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  1. Default NYC TO LA: 12 day trip and move and completely overwhelmed

    Hello All,

    My wife and I are moving from NY to LA in about a week. We are leaving August 3rd and must arrive in LA by August 15. I've been researching and looking into this trip for a while but at this point it all seems a little overwhelming. I have never planned or done something like this even though it has been my goal to do a road trip for years - Our goals are to get to the West Coast having seen and appreciated as much as possible.

    My biggest concern is what to do about Yellowstone National Park and Grand Teton National park. By the time we get to Yellowstone I am scared we might only be able to drive through it - and even then I can't figure out if it is possible to drive through the park in one day. One route takes us to the North West entrance through the Beartooth Highway.

    The other option is to skip the Beartooth Highway and drive to Grand Teton
    National park. I think we can afford two days at most in either Yellowstone or Grand Teton and any advice as to what to do will be so appreciated.

    From Grand Teton we plan on driving and spending a day in Salt Lake City or Zion National Park and from there pretty much book it to LA.

    One route is drive from Chicago through the Badlands, Mount Rushmore, Devils Tower. Then drive to the Beartooth Highway and enter Yellowstone and either drive through Yellowstone or stay. The other is to skip everything above and drive from Chicago to Grand Teton and spend several days there.

    Here are our 2 itinerary options.

    OPTION 1:
    Monday August 3: NYC - Cleveland, OH
    Tuesday August 4: Cleveland - Chicago
    Wednesday August 5: Chicago - South Dakota
    Thursday August 6: Drive through the Badlands, Mount Rushmore, Devils Tower Monument
    Friday August 7: Drive to Beartooth Highway and continue into Yellowstone National Park

    Saturday August 8: In the park or drive through the park.
    Sunday: August 9: Same
    Monday August 10: Same

    Or Drive through the park and spend August 8, 9 and 10 in Grand Teton

    Tuesday August 11: Grant Teton to Salt Lake City
    Wednesday August 12: Zion National Park
    Thursday August 13: Salt Lake to Las Vegas
    Friday August 14: Las Vegas to LA

    OPTION 2 (completely bypasses South Dakota and goes straight to Grand Teton and the South Entrance to Yellowstone)
    Monday August 3: NYC - Cleveland, OH
    Tuesday August 4: Cleveland - Chicago
    Wednesday August 5: Chicago - Omaha
    Thursday August 6: Omaha to somewhere in Wyoming
    Friday August 7: Arrive Grand Teton National Park

    Saturday August 8: In the park
    Sunday: August 9: Same
    Monday August 10: Same

    Tuesday August 11: Grant Teton to Salt Lake City
    Wednesday August 12: Zion National Park
    Thursday August 13: Salt Lake to Las Vegas
    Friday August 14: Las Vegas to LA

    Alternatively, We can spend an afternoon in Salt Lake City and skip Zion National park so we have an extra day in either Yellowstone or Grand Teton.

    Any recommendations or advice as to how to best take advantage of our time on the road. Part of me feels like everything is so scheduled, and I really hope we are not driving through the national parks pointing to all the things we wish we could stop and see. The other part of me thinks I've looked at too many books and maps to make sense of anything in anymore.

    I am so excited to have found this forum. I have lived in New York for almost 10 years and am looking forward to contributing or helping out with anyone's trips to the Big Apple or East Coast. I hope to become a regular here.

    Thank you to everyone in advance for your help with our trip.

  2. Default

    I just discovered that Sturgis Motorcyle Rally is taking place July 31-August 8. I think given that we are moving to LA, we are going to have to skip SD now - I don't want to deal with that kind of traffic.

    Do I go Chicago - Iowa - Nebraska - Wyoming or go north and do Chicago - North Dakota - Montana - Wyoming.

    12 days and we will certainly want to be outdoors and not driving the whole day for a couple of those days.

    Thanks.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,064

    Default stepping back

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    First, I'd recommend taking a step back. All the plans you've come up with have you spending 3 days at Yellowstone, so I'm not sure why you're so worried about having to just drive through the park or see it in one day.

    Think of it this way, you need about 6 days of driving to cover the miles from NY to LA, so you've got 6 extra days at your disposal.

    I do see one time-sucking error with your plans. You've got yourself going from Salt Lake to Zion, back to Salt Lake, and then to Vegas. Zion is actually much closer to Vegas than it is to Salt Lake. You could easily save a day here.

    Even if you stayed in SLC into the afternoon, you could drive to Zion, spend the night there, explore the park for most of the day and still make it to Vegas that day. Or if Salt Lake is just a stopping point, you could probably fit in both Zion and Bryce Canyon over 2 days. In fact, since this is a moving trip and you'll now just be a few hours from Vegas, you could also skip Vegas for now and drive direct from Zion to LA in one reasonable day on the road.

    If you decide to go through North Dakota, Teddy Roosevelt NP is right along I-94 and would make for a good stop. You've got a lot more time here than you are giving yourself credit for, so relax, and start enjoying things!

