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  1. #1

    Default A big trip need some ideas

    Hi, me and my girlfriend want to tour the northwest some. Help us out with some ideas on things to do, places to stay, cool drives, etc.

    Champaign IL to Rapid city SD, visit Mt. Rushmore etc, a few nights there.

    Rapid city SD to Yellowstone, 2 days in the park

    Yellowstone to Seattle, 3 nights there somewhere

    Seattle to the Oregon coast, 3 nights along there somewhere

    Oregon coast to Redwood National Park, 2 nights around there

    Redwoods to Sanfrancisco, 2 nights there

    Sanfran to Reno, 1 night

    Reno to Champaign IL 2 days or so to get home

    I left out a few nights in between them places but thats the main points of the trip. Thanks

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
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    9,358

    Default First of All

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    Even before you start looking for ideas on what to do, you'll need to make sure that your driving plans are reasonable. 900+ miles is not driveable in a day, no matter what some software computes for you. Now while it's possible that there may be an extra stop or two that you haven't explicitly listed on some of the legs, you do claim that at the end you're going to drive from Reno to Champaign, a distance of almost 2000 miles in two days. The first thing you need to do is to go back and figure out how many days of driving you have using a realistic estimate of being able to cover no more than around 550 miles on days when you make no sightseeing stops and then see how much time you'll really have for places along the way.

    AZBuck

  3. #3

    Default

    I did say above I left out some stops "in between" the main points. Also from reno home I said 2 days or so meaning the 3rd day get home. I've been driving along time for a job it's no big deal to drive 12 hours in a day with 2 people.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
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    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula
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    3,318

    Default More than 12 hours per day

    We generally recommend that people stick to 500-550 miles each day so they have time to enjoy the sights, make a few stops, while still covering some miles.

    Those of us who regularly contribute here have driven a combined million miles-plus throughout North America and generally agree that people will normally average about 53mph east of the Mississippi River and 57mph west of it. This is the average for the entire day when quick stops for food/fuel/bio needs, traffic congestion, potential slowdowns for construction, and other factors are considered. Yeah, some days you might drive faster and some days a bit slower but, overall, this is a good average. Thus, 2000 miles will take more like 36 hours on the road, meaning three 12-hour driving days.

    If you're up to it due to being used to driving a lot for your job, that's cool. But it's better to have realistic expectations. Even professional truckers are limited in the hours they are supposed to be driving in order to maintain alertness and, thus, driving safely. I caution you to keep this in mind and be realistic about what you can safely do. Just because you can do it...or think you can, doesn't mean it's the best or safest option.

    Champaign IL to Rapid city SD, visit Mt. Rushmore etc, a few nights there.
    Cool other places to see here are: Wall Drug, Deadwood, Crazy Horse Memorial, Wind Cave, and more.

    Rapid city SD to Yellowstone, 2 days in the park
    On the way, you might want to visit Devil's Tower (seen in Close Encounters...) and a stop in Cody, WY, is a lot of fun with all the Buffalo Bill stuff there, good museums, etc.

    Yellowstone to Seattle, 3 nights there somewhere
    Spokane is a nice city with beautiful Riverfront Park. A visit to the Grand Coulee Dam should be a must-see, imho. It's amazing. In the summer months, they do an amazing laser-light show on the dam once it's dark. From Grand Coulee to Seattle, you might want to stay on Hwy ____ and visit Dry Falls near Coulee City (the biggest waterfall in the history of the planet) and then drive through the picturesque farm country going over Steven's Pass to Seattle. I think this is a far prettier drive than over the more heavily-traveled Snoqualmie Pass on I-90. Make sure you stop in the charming Bavarian-themed village of Leavenworth on the way. It's well done; not tacky.

