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  1. Default San Luis Obispo, CA to Lawrence, KS roundtrip 2 weeks

    Howdy! first post.

    My wife and I are planning a ~2 week road trip to Lawrence, KS from San Luis Obispo, CA for a wedding. I've booked a hotel in Lawrence for June 15, 16, and 17, and would like to camp in scenic places on the adventure there and back. There may be a dog in the picture. I figure we could take 4 or 5 days there, do the 3 days in Lawrence, and 4 or 5 days return to SLO.

    From playing with google maps i think we can do a mix of 6 and 8 hour days and see some country. Google maps gives 2 main routes it seems, a northern thru utah and colorado and a southern thru arizona and new mexico. I'm pretty sure we'll be wanting to do a northern route and maybe a slightly more southern or slightly northern return route, that way we don't back track and can see more country. I wouldn't mind ending up back in california near sacramento/san francisco as i have family and friends i could visit. My initial plans have been to arrive at a campsite outside of Las Vegas on day 1, which might allow more time in Utah as i've already seen lot's of California. Zion is a must as i think Arches will be. That's about as far as i've gotten with the conceptualizing. Thanks for reading this and any ideas are appreciated. What do you think?

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

    Default Quick, slow, slow, quick.

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    I think you are heading in the right direction with your planning and thoughts. As you have plans to visit Zion and Arches, [wonderful places] I personally would consider getting out the blocks early and drive to Zion on day 1. Day 2 rest, relax and enjoy this beautiful NP. Day 3 head to Moab and look around and day 4 maybe do a small hike before heading towards Denver, getting at least as far Idaho Springs and then day five to Lawrence. With 4 days you would have to make tracks towards Arches on day 2.

    Monument valley and the Grand canyon would be two great possibilities on the way back. One route option could be Lawrence > Manitou Springs [Garden of the Gods] > Cortez [via US50 over Monarch Pass and through Currecanti Recreation area to Montrose and then south on US550 through the mountain towns of Ouray and Silverton, aka the 'Million Dollar Highway'. Near to Cortez is Mesa Verde NP. Then from Cortez area through Monument valley to the Grand canyon South rim. It's a little much from GC to home same day so you would have to push on a little further, perhaps to Williams. If you could find an extra half day it would be well worth it imo. You won't have Lot's of time to spare, but plenty of options for short stops and the drive would be spectacular !!

    Of course this is just one of many route options, so keep looking around and as new questions crop up, ask away !

  3. Default

    Hey Thanks! This is exactly the help i was looking for. After thinking it over with the wife, biting the bullet and going from SLO to Zion in one day is a great idea. Google calls it a 10 hr. day which won't be too bad if we stop every few hours to stretch the legs.
    The only other decision we've made is to take a further northern route on the return trip with the goal of entering California as far north as Sacramento ish.
    We just acquired an old Volkswagen Vanagon for this and future excursions. It will be nice to pull in and have everything ready.

    Again, thanks for the help, much appreciated

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    One note about the google route, I'd highly recommend you not take CA-58 from SLO to Bakersfield. Its a very mountainous, curvy route, that's going to be slow going, and probably not all that fun to drive in an old VW. You'll be much better off going up to Paso Robles and take CA-46 to CA-99 to Bakersfield. Once you get to I-5, there is nothing at all wrong with CA-58, its just a bit of a challenging drive over the coastal mountains.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    Interesting - my mapping software (Streets & Trips) recommends 101 all the way to LA, then 134 to 210 to 15! If I drag the route to go through Bakersfield, then it does the same thing as Google. I concur - take 101 to 46.

    Just goes to show that you shouldn't rely solely on electronic assistance.

    You are looking at more than 10 hours no matter which way you go from SLO to Zion, it's about 600 miles. You aren't going to average 60 mph with stops in any vehicle, much less a Vanagon. I'd recommend a night around Las Vegas.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Between Vegas and Zion.

    Google maps are optimistic in the timing of trips as they don't account for traffic or construction delays and the need to fill with gas, food and take a break. As lovely as the Vanagons are, they are unable to match the overall pace of modern sedans etc and as mentioned above, you won't make it in 10 hours. It 'll probably be 11 hours plus, which could easily push it nearer to 12/13 hours from door to door with breaks.

    It's doable, but might be a little more than you are comfortable with. However, I still think you could push on at least to Mesquite or St George depending on what time you depart and how you feel. There is a nice RV resort in Virgin called 'Zion River Resort' under 30 mins from Zion and the furthest I would recommend on 'aiming' for.

    With the Vanagon in mind, your final days outward journey should start out from at least Denver to make it to Lawrence. Just east of Denver would mean you are heading away from the City as the morning rush is heading in.

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