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:
- 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?).
- 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.
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.