    Seattle to the Oregon coast, 3 nights along there somewhere
    After leaving SEattle, drive south on I-5 and, at the town of Castle Rock, take the 1-hour drive east to see Mt. St. Helens (a big must-see!). Near Portland veer over to the coast and enjoy 101 the rest of the way south. There are so many things to see along the coast, and the driving is rather slow as it's a 2-lane, windy road, that you should plan at least 2 days for the Oregon section. Another day would be better if you have it. Some highlights are Astoria, Seaside, Tillamook, Depoe Bay, Newport, Bandon.

    Oregon coast to Redwood National Park, 2 nights around there
    In addition to the Redwoods, enjoy the lovely town of Eureka.

    Redwoods to Sanfrancisco, 2 nights there
    If you have time, take CA-1. It's absolutely incredible. If not, stick to 101. Still a lovely drive.


    Hope this gives you some ideas.

  5. #5

    Default

    Wow thank you for the ideas. Some of that sounds great. As for th driving the tough past will be the last leg home Reno to Champaign. If it gets to bad we can take another day.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
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    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula
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    Default Glad to help

    And it's great you have the option of another day at the end, if needed. Anything else we can help you with?

  7. #7

    Default

    How is crazy horse vs. Mt. Rushmore if I could do only one? Also Spokane is our stopping point from Yellowstone to Seattle, what could one do in an evening that would be awesome?? And overall how would you rate this drive mainly the loop from rapid city to seattle down to sanfran and reno??

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
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    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula
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    Default It's all a matter of personal preference

    Crazy Horse has a lot of admirers but it isn't fully finished and Mt. Rushmore is more of an icon. If it was me and I had to choose, I think I would pick Mt. Rushmore.

    I'm not familiar enough with Spokane nightlife to give you tips on that. Sorry. The couple of recent times I've been there it's been for conventions and they had our evenings jam-packed so I didn't have to venture out. Maybe the Spokane tourism website will give you some ideas.

    I think I would rate this as a beautiful drive, with varying scenery, that should be a great trip!

  9. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by crazy1 View Post
    I did say above I left out some stops "in between" the main points. Also from reno home I said 2 days or so meaning the 3rd day get home. I've been driving along time for a job it's no big deal to drive 12 hours in a day with 2 people.
    I know people disagree with this all the time, but my family is FINE knocking out a 12-hour day in the car -- we even did it when the kids were small -- we just can't do it two days in a row. In fact, I want a couple "easier days" in between 12-hour days, but IF a long drive is in the best interest of the trip, my family wouldn't hesitate.
    Quote Originally Posted by PNW Judy View Post
    Crazy Horse has a lot of admirers but it isn't fully finished and Mt. Rushmore is more of an icon. If it was me and I had to choose, I think I would pick Mt. Rushmore.
    Having seen both, I say definitely Mt. Rushmore. You might think you know what it's like because you've seen the pictures a million times . . . but in person it is just incredible. It vastly exceeds expectations. Breathtaking isn't too strong a word. Of course, people's opinions vary: some people look at the Grand Canyon and say, "It's just a hole in the ground." I don't understand that, but some people say it.

    Crazy Horse is okay, but it just isn't in the same league.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
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    Default I actually think we agree with you!

    Quote Originally Posted by MrsPete View Post
    I know people disagree with this all the time, but my family is FINE knocking out a 12-hour day in the car -- we even did it when the kids were small -- we just can't do it two days in a row. In fact, I want a couple "easier days" in between 12-hour days, but IF a long drive is in the best interest of the trip, my family wouldn't hesitate.
    When we talk about avoiding 12-hour days, most of us are talking about multi-day trips. I have done numerous trips requiring 12-15 hour drives to reach my destination. But the key is, that I'm going to a destination where I will stay for multiple days before turning around and making the same long trek home. I would never want to drive a few days in a row like that though. Oy veh!

    Some people can't even handle one day so it sure doesn't hurt to advise people of the reality of a long driving day either.

    And, since this particular thread is discussing a multi-day trip, the admonition against such long driving days is appropriate, imho.

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