Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 18
  1. #1

    Default Hello and need advice on westward travel


    My husband and I are planning a trip west from the Chicago area for our 25th. We would like to see Pike's Peak, the Grand Canyon, Hoover Dam, maybe drive down the Vegas "strip", and would also like to stop at Cadillac Ranch, but that is optional. We would be starting our trip in the first week of October.

    I would love some help with planning the route. What major interstates will take us to these destinations? We will start out on Rt 80, but after that I'm not sure which roads to take. We would like to stick to major roads. What road is the Vegas "strip" on? We don't want to stay in Vegas, just want to drive through to see the fountains and buildings.

    We have up to 2 weeks to complete our trip. My husband can't walk far distances, so most sightseeing will be from the vehicle. As far as the Grand Canyon goes, we would like to go to the south rim. We plan to stay in Holiday Inn type motels on the way. We would like to plan the trip so it is a loop.

    Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated! Oh, we also love food, so it would be nice to know of any good restaurants along the way!

    Thank you!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.


    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    Travelling by Interstate and creating a loop would be a little over 3800 miles and most likely total over 4000 miles with small detours, or 7 days of driving for 9 to 10 hours a day. With 2 weeks that would split your time 50/50 between driving and being 'there', so quite a nice balance. To create a loop, you could look at heading to I70 one way and I80 the other between home and the Denver area. If you took i70 out through Kansas to Colorado Springs and Pikes peak, you could hook up with I25 to I40 for the south rim of the Grand canyon and then continue to Vegas [I40] via Hoover dam on US93. From Vegas head north on I15 to I70 towards Denver and then 176 to I80 home.

    I would plan on spending a night in Vegas to get the full experience, just driving through along the strip would be time consuming with the traffic and to see just some of the attractions is going to take time.

    There is much to be seen in the west by getting off the Interstates and by studying a good map and searching the forums you should get plenty of ideas. You could get off Interstate and drive through the heart of Colorado via Durango and through Monument valley in AZ to the GC. On the way home, you have the likes of Zion, Arches, Canyonlands and Rocky mountain NP not far from Interstate.

    Once you have some dots on the map we can help fill in the blanks.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    I was thinking of something pretty similar to Dave, although tweaked a bit.

    What I consider to be somewhat of a classic Chicago-Vegas loop follows I-80/I-76/I-70/I-15 to Vegas, and then back following the path of old route 66, via I-40/I-44/I-55.

    On the way out that would take you through Denver, where you could detour to Pikes Peak, or explore Rocky Mountain National Park, Arches, etc like dave mentioned. But then the other way, from Vegas, you'd go to the Hoover Dam on your way to the south rim, but then you'd head back down to I-40 for the trip home, possibly stopping at places like Petrified Forest, Caddilac Ranch that you mentioned, OK City Bombing Memorial, and the St. Louis Arch.

    I would agree with Dave that Vegas is probably a place you'll want to stop. You really have to spend the night to experience the city, and realistically, if you just wanted to see the lights, you'd have to be there in the evening, and you're really looking at a couple of hours of driving to get to the next town with a significant number of hotels anyway.

    Of course, there are countless possibilities that we haven't mentioned that also could be worked into your plan, and as you work forward with your trip outline, we'll be here to help!

  4. #4


    Thank you for your informative reply!

    We would be happy to get off of the interstates for sightseeing, just need to use them to keep us on schedule. We are not casino people, so where would be a nice place to stay in Vegas to see it at night? My husband can't walk very far, so most Vegas sights will have to be from the car, but I jump out from time to time to get a better view. Is the Vegas strip on US93?

    Also, I guess I better buy an Atlas, because I'm sure we will need one as we travel.

    I have never seen a mountain....will Pike's Peak be very cold in the beginning of October? Do you think the road up there be OK that time of year? I think it would be nice to go through Rocky Mountain National Park, too....thanks for that suggestion!

    We are really looking forward to this trip, but there is almost too much to see and too little time!

    Thanks again for the reply and for giving the actual road numbers....much appreciated!

  5. #5



    Thank you for your reply, too. I was thinking maybe it would be nice to head out on Rt 80 to see the mountains rise up in front of us! Thank you for the road numbers, as well.

    I am a little intimidated by Vegas, but would like to see the lights and fountains!

    Is there a cost to go to Cadillac Ranch? That's where you can spray paint on the cars, right? Do you bring your own paint??
    Thanks again!
    Last edited by Year25; 09-08-2011 at 10:45 AM. Reason: typo

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


    Caddy Ranch is free and graffiti is allowed - but you do have to bring your own paint.

    You can read more about it from an article in RTA's Collection of Roadtrip Attractions.

