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  1. Default First time roadtripper, need tips and advice on what to see going from Oregon to Ohio

    Hey ya'll :) I hope I'm not cluttering up this forum here with yet another advice thread.

    So I've never done a road trip before of my own design. Last winter, through my college we took an 11 day excursion to Nevada and Arizona, from Ohio. It was a straight 36 or so hour drive, rotating several drivers. The drive was long, but by god, it made me addicted to the west and made me want to do my own road trip. I'm getting excited just thinking about it!

    So this august, there's a group of people me and my partner know who are in the Oregon area doing a 5 day long campout extravaganza event in the Deschutes National Forest, in central Oregon. I thought it would be awesome to attend, and my partner thinks it will be fun too :)

    So, going to the campsite from Dayton, Ohio is estimated a 36-37 or so hour drive on Google, not including stops. I figured with stops we could easily "straight shot" the distance within 3 days, starting the early on the 30th and hopefully arriving mid-day at the latest on the 2nd, when the event starts. That gives us 3 nights on the road, which I figure should be plenty of time since we'll obviously be rotating driver position as well.

    The camping event goes until the 6th (where the 6th would be considered a "break down the tents and say goodbye kind of day), and I imagine we'll start driving again starting that night.

    Time for the road trip part!!

    Here's the thing. We have until the 13th to get back to Dayton, from Deschutes National Forest in Oregon. If we include the 6th as a driving day (a light one, at least) then we have about 7.5 days worth of travel to... explore around a bit :P

    But I'm totally new to this, and kind of don't know where to start. We have a friend who lives in portland, and I love everything I hear about that city, so that could be an obvious first visit on our detour back home. But other than that, I'm not too sure. Straight shotting it back the same way we came I feel like would be a waste, since we have a decent chunk of time to play around with. But I don't want to end up having to say... drive 1,000 miles in one day because we got too side tracked.

    To help, here's a list of things I know are cool that would interest me:

    1. Famous national parks. I'm not sure what we could do here given our time/travel limits, but stuff like Yellowstone sounds awesome, as does that one national park where the massive trees grow (sequoia?).
    2. Anything in Oregon/Washington. Pacific Northwest is probably my dream home if I could afford to live there and wasn't in college at the moment. My partner loves the area too.
    3. Denver, or Colorado in general. I love mountains, and I was born here (even though I don't remember it at all, being not older than two when we moved east).
    4. Anything up far mid-north? The states up there always appear so flat being just squares and having really boring quarters (I.E. Wyoming or North Dakota), but I'm sure there is some cool stuff to see up there. Plus if we were to do that, we'd inevitably pass through Chicago, which is a city I've been to twice and know I like.
    5. I love the idea of seeing California. Of course, I think it might be too out of the way to get back on time unless we dedicated our whole time there, so I feel like this would work best as a pacific northwest style trip.


    So how is that for a first thread? :D

    Would love suggestions on where to drive, what to check out and make sure we get back in time on the 13th, to turn in the rental car :P (How does that work by the way? Do rentals allow overnight dropoff without me getting charged for an extra day if I rent for two weeks)?

    Sorry if it seems like it's a lot to cover. I don't want to try and over-plan things mind you, but would just like to get an idea of where to start when we do the road-trip portion of our trip, so we can really maximize the time we have on the road. And places/landmarks we know we'd think would be cool to check out if we are going to be in the area.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
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    Joplin MO
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    Welcome!

    You really need to allow 4 full days to get out there, no matter how many drivers you have.

  3. Default

    Thanks for the input!

    Why do you suggest that? I figure 3 nights should be more than enough time, seeing as my trip last winter to Nevada (which our route took a similar amount of hours-on-the-map) was done in less than two days (no lodging, just driving straight there), rotating 4 drivers. It wasn't too much of an issue for us. I figure rotating between two drivers and actually staying in lodgings (cheap, think hostels/motels) for 3 nights should be even easier.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
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    3 nights, but that also means 4 days!

    Rotating 4 drivers and rotating 2 drivers is a whole different story. For safety, you need to keep 2 people awake at all times. 3 or more drivers would qualify as a "speed run" with a driver/navigator/rest rotation.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
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    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    In regards to the rental car, your "rental day" is based on 24 hours. So if you pick it up at 8am, you have to return it by 8am or be charged for another day. (Although there is often a one hour or so grace period). Personally, I would not recommend dropping it off overnight, if you can avoid it, as I want to be there when they check the car in to make sure they don't try to add on a bunch of extra charges or claim things were damaged.

