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  1. Default Chicago to Maine to San Diego

    Hello all! I'm looking for advice and input on the road trip that I'm planning to begin on June 1st, 2009.

    I currently live in Chicago and am originally from Michigan (that will play in to this later). I am moving from Chicago to San Diego next year and since I am self-employed (can work from the road) I have decided to make a road trip out of the move.

    You may think that Chicago through Maine to San Diego is a bit off...not really - I have to travel through Michigan to see family before I go so I figured what the heck! Let's make this a coast-to-coast trip! So, that being given, I've worked out a roughly 20 day itinerary taking me from Chicago through Wisconsin to Michigan's UP to... San Diego. Here are the highlights, questions to follow.

    Chicago to Michigan - nothing much, just seeing the sights and decided to go through the UP rather than the normal Chicago to Michigan route (family lives in middle of state). I would never take this route in winter but in June, it seems safe.

    Michigan to Maine - Using Microsoft Streets, the route is through Canada to Upstate New, Niagara Falls on the way through and camp in upper NY between Rochester and Syracuse. Next day, to Gloucester, MA to see the city of "The Perfect Storm" fame along with some whale watching and tourist things...yes, I'm going to the Crow's Nest! From Gloucester I tool up to Portland and camp there for the night before I begin the Journey...

    I'm going to speed this up big time with fewer details because I am looking for input on this part of the trip.

    Portland to Cooperstown, NY - Baseball Hall of Fame
    Cooperstown to Canton, OH - Pro Football HOF
    Canton to South Bend - College Football HOF
    South Bend to Des Moines - it's a family thing to stop in Des Moines
    Des Moines to Deadwood, SD - going to see Mt Rushmore and Deadwood
    Deadwood to Yellowstone - Yellowstone says enough
    Yellowstone to Fort Collins, CO - Random stop 1 day drive
    Fort Collins to Albuquerque - Random stop 1 day drive
    Albuquerque to Grand Canyon - Grand Canyon
    Grand Canyon to San Diego - Yay...I'm done and get to stop typing.

    My questions and thoughts:

    I'm looking for input here - just to make sure that I'm not driving right by something I almost did w/ Yellowstone - I was going to go from Mt. Rushmore to Colorado,,,

    I will be driving a SUV by myself with a 8-10 month old Weimaraner who will be house broken and leash and command trained. I plan to stop approximately every 2-3 hours to let the dog out and stretch the legs.

    I plan to tent camp at every stop, although, if necessary, I can spring for a hotel and clean/dry up.

    I plan to cook 2 meals a day at the camp site and grab lunch in interesting places as I pass through - I've looked on chow hound but would love foodie suggestions on great places not to miss....please do not recommend anything in Chicago...been there, ate that!

    Lastly, I am sure I am missing something so please, please, please give my any input - even if it seems minor like buying a locking gas cap before I will all be appreciated!

    Oh, by the way, I am skipping the Hoover Dam, Las Vegas and California on purpose...those are day trips from where I will be and I had to narrow it down to the GC among the 4 to save time.

    Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Western/Central Massachusetts

    Default Welcome!

    Welcome to the RoadTrip America Forum!

    Does your route to Maine include Adirondacks, the Green Mts. in Vermont and/or the White Mts. in New Hampshire, or are you heading along I-90 then up to Maine? I think, since you do not absolutely have to be in a certain location at a certain time, that you would want to at least see the Presidential mountains in New Hampshire, such as Mt. Washington.

    Since you've listed halls of fame as interests of yours, perhaps you'd also be interested in the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, MA? Also in the same building is a good restaurant, J. Quincy's. But if you're looking for more of a "roadfood" type of place, then try the White Hut in West Springfield.

    The Volleyball Hall of Fame is in Holyoke, MA, and the Soccer Hall of Fame is in Oneonta, NY.

    Des Moines to Deadwood - this is a long stretch for a single day on the road, especially driving solo. However, you may have left out a stop in between in your desire for brevity.

    The plan to stop every 2-3 hours is a good one, and not just for your dog.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    How do you have your S&T set up for determining the length of a driving day? My rule of thumb is - if you want to be on the road for 10 hours a day, set it for a 8 hour driving day to compensate for stops, etc.

  4. Default RE: Maine to San Diego

    Thanks for the input Tim and to answer your question glc, it's pretty easy.

    In Microsoft Streets, you set up your trip with information like time of day to start, mileage of your vehicle, speeds that you will travel on certain types of roads, etc. I plan to start every day at 9:00 AM and travel 75 MPH on the interstates. Basically, I pick a spot about 1/2 way which is interesting and schedule a 1 hour stop because that is where I will usually have to refuel and grab lunch. Next, I pick a spot about where I know I will end the day and pick a camping spot and then work back from there - looking for interesting things to see and do and pick another spot or two along the route. Basically, I get the first 3 hours of driving out of the way from 9 to 12, take a break and meander the rest of the day until about 3-4 when I'll be near my campground. I base the driving day on what is along the route - some days (Des Moines to Deadwood) will be an 8 hour push - but very few are like this. If I get slowed down and can't make my campground I can just pop open the laptop and find another closer to where I will actually end up and make up the distance the next day with fewer stops or an earlier start. Usually, I average better time than the program and I've also only built in entire days off in Michigan with family, Gloucester, Deadwood, Yellowstone and at the Grand Canyon. With all this given, I have an 18 day trip and a 30 day window, so I still have a few days off to add in if something comes up or I find a really cool spot and want to stay.

    Tim, very interesting...I didn't realize that I was going to be so close to the Basketball HOF and might make it a stop Vollyball and Soccer HOF's don't interest me. The White Hut suggestion is right on the money....exactley the kind of thing I'm looking for...if it's been in business for 50 some odd years and serves 3 things, you know that they are doing something right!

    Thanks again and I look forward to all of your input.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    You will not be able to do 75 mph on the Interstates in the northeast. That is only realistic west of the Mississippi and south of the Mason-Dixon line.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default Sounds like a "job" pace to me

    Quote Originally Posted by marc7976708 View Post
    With all this given, I have an 18 day trip and a 30 day window, so I still have a few days off
    As the other members have indicated above -- this seems like a very ambitious pace to me. It might be possible to stick to that schedule, but it seems a lot like "work" to me.


  7. Default Thanks for the input

    Thanks Mark,

    As I have it posted, it might seem overly ambitious but in all reality I'm off the road most days by 3 PM - and if 75 MPH is not reasonable (I drive in Chicago every day and I've never hit 60 MPH, so I get what you mean gps) I can adjust on the fly.

    I've tried to avoid making this feel like a job - long way from home to get burned out 1/2 way through...:-) - by having no night driving whatsoever (you miss too much at nigh), getting off the road most days relatively early, etc. If it starts to feel like a job than I can always take the plan, toss it in the garbage and start over. There are really only 3 givens on this whole trip:

    1) Start in Chicago on June 1st
    2) End up in San Diego by June 30th
    3) Travel between the two points by automobile with dog in tow

    All the other stuff is fluff and can be adjusted as I go.

    Thanks again, I look forward to all input!

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