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  1. Default CA to NH and back in Sept.

    In 23 days in September, with 2 adults (only 1 driver) and 2 kids (4.5 and 6.5 years old), we are planning on driving from Northern California to New Hampshire and back. Our plan is a week each way, a week in New Hampshire/New England and a couple of extra just in case days. Are we nuts? Ok, even if we are we need some tips, suggestions, guidance. We have family/friends to see outside of Denver and Chicago but beyond that we are open to routes and suggestions. Any input is greatly appreciated.

  2. Default

    I-15 to I-70 would be the more scenic route. And then either go up I-76 to I-80, or I-55 out of St. Louis (if you want to see the arch, etc). You may want to go east from Cedar City, UT towards the national parks. I've been to Arches. There's Canyonlands, Bryce, Zion, etc. Definitely worth it.

    In Ohio, go north of Toledo and get on OH-2, and drive that by the lake the whole way. You can go up to Marlbehead and up to Kelly Island (Glacier Grooves on the island are cool).

    In Erie, PA, you can go out of Presque Isle (beautiful peninsula into Lake Erie). Then, there's the old standby of Niagara Falls, the Whirlpool, etc. The drive up the river (US or CAN side) is quite nice. My wife and I spent New Years a few years back at a small hotel in Niagara-on-the-Lake.

    Once you get east of Albany, almost any road you take will be quite scenic.

    Your trip is going to be about 3,000 miles. So, for 7 days, would be 430 miles per day. Which is doable. For actual driving time, that's 6 hours at 70mph, 7 at 60, etc. Add in breaks, etc, and you're looking at 10-12 hours a day with stops for food, rest, bathroom, tourist traps, etc.

    Sykotyk

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

    Default good pacing

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    It sounds like you've already done a good job of getting the basics down. A week each direction will give you enough time to comfortable cover the distance, and have time to make some stops along the way too.

    Starting from northern california, I-80 would probably be the most direct route, but with a week, you've not locked into that option. Two options I would consider would include cutting down to I-70 through Utah and Colorado. That will take you across some remarkable scenery and very close to several national parks. You could also look at taking US-50 aka the "loneliest road" across Nevada, which would take you right to I-70. You could also look at cutting a bit north towards I-90 and go to places like Yellowstone and Mt.Rushmore/Black Hills/Badlands. What I would probably do is take at least one of those routes one direction and then either use the other or I-80 when you travel the other way.

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

    Default Pacing Indeed

    This is going to be one of those trips where you will need to keep one eye on the calendar and make sure that you are always on a pace to finish up in the time you have. Particularly you don't want to get caught short at the end and have your last few days be nothing more than long, tedious slogs to make it home in time. I have traveled both alone and with my two grandsons (about your children's ages) and have found that as long as I make a 'fun' stop every few hours, we are good to keep going for fairly long days of driving. A typical day would be to get on the road by 7:00, drive for 2-3 hours, stop and do something, drive another 2-3 hours, stop in a park for a picnic lunch, another session of driving, another stop, and a final short drive until we stop for the night. That's a strategy that will let you cover a surprising number of miles a day (550-600 or so) and still let you have a number of little adventures with your kids. Places to make these stops are quite plentiful along the Interstates. Here are some, but there are others.

    Once in New England, there is no shortage of great attractions, and by all means, feel free to take a different route back home so that you can see more, new stuff, I-80 and I-70 would be your two basic choices, but play with some alternate routes that might take you to some places you've always wanted to see. A week to cross the continent does leave a little wiggle room, Use it.

    AZBuck

  5. Default

    Thanks for the great suggestions thus far. I am pretty overwhelmed just beginning this planning process.

    For those of you with lots of road trip experience - do you find it is better to have a set schedule of stops and hotels pre-booked or to have a general idea and take it as it comes? I am a planner at heart but I don't want to make this a stressful trip.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    I generally take it as it comes. I usually stop at chain motels at Interstate exits near or in smaller towns and have seldom been turned away. It wouldn't hurt to have directories for a few major chains in the car, when you start getting tired, get on the phone and check availability.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default Personal styles

    The pre-book question really depends solely on the person doing the trip. There are plenty of people who are more comfortable knowing exactly where they are going to be at the end of the night and that they won't have spend the end of a long day searching for a place to stay. Other people love the freedom of being able to keep things flexable and stop when they are ready to be done for the night. There's no right or wrong answer to that one, its just a matter of what makes each individual most comfortable.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Western/Central Massachusetts
    Posts
    1,703

    Default Situational

    Quote Originally Posted by CAtoNH09 View Post

    For those of you with lots of road trip experience - do you find it is better to have a set schedule of stops and hotels pre-booked or to have a general idea and take it as it comes? I am a planner at heart but I don't want to make this a stressful trip.
    I think for your situation, you'd be okay without doing too many (if any) reservations. You're traveling at a time of year that isn't peak tourist season, and you're giving yourself plenty of time to do it. By adding in reservations, you could make what would be a nice, relaxed day into a clock watching event.

    Will the entirety of the trip be taking place in September? The reason I ask is that foliage season in Norther New England will be coming around in October. That would be a good excuse for making a reservation, at least on that leg of the trip.

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