  4. Default

    Hi Midwest Michael,

    Thank you so much for responding. I really appreciate it. I think I'll start relaxing once our apartment is fully boxed up and everything is on the moving truck :)

    The big question is, would you recommend spending 3 days in Yellowstone or 3 days in Grand Teton? I guess my fear of just driving through the park comes from wanting to do the Beartooth HWY into Yellowstone but not knowing if I have the time to do this or if it's even worth it for this trip.

    It looks like it's either between I-94 and I-80 for the trip between Chicago and Wyoming. Any thoughts on which one is a better choice for this trip.

    We totally plan on skipping Vegas on this trip and heading straight to LA from Zion. Thank you for pointing that out. That was a great idea.

    Do you think it would make more sense to drive to Salt Lake City in the morning, spend the day there and go to Zion and Bryce Canyon the following day. Or, Drive to Salt to Lake and spend a couple of hours, drive to Zion that evening and wake up to explore the park the next day?

    Thanks again.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,064

    Default not either or

    Again, I really think you've got more time than you are giving yourself credit for.

    You've given yourself basically full day to make the trip down the Beartooth, and then 3 more days which you can certainly split up between Yellowstone and the Tetons. Of course, you'll have to pick and choose what parts of each park you see, but as long as you pick the highlights you want to see and don't try to do everything, you should be fine.

    I probably wouldn't try to drive from Yellowstone to Zion in one day. It could be done, but it would be a pretty long day on the road. That said, its a relatively short drive from SLC to Yellowstone, so if you wanted to give yourself another morning in the Tetons, you could simply plan to arrive in Salt Lake in the late afternoon/evening, and spend the night there.

  6. Default Ok, no longer either or

    OK, I'm doing both. :)

    Any advice/thoughts on I-80 or I-94. Is one more scenic than the other?

    And in terms of Yellowstone, is it best to stay in one location and travel back and forth or would it make sense to stay one night in MT, The next in Cody, ETC.

    Thank you. Getting much less nervous.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,064

    Default Nd

    Personally, I would probably take I-94, but that's just because I've always enjoyed my trips across North Dakota and Montana, and find Teddy Roosevelt NP to be a great little gem of a park.

  8. Default Such a Newbie

    Hello again,

    This is it! This is our new road trip as everything I tried to book for Yellowstone was either booked or as expensive as one month's rent :)

    I was hoping someone could let me know if I've made the right and good choices in the Colorado/Utah portion of our trip. I know it is going to be hot but we definitely want to spend a day on the water and a day or at least most of a day hiking in one of these parks. Any help/recommendations are greatly appreciated. Thanks.

    Day 1: NYC - Cleveland
    Day 2: Cleveland to Chicago (spend day in Chicago)
    Day 3: Chicago to Omaha
    Day 4: Omaha - Denver
    Day 5: Denver to Black Canyon of the Gunnison
    Spend the afternoon hiking, etc

    Question:Should we spend an extra day here?

    Day 6: Black Canyon to Mesa Verde National Park along the million dollar highway
    Day 7: Spend the day in the touring the park. Drive to MOAB
    Day 8: Spend the day in MOAB
    Day 9: Drive to Salt Lake City and spend the day in Salt Lake
    Day 10: Drive to Bryce Canyon and on the Zion
    Day 11: Spend the day in Zion
    Day 12: Drive to LA

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,064

    Default big detour

    Do you have a specific reason for wanting to go to Salt Lake City? Thats a pretty big detour from everywhere else on your trip.

    I will note that you've left off Rocky Mountain NP as a possible stop, although I assume that Arches and/or Canyonlands is part of your visit to Moab?

    Also, instead of going to Moab, you could look at doing a Monument Valley/Lake Powell/Grand Canyon North Rim/Zion swing through Southern Utah/Northern Arizona, but that's just one of many options you'd have to consider.

  10. Default Detour indeed

    Quote Originally Posted by Midwest Michael View Post
    Do you have a specific reason for wanting to go to Salt Lake City? Thats a pretty big detour from everywhere else on your trip.

    I will note that you've left off Rocky Mountain NP as a possible stop, although I assume that Arches and/or Canyonlands is part of your visit to Moab?

    Also, instead of going to Moab, you could look at doing a Monument Valley/Lake Powell/Grand Canyon North Rim/Zion swing through Southern Utah/Northern Arizona, but that's just one of many options you'd have to consider.
    Hello, I totally see what you are saying about Salt Lake being a pretty big detour. No reason to go other than it looks/sounds interesting.

    I'll look into Monument valley. . . my wife and I have done the grand canyon on other trips and were thinking we would come back and devote more time there. Would you recommend spending an extra day for hiking in Gunnison, Messa, Zion or Moab? Trying to fill that extra day or so if we don't go to Salt Lake.

    Thanks again for your help.

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