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  1. Default West and Midwest

    Hi all, last year I took a little road trip by myself (after posting the itinerary up here for feedback) and enjoyed it immensely. I drove from Los Angeles to Vancouver and back, with stops in Seattle and San Francisco. I came down the coast, went to a couple of baseball games, Alcatraz, and the Redwood National Forest. 3540 miles, 15 days. As a result, despite the insane gas prices, I'm doing it again, taking it up a notch, and leaving L.A. August 12th.

    Again, I'd appreciate pretty much any advice on the matter, from "must see destinations" to "you need to allot more time here," and etc. Once I hit Minneapolis, the trip is chock-full of baseball games, and as a result, the schedule is somewhat rigid. Still, I'd like some instant reactions on the overall itinerary. It is pretty daunting, to be quite honest. But how would I rectify this, short of extending the trip? Are there expendable cities? Do you look at this and think, "This is completely impossible"? Or "This is tough, but doable, and awesome"?

    From Los Angeles, CA
    Day 1: Salt Lake City (690 miles) - Straight driving with breaks
    Day 2: Yellowstone (320) - Antelope Island, Temple Square, TitP
    Day 3: Casper, WY (330) - Yellowstone, Grand Tetons
    Day 4: Sioux Falls (600) - Mt. Rushmore only
    Day 5: Minneapolis (270) - Mall of America, Minehaha Park, Sculpture Garden
    Day 6: Minneapolis (0) - Institute of Arts, Stone Arch Bridge, Twins game
    Day 7: Milwaukee via Green Bay (400) - Lambeau Field & Bay Beach, Lakefront, Brewers game
    Day 8: Chicago, maybe via Dyersville, IA (400) - Field of Dreams, Cubs game
    Day 9: St. Louis (300) - Lewis & Clark Memorial Park, Lincoln Library, Cardinals game
    Day 10: St. Louis (0) - Arch, City Museum, Busch Tour, Forest Park, Catedral Basilica
    Day 11: Kansas City (250) - Various museums, Royals game
    Day 12: ~Colby, KS (370) - More KC, driving
    Day 13: Denver, CO (235) - Rockies game + Denver
    Day 14: ~Clifton (230) - More Denver
    Day 15: Flagstaff, AZ (220) - Arches National Park, Four Corners
    Day 16: Los Angeles, CA (460)

    Now my own impressions. Originally, I had a Day 3 where I would wander around Yellowstone all day, and everything else would be shifted back a day. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem like I have that luxury anymore. I'm also considering snipping out the side trip to Dyersville, just because it's way out of the way (even though I'd like to go). But I feel like driving 200 - 400 miles a day is pretty reasonable, so it's really those first four days that might be completely killer. Then again, my first 3 days last year went 680, 330, and 300 (and I spent really good amounts of time in Portland, and Mount Saint Helen and Mount Rainier), and I was perfectly fine. I could also shift some of the driving from Day 4 to Day 5.

    Bottom line. 5400 miles, 16 days. A ton of cities. Too much? Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default really tough

    One thing I've found when doing baseball themed trips is that its hard to do much else, especially if you are trying to fit in games on consecutive days.

    For example, MSP to Milwaukee is a 5-6 hour trip, so you certainly can get from one city to the next in time to see a game. But going via Green Bay would add at least an extra hour or two, plus a couple hours touring lambeau, now you're up to 10 hours. Even if you leave at 9am, you'd just be getting to Milwaukee for a 7pm game, and even then you'd have to fight traffic, find a place to park, and then walk to the stadium. And in all of that, you won't have had time to do any tailgating - which is really the best part of going to a game at miller park.

    Field of Dreams is a nice stop, but its a huge detour from Milwaukee to Chicago, and it again would be tough to fit in all that driving and then make it back in time to see a game. Again remember, all the games you are looking at are at 7pm, so not only do you have several thousand people going to the same place for the game, but you also have millions of people just trying to get home.

    I've generally found, traffic, a strict timetable, and finding a place to sleep make it pretty tough to see ballgames in different cities on consecutive nights and have time left over for other siteseeing. It just gets to be too much.

    Just one other point that stands out, Going from Yellowstone to Sioux Falls, why are you going all the way down to Casper? Its a pretty long way out of the way to the south. If you stick to I-90, you're still going to have a long day if you try to fit in Mt. Rushmore, but it will be a lot more feasable if you shave off some of those out of the way miles.

  3. Default

    I appreciate the tips. Casper is out of the way, but I'm briefly visiting a cousin who lives out yonder, which is why I'm going that far south after Yellowstone.

    As for the baseball thing, thanks for bringing up the issues associated with back-to-back games. Maybe I can stay closer to Green Bay (or even in Green Bay), and divvy up some of the Day 7 driving on Day 6. Also, Chicago is one city that I have been to already, though, and won't need to go sightseeing at all. Still, it seems likely that Dyersville will not make the final itinerary. Sigh. Maybe I'll wake up that day in Milwaukee and see if I'm up for it. Or it might have to wait until the next trip.

  4. Default

    Out of curiosity, how safe / cheap are those little mom and pop motels that seem to be here and there? I've read the article on cheap housing - are truck stops the way to go? Should I take up camping?
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 07-16-2008 at 10:16 PM. Reason: Bumping of threads, for bumping sake is considered, rude and inappropriate on this Forum

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula

    Default It all depends

    Some mom/pop places are quite safe and charming. Some are safe and not so charming. Some are neither. How's THAT for a definitive answer? The best you can do with these places is evaluate them on a case-by-case basis. If the looks don't appeal to you, don't even stop. Same with the type of neighborhood it's in. If you're unsure, ask to see the room first before you commit to staying. You'll just have to use your best judgment.

    If you find yourself needing to spend the night sleeping in your car, truck stops are definitely the safest place to do that.

    Camping is a great option. It might work for you on the parts of your trip where you're in more rural areas, near national/state parks, etc. I don't think it will work for you on the days/nights you're at baseball games. Campgrounds typically are located too far out of metro areas to make this a viable option at those times.

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