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  1. Default North Carolina to San Francisco

    What a fantastic forum!

    My sister will likely be moving to SF this summer and I guess I said something about a road trip...The truth is that I've always wanted to drive cross country and this would be the perfect excuse.

    There's not much of a plan right now except that we will likely drive out there mid to late summer. The drive would only be one way as I'll fly back home once she gets settled in. Will most likely rent a vehicle since she won't have a car in SF.

    Looks like the consensus is that the trip can be done in 5 days but we could probably take as long as 10 days. We want to do some sight seeing along they way and I'm trying to figure out which route would be more condusive for sight seeing, a northern or southern route.

    We are both interested in photography and like off the beaten path but there's so much of the country we haven't seen that that this time around, we might want to stay "on the path".

    So, what are some general thoughts on which route? what sights to hit? and is 10 days enough without killing each other and still enjoy.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Rough Outline

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    If I were in your shoes: first cross-country trip, plenty of time, and an interest in 'off-the-beaten-path', I think I would choose I-40 as my basic route but then take the time to wander a good bit as I headed west. Such a route would give me a solid path to measure my progress, and one that would make the consensus 5 day trip possible, but would also bring me close enough to a large number of intriguing sights. Possibilities include the well known, like Nashville, Memphis, Hot Springs AR, the Grand Canyon and Las Vegas, but also the quirky like Talimena Scenic Drive, the Cadillac Ranch outside Amarillo, Petroglyph National Monument, Santa Fe NM, Sedona and Jerome AZ, Tuzigoot National Monument. and London Bridge in Lake Havasu City AZ. Then if I had enough time at the end, I could finish off with a drive up the Big Sur coast on CA-1. Anyway, that's certainly one great option. Grab an atlas and have a look at what else is along it that might appeal to you and your sister. Do plan on spending one or two of your ten available days going your own ways, say in one of the larger cities you'll be passing through, just to give yourselves time to breath and think.


  3. #3

    Default Just one person's thoughts

    Decisions, Decisions. Since so little is known about the likes and dislikes of the two of you, all we gave to go on is your desire to go off te beaten path and photography.

    Take the full 10 days and a couple more would be even better if it can be arranged.

    Knowing what I know now and if it were me, I would take this route.

    Day 1: Drive to Sikeston, Mo and eat at Lambert's Throwed Rolls." Continue on US 60 as far as you can.

    Day 2: In Springfield, Mo. pick up Old Route 66 take it as much as possible to
    Needles, Ca. Spend the night in Tulsa, Ok. Be sure to see the Totem Pole Park and Blue Whale along the way.

    Day 3: Drive to Erick, Ok. stopping at the Round Barn, Murrow National Site, National Route 66 museum in Elk City. Be sure to visit the Sand Hills Cursoity Shop in Erick.

    Day 4: Drive to Tucumari, NM. Be sure to stop at the Big Texan in Amarillo and the Cadillac Ranch. Most of the way across Texas, stay on the interstate because route 66 runs as the access road to the interstate. Some neat neon and motels in Tucumari.

    Day 5: Drive to Flagstaff, Az. Besure to stop at the "Indian Trading Post" at the Arizona/New Mexico state line. They have wonderful fried bread.

    Day 6: Drive to Las Vegas. Be sure to take 66 from Seligman to Kingman and from Kingman to Needles. Stay downtown in Vegas-much cheaper plus you will be at the scene of Fremont Experience. You should also have time to take a short sojourn to the Grand Canyon and still make it to Vegas.

    Day 7: Go north out of Vegas on US 93 and then take US 50 west. (you might want to take a detour to Area 51 for lunch at the "Alien Inn." Spend the night in Austin, Nv.

    Day 8: Take the Old Lincoln Highway all the way to downtown S.F. You will want to stop for the night about 1/2 way.

    Day 9: Arrive in S.F.

    This is a very do-able route and much photogenic stuff along the way. You could extend the trip an extra day in Vegas (or anywhere else that meets your fancy.). Another plus about this route is that it will be much cheaper if you stay in motels in the small towns instead of the chain motels. Also be sure to eat at the Mom and Pop diners---better and more plentiful food and cheaper.


