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  1. Default California -> Pennsylvania

    Here’s a hypothetical itinerary:

    Leave Pasadena on Jan. 2 (4:00PM - 9:00PM) for Las Vegas
    Spend Night of Jan. 2 in Las Vegas (9:00PM-3:00AM) HOTEL in Vegas on Jan. 2 night
    Leave Las Vegas morning of Jan. 3 for Grand Canyon (9:00AM-2:00PM)
    Spend day of Jan. 3 at Grand Canyon (2:00PM-6:00PM)
    Drive evening of Jan. 3 to Salt Lake City (6:00PM-2:00AM)
    Spend night of Jan. 3 in Salt Lake (2:00AM-12:00PM) HOTEL in Salt Lake on Jan. 3 night
    Drive day of Jan. 4 to Yellowstone (12:00PM-6:00PM)
    Spend day of Jan. 5 at Yellowstone (6:00PM Jan. 4-10:00PM Jan. 5) HOTEL in Yellowstone on Jan. 4 night
    Leave Jan. 5 night for Mount Rushmore (10:00PM-6:00AM)
    Spend Jan. 6 day at Mount Rushmore (6:00AM-4:00PM)
    Drive Jan. 6 evening to Denver (4:00PM-10:00PM)
    Spend Jan. 6 night and Jan. 7 day in Denver (10:00PM Jan. 6 - 8:00PM Jan. 7) HOTEL in Denver on Jan. 6 night
    Drive Jan. 7 night to St. Louis (8:00PM-9:00AM)
    Spend Jan. 8 in St. Louis (9:00AM-9:00AM) HOTEL in St. Louis on Jan. 8 night (w/ early check-in)
    Leave Jan. 9 for State College (9:00AM-9:00PM) Arrive in State College Friday night, Jan. 9

    http://maps.google.com/maps?f=d&sadd...,79.101563&z=4

    Is this too aggressive of an itinerary to be realistic? This would be with four college students renting a car after the Rose Bowl and driving back, alternating who's driving every few hours and sleeping in the car. We have an extra day or so to play with - classes don't start until Monday the 12th (but would like at least a day to rest up). Is there an ideal time to add in an extra day to make it easier? Would you recommend cutting out one of the destinations?

    Any feedback would be helpful and very much appreciated! Thank you very much!

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

    Default Way Too Much Driving to Be Any Fun

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    Just to go by the shortest route between the points you've listed is 4000 miles of driving. That will take seven solid days of driving 10-12 hours each day. I suppose that leaves an hour or two to see each of the sights you'll be knocking yourselves out to get to, but it hardly seems worth it. Any time you're budgeting each and every hour of 8 days to try to get something to work, it's an almost certain sign that it won't. Another sure sign that this won't work is planning to drive 850 and 750 miles on the last two driving days when you all will be totally exhausted. This is not going to work. You need to trim about a thousand miles from this drive to make it enjoyable, and realistically, that means dropping Yellowstone. As a not-too-bad consolation prize, consider instead crossing from The Grand Canyon to Denver by way of Monument Valley, Four Corners, Mesa Verde and the Black Canyon of the Gunnison.

    AZBuck

  3. Default

    AZBuck,

    THANK YOU! This is the exact kind of feedback I was looking for - I don't know the first thing about planning a trip like this, so I appreciate it.

    Since it'll be January, I think Denver is probably the priority anyway. Aren't Yellowstone and Rushmore better in the summer months?

    If I still wanted to do Yellowstone, where would you recommend adding in a day to make it work? Or do you think it's not feasible at all?

    These message boards are great, by the way. I'm learning a lot just by reading other postings. Great work, here!
    Last edited by AZBuck; 11-24-2008 at 08:42 PM. Reason: Complete quote of previous post removed

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default Several Problems

    Besides being just too far to include in the time frame you have, Yellowstone is largely closed in the winter. The roads are not maintained and are instead given over to snowmobile traffic. You cannot get to Old Faithful, any of the hot springs, or Yellowstone Lake by car in January. More to the point, if you want this trip to be fun, you have to plan on significant time out of the car each day. Otherwise, the four of you are going to get very tired of being cooped up in a car for hour after hour after hour and you ARE going to get on each others' nerves. Plan on no more than 500 miles on any given day, and actually try for fewer than that. While the big stops that you want to hit are certainly worth while, you'll need other smaller places along the way to take breaks. State and local parks, wildlife refuges, and the like. Get out of the car and get some exercise. Have fun rather than just driving mile after cooped up, boring mile.

