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  1. #1

    Default Aug. 2009, All over the West/Midwest!

    My boyfriend, Matt, and I are planning a road trip for next August. We've mapped out the details as far as which cities we will be visiting, but we're having a hard time finding fun little places to stop along the way. I'm sure there will be signs for local tourist attractions and what not, but we're one a bit of a schedule for particularly one place we need to be which is: Las Vegas, Nevada.

    We've turned our one set destination into quite the road trip. We are starting in Duluth, Minnesota, and our next stops are as follows:

    Start: Duluth, MN
    Stop 1: Billings, MT
    Stop 2: Seattle, WA
    Stop 3: Richland, WA
    Stop 4: **Las Vegas**
    Stop 5: Grand Canyon, AZ
    Stop 6: Denver, CO
    Stop 7: Mount Rushmore, SD
    Stop 8: Home: Duluth, MN

    Since this is our first roadtrip together, any tips for us? Fun things to do on the long days of driving? Suggestions for fun places to visit around any of our stops, or simply, along the way? I look forward to any and all ideas, Thanks guys!

    -Aly and Matt

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

    Default Define "a bit of a schedule"

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    What you've got laid out is nearly 5,100 miles of driving by the most efficient point-to-point routes possible. That's 9-10 days of JUST driving, minimum. I assume you also want to spend some time in Seattle, Richland, Las Vegas, the Grand Canyon, and the Rapid City area. Taking just a day at each would push your itinerary to a minimum of two weeks. Unless you have significantly more time than that, you really won't have a lot of spare time for "fun places to visit" except those that are right along the Interstates.

    AZBuck

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default what is your schedule

    I'm a little confused by your plan. You say that you are on a bit of a schedule, but you don't really say what your timetable will be.

    I'm hoping this 8 stop itinerary doesn't mean that you are planning to drive between each of these places without stopping. Duluth to Billings and Billings to Seattle are 900 miles, and Richland to Vegas is 1050! Those kinds of distances are not drives you can do in one day. Those distances would require 16-18+ hours, minimum to cover the ground. That leaves no time for proper rest, much less stopping at tourist attractions or do anything that resembles fun. Simply put, it would be a recipe for a disasterous trip.

  4. #4

    Default Schedule

    The only set scheduled times we have is to be in Las Vegas by the 22nd of August. we're planning on being in Vegas from the 20-24 of August. And that is where most of our vacation will lay. The other lot of it will mostly be driving. We've both driven very long distances in short amounts of time, the driving doesn't scare me. We may crop out some of the trip, we've discussed stopping in Seattle for a few days as well. There are some unscheduled places we'll be stopping between some of the destination points, since we don't know the area all that well, we're going to play it by ear as far as being tired and where to stop. Is this a bad idea, or should we have every stop planned out!?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default A balance

    Theres no reason you have to have every stop scheduled out, but since you do have some time restrictions, it will probably help to have a rough outline of where you'll want to be. Certainly, you can change that outline as your trip develops, but an outline at least will let you have a baseline to make sure you reach your destination when you want to.

    I'm also not saying any long distance driving should scare you, I'm simply saying you should have a concept of what is realistic, safe, and fun. Trying to drive 900-1000 miles a day as part of a long term road trip isn't any of those things.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,748

    Default How long?

    Hi Aly and Matt.

    A schedule is one thing but knowing how long you have to keep to it is another.

    The only set scheduled times we have is to be in Las Vegas by the 22nd of August. we're planning on being in Vegas from the 20-24 of August. And that is where most of our vacation will lay. The other lot of it will mostly be driving.
    It's nice to be flexible but to help you find places of interest or to stop at overnight, we need to know [roughly] how long you have for your trip either side of Vegas or is it just the 3/4 nights either side?

    [sorry if I am missing something]

  7. #7

    Default Schedule

    Most of our stops are just day stops. We're planning on 3 weeks at the longest... So our stops on the way should be quick 1-2 hour stops, even if it's a simple place to stop for scenery and have a picnic. We will be in Vegas from August 20, 21, 22, 23, and we're leaving the morning of the 24th to go on with our trip. We do want to spend one entire day in Seattle, so get there the night of let's say the 17th, spend all of the 18th in Seattle for touring and then leave early the 19th to make our way to Vegas.

    Despite what others have suggested, Matt and I will be spending long days driving, probably 10-15 hours a day of driving. I'm away at college, and I have driven 13 hours straight several times by myself. Matt currently lives 24 hours away from me right now, and he's driven 12+ hours in a day as well. Obviously we'll be taking turns driving, we're not worried at all about driving long periods of time.

    We haven't chosen an exact day to leave, or come home, when we have more of an idea what our budget will be, I'll post more details for more advice! We are planning on bringing a large cooler with and eating most of our meals that way. We wanted to visit Glacier National Park in Montana, it may be on this road trip, or else we'll be seeing it sometime this May when I go to Calgary to visit Matt, since he lives north of it. Any suggestions as to good points within Glacier Park to visit?

    How about car games? Can anyone think of fun things to do in the car together while driving for 2 adults?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default the sprint and the marathon

    I'll say just one more thing on the subject and be done with it.

    There is a very big difference between doing a 12 hour drive and reaching your destination and planning to do that sort of thing day after day. There also is the element that it doesn't appear that you've ever traveled long distances with each other, which is something that you also have to think about. I'm sure you're thinking that you're in a great relationship so there's no way you'll have any problems, but I know of many cases where relationships and even lifelong friendships have been badly damaged or even ended because people went into a trip thinking they were invincible and they tryed to do too much or they didn't think about each others traveling styles.

    I'm not saying you shouldn't do the trip you want to do, and of course, any decision is in your hands. You might even been in the tiny minority who has no problems traveling 12 hours a day, day after day, and enjoy each others company so much that you never need a break. But I hope you at least take a moment to think that there is more to having a great trip than just picking points on a map that you want to visit and saying we're going to do it.

    As far as games and things of that nature, honestly, I've never really put any sort of thought into it. I generally find that the road itself comes up with more than enough points of conversation, and a little quiet time in the interim isn't a bad thing.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by aly_matt_817 View Post
    There are some unscheduled places we'll be stopping between some of the destination points, since we don't know the area all that well, we're going to play it by ear as far as being tired and where to stop. Is this a bad idea, or should we have every stop planned out!?
    No need to have every stop planned, I rarely plan my next stop more than 24 hrs ahead. Thing is, you need to be flexible to be able to do that. If you have just three weeks, I would be pretty sure where each night will be spent.

    Check the maps carefully, and the web and guide books, and find out what there is to see / do between point A and point B each day - and then allow time to visit / do those places / activities which interest you.

    But I agree with Michael, you might think that driving long hours is a hoot... but statistics show that fatigue and speed are the main causes of road crashes. Long hours day after day do not equate with road safety.

    Make safety your priority!

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