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  1. #1

    Default Road trip 2010, Miami to Los Angeles, drawing board stage

    As I explained in the thread for this year's trip, I'm already planning next year's trip (for a variety of reason which I won't repeat here), so let's look at what I have in my mind:

    Day 1: Arrival in Miami
    2 Everglades, either go back to Miami or drive north a bit
    3 Jacksonville/Northern Florida
    4 Savannah
    5 Charleston
    6 + 7 drive up to Chicago
    8 in Chicago
    9 St. Louis
    10 Kansas City
    11, 12, 13: from Kansas City via Denver to Salt Lake City (possibly also via Canyonlands National Park)
    14 to Grand Teton NP
    15 at Grand Teton NP
    17 at Yellowstone
    18 drive to Browning, MT (or any other place west/south/southwest of Glacier NP)
    19 at Glacier NP
    20 + 21 from Glacier NP to Seattle (hopefully via Mt. Rainier)
    21 Olympic NP
    22 Portland
    23, 24 from Portland to San Francisco, along the coast
    25, 26 Pacific Coast Highway to Los Angeles
    27 in Los Angeles
    28 Flight back from Los Angeles

    Is this a good, solid 4-week schedule? I'm looking for a mix between National Parks, cities, scenic drives and I'm in love with the idea of a really varied trip that would take us through a variety of regions (FL, the South, the Heartland, the Rockies, the West Coast).

    So, is this trip utter nonsense or not? I don't mind a fast-paced road trip that keeps us active and on the road but on the other hand I wouldn't want to run into physical impossibilities either.

    I figure there's plenty of time left to plan this but on the other hand, I always hear about motels near National Parks being booked far in advance and I'll need to have a very good idea about the planning of a trip this size to book motels at specific points along the route.

    I really really like the route I laid out above but here's some options for tweaking the trip if you feel it needs improvement:

    1) Throw in a couple more days. (I figure it wouldn't outright destroy our budget)

    2) Start in Boston and go to Chicago from there.

    3) Start in Miami, but from Charleston go straight to St. Louis and skip Chicago.

    4) Start in Chicago.

    5) Kind of a last resort: Start in Denver or Salt Lake City and make it a loop around the Rockies.

    Okay, let me know what you think, I appreciate any opinions and input I can get.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,749

    Default What about the "other half" ?

    So, is this trip utter nonsense or not? I don't mind a fast-paced road trip that keeps us active and on the road but on the other hand I wouldn't want to run into physical impossibilities either.
    I haven't gone over the complete itinerary bit by bit but It's somewhere close to a 6000 mile trip and that's around 215 miles a day, so it's certainly possible. You could look at it that if you spent half of your days available at places of interest, the other half would be spent driving around 8 hours a day. Only you and your "other half" can decide what will work best for you but if there is romance in the air and a possible proposal you might want to wind it in a bit and have some more "quiet time." I think you need to think about what she might want from the trip, busy days or hot tubs and champagne. ;-)

    Enjoy the planning !

  3. #3

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Southwest Dave View Post
    I haven't gone over the complete itinerary bit by bit but It's somewhere close to a 6000 mile trip and that's around 215 miles a day, so it's certainly possible. You could look at it that if you spent half of your days available at places of interest, the other half would be spent driving around 8 hours a day. Only you and your "other half" can decide what will work best for you but if there is romance in the air and a possible proposal you might want to wind it in a bit and have some more "quiet time." I think you need to think about what she might want from the trip, busy days or hot tubs and champagne. ;-)

    Enjoy the planning !
    Oh, no worries on that front, when creating the plan I basically strung together all the places that I know for a fact she's day-dreaming about and added in a couple of my own. As for "quiet time", we both agree that there'll be more than enough quiet times once we've both fully entered the workforce and even more should there ever be kids. So we'd rather get all the adventures we can get while we can still get them.

    What I'm really worried about the itinerary is whether certain legs are too long, and how fast we can travel the coastal highway from Portland to Los Angeles, things like that.

  4. #4

    Default

    I've gone over the itinerary a couple of times now and it's practically decided to add another whole week to the trip, another day in Florida, another day on the way to Chicago, a stop between Kansas City and Denver, another stop between Denver and Salt Lake City and between Glacier NP and Seattle.

    The way I've laid it out now (I'll post a new itinerary when I feel I've reached enough decisions about it), I would have six whole days just for the drive from Portland to Los Angeles, with another full day in San Francisco and a full day in LA for sight-seeing.

    My big question at this junction: I'm having a hard time calculating time/distances/speed limits/road conditions on the West Coast, my goal is drive from Portland to Los Angeles hugging the coast as closely as possible (Hwy 1?) - Google says that's a total of roughly 1200 miles, but I read in another thread that the 400 miles between San Francisco and Los Angeles alone are supposed to be done in at least two days, which gave me a rough estimate of 200 miles per day on coastal roads, that's why I ended up allotting 6 days to the 1200 miles part of the trip.

    How much of a realistic estimate is that?
    Last edited by GalaxyRanger; 07-23-2009 at 01:27 PM. Reason: spelling

  5. #5

    Default

    Some changes have been decided, the trip will start on the Florida Keys and Chicago will be left out. The new plan looks like this:

    1 Key West
    2 Spend the night on another Key (Islamorada?)
    3 Miami
    4 Southern Florida
    5 Northern Florida
    6 Savannah
    7 Charleston
    8,9,10 Three stops between Charleston and St. Louis
    11 St. Louis
    12 Kansas City
    13 Between Kansas City and Denver
    14 Denver
    15, 16 Between Denver and Salt Lake City (+ Canyonlands NP)
    17 in SLC
    18 Grand Tetons
    19 Grand Tetons
    20 Yellowstone
    21 Glacier
    22 Glacier
    23 Halfway between Glacier and Seattle
    24 Seattle
    25 Olympic
    26 Portland
    6 days for the coastal route from Portland to Los Angeles, plus 1 day in San Francisco and 1 day in Los Angeles plus 1 day for the flight back = 9 days

    For a grand total of 35 days

    Still wondering about the coastal route, if someone could answer my question from the last post, that would be very helpful.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,359

    Default Miles = Mindset

    The problem with telling you how many days to allot to your west coast drive is that your 'distance made good' will depend on your attitude almost as much as on the roads. It is always a good idea to schedule two days for the drive between Los Angeles and San Francisco when using the PCH, that's because it is usually a unique experience and/or the highlight of a given RoadTrip, and there are plenty of nooks and crannies along that twisty, two-lane road to justify spending the time. However, the 200 mi/day that such a pace translates into is really a bit slow for a more complete drive of the entire coast. There may be days where weather or your attitude dictate against making a lot of stops for hiking or other outdoor activities, when even 400 miles might be possible during daylight hours. So, it's really up to you how much ground to cover in a day, and that decision will depend on the weather, what you want to see along the way and how much time you'll want to spend at those stops, traffic, unforeseen circumstances such as migrating whales or forest fires, and a host of other parameters. The one thing I can tell you is to plan on taking your time and leaving room to just go where your whims take you.

    AZBuck

  7. #7

    Default

    Ok thanks, that was helpful. I'd rather have too much time at the coast than not enough time, so I'll stick to the schedule as planned for the time being. Just wanted to be reassured that 200miles/day at the coast isn't a terrible rush for a coastal road.
    Last edited by AZBuck; 07-25-2009 at 07:27 AM. Reason: Quote of entire previous post removed.

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