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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Philadelphia, PA soon to be Stanford, CA

    Default 1st Roadtrip: Phila,PA to Stanford, CA

    Greetings Readers:

    Kudos to all for the amazing advices and upcoming/past roadtrips! :-)

    In November 2nd I will attempt my 1st roadtrip ever out the PA area and into the unknown. Its exciting and scary at the same time because I am not too sure on how mother nature will treat me or my car in the November season.

    I wanted advice on places to visit on my roadtrip to California. I drive a Sebring convertible so that is not a good car for snowy mountains---so I was wondering about taking the southern route and then driving up the coast of California until I make it to San Fran/Stanford Area.
    What is your advice?

    My budget is $1100 for each person in my car (Me and the passenger). Can I make this a fun roadtrip or is this pushing my luck? I need my car and couldnt find a shipper that would allow any personal items in my car so I believe this is the only way for me to travel to Cali----my new home.

    Thank you for your time and advice! Im so excited! :-)

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default First Decisions

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    Planning a RoadTrip is all about gathering information and then making informed decisions. What you've got so far are your starting and end points, your budget (which should be quite sufficient unless you plan on taking a month for the trip), and your crew. I suspect that you also know how much time you have available, but in general terms you'll need about a week for a pleasant drive with time to see some major attractions, and maybe two weeks if you really want to get off the main highways, explore, poke around, or spend significant time anywhere along the way. So the big decision you're now facing is which way to go and what to see. Those two things are really inseparable. You have two basic choices, as you've alluded to. You can go 'straight across' the middle of the country on I-80 basically, or you can swing south from St. Louis via I-44/I-40/CA-58/I-5. That choice is really up to you and your traveling partner. There is only about 100 miles difference in the driving distance between the two, and November is still early enough that you should not have to worry about major closures of I-80 across either the Rockies or Sierra Nevada. So what I'd suggest is that the two of you sit down with a good map of the U.S. and look at the routes available to you, see what's along each one, and choose the one that appeals to you the most. There will be no completely right or wrong decision, just the one that best suits you.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    I'd also examine the I-70/US-50/I-80 option. US-50 through Nevada is the "Loneliest Road".

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Philadelphia, PA soon to be Stanford, CA


    Thank you for responding:

    I have looked at maps and I am stuck with places to visit before I get to California;
    So far this is how the trip will go if all goes as planned and God willing:

    1. Philly to Niagara Falls, NY (Drive Around 7hrs)
    2. NY to Cleveland, OH to visit family n rest (Drive 3.5 hrs)
    3. OH to Chicago, IL to visit family, Skydive with friends, n rest (Drive around 5.5 hours)
    4. IL to Minneapolis, MN to visit friends n rest (Drive around 6.5 hours)
    5. MN to Pierre, SD to visit Mount Rushmore (Drive around 6.5 hours)

    I would like to drive straight to another location 5-7 hours away before I plan to rest again. I was assuming somewhere in Wyoming will be safe---are there any cool spots to stop at in Wyoming and Nevada in the first week of November. I know Wyoming has Yellowstone and Good Old Faithful and the Devil's towers right???---but is there any fun activity to do?? I was looking on the internet and send activities ending October and starting December, Can some one please help me plan the rest of my Trip to Stanford, CA.
    Any advice and suggestions are greatly appreciated!!!! :-)

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default That Final Leg

    For all practical purposes, roads through Yellowstone will close for the winter at 8:00 AM on November 2nd. So you might as well plan on heading west and south on I-90/I-25 from Rapid City to Casper, WY for the night and then use WY-220/US-287 to Rawlins and I-80. That would then take you by way of Salt lake City, and Reno/Lake Tahoe to Stanford. As glc suggested, you could also head a bit south from SLC and take US-6/US-50, the "Loneliest Road" past Great Basin National Park.


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

    Default miscalculation

    Quote Originally Posted by ilbobe View Post
    5. MN to Pierre, SD to visit Mount Rushmore (Drive around 6.5 hours)
    Just so you're aware, the Drive from Minneapolis to Mount Rushmore is far more than 6.5 hours. That's more than a 600 mile trip, and in the best case, going the fastest/most direct route, you'll be looking at 10 hours on the road.

    I will also note that Pierre is not on the fastest or most direct route (Its the only state capitol in the 48 not connected to the Interstate System). The fastest way is a 40 mile one way detour due north from I-90, which you'd have to double back on to continue onto Mount Rushmore. So adding Pierre would easily push your day up over 12 hours on the road.

    Depending upon your priorities, you may want to consider skipping Minneapolis, as it does add a couple of extra hours of driving between Chicago and Rapid City.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Philadelphia, PA soon to be Stanford, CA


    Hey Guys! I never got to thank you all for your advice on the route! You guys were great on helping me plan my trip, by the way it turned out AWESOME!

    It took me three weeks to plan everything, I wanted to be sure I had everything laid out because I did not want to be nervous or stressed on the road. I took a diary to blog about everything I did and seen, I brought inspirational music and books to encourage me on the road, I layered up, had snacks and water, some roadside assistance items (thankfully I didn't need), party music, some wine for when we stopped driving for the was truly an amazing trip! I didn't ride at night, just in the morning....I was careful on what hours to be on the road since it was only me and my female friend in the car...

    The trip cost $1000, including my friend's one way ticket home, so we split everything $500 even. We stood over relatives and friend's homes so it really saved us money. We seen everything we wanted to see and really had a party in the USA!

    My Stops:
    *Day One:
    (Starting from Philadelphia, PA)
    -Niagara Falls, NY (I've never went, so I wanted to see it)
    -Ended My aunts house in Cleveland, OH who cooked basically a thxgiving feast for us! We took leftovers for the road
    *Day Two and Three:
    -Passed through Indiana the State
    -Ended at Chicago (I stood at my friend's house for two days and partied lol)
    we seen the sear's tower, toured the city, stood in a skyscraper downtown so we had so a lot of fun! Chi-style pizza wasn't that good lol I am a total NY thin crust pizza type of gal!
    *Day Four:
    -Wisconsin CHEESE! YUMMMM
    -Minnesota to the MALL OF AMERICA!
    -Ended in Minneapolis, stood over my friends house, he had wine and pizza for us lol
    *Day Five:
    STOPS: Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse <---Amazing! :-)
    -I was going to attempt to drive but touring the attractions got me really tired so we stood in a Motel 6 (I think?)
    *Day Six:
    -Salt Lake City
    -Stood Over my co-workers house who had a BIG BUFFET for us: Shrimp, Steak, Chicken, margaritas, amazing lol, her house was amazing! The view was gorgeous during sunset :-)
    *Day Seven:
    -Stopped at Reno
    -Ended at Stanford, stood with my friends who welcomed with home-cooked spaghetti
    *Day Eight
    -Took a tour in San Fran. City, stood with my friends, amazing food

    OVERALL GREAT TRIP! Gas and tolls were about $375 at most. I was able to stay on budget and really enjoy my time....I have tooooooons of pictures! Feel free to view on facebook:

    Your site is the best road trip site and I have shared it with all of my friends! Thank you so much again! I cannot wait for my next adventure! :-)

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