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Thread: Suggestions

  1. Default Suggestions

    So i am new to this... But i am planning a road trip for spring/ summer. I want to go out west from michigan all the way to cali. i have made a map of directions, it has the possible route and places i want to go. I looked up fuel costs and i plan on at least 1,500$ for gas. what i need help with is..well alot of things. How long do you think a trip like this would take without rushing through? and how much spending money would a person need? and is there any senic routes to take other than highways? i am open to any and all suggestions and help.

    heres the map,

    Also i have a 95 saturn do you think it would work? i am open to any and all suggestions and help.
    Last edited by AZBuck; 10-09-2008 at 09:44 PM. Reason: Merged posts for same trip

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

    Default A Classic RoadTrip

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    The trip you've laid out does an excellent job, I think, of hitting some of the best the Rockies and southwest have to offer, as well as taking a couple of 'high value' crossings of the plains. Since you've obviously researched this and have pocked a number of places that appeal to you, I won't comment too much more on it. Your fuel cost estimate is also pretty safe. With falling gas prices and a car that gets moderately good mileage, I wouldn't be surprised if you could actually do a bit better than that. For a rough guess of the time needed to make this trip, I'd say three weeks minimum, but more would be helpful. Actually, most of the time constraints will come from you and your style of travel. If all you wanted to do was to drive the miles at a sustainable pace then you could probably do this in 11 days or so. Only you can decide how much time you have available and want to spend outside the car actually enjoying the places you are going to drive all that way to see.

    I have just a few specific recommendations and warnings. You've listed this in Spring RoadTrips. You'll have to be aware that getting from Death Valley to Yosemite by the route you have mapped may not be possible until well into May or even June. Tioga Pass which carries CA-120 over the Sierra Nevadas is snow bound and closed until that time most years. Also, you don't have any of the California coast on your trip other than at Los Angeles. I think it would be well worth your while to at least look at going from Yosemite to Monterey and then following the Pacific Coast Highway (CA-1) down to the L.A. area. That will add a couple of days to your drive, but they will be days well spent. One place where you might want to get off the Interstates and take a slightly slower pace is in western Nebraska. Most people will blow right through here without even realizing that they are following the route of the old Oregon Trail. There's a lot of scenery and history on this stretch and using US-30 instead of I-80 would give you a chance to explore some of it.

    AZBuck

  3. Default

    Thank you for the help. I have decided that this will be a summer road trip, probably in june. Also I would want to take about a month maybe more, and i would like to add in the califonia coast. There are a couple of questions i still have though. Which parks will take longer to see? Also would a park pass(America the beautiful pass) be cost efficient, i plan on staying at the park campgrounds.

  4. #4

    Default

    A parks pass is $80 and covers only the entrance fees to National Parks and Monuments, but its still a savings.

    Your itinerary looks like it will take you to the following places;

    Great Sand Dunes
    Mesa Verde
    Zion Canyon
    Grand Canyon
    Death Valley
    Yosemite
    Sequoias (sp?)
    Chiricahua
    Carlsbad Caverns
    Mammoth Caves

    The total entrance fees for these sites is $139, so $59 saved right there. Tours in places like Carlsbad, Mesa Verde and Mammoth Caves are extra, so are camping fees.

    I hit Mesa Verde, Zion, GC, DV and Carlsbad this summer (would recommend one of the ranger-led tours). I took one full day for each, but wished I'd been able to spend a second or even a third day in Zion, and a second day in GC with a third day to see the North Rim.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula
    Posts
    3,318

    Default Nice itinerary

    I agree that it sounds like you've done some good research. I'm assuming Zion and Grand Canyon are included in your plans? If not, you're close enough that it would be sad to miss them.

    Figure a good 2 days to go from San Francisco to Los Angeles on the coast. Of course, an extra day or two just gives you more time to meander and explore but 2 days will let you cover it without feeling rushed.

    How long it takes to visit the parks depends on how in-depth you choose to explore them. Zion needs a good day because you're limited to riding the park service bus and the major sights require at least a short hike to get to. Bryce can be easily done in 3-4 hours as the sights are easily seen from scenic viewpoints. Of course, you can always take time to hike into those areas and explore them more up close but if all you have time for is a quick view, it's still quite worth it. I only had about 6-7 hours at Grand Canyon and this was enough time for quick visits to the visitor center, a quick walk around Grand Canyon Village, and then stops at all the viewing points along Desert View Drive. I would have liked to have more time but this definitely gave me time to enjoy the highlights. And, of course, for hiking you need much more time than that, all depending on how far down you want to hike into it.

    Each park is so different that it's hard to give you a general answer.

    The national parks pass generally pays for itself once you've visited about 5 parks and, of course, it's good for a year so you can use it to visit national parks closer to home, too. I wouldn't do your trip without one myself. Be aware that the pass does not cover campground fees, only entry fees.

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

    Default About your car

    Your 95 Saturn will be fine if you're comfortable driving it, it has the space you need for camping gear you're bringing, and if it's in sound mechanical condition. It's impossible for us to know the answers to these questions. I suggest you have a thorough tune-up done by a mechanic you trust and that you let them know that you are going on a long roadtrip so they can advise you of any potential problems you might have and/or replace things that might need attention if you're driving on a long trip.

    For example, I once had my timing belt replaced about 10,000 miles ahead of the suggested schedule because I was doing a 4,000 miles roadtrip and didn't want to have a broken timing belt when far from home to deal with. On my particular vehicle, while the dealer doesn't recommend this, most people change the water pump at the same time as the timing belt as they are both in the same general vicinity of the car and fairly significant time is required to get to them both. So doing both at once saved me paying labor twice. So look for those types of recommended service items based on your car's mileage.

    Hope that makes sense.

  7. Default

    I will deffinently be getting a park pass to save money. Also i do plan on taking my car. thank you for the advice on the tune up, that is something i will have to get done. The advice is great. When traveling on the california caost where would be an inexspensive place to stay? Also i plan on spending at least a month on the road trip. Does anyone have a rough guess as in to how much money one person should bring (excluding camping fees, and park entrance fees.)?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,064

    Default off topic but

    Quote Originally Posted by PNW Judy View Post
    while the dealer doesn't recommend this, most people change the water pump at the same time as the timing belt as they are both in the same general vicinity of the car and fairly significant time is required to get to them both. So doing both at once saved me paying labor twice.
    The water pump/timing belt combo is one of the most common combo repairs out there, because each is a labor intensive process but if you do one, its very easy to do the other. As you mentioned, its true for almost every car that has a timing belt.

    Basically, if my dealer or mechinanic didn't recommend it, I'd be taking my car elsewhere for service!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
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    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula
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    3,318

    Default Camping on the Coast

    Quote Originally Posted by emmy906 View Post
    I will deffinently be getting a park pass to save money. Also i do plan on taking my car. thank you for the advice on the tune up, that is something i will have to get done. The advice is great. When traveling on the california caost where would be an inexspensive place to stay? Also i plan on spending at least a month on the road trip. Does anyone have a rough guess as in to how much money one person should bring (excluding camping fees, and park entrance fees.)?
    I suggest you check out the California State Parks website for inexpensive camping options on the coast.

    Your map doesn't show you traveling on the coast. Have your plans changed?

    Check out this post to figure out what you need to budget for your trip.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula
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    3,318

    Default Good point

    Quote Originally Posted by Midwest Michael View Post
    Basically, if my dealer or mechinanic didn't recommend it, I'd be taking my car elsewhere for service!
    And I might have accidentally misrepresented the position of my dealer on this issue. Poor wording on my part.

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