    AZBuck

  5. #5

    Default "Resting" while someone else drives

    Hello PSF,
    Having participated in a number straight-through of XC trips while a undergraduate geology student, I can tell you with certainty that some people just don't rest well enough in a vehicle. Depending on that factor can leave you hurting or worse.

    I particularly like AZBuck's suggested routing from GCNP to Denver. The Colorado Rockies in January can be absolutely breathtaking. Save Yellowstone and Mount Rushmore for another time, like summertime.

    Best of luck in the Rose Bowl and on the Road Trip. I'd like to see JoePa go out on top, wouldn't you?

    Foy

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,271

    Default

    If you are all under 25, renting a car for a one way dropoff is going to be very expensive, and most likely, nobody under 21 will be allowed to drive it. You need to examine the rental option a bit closer.

  7. Default

    glc,

    Thank you for the feedback. Upon further research, it does seem to be less feasible as a rental car trip. However, we may have friends driving out to the game that would drive back and make this trip a possibility.

    We have created a route with a lot of potentially cool stops: http://maps.google.com/maps?f=d&sadd...,79.101563&z=4

    Included in these stops would be:

    The Hoover Dam
    Las Vegas
    The Grand Canyon
    Zion National Park
    Bryce Canyon
    Grand Staircase Escalante
    Monument Valley
    Arches National Park
    Canyonlands National Park
    Mesa Verde
    Black Canyon of the Gunnison
    Denver

    This likely would be too many stops to be able to fully enjoy each of them. Are any of these likely to be a no go in January as far as what they would look like or what the travel might be? Are any not recommended?

    Realistically, we're planning on leaving Pasadena on Jan. 2 and head through the Hoover Dam before getting to Las Vegas, spend that night in Vegas and then have from the morning of Jan. 3 through Jan. 6 to do from Vegas to Denver and hit as many of those destinations (or are there any that we're missing?) as we can in those 3-4 days. We know we can't do them all.

    Then we'll try to really zip through Denver to St. Louis to State College as quickly as possible because there aren't that many places we want to see along the way (any good tips?).

    Thanks again so much for all the wonderful advice. We're starting to get pretty excited!


    EDIT: P.S. Foy, yes we'd love to see JoePa go out on top, but how about one more season and a run at the National Championship? ;)

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,271

    Default

    The route as you have it mapped is a no-go, the North Rim of the Grand Canyon is closed in the winter.

  9. Default

    Thank you for continuing to provide feedback. Based on that, I've mapped a route that takes us to the South Rim to see the Grand Canyon: http://maps.google.com/maps?f=d&sadd...,19.775391&z=6

    This means our list of sites is:

    Las Vegas
    The Hoover Dam
    The Grand Canyon
    St. George
    Zion National Park
    Bryce Canyon
    Grand Staircase Escalante
    Monument Valley
    Arches National Park
    Canyonlands National Park
    Mesa Verde
    Black Canyon of the Gunnison
    Denver
    St. Louis

    Am I missing anywhere that is a must see or is this too much to do in 5 days? We'd be spending the night of January 2nd in Las Vegas, so planning on leaving January 3rd late morning for the Hoover Dam, and wanting to by in St. Louis by January 7th.

    Any feedback as far as what to cut out, how long you recommend spending in one place, other ideas/suggestions are very welcomed. Thank you all so much!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,271

    Default

    It all depends on the weather. That itinerary is ambitious enough in the summer - I see a lot of potential for slowdowns in the winter. Sights like the Grand Canyon, etc. can't really be seen in an hour. Las Vegas - Grand Canyon - Kayenta - Durango - Denver point-to-point all by itself is legitimately 3 days. Actually seeing things and adding all the Utah attractions is probably biting off too much to chew.

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