  7. #7


    Thanks for the link and info!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.


    'The Strip' is just over a 4 mile section of 'S. Las Vegas Boulevard' that runs north to south parallel to I15, roughly between Russel Road and W. Sahara Ave.

    The weather, as we all know is unpredictable, but it would not be unusual to see cold weather and even snow storms at the higher elevations in Colorado, such as up on the Trail ridge road in RMNP. However you could also see some wonderful warm weather and blue skies, particularly at lower elevations. That I am afraid is a case of 'wait and see'.

    You really do need a good map, which is something you could buy on line. If you put your cursor over the 'Map' link in the green tool bar near the top of the page you will find a 'Paper map and atlas' link where they can be purchased. You will also notice the 'Map wizard' and 'Map centre' on line mapping programs, where you can create routes and find attractions.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    I went to Pikes Peak last year around Sept. 10th, and it was 39 degrees on top at noon. I would expect it would be colder in October, with a chance of snow. CALL before detouring from Denver if you plan on trying it. The same thing goes for RMNP, I was there the next day and it was lightly snowing on top.

    I would definitely take the northern route out there, and the southern route back - to minimize possible winter weather issues.

    A good rule to follow is not to drive more than 500 to 600 miles in one day, just going from point to point on Interstate highways.

    Via I-80/I-76, it's 1000 miles from Chicago to Denver, which is perfect for 2 days. Look at an overnight in Lincoln NE - there are multiple Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Express properties there, among others.

    To get to Pikes Peak from Denver, go south on I-25 to Colorado Springs. To get to RMNP from Denver, go north on I-25 to Loveland. From RMNP, if you are able to go over the top, take US-34 to Granby and either I-40 east to I-70, or I-40 west to Craig and CO-13 to I-70. From Pikes Peak, take US-24 west to US-285 to US-50 to Grand Junction. You can then simply stay on I-70 to I-15 to Las Vegas - or you can tour some of the southern Utah parks such as Arches, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, Bryce Canyon, and Zion.

    You may not be casino people, but there are a lot of casino hotels on the Strip with a lot of non-gambling things to do, such as shows - and some very good room deals can be had. The "Strip" is Las Vegas Blvd, which is NV-604, and it parallels I-15 about 1/2 mile to the east. If you don't want to stay right in the middle of everything, the airport is around the south end of the Strip, and there are some "conventional" hotels around it.

    On the way back, you would probably want to take the old Route 66 corridor - I-40/I-44/I-55. This would let you go to the Grand Canyon and the Cadillac Ranch.

    Eats? If you like good BBQ in a casual setting (food served at a counter on sheets of butcher paper) there's the Serious Texas BBQ in Loveland. I have not eaten at the one in Loveland, but I have eaten multiple times at the one on the south side of Durango. In Amarillo, there's the Big Texan steakhouse. I highly recommend the ribeye - whatever size you feel you can handle. They also have an on-premises motel that has an Old West decor. It's far from being a Holiday Inn, but it's acceptable and it's clean.

    Another "novelty" motel is the Wigwam Motel in Holbrook AZ. The website hasn't been updated in over 2 years, so the prices are probably not current. Winslow is not too far from Holbrook, where you can go "stand on the corner".

  10. #10


    Thanks for the replies!

    Definately going to buy a good Atlas since I am the designated "navigator". We also have GPS, but there is something comfortable about a paper map! I have tried to mess with the map on this site, but I must be doing it wrong! I'll try again.

    My husband and I have been looking into the cog railway up Pikes Peak. It looks like you get excellent scenery views, even though I am a little nervous about riding it.

    We really would like to cruise a little on Route 66, so I'm glad that will be part of the route.

    Thanks for the advice on husband loves steak and we have seen The Big Texan on one of the "Food" shows. We like BBQ, too, so can't hardly wait to hit the road and eat some good food!

    Thanks again for all of the advice and comments!

Similar Threads

  1. Westward bound
    By dash9 in forum Planning Summer RoadTrips
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 05-30-2007, 11:38 AM
  2. Advice for times and travel for a UK traveller!
    By renegade2304 in forum Planning Summer RoadTrips
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 11-16-2006, 06:29 PM
  3. Advice for LA to Las Vegas travel PLEASE
    By KiwiCouple in forum Going to Las Vegas!
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 04-20-2006, 07:56 AM
  4. Brit kids needing advice on car travel
    By tylermb in forum Planning Summer RoadTrips
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 10-14-2003, 04:29 PM
  5. Van travel advice ??
    By Cameron Arrow in forum Gear-Up!
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: 07-17-2001, 05:19 PM


Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  • Find the Perfect Hotel
    Search RoadTrip Motels
    Enter city name