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Thread: DC to Fresno

  1. Default DC to Fresno

    We will be moving from DC to Fresno mid-August. I will be driving most of the trip but my girlfriend would help for at least a couple of hours every day. I expect to make the trip in about 5/6 days. We are both not from the US (although we spent the last 5 years here) and would like to use this opportunity to explore America. I am considering between taking I - 80 and stopping over at Chicago but could take an alternative route like I - 40 if there are convenient little stop overs and interesting small towns. We are looking for suggestions about interesting cities/towns to stop over for the night if a 5/6 day trip. Good food suggestions alongside would be great, as we would like to avoid the food chains.

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


    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    If you want to do any exploring, then 6 days is really going to be the bare minimum for your trip. You could make the trip in 5, but it would require being on the road for 10+ hours a day with only time for some very brief stops along the way.

    There are interesting towns and attractions no matter which route you take. Based on your desire to see Chicago, you might look at something like stops in Elkhart IN, Dixon IL (spending much of the day in Chicago), Kearney NE, Glenwood Springs CO, and St. George UT. That would allow a chance for a quick detour to one or maybe 2 of the several national parks that are very near that route. Of course, this is just one example, there are several other ways you could tweek things, and certainly if you'd rather stick to I-80 or use I-40, those are certainly reasonable options too.

  3. Default

    Thank you for the suggestions.
    If I take I-80, and stop at or around Elkart IN, Kearney NE, Glenwood Springs CO and St. George UT, would anyone of have recommendations for interesting sights to see around each or any of these spots. Any food hot spots along the way?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    From DC, I wouldn't take I-80.

    Fastest route is I-270/I-70/I-68/I-79/I-70/I-44/I-40/CA-58/CA-99. This is a 5 day trip with stops in Richmond IN, Springfield MO, Amarillo TX, and Flagstaff AZ.

    If you have 6 days, visit the Grand Canyon and spend the next night in Williams or Kingman.

    For food, I can recommend the Big Texan steakhouse in Amarillo. They also have an on-premises motel done up in Old West decor. The rooms are OK.

    Another option is stay on I-70 after STL, overnights in KC, Denver, and Richfield UT. You could spend a day going through Bryce Canyon and possibly Zion, and spend the next night in St. George.

  5. Default

    We considered I 80 as we would have liked to see Chicago. Nothing set in stone, I think I 70 via Denver, and driving by Bryce Canyon/Zion would be good route.
    1st day - DC to Columbus OH
    2nd day - Columbus to St. Louis MO
    3rd day - St. Louis to Kansas City (or Salina KS) [any recommendations where to stop?]
    4th day - From (____) to Denver CO
    5th day - Denver to St. George UT
    6th day - St. George to Fresno

    I was wondering if there are any national park recommendations to stay rather than at St. George UT. If we could organize our route so that we go by (or stay at) Las Vegas at night - that might be interesting, as well?
    Any suggestions, to smoothen the driving distance everyday, with the Las Vegas at night and the stay in the Bryce/Zion or surrounding national park area as interests? I suppose it wouldn't be too hard to get lodging cabin's for a night at one of these parks?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Not really.

    Quote Originally Posted by easttowest View Post
    I suppose it wouldn't be too hard to get lodging cabin's for a night at one of these parks?
    If you do not already have bookings, there may be a very, very slim chance, but I wouldn't count on it.


  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    The route I originally suggested was created with your goal of stopping in Chicago in mind, but it did still go through Denver and past Arches/Bryce/Zion via I-70/I-15 as you are now considering.

    It would be extremely difficult to get a cabin inside any national park at this late date, although it doesn't hurt to check and see if there's been a cancellation. Lodging options outside the parks might offer more availablity.

    It would be tough to be in Vegas at night, unless you actually spend the night there. Its around a 6-7 hour drive from Vegas to Fresno, so that would set up a relatively short final day as it is. If you want your last day on the road to be a full one, you'd be driving through in the morning.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    In order to have any time at all to see Bryce and/or Zion, you need to extend your previous days -

    Richmond IN
    Richfield UT

    After Zion, you may be able to find a room in Springdale, right outside the park.

  9. Default

    Since Vegas is only 6 hrs from Fresno, we could do it at a later date from Fresno. But Chicago may be harder to get to, so I'll put it back on the map.

    DC -
    Cleveland OH -
    Chicago IL -
    Lincoln NE -
    Denver CO -
    Richfield UT -

    Are there any big tolls (other warnings) that should be avoided on the route?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    Did you add another day to your plans? It looks like this would be a 7 day trip now?

    You'll see significant tolls basically all the way to Chicago. If you have an EZ-Pass, it will work all the way to Illinois and will save you several dollars. West of Illinois, you're basically toll free.

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