Good afternoon gents and ladies,
I've got the great good fortune of being able to take most of July off for another Montana/Idaho/Utah RoadTrip. This time I'm even hooking across the northeast corner of Nevada, representing the first time I've had the pleasure of visiting any part of NV other than Hoover Dam-Vegas-I-15 south.
The trip out from my North Carolina home the traveling while out there is all pretty well sorted out. On the return trip, however, I'll be joined by a good friend who hasn't RoadTripped cross-country since he was a teenager in the 1960s when such jaunts were an annual Summer tradition for his family. We'll be RoadTripping from his Park City vacation home back to his main home in Baltimore, MD, after which I'll make the 6 hour run back to Raleigh.
Since I've never driven from UT into CO along the northern tier of CO counties, and since I have a hankering for a hot spring stop, I'm thinking of leaving Park City on US 40 and keeping that all the way into CO, past Steamboat Springs, to Hot Sulphur Springs, between Steamboat and Granby. It'll be a Saturday afternoon in late July when we enter northern CO from UT, so I am inclined to avoid Strawberry Park Hot Spring near Steamboat, fearing crowds.
From Granby, it'll be up and over the Divide on Trail Ridge Road, down the eastern side to Estes Park, thence to Loveland. I have a distinct and perhaps pathological bias against cities, so dropping down to I-70 at Denver is not going to happen. I am pondering just slanting slightly up to I-80 and cutting through the Sandhills of Nebraska for a "tanking" drift down the Dismal River or just some backroad cruising among the dunes. I could also run more or less parallel to the NE-KS border for a ways and just trip through the high prairie towns, grabbing I-70 towards the middle to eastern part of KS. I wonder if anybody has a favorite local rodeo, racetrack, small-town ball park, or just an "old man bar" somewhere in western KS or NE to suggest we stop at.
We're looking in to stopping by Lake of the Ozarks as we pass through MO since we have a semi-retired friend who has a condo there. If we don't connect with him, I'm pondering what to do/where to stop for an overnight somewhere in MO. Branson isn't our style (not that there's anything wrong with Branson), and we've already learned that neither the Royals nor the Cardinals will be home as we pass through.
A ferryboat crossing of the Mississippi from MO to IL might be a hoot. I'm generally aware of there being some, but haven't a clue which one(s) to consider.
The St Louis to Baltimore leg is mostly new to me (and as noted, we may end up higher up along I-80 and dropping down towards Indy to I-70), so any suggestions for a minor-league ballpark, midweek festival, or racetrack in Iowa, Illinois, Indiana or Ohio along the I-80/74/70 corridor would be of interest.
I am assuming we'll end up on I-70/79/68/70 to link to the Balto Beltway. The geologist in me wants to see the anticline-exposing roadcut in western MD, and I am open to suggestions of stops on that homeward leg, too.
We're looking at 4.5-5 days to do the trip.
Thanks for any suggestions!