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  1. #1

    Default CA to OH, never been on a trip this far or through so many states, please help!

    Going on a trip to move my roommate out to Ohio. We are very excited for the adventure of a road trip and possible fun we may have, but I really have no clue what to expect. We took all the safety precautions of getting the car ready (changing the oil, getting new tires, etc) but we have no clue what to do along the way! We're open to pretty much whatever, we want to see the "must see's" and experience what a road trip feels like, we're just newbies and need some help. We're 22 and just looking for adventure I guess. Were hoping to get to Ohio in four-ish days, any advice on fun stuff to do along I-80?? (we're willing to go off the the path for a little bit, we heard that park city in utah is exciting, and fort collins in CO is a must, any other advice? any giant ball of yarn we shouldn't pass up??) Thanks for all your help in advance!!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    Welcome aboard RTA! You've come to a good place for help. You've done some important work by having the car checked over.

    First, realize that San Francisco to Cleveland (the two points I used in calculation) is 2400+ miles one way. So if you intend to make it in four days, those will be 600 mile days. That means 11-12 hours in the car. Stopping to see something will mean either a much longer day (not recommended for newbies) or extending your trip by a day or so in order to accommodate the extra stops.

    Ft Collins would mean taking a side trip (extra miles, extra time) because it's not located right on I-80. In Nebraska, there are a few points along I-80 that were seen by the travelers of the Oregon Trail back in the 1800s. Iowa has the Amana Colonies, Chicago is full of life and vigor.

    BTW, at RTA we don't do "must see". Everyone's definition of what they have to see is different -- what may be of interest to me (such as the world's largest organ in Philadelphia) may not be of interest to other people. What we do recommend, IF you decide to add a day or two to your trip, is poking around this website for some other ideas along the way.


  3. #3


    Where in California are you coming from? The route from southern California would be different than the route from northern California.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    And - where in Ohio are you going?

  5. #5


    Thanks so much Donna! Sorry for my newbie language ;) Definitely have done some poking around and are excited to try to find some old abandoned towns along the way. I hear the largest truck stop in the US is along I-80 too, so that may be.. exciting? :) If not I think were hoping to find some good stops to meet nice people along the way.

    and Charlie/GLC: it's from san fran, ca to toledo, ohio

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

    Default A marathon.

    As Donna mentioned previously, to do the journey in 4 days you are right on the limit of what we would recommend experienced road trippers travel per day. [on a multi day trip] As 'newbies' and the fact you hope to stop along the way, I would add at least another day. If you do add just 1 day you still won't have much time for 'must see's,' but will be able to have a LITTLE more time out of the car, but still not venture far from your main route.

    If you only have 4 days, your stops would ideally be around Wendover UT, Cheyenne WY [just east is Pine Bluffs WY which is ideally located] and Des Moines IA.

    Don't be fooled by Mapping software travel times that are overly optimistic, especially on long journeys where rest, food and bathroom breaks and the need to fill with gas are not accounted for. Not to mention traffic and possible construction delays. A very good full days driving will mean averaging 60 mph with stops, more likely [and what we find to be the average] it will be 57mph. That means a 600 mile day will be almost 11 hours on the road with basic stops [no sight seeing]. With just an hour to get breakfast, an evening meal and washed/ready etc either side of those 11 hours and there is 13 hours of your day gone.

    You can enjoy this trip, but unless you can extend your time available, you need to set off knowing that it will be at more of a 'work like' pace than anything else. The most important thing as newbies, is to understand that it is a marathon and not a sprint. The first day you will be fresh and excited and might feel as though you can go on forever. This is a recipe for disaster as the next day your bodies will start to crash, get tired and could possibly put you out of whack for the next 2 days. This could then have an impact on your safety and those sharing the road with you. Even out those stops into equal segments and make sure you get a good nights sleep, ready to hit the road again early in the morning.

    Stay safe and have a great trip !

  7. #7


    You're not going to have a whole lot of time for site-seeing but you might enjoy a visit to the Amana Colonies in Iowa. If you don't have time there is kind of a sample of the Colonies called Little Amana which is right off I-80 which will give you an opportunity to see their crafts and enjoy their food without taking a lot of time. I believe it is at Exit 225.

    Here's a little more info about the Colonies: Settled in the 1850s on 26,000 acres along the Iowa River by members of a religious sect mostly from Germany, the Amana Colonies are seven closely united villages: Amana, East Amana, High Amana, Homestead, Middle Amana, South Amana and West Amana. The people lived communally until 1932. At that time the Amana Church Society was organized to continue the religious aspect of the community, and the Amana Society was organized along corporate lines to handle business affairs.
    From a workshop where beverage coolers were made, Amana Refrigeration Inc. has grown into a manufacturer and international marketer of kitchen appliances and heating and cooling systems. Furniture, meats and woolens are the colonies' other notable products. A visitor's gallery overlooks the workshop area of Amana Furniture and Clock Shop.
    The religion of the Amana natives, the Community of True Inspiration, is based on belief in divine revelation through werkzeuge, or inspired prophets. Its roots date from the mysticist and pietist movements of 16th- and 17th-century Europe.
    The first houses in Amana were large but without kitchens or dining areas--community meals were prepared and eaten in central kitchen houses. The cooking in the colonies still reflects a German heritage.

    In Wyoming, you might enjoy a side trip through the Snowy Range west of Laramie. It's a very scenic drive which would add a little time to your trip but not a whole lot of additional miles. Take Wyoming 130 south at Exit 235. It will bring you back in to I-80 at Laramie.

    You might also enjoy a side trip to Indiana Dunes State Park and Indiana Dunes Nat'l Seashore. It would be only about 6 miles out of your way and probably wouldn't take more than a couple of hours tops. They're north of I-80/90 @ Exit 31. If you've never seen or climbed sand dunes, you' enjoy it.

    Not sure what your interest in truck stops is but you might want to stop at Little America at I-80 Exit 68. I'm quite certain you will find it more more interesting than "The Worlds Largest Truck Stop" in Iowa.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default I'll second that.

    Quote Originally Posted by Charlie H View Post
    Not sure what your interest in truck stops is but you might want to stop at Little America at I-80 Exit 68. I'm quite certain you will find it more more interesting than "The Worlds Largest Truck Stop" in Iowa.
    Unique!! A stand alone. So very different. Spread over several buildings, the restaurant and motel are all part of the 'truck stop'. There is a fast food place as well, worth giving a miss. The gift shop has some nice things, and all the automobile stuff is for sale in building near the workshops.

    A very different truck stop.


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