far as Kennewick, WA on Day 1, then SLC day 2, and so on as planned. SLC to Cottonwood is still a long haul, but it is our longest at 11 hours drive time - not counting stops- And, the trip is down to two dogs, our foster dog has been adopted, so the girls will have more room to walk around in the car, which is nice.)

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

    Default Flip a Coin

    You really can't go wrong either way. I've driven them both: US-89 goes through the Grand Staircase-Escalante and US-89A goes by the Vermillion Cliffs. The only thing that might give one the edge is if you think you might need motorist's services on this stretch, in which case, I'd go US-89 through Page.

    AZBuck

  9. Default That was great!

    We're back.

    Big thanks to those who suggested leaving in the afternnon on the Thursday before the trip, those 5 hours to Oregon made the next day to SLC much much better.

    We had great weather/great sights the entire way (other than snow storms through the Blue Mtns in Oregon that made visibility nil). The "speed run" portion at the start was some of the easiest, perhaps because we were still bright eyed and bushy tailed. We had the perfect amount of time to explore South Rim of the grand canyon (1 full day) and Arches (half day), if not completely. There were a few times when I wished we could deviate from the plan and pick up some more sights (generally when passing the turn offs for places like Zion, Canyonlands, etc).

    Truthfully, as I guess I should have expected, the only days that were grueling were the last two (8 hours each with no stops), At that point were were driving home, with all the major sights behind us, and an entire week of road/camping tired all collected together.

    Thanks for the planning help!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,064

    Default Thanks for sharing

    Its always good to hear about a sucessful trip, and its nice to see that our advice was helpful.

    Congrats!

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