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  1. Default San Francisco to Cincinnati, half planned...

    On July 27th I will be leaving California and heading to Ohio for graduate school. Since I have never been to many of places in between the two coasts, I thought this would be a great opportunity to see some new things.

    I have to be in Cincinnati by August 9th. So I think I have plenty of time to hit some main sites. I'm a 24 y/o male who has no problem putting some serious time behind the wheel (I've gone from SF to Vancouver in one shot... twice).

    I'm about half way through plotting out a route which I have made a google map of...

    Road Trip across America

    The points in red are the places I really want to go to. The ones in blue seem interesting enough top stop at. I've gotten as far South Dakota and I could use some help. From here I want to venture through Chicago to see a friend and then make my way to Cincinnati. Any ideas the most interesting route? Have I missed any 'must see' places along the way?

    Hopefully you can tell I'm not really interesting in big cities so much as national parks and quirky things. Any suggestions would be great!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Nudges in the Right Direction

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America forums!

    First of all, we do not recommend driving over 1,200 miles at a sitting. Not only is it unsafe, endangering others besides yourself, but you get absolutely no enjoyment out of it or any real sense of the land you're driving through other than the view out of the windshield. If you want to actually want to take this "great opportunity to see some new things", then you'll have to slow down and get out of the car.

    Secondly, you've got the time to make this trip amazingly worthwhile so now I'm going to try to adjust your attitude a bit. As with your runs to Vancouver, if you just concentrate on "'must see' places", you're going to be missing out on one the best parts of taking a RoadTrip, and that is finding little visited locations off the beaten path. Yes, you should go to Yellowstone and stand with all the other tourists as Old Faithful erupts, and see all the sights in southwestern South Dakota, but there is so much more be experienced in between those standard destinations. Just a couple examples: Between San Francisco and Great Basin National Park are Lake Tahoe and historic Virginia City. Then between central Utah and Yellowstone, there are a host of wonders to be enjoyed if you eschew I-15 and instead take US-89.

    The same is true for most other sections of your journey as well. GoogleŽ maps and other computer based programs are fine for plotting possible routes, but they're practically useless for finding scenic roads, parks, and other attractions that might appeal to you. For this, you're going to need a good atlas of the U.S. These run around $10 and are well worth the investment. Go get one and start looking at what else is along or near your chosen route. You've got almost the entire continent between you and your destination so there's lots to see, but there's just too much for anyone to give you an exact list of places to go or roads to use to get there. Hopefully, the suggestions I've given you will give you an idea of what's available and how to set up an initial itinerary. If not, there are plenty of other such planning discussions around for you to have a look at. You've actually made a decent start, so keep it up, let us know when you have version 2, and we'll be happy to make further comments


  3. Default

    AZBuck, thanks for the reply

    To answer a few of your questions/concerns:

    I'd never dream of driving 1200 miles in a single sitting. Vancouver was 900... and none of my legs on this trip are even close to that.

    I'm also considering changing the route and taking I-70 for the majority of the trip. This will allow me to visit Bryce Canyon and Zion, plus it'll be a shorter drive over all. Giving me more time to take everything in.

    I've been to tahoe plenty so i think I can give it a miss. But i'll do a bit of research into Virginia City.

    Google maps isn't my planning grounds, I just thought it would be easier than listing a bunch of freeways. Maybe i'm just a visual learner...

    Can you recommend a good atlas? Thanks for your guidance thus far.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    The standard Rand McNally atlas for about $10 is well worth it. Used in conjunction with Google, that should give you enough visuals.

    If you want to see the sights in Utah such as Zion and Bryce, you would probably be better off going via Las Vegas rather than Tahoe. You could go to Zion, then Bryce, then UT-12 to UT-24 and see Capitol Reef on the way to I-70. From there, you could take a slight detour to Arches if you want. I-70 across western CO into Denver is one of the great scenic Interstates in the country.

    If you want to go to Yellowstone instead, you could do just Zion and Bryce, then US-89 up toward Salt Lake City.

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