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  1. Default Houston to Seattle

    Hello all!

    I plan on driving from Houston to Seattle in 13 days and would like to stop at places (especially national parks) to visit. (This is a one way trip by the way) I will be driving with my gf so it won't be just me driving...but just the two of us.

    I have already planned this out on Google maps. The dilemma I'm facing is not sure which route to take. Google Maps defaults the driving from Houston to go through Denver, CO -> Salt Lake City, UT and then Seattle, WA. But from what I heard those are quite mountainous routes and are tough to drive in.

    The other option would be to go through New Mexico, Arizona and drive up the Californian coast up into Oregon and Seattle. I believe that drive is a bit longer but offers more places to sitesee.

    I also have another ambitious route which is to go through Arizona but then into Denver, CO and then drive back down to Las Vegas, NV and then go up the Californian coast. (This route takes 2 days and 13 hours on Google Maps)

    So do you think my ambitious route is doable? Also, I have so many places I want to see:
    Here's the list:
    Roswell, New Mexico
    Natural Bridges National Monument, UT
    Grand Canyon, NV
    Napa Valley, CA
    Redwood National Park, CA
    Crater Lake, OR

    Has anyone done this before or I'm just being way over my head! Thanks for the help again.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default agreeing and disagreeing

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    I wouldn't agree at all with a few of your statements. For example, going through colorado and utah will be mountainous, but it doesn't mean they are necessarily tough to drive. In fact, if you took google's recommendation to go up to I-80 through Wyoming, it would likely be far easier than the other ideas you've talked about.

    I also disagree that NM, AZ, CA offers more to sightsee. Its not a bad route choice, but there about a dozen national parks in Colorado and Utah, and that's just the starting point.

    But now the good news, 13 days is a very nice amount of time for this trip, and you can go pretty much anyway you'd like.

    Based on the stops you've listed already, I would do Roswell, then the Grand Canyon, then go up to Natural Bridges, via Monument Valley. From there, you could check out a couple other National Parks in Utah, like Canyonlands and Arches or Zion and Bryce, then make your way across Utah via US-50, aka the Loneliest Road. Head through Lake Tahoe, over the Napa, and up the Coast to the Redwoods, then at Crescent City, head back over towards Crater Lake.

    That's about 7 full days worth of driving, so it would be a very full trip, but I think you could still make it all work into your time frame.

  3. Default

    Midwest Michael, thank you for your reply! I really appreciate it.

    From what you said, which national park would you recommend in Utah? You listed a few such as Canyonlands, Arches, and Zion. Are they all really good? (I've wikipediaed them and it's still hard to decide)

    Also, do you think it will be too ambitious to venture into some of the national parks in Colorado (since I'm so close to it already) And any recommendations there as well?

    Thank you again for your input. I will be remapping the route according to what you said and see how it goes. I guess you don't recommend going through Vegas and then up I-5 to Napa Valley?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default

    If you want to hit Colorado, I'd probably look at Mesa Verde, since its in the southwest corner of the state and close to the rest of your stops.

    It is really hard to pick the Utah parks because they are all excellent. Based on where your current plans take you, I'd say Arches/Canyonlands would be easiest to get to, but Zion/Bryce may provide more contrast after Monument Valley and Natural Bridges. Its tough to make a bad choice here. I'd look at the National Parks website for more info to help you decide.

    If you're going to go back to Vegas, before going to Napa, then I would do it right and go through Death Valley and Yosemite, rather than taking I-5 through the Central Valley. My concern here would be you're going to start running out of time. If you go this route, then I'd lean towards skipping Natural Bridges, go from the Grand Canyon to Zion, then head back to Vegas and onto Death Valley.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default Go to the Source

    First off, don't rely on Wikipedia for useful descriptions of what's available at the National Parks. Go to the National Parks website for far more information and far, far better pictures of what you'll find at each park Unfortunately, there simply is no 'best choice' for the questions you're asking, only what you and your girlfriend will enjoy, which will be whichever route you take and whatever parks you choose to visit. Resign yourselves to the fact that while two week will allow for a wonderful adventure, you won't be able to see it all. Don't fret over what you 'missed'. If you want to do a few of the great National Parks, Vegas, and the Pacific Coast, even that is possible by going to Denver (Rocky Mountain) taking I-70 over the mountains (Arches) and I-15 (Bryce Canyon, Zion) down to Las Vegas, then US-95 (Death Valley) up to Lake Tahoe/Reno, I-80 to Napa Valley, and I-5/US-101 up the coast. Now, that is a very ambitious itinerary, but gives you an idea of what you can accomplish.

    AZBuck

  6. Default

    Midwest Michael: Thank you again for your input. A friend just reminded me with the distance I'm about to cover (~3000 miles), it will be very hard to spend much time (if any at all) at all these locations. Will I have to drive at least 8 hours a day just accomplish all of this? I was wondering if you could help me comment on that? Will I really run out of time if I want to go to those locations that I listed? Thanks again.

    AZBuck: Thank you for your suggestion as well. I guess Wikipedia isn't the best source of information when it comes to national parks. I might take up your suggestions with the I-70 over the Rocky Mountains and then I-15 down to Las Vegas and then US-95 up to Tahoe. Do you also think this is a bit ambitious requiring at least 8 hour drives a day resulting in not really being able to enjoy each location? Or I should probably cut back on some of these destinations and focus on a few and enjoy them thoroughly. Thank you again!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default

    I originally said it would be about 7 full days of driving just to cover the miles - and that was assuming 8-10 hours a day of driving. It might actually be a bit more since a lot of these roads, like the 2 lane highways in Utah and the Pacific Coast Highway are going to be slower going.

    So, yes, you've got a lot of stuff, and you would certainly have to keep moving, but what you're looking at isn't really unreasonable either. You should be able to spend a full day at at least a few of these places, while others would have to be places where you spend a few hours and then keep moving. If that's then kind of trip you'd like, then go for it, if you'd rather spend more time at the places you visit, then you probably should cut it back.

  8. Default

    do you guys have any trip planner recommendations other than the ones listed from http://www.roadtripamerica.com/trave...rguidefree.htm ?

    I tried the AAA TripTik and the Yahoo Trip planner and they both seem just like google maps.

    Thank you guys again!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default Paper and Pencil

    In all seriousness, I have yet to find any computer based trip planner that can do as well as I can with a map and a notepad (and internet access). Don't get me wrong, I'm very comfortable in the computer world, I've programmed them for the last 25 years including GPS applications (and modifications to satellite software), and as a result, appreciate the subtle assumptions that go into programs, especially those aimed at a wide and diverse audience. You can do better by doing the planning and let the computers do what they do best: figure out mileages, give you access to attraction and accommodation websites, and let you play 'what if'. But you should be making all the decisions.

    AZBuck

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