Iím planning a cross-country move from NJ to Northern California (Davis, California), and would appreciate any roadtripper wisdom. Weíre packing our modest belongings and setting out on September 9th (something about the crisp Indian Summer air makes me want this date to come asap). Weíre looking at about 8 days to work with. Being that we are on a budget of about 1,000, we are planning to camp out as much as possible, stop by some state and/or national parks, and stretch our legs with a couple of hikes along the way. Iím in between I-80 or I-70. Initially, we planned on the I-80. I know this part is a bit subjective, but I would like your guysí input on an early September adventure with respect to these routes. I know 8 days is rather limited, but we mean to get east of the Mississippi as quick as possible and enjoy the beauty of the West.
Our tentative I-80 itinerary looks like this:
Day 1: Our first day we mean to set out at around 4:30 am, driving in 4 hour shifts. Looking like a 12hr day getting to or around Chicago. Iíve read in this forum that Chitown is a traffic trap. If so, what is an alternative to get out West quicker. Isnít I-80 the quickest way? If this is our first destination, we look to get some much needed rest at a hotel, maybe in the Lincoln Park area. NJ to CHI about 790 mi.
Day 2? : Here is where things start to get a little foggy. Starved Rock State Park is 80 miles west of Chicago. Not sure if we could pull out a 870 mile day and arrive here before dark and set up camp on Day 1. Havenít pulled a 12+ hour trip in one day, although my wife and I are accustomed to traveling long stretches like 6hrs each without stopping. Nevertheless, would like to stop by and check it out. Tentative day 2 looks like this: Depart from Chitown around 5am get to the park around 7am. Relax for the day and enjoy the park.
Day 3: Leave the park at 5am and arrive at Lake McConaughy. Starved Rock to McConaughy about 670 miles. Interestingly this destination is right before a split between I-80 and I-76, which later runs into I-70. Wyoming or Colorado is the question here folks. Given our love for the outdoors, what would the veteran roadtripper/adventurer recommend? I know weather is unpredictable, but anyone leaning on one or the other given the time of year. Any advice here?
Day 4: Somewhere between Wyoming or Colorado for the day.
Day 5: Utah, thinking Bryce Canyon or Zion????
Day 6-8: Reno?, Lake Tahoe, and finally Davis.
Guys, any advice or information would be most appreciated.