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  1. Default MA to FL to CA and Back

    Hello: We are in our mid-50s, planning to visit relatives in FL and CA over a three week period, maybe a few days more. Also wish to see a few unusual/interesting sights on the way. Plan to take a roughly southern route west and northern route back east. Have already seen most east coast sights; also have seen Grand Canyon, Las Vegas, Yosemite, and SF. Ideas needed on southern central states, southwest (especially NM, southern AZ, maybe Utah). If feasible, would like to see Olympic Peninsula in WA, but that may be stretching it. In CA, will be in the northern LA area (Calabasas), then heading up to the Sierra foothills, northeast of Sacramento (Rte. 49 area). Any standout, don't-miss ideas? (By the way, have read a little about Cadillac Ranch on these forums; sounds interesting, if not too out of the way).

  2. #2


    Regarding the southwest, what is it that you like to do? I ask because that sort of changes things up a little.

    If you like natural spectacles, Southern Utah (IMHO) is the most impressive part of the southwest. I'm guessing other folks would argue this, but I'd take Bryce Canyon over the Grand Canyon all day long, my favorite hike I've ever done is in Zion's National Park, and Canyonlands is arguably more photogenic (and scenically varied) than either of those two.

    If you're looking for cultural heritage, Chaco Monument in NW New Mexico is pretty amazing as is Mesa Verde in SW Colorado (although it's a little less interesting now that you're no longer allowed to crawl around on the ancient, fragile buildings). Santa Fe is also a cool town, although, excepting the amazing food, I can't say I'm a big New Mexico proponent overall (although my NM friends assure me that if I lived there three months, I'd never leave).

    My favorite thing I ever did in Southern Arizona was take in the Pima Air & Space Museum in Tucson, a mostly outdoor complex that runs you through the history of commercial and military aviation and that is attached to the Davis-Monthan Boneyard Tour of mothballed military airplanes at Davis-Monthan AFB -- but then, I like airplanes :).

    If you're in Calabasas and don't necessarily hate Republicans, I hear the Reagan Library is outstanding (and would be nearby). (I've been to the Nixon Library in Orange County and found it pretty worthwhile, even though I'm not a big fan of politicians generally.) Also, if you're not tired of the desert by then, Joshua Tree NP has some interesting variations on the desert theme and might be worth a day on your way into LA.


  3. Default Refining Trip Details

    Thanks BK:
    We're not equipped for much hiking, due to our age and physical condition, so we're looking for stuff we can drive to and maybe take a short walk (< half-mile). Both scenic and man-made wonders are of interest. We drove through Zion NP briefly and were awed by it, so we're up for other types of natural spectacles. Your Chaco, Bryce and Canyonlands ideas sound really good. Also, if anyone has an idea for an interesting destination in the northern tier of states (maybe Glacier NP or something similar?) we'd like to hear it. By the way, does anyone have information about The Dalles? Is it worth a pass-through trip if time is somewhat limited?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default limitations

    Welcome to the RTA forum!

    I really don't think you've got enough time to detour all the way up to the Northwest. Its almost a week long trip driving cross country each way on a direct route, throw in your detour to Florida, and any time you spend visiting your relatives, and I think you're really going to be struggling to fit in everything as is.

    Is your 3 weeks a firm timeline, or do you have some flexability to add more days? How long are you planning to spend visiting your relatives, and do you know how many miles you can drive comfortably? (we usually recommend limiting it to 500-600 miles, but that's more for safety than comfort.)

  5. Default Probably Biting Off Too Much

    Hi Michael, thanks for the comments:
    We plan to stop one full day (two nights) in FL, then west. One, maybe two days in SoCal and one in the Sierras, then east. We're comfortable driving about 10 hours per day, although we'll likely do 12-13 hours the first two days to get to FL - done this trip many times, so know almost exactly how long it takes.

    Looking for sights along the way that won't take us more than 1-2 hours off the main east-west routes. BTW, for scenic, do you recommend US 50, US 80 or something else, as long as we can make 500-600 miles per day?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default If it were me

    Well, then you sound like you are on a pretty good path and you know what you are getting into. 500-600 miles is just about right for 10 hour days on the road.

    Personally, I'd probably take I-10 across from Florida to California. New Orleans, Big Bend, and White Sands would be among my highlights, although you could get more ideas here.

    Going back from Sacramento, I'd probably take US-50 across Nevada and pick up I-70, making sure to stop at places like Great Basin, Arches, Canyonlands, Black Canyon of the Gunnison, and/or Rocky Mountain NP heading through the Rockies, and then through KC and St. Louis on the way back home.

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