    Travel time, I have to agree that 3 overnight stops is the absolute minimum you need. Two drivers isn't the same as 4, but frankly, even with 4, what you did last time was a very dangerous game of russian roulette. The statistics for people who are killed or injured in crashes by doing the sort of thing you talked about are really staggering, and the crash rates are very similar to those of other more publicized dangerous behavior like drinking or texting while driving. No matter how many drivers you have, if you are doing more than 600-700 miles a day, for multiple days in a row, you're in the danger zone. The good news, it seems like you've got enough time.

    As far as what to do coming back, I think you've got a few options, but you'll have to pick a direction.

    You mentioned Yellowstone, and that could be a great choice. Its a huge park that really needs a couple days even to see the major points, but from there you could head back through the Black Hills (Mt. Rushmore, Devils Tower, Custer St. Park, etc) and Badlands, and then Chicago.

    If you want Colorado to be a priority, you could head down to Utah, visit places like Arches, Canyonlands, and Rocky Mountain NP, to name a few of the many parks that would be along your way.

    California isn't completely out of the picture, but if you wanted to visit places like Yosemite or Sequoia (both have some giant sequoia trees), it would push you up to around a 3000 mile trip, and that's going to really going to start to limit your ability to actually stop and see things. However, if you can add a touch more time, the Grand Canyon would be another option that would be a possibility to work into the trip.

  6. Default National Park Annual Passes?

    I hear to always get these for NP's we plan on visiting. However, on a trip I'm about to take, I only only plan on stoppingy by a couple of NP's at most for a day or so (or doing an extended stay inside one NP). Is the annual pass still worth it? It's more than double the cost of an entrance fee, and it appears to be park specific, as well as only applying to one person. Unless I am wrong on those.

    In the fact that I don't plan on staying more than 1 day at a park (but I would visit multiple parks doing this), or that if I do spend more than one day it'll likely be only 2-3 days at the most at a single park.. is the annual pass still work it? As far as I can tell, a daily pass is $20 at most parks, which means the annual pass is a bad deal unless I were planning on doing my whole trip around a park or two.

    Just wanted some input. Of course, its going to be worth it if an annual pass works for all parks. But I highly doubt that, sadly.

    Mod note] Please keep all questions regarding this trip in one thread.
    Last edited by Southwest Dave; 07-29-2012 at 12:09 AM. Reason: Merged.

  7. #7
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    The $80 annual pass works at all fee-based national parks and monuments, and it's for the whole vehicle. It doesn't cover anything except admission, and for someplace like Mount Rushmore, where admission is free but they charge for parking, it doesn't cover parking. At some parks, you can get a discount on various things with a pass.

    At most parks, the admission fee (up to $25) usually covers the whole vehicle and is usually good for 7 days.

    If you are 62 or older and a US resident, you can get a lifetime senior pass for $10. This also covers the whole vehicle.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
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    South of England.
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    Default The opposite.

    In the fact that I don't plan on staying more than 1 day at a park (but I would visit multiple parks doing this), or that if I do spend more than one day it'll likely be only 2-3 days at the most at a single park.. is the annual pass still work it? As far as I can tell, a daily pass is $20 at most parks, which means the annual pass is a bad deal unless I were planning on doing my whole trip around a park or two.
    This is exactly the sort of trip where the pass is most worth it. If you were to visit 2 or 3 parks and stay for an extended period [up to 7 days]in each, then the individual fees would be cheaper. If you are visiting 4 or more major parks over the next 12 months [average $20-$25 per park] the annual pass is better value. It permits entry to every National park, as many times as you like, for 12 months from the date of issue.

    Just wanted some input. Of course, its going to be worth it if an annual pass works for all parks. But I highly doubt that, sadly.
    It sure does !!! [Other than the odd park like Rushmore mentioned above and Alcatraz, which is free but you still have to pay for the Ferry.] Great value, happy days.

    The Trip.

    If you have 11/12 days to travel, can you not alter your dates so that you split the journey 'out' and 'back' equally ? You could then take 2 different routes and sight see along the way rather than going 'all over the map' on the way back. For example you could go via Chicago, Badlands and Yellowstone and back through Utah and Colorado. [Arches, Canyonlands, Rocky Mountain NP's.

    I really think Cali would be stretching things too far unless you found more time.
    Last edited by Southwest Dave; 07-29-2012 at 12:26 AM. Reason: Found and merged to original thread so added new info.

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