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  1. Default Boston to Bay Area

    I am also driving from Boston to San Francisco (Oakland, actually) at the end of May! Moved to the East Coast for college and after 8 years I'm finally returning to the Bay Area. Based on having friends/places to stay in these locations, our first stops will be Columbus, OH, and then St. Louis, MO, then drivng from St. Louis to Oakland, in five days. We're flexible on the route, again as long as it only takes five days. Would love to hear recomendations for things to do between St. Louis and CA! Seems like 80 is a long stretch of not a whole lot, but I'd love to hear from people who've done it! My last road trip was CA to Boston in 2008, and we went through the southwest/old Route 66 and then veered up through Illinois, so I'd like to avoid doing the same thing.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    Welcome to the RTA forum!

    I moved your post to its own thread so that it will be easier to follow and keep the advice specific to your trip.

    With 5 days between St. Louis and Oakland, personally, I'd focus on a route that basically follows I-70 and then US-50. There are tons of national parks along the way, like Rocky Mountain, Black Canyon, Arches, Canyonlands, and more. You could even go a little farther off that direct route to places like Pikes Peak, Great Sand Dunes, Mesa Verde, or Monument Valley. Then US-50 across Nevada is also known as the Lonliest Road for its scenic and remote beauty.

    There would be some picking and choosing, but that's where I would start.

    I will make a small note that for the first part of your trip, Columbus is a very long day of driving from Boston. Its nearly 800 miles and is going to be about a 15 hour drive, which is more than we recommend for a single day. The next day to St. Louis is a relatively short one, but it will be a challenge after such a tough day the day before.

  3. Default

    Thanks for the tips, Michael! How long do you think it would take us to get from St. Louis to the Bay Area via I-70 and US-50? We actually did decide to add in another day in the beginning, so we'll be going Boston to Niagara, Niagara to Columbus, and Columbus to St. Louis in three days. We'll then have four to make it back to CA. I'm interested in I-70 for its beauty, but slightly worried we'll lose time as opposed to getting back on I-80. Is I-70 a challenging drive due to the winding and narrow roads? My co-pilot is new to that himself, so we want to have an idea before we committ to it. We'd also like to stop in Salt Lake City, so it looks like we could do I-70 and then veer back up, but I'm not sure if that makes sense.

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

    Default 70 for me !

    The route Michael mentioned will not add much more than a couple of hours to your journey time, whether you decide to head to SLC or not. With 4 days from St Louis, that's not much of a difference, but you won't have too much time for side trips. I70 is one of the most scenic Interstates and has decent and interesting towns just from it, like Glenwood Springs, Grand junction and in Utah, Moab with Arches NP nearby.

    Remember the 'I' stands for Interstate and although mountainous in places you will not come across narrow, winding roads. All Interstates are built to standards to take the biggest of rigs with gradual curves and gradients.

    You might get close to the CO State line on day 1 from St Louis [Oakley KS perhaps] and push on to Moab next day. That would be two full days, but you could then take a relatively shorter day and end up in Ely on US50 before finishing off in the Bay area. Of course you can juggle it to your own tastes and whether or not you want to head up to SLC or not. SLC to the Bay would be an extremely long day on the road and would make it more difficult to even out your stops.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    US-50 between Salina and Fallon is almost completely a 2 lane road, but it has very few winding stretches, very few towns, and through Nevada it has a 70 mph speed limit for most of the way. Ely is an excellent place to spend a night. You can spend the night in the historic Nevada Hotel and go across the street to eat dinner in a jail cell.

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