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  1. Default Road trip from Toronto to Seattle to La and back acroos USA to Toronto

    My husband and 1 12 year old would like to drive from Toronto across Canada to West Coast and down to LA. Spend some time in California and then drive home across USA in 3 weeks in a motor home. So no hotels needed. We could cut out going across Canada if this does not sound time efficient. We could go down thru USA to California and then take a different route back thru USA. We love beautiful scenery , quaint towns , interesting sites. Big cities and shopping etc not really our thing ,can do that in Toronto. Any ideas about best routes and must sees with this time limit.? And is going through Canada and down West coast too time consuming for 3 weeks. An over whelming question I know. Help! Confused! Betty Wirz Forgot to add we are going in last 3 weeks of June. Betty W
    Last edited by Betty Wirz; 04-04-2011 at 11:27 AM. Reason: forgot something

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

    Default and then some

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    To say your request is overwhelming is quite the understatement.

    With a canvas that includes the westerns 2/3rds of North America, the number of places that could qualify as "beautiful scenery , quaint towns , interesting sites" is somewhere in the millions, if not billions. There really are no generic all-purpose "must sees" or "best routes" because that completely depends upon you and the highlights that you want to visit.

    I will say that 3 weeks is basically the bare minimum amount of time to do a trip all the way out to the west coast, and back, and that's going to make for a fairly rushed trip. Just doing all interstate driving, you need a minimum of 5 days to drive each way, plus a couple more to take I-5 from Seattle to LA. Now, if you follow the coast, or make the drive across Canada, those are both going to add significantly more hours to your traveling.

    You really need to start looking for a few major points that you'd like to visit along the way. Once you've at least got a basic outline, then we can provide some assistance in filling in the gaps, and providing some other ideas.

  3. Default Thanks for answer "and then some"

    I knew this was too overwhelming. What if we drove from Toronto to Chicago, then head thru Kansas , Colorado , Utah , Nevada to San Francisco. Take some time to explore California coast. Then head back from San Diego to Grand Canyon ,and across to Nashville Tennesse, Kentucky, up to Cincinnati. Do not know most interesting route from Grand Canyon to Tennesse. Also do not know best route from Cinncinati to Toronto [either thru Detroit or Buffalo ?. Could you help fill in the blanks with this rough drafted route. How long would it approx take if we spent a couple of days in California? Up for ideas to scale it down. Just thought this way we could take in the Rockies the desert and I hear Tennesse and Kentucky are really pretty. Would appreciate any input ,ideas or suggestions. {3 weeks in June in an RV ,2 drivers ] Betty Wirz

  4. Default Toronto to San Fransico explore coast to San Diego back to TO via new route 3 weeks

    Originally wrote road trip to Seattle to LA and back across USA home. Responded to my answer by reply to thread. Not sure if I had to put in a new thread so this may be a duplicate. Changed plans around some.What if we drove from Toronto to Chicago,then head thru Kansas, Colorado, Utah , Nevada to San Fransisco.Take some time to explore California coast for a few days then head from San Diego to Grand Canyon.Then across to NashvilleTennesse ,Kentucky, up to Cincinnati. Do not know most interesting route from Canyon to Tennesse. Also do not know best route from Cincinnati to Toronto [either thru Detroit or Buffalo]? Could you help fill in the blanks with this rough drafted route. How long would it approx take? Up for ideas to scale down if must.Just thought this way we could take in the Rockies, Desert, and I hear Tennesse and Kentucky are really pretty. Would appreciate any input ideas or suggestions. [3 weeks in June in an RV ,2drivers]. We don't mind taking major highways thru boring states like Michigan etc but since most of our tme is spent driving we would like to take scenic routes most of the way. Betty Wirz

    Merged with previous posts. Please do not start multiple threads about the same trip.
    Last edited by AZBuck; 04-05-2011 at 08:36 AM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,269

    Default

    The shortest, but not necessarily the best, route from Cincy to TO is via Detroit. What I'd probably do is go through Sarnia on your way from TO to Chicago, then through Buffalo on your way home.

    Just to drive from TO to SF via Sarnia, Chicago, Denver, I-70/US-50 through UT and NV, then I-80 is about 2700 miles and would take you about 6 days plus sightseeing time.

    SF to the GC via SD is 1100 miles and would be 2 days with no sightseeing and no coast road - and would not account for traffic delays trying to get through LA.

    The GC to TO via Nashville, Cincy, and Buffalo is about 2450 miles which could be done in 5 days without sightseeing.

    So, this is 13 days - call it 2 weeks just to drive on Interstate highways. If you only have 3 weeks, this is still going to be very rushed.

  6. #6

    Default

    I like your idea to get over to Chicago (401 to Detroit and then across MI and IN), but I suggest to take I-80 or parallel routes over to SFO. There are no "boring" states, but you do have to plan ahead for sights and attractions using this website or other resources. Go down the coast on 101 or even the Pacific Coast Highway to San Diego (lots to see along the way).

    You might consider using I-8 to south of Phoenix, then use state roads up to Holbrook, where you pick up I-40. That will take you all the way to Nashville where you can head north on (or parallel to) the interstates all the was to Port Huron. You return to Toronto on 402/403.