  4. Default

    Thank you both! Believe it or not, this gives me quite a bit to go on. I'll share with my sister and go from there.

  5. Default

    I can't believe I initially posted back in March! Where does time go?

    Well, it looks like this trip will be a reality after all however, we are a bit tight on time. My sister HAS to be in San Francisco on August 26 and due to my work, we can't hit the road until August 17. That's only really 9 days of travel time so I'm really looking for some guidance. I've gotten a couple of books and been staring at the road atlas for the last week and the more I think about it, the more confused I get.

    Right now this is what I'm thinking of:

    West on I40 to Nashville (sister wants to check it out.)
    Then North to St. Louis & the Arch
    Then West on I70 to Denver

    This is where it gets tricky, do we go north to Salt Lake City and pick up 80 or continue on 70 and pick up 15 towards Vegas? I'm thinking Vegas would be fun for a night and the Grand Canyon a must see but are we missing a lot if we don't go north instead.

    There seems to be so much off of I70 once you go west of Denver. I've heard of Garden of the gods, Natural Bridges, Mesa Verde...Anything else. What are the must see in this area.

    Looking forward to your suggestions.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default depending upon time

    I think the big question right now is how much time do you hope to spend at the place you've listed, like Nashville and St. Louis?

    There is a ton to see and do relatively close to I-70 in Colorado and Utah. Some of the other places you didn't mention include Rocky Mountain National Park, Black Canyon of the Gunnison, and Cayonlands. If you did drop south towards Vegas and the Grand Canyon, then Bryce and Zion would also be within easy reach.

    Depending upon your pace, you could probably fit in the cities you've listed, and make a quick stop or two at the Grand Canyon and Las Vegas before heading back towards SF. However, those places would take you a fair bit south and would add some more travel time to your plans. If you'd rather linger at the places you want to see, then I think I would focus on things in Colorado and Utah, and then make your way to California, using either I-80 or perhaps US-50, aka the lonliest road.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Answer in the question?

    Hi there.

    I'm thinking Vegas would be fun for a night and the Grand Canyon a must see but are we missing a lot if we don't go north instead.
    As Michael said, time is a big factor, but unless you find a whole lot more of it you are going to be missing a lot wherever you go. So I would concentrate on what you can see as opposed to what you may miss, and if Grand canyon is a must and Vegas most definately offers FUN and you can "time manage" it then i would go for it. From Vegas you could take in Death valley and Yosemite on the way to San Fran but you would have to factor in at least one night, preferably two to do so.

    Theres just so many options you could take, lol.

  8. Default

    Yeah, I wish we had more time but nothing we can do about that

    I'm hoping that after our stop in St. Louis, we can rush through the rest of MO and through Kansas. Once we hit Colorado things will get more interesting for us...

    I want to have a general plan but at the same time leave some room for the unexpected, which I'm sure will happen!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula

    Default And the unexpected can happen where you least expect it!

    In other words, don't write off Missouri and Kansas. While they don't have the cachet some states do, they still offer a lot of interesting things.

    Poking around for some Kansas info, I found this:

    Trivia! In Kansas, milepost 342 to 350 on I-70 is historically-marked as the very first stretch of interstate highway opened in the USA -- so I paid homage as I sped past by toasting it with a quick slug of Deja Blue bottled water! I also found markers on the Missouri stretches of I-70 crediting Dwight Eisenhour's influence in creating our present day interstate system -- his interest began back around 1919 with a cross-country roadtrip that took 62 days! Whoa! No wonder he wanted the interstates built!
    How intriguing! You just never know what you'll find it you keep your eyes open and don't speed through too fast. :)

    For other interesting ideas, check out our 50-State Thread and find an A-Z list of places to explore in those states.

  10. Default

    Oh, I know what you mean but I'm afraid that if I start looking, I'll want to stop in every. little. town. I'm a fool for that kind of stuff but we are so limited on time that we'll just have to focus on some highlights.

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