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  1. Default KY to CA trip....late April/early May

    My husband and I are in the preliminary stages of planning a road trip fromwest KY to CA. Neither of us have ever been west of OKC so we're really wanting to find a route with several neat things to see/do while we're heading west. (that's the whole point of driving instead of flying) We have about 3 weeks total and want to visit at least a couple of his relatives in Ft. Worth & Tulare, CA. We have another relative in Eugene, OR but figure that the weather may be too unpredictable to head that way. We also don't plan to spend more than a couple days at each of their homes.

    We aren't impressed with big cities and really crowded places (hint...don't care to go to Vegas)...aren't physically able to do rafting/mountain climbing...but we love the outdoors, history and good food. We'd love to fit in some of the natural wonders like maybe the Grand Canyon or Redwood Forest...and we have to at least dip our feet in the Pacific one time. Would also like to head through Ft. Collins, CO on one leg of the journey too.

    Any ideas from anyone with any knowledge of the weather/road situation & best routes during that time of the year?

  2. Default

    OH...and I forgot! We will be staying in hotels...not camping! Not the way that I'd want to spend our big anniversary trip!

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

    Default time of year

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    There really aren't generic best routes, and weather is basically impossible to predict more than a few days out. By that time of year, you should generally be clear of winter weather, except in mountain areas, but you will still need to keep in mind places like Tioga Pass (Yosemite) or other seasonally closed areas will likely not be open yet.

    Based on what you've said you want to see, I'd imagine you'd want to do some sort of loop, going down through Texas, across to CA (perhaps by the Grand Canyon or other area parks), and then back home via California. I'd agree that Oregon would be tough, but not because the weather, rather than it may simply be too far away. You're looking at a good 10 days or so of driving just to hit a loop of those places you've already listed, and going up into Oregon would add about another 1000 miles. It could be done, but then you're going to sacrifice siteseeing time.

    The bigger thing now though, is that you need to figure out what your personal must sees, beyond your family, are. You've picked CA as your destination, so I assume there are some things you want to see there (although I'm guessing LA and San Francisco aren't them?), but we'd basically be guessing. There's plenty of resources on here to help you figure that out, and simply getting out a good map can also be help. Once you've got a better outline with your priorities, then we can help you tweek it as fill in the gaps.

  4. Default

    Thanks for your response. That's pretty much the loop that we were thinking of. We're still in the preliminary stages. I'm playing around with the map feature...hoping that this will help us find some interesting attractions.

    You're absolutely right...not much desire to see LA (unless I could be guaranteed tickets to see Craig Ferguson's show!!!) or SF. I know it may seem strange and un-touristy. I will check back in with questions later....thanks again!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    To add to the electronic maps, you might want to dig out a road atlas or good map of the US. Most will have some attractions listed right on them, particularly any national parks that would be of interest.

    Hubby and I aren't big on the cities, either. You can dip your toes in the Pacific Ocean in many places in CA without doing so from San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco, or any of their suburbs!


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Half'n'Half

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    Actually, even just going to Tulare is a major effort from Kentucky. Not by any means an unsupportable effort, but an effort nonetheless. And having committed to it, the addition of Oregon is not that much more to do and three weeks is plenty of time to accomplish it. You'd be looking at around 5500 miles, about 10 days of driving or about half the time you have available to you. But that means that you get half your time to be out of the car doing stuff - seeing wonderful places, taking hikes through scenic natural settings, visiting with family, etc. And the worst weather that you might run into might delay you by a day, hardly a reason not to do it at all. So, my first bit of advice would be to plan your trip out carefully so that you can fit everything in without rushing around too much at any given point. Leave yourself a day in hand up 'til near the very end to accommodate any inclement weather, and then just relax and enjoy.

    But so far, that's all just general advice. Some specific guidelines and possible places to visit would be... The first leg down to Fort Worth could be driven in one full day of driving, but keeping the half'n'half mantra in mind plan on taking a day and a half at least and spend some time in the Land Between the Lakes, at Graceland, or at Hot Springs National Park. Arrive in Fort Worth in the early evening and enjoy that night and maybe the next day with the relatives. Then start the leisurely drive to Tulare by way of the Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo, Petroglyph National Monument in Albuquerque, Petrified Forest National Park, the Grand Canyon, and Mojave National Preserve among other possible sites. Again the drive could be done in as little as three days. Take five to enjoy the places listed and arrive with time to spare to visit a few more relatives.

    The next leg up to Eugene could include the Gold Rush area around Sacramento, Napa Valley and a swing over to the Pacific Coast Highway for a bit. Could be driven in a day and a half - you can take three and really enjoy it. The return from Eugene to Kentucky is your longest leg that is unsupported by family 'base camps', but you're going to have around 10 days to make a drive that could be done in as little as 4½. Things to check out would include the Columbia River Gorge (yes I'd 'detour' that far north), Bruneau Canyon, the Thousand Springs area of the Snake River, the Great Salt Lake, Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area, Rocky Mountain National Park, the old Oregon Trail, and (yes I know it's a large city, but I love it) St. Louis.

    Last edited by AZBuck; 02-04-2012 at 07:40 AM. Reason: Geographic Correction

  7. Default

    these are all good tips! thanks...

    I've got my 'map' drawn out and am wondering whether what your opinions are about the Grand Canyon. Upper route or lower route? Looks like the upper would drag up through Vegas...

    looks like some pretty remote's the cell phone coverage out there?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    Actually, if you want to see the Late Late Show, that should be something you can do. They are free, and basically you just need to make a reservation which are available a few weeks before hand. Since you are going in early May, you'd be during sweeps so there wouldn't be any reruns. There's more information here. It was a number of years ago, but I got tickets for Jimmy Kimmel (back when it was actually live) through 1iota and it was a remarkably simple process.

    If you don't do LA, (or even if you do) I suspect you'd really enjoy spending some time on the Central Coast, particularly the Big Sur section, but really anywhere between Santa Barbara and Monterey.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default canyon

    The south rim of the Grand Canyon is what you'd want. It would be closer to your path, it is more accessable and has more services (like hotels), but the biggest thing is that the North Rim doesn't reopen for the season until mid-may, while the South Rim is open all year.

  10. Default

    So...what are our options for Ft. Worth to Grand Canyon? Would you recommend towards Amarillo or through Midland towards Tucson? Many places to see/stop? Our children are afraid that we'll run into 'the hills have eyes' type country.

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