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  1. Default A Kiwi and a Brit driving from Denver to San Francisco

    Hi everyone, this is my first post, my wife and I coming over from the UK to see some of the Western states. For a long time now I always thought that if I had the time and pots of cash the first thing I would do would be to fly over, buy a car and drive throughout the US. However, reality is I'm tied to a few weeks annual leave from work like the rest of us. In total, we'll be in the States for about 11 days and three of those will be spent in Chicago on a city break. Road trip proper starts in Denver and ends in San Francisco. We're trying to decide on the best route, at the moment we're toying with the idea of staying in the Rocky Mountains National Park for a night then driving to Salt Lake city, across the Salt Flats, thru to Reno, down to Yosemite and then to San Fran. I'm looking at a couple of hundred miles a day, which is fine, but will we be OK with fuel stops and accommodation, some of those roads look mighty lonely, would a good suggestion be to book ahead? Also, really interested in the old west, will I see much of this on this route or could anyone recommend another route or diversion form this one to see historic sites. Thanks guys, really looking forward to seeing your country, been over