    Although I suggested interstate routes, I prefer to use parallel roads for scenery when I can. If you want to follow one of my road trips, try my Northwest Trip from 2009. That will give you an idea as to how I see a lot along the routes.

    I'll try to check back in a few days to see what others have contributed.

  7. Default TO to California in RV 3weeks

    Are you saying California from TO in 3 weeks is not enough time, Period? ? Or is our itinerary all wrong to get there and back? Lets put it this way then, if you had 3 weeks and wanted a scenic drive vacation, what route would you take? I'm reading in another thread that someone drove from TO to Dallas having time for lunch and dinner and night accommodations in 3 different cities all in 25 hours. Said they had a great time. So I'm confused ,thats 2 days. It can't possibly be another 4 days from Dallas to San Diego. Can it? When you say 6 days driving without time for sight seeing how many hours a day of driving are you cosidering? Is California really that much farther from Dallas mile wise to make up for another 4 days? Again up for any suggestions guys!! Betty Wirz
    Last edited by Betty Wirz; 04-05-2011 at 11:11 AM. Reason: this post directed mostly to glc. Thanks. Thanks to Harry Kline as well. Very helpful.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default

    I'm not sure what you read, but it isn't even possible to cover the miles from Toronto to Dallas in 25 hours. Even in a non-stop speed run, ignoring the obvious dangers of trying to drive non-stop for that long, you'd need 26-27 hours to cover the miles. That is a drive that is nearly 1500 miles, and is a 2.5-3 day drive. Trying to do it even in 2 full days would push the envelope of safety.

    A good rule of thumb is that you can cover 500-600 miles in a good full day on the road. That's about 10 hours a day on the road, in good conditions. Of course, you need to consider that you will be in a bigger, lumbering, motorhome plus you're traveling with a child so stops are that much more important and take that much more time, so you will need to keep things on the low end of that.

    That means you are looking at a minimum of 5 full days of driving each way to California, going the direct routes. When you include the detours you're considering, that's going to increase the travel time, which is what GLC's post reflects.

    While you've changed your destination from Seattle to SF, the overall distances don't change much, so 3 weeks really is still the bare minimum amount of time you need for a west coast trip, and that will require a pretty brisk pace.

  9. Default To H. Kline from Betty W

    Read your Northwest trip. Wow! So do I understand that you drove from Georgia to South Dakota to Oregon ,Colorado ,Kansas and back to Georgia in 15 days? So does this mean I'm not completly off the map trying to get to California and back in 3 weeks comftorably? No one seems to directly be answering that question or suggesting anything different . The feeling I'm getting from Midwest Michael is that I'm off my rocker. Still confused. If I am off my rocker I 'm glad of the warning but I seem to be getting conflicting opinoins. Betty Wirz

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default tunnel vision

    So does this mean I'm not completly off the map trying to get to California and back in 3 weeks comftorably? No one seems to directly be answering that question or suggesting anything different . The feeling I'm getting from Midwest Michael is that I'm off my rocker. Still confused.
    I haven't said, nor have I seen anyone say anything resembling that you are off your rocker. (Other than maybe the 25 hours to Dallas with plenty of time to spare thing, I really don't know what you were talking about there.)

    I do have to disagree with your statement that no one has directly answered your question. In fact, I've seen your question answered a couple times now, but for clarity, I will restate it.

    You certainly can drive to California and back in 3 weeks. The comfortable aspect is much more of a question. And the answer to that question lies completely in what you are willing to tolerate and personally find comfortable.

    As GLC mentioned, and I agreed with, is that based on basic route you've laid out, you've already dedicated about 2 of your 3 weeks to driving. Those driving days will have time for a couple short stops, but no significant sightseeing. You can of course, break some of these drives up into half days of driving and half days of exploring. But the overall point is that you have about a week worth of time to actually "explore," and as I've already said a couple of times, that's really the minimum I'd consider for a trip like this, especially in your situation, and will make for a fairly brisk trip where you'll have to do a lot of picking and choosing about where you'll stop and what you'll skip.

    Now comparing your trip with Harry's, there is a very big difference in his trip and yours. His was a photographers trip in a car, where he was perfectly happy to drive a few hundred miles every day, stopping for a couple hours here and there to take pictures - and don't forget he never got far off the interstate and he had 3 days each way of driving that wasn't logged. I would certainly call his trip "fairly rushed" if for no other reason that the number of places he drove by and didn't have time to visit (Badlands, Yellowstone, and Glacier National Parks to name a few). That's not to say he didn't have a great trip, or that someone is nuts for doing a trip like that, but you have to know that's what you are doing and it is something you'd enjoy.

    Now, compare that to your situation, where you are a family trip in a motorhome. Both of those things will slow you down, simply because RV travel takes more time and involves lower speeds, plus a 12 year old isn't likely to be very pleasant if you spend every day covering a few hundred miles, only getting out for short breaks. To have a good time, I suspect you're going to need some days with activities, and certainly more than one or two days where you are not covering a couple hundred miles. When you factor those things in along with the miles you want to cover, your available time will run out quickly. That's the kind of thing you need to think about when deciding what would be "comfortable" and fun trip for you and your family.

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