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  1. Default Two week trip: Texas to the NW to the West Coast

    Hello all!

    I figure since I've combed through the forums for inspiration and tips, I might as well go ahead and share my upcoming trip. The original plan is spend two weeks to go from Dallas to Seattle to San Diego then back to Dallas. I'll be making this trek alone and it will be my first solo road trip longer than 1,000 miles.

    My focus on the trip will be the West Coast as I plan on spending 2-4 days in California, taking my time to enjoy my first visit there. However, I am torn on whether or not to go all the up to Seattle or if I should just go up to Portland then head down to Cali.

    I've read that 500 miles or 10 hours on the road should be a good daily limit so I want to make sure I don't overdo it but still be able to see as much of the west before I head back home. Your suggestions and tips are welcome especially in these areas:

    - Is including Seattle realistic? If so, where should I stay/visit between Denver and Seattle? If not, where should I stay/visit between Denver and Portland?
    - What's a good route to take from San Diego to Dallas? I'll probably split that leg of the trip into 3-4 days.
    - I'm really flexible with my route and have never really traveled in most of these states so any points of interests that are "need-to-see"s would be nice to know!


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Taking the Long Way Around

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    If your goal for this trip is to spend some time in California, as you indicate, then you're certainly taking a roundabout way of getting there. And home. Your current plan calls for you to cover a bit under 5000 miles. That's 9-10 days of driving to get to those few days you'll be spending at your destination. That hardly seems worth it, particularly since you'll only have a couple of days at most to spread around all those places your burning gas to get to. Going to Portland instead of Seattle saves you a few hours, but only a few hours. Not worth mentioning in the scheme of things. So, it seems obvious that you need to decide what you want out of this trip: checking off states or actually enjoying it. Two weeks is a great amount of time for a RoadTrip and if used judiciously can allow you to see a great variety of wonderful, scenic, historic, and just plane enjoyable sites. But the inside of your car isn't one of them.


  3. Default

    Thanks for your reply and for bringing up a perfectly good question! Originally, I wanted to go to the Northwest since I have someone I can visit in Portland. But, I suppose I can fly there some other weekend and spend a good few days in that area, huh?

    What if I took a trip from Dallas to the northern part of California, head down the coast to San Diego, then headed back to Dallas? Looks like that trip would clock around 3500-4000 miles, depending on which routes I take and sites I see. Any recommendations there?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.


    There is much to do on a round trip as you describe but you will have to pick and choose. It's alright to travel 500 to 600 miles/10 hours a day but keep in mind that it is only possible on main routes with no major site seeing. On the way out you could head to Amarillo and Albuquerque and perhaps into the Four corners region, Monument valley, Grand canyon, the parks of Southern Utah like Bryce and Zion NP, into Vegas, Death valley, Yosemite to San Fran.
    Note] *You don't say when you are travelling but some of the main mountain passes over the Sierra Nevada could still be closed.*
    From San Diego and a Southern route home and you have many more choices, Tombstone, White sands, Carlsbad Caverns and much more.

    Take a look around the forums and trip planning pages above and when you have some dots on the map we can help fill in any blanks. Don't over do it though, that's still a lot of driving for 2 weeks, but doable if you pick and choose carefully.

  5. Default

    I think I've accepted the fact that I won't be able to truly spend time at each stop but I think my second draft is much more reasonable than the first (that included Seattle and Portland). Here's the new proposed route:

    Day 1: Dallas > Amarillo
    Day 2: Santa Fe/Albuquerque
    Day 3: Flagstaff/Grand Canyon
    Day 4: Las Vegas
    Day 5: Yosemite
    Day 6: San Francisco
    Day 7: Somewhere along the PCH
    Day 8: San Diego
    Day 9: San Diego
    Day 10: Tucson
    Day 11: Las Cruces
    Day 12: Marfa
    Day 13: DFW

    Again, nothing is set in stone aside from wanting to stop by San Francisco and San Diego. I chose Las Vegas since I wasn't sure what a good spot was between Flagstaff and Yosemite although it might be nice to have something closer to Yosemite.

    Oh! And I'll be making this trip starting next Sunday or Monday. To cut down on travel time, I'll probably stick to the major highways for the most part.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    You do know that the PCH is closed between Carmel and Big Sur, right?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.


    Oh! And I'll be making this trip starting next Sunday or Monday.
    In this case the mountain passes will be closed due to snow accumulation and you won't be able to enter Yosemite from the East. If Vegas is not of much interest I would head towards the Bakersfield/Visalia area from Flagstaff and continue to Yosemite next day, giving you a little more time in this amazing NP.

    As mentioned you wont be able to drive CA1 around Big Sur from Monterey, you will have to use the 101 to the Cambria/Morro bay area, or make the trip ina day on I 5 and spend a day in SF.

  8. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Southwest Dave View Post
    In this case the mountain passes will be closed due to snow accumulation and you won't be able to enter Yosemite from the East.
    Whew! Posting here has paid off as I would be one sad, tired driver if I discovered that en route. I'll definitely take your advice here.

    Quote Originally Posted by glc View Post
    You do know that the PCH is closed between Carmel and Big Sur, right?
    I read something about it but was crossing my fingers that it would be magically fixed in two weeks. I imagine that won't be true so again, I'll probably take Southwest Dave's advice and stick around San Francisco for an extra day. I can still take a little day trip to that part of the 1, right?

    Also, how's traffic on I-5? Making it in one day is a 500 mile/8 hour drive so I just want to make sure traffic doesn't add too many extra hours.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.


    Going through [or around] LA is where you could see delays and you would want to try and avoid the area during peak times, which could be difficult unless you got a real early start from SF to avoid afternoon rush. You can't get to far South of Monterey on CA1 as things are at the moment, so if you want to see some of the coast it might be best [all things considered] to take 101 and stay around the Cambria area for a night on the way to LA as opposed to a "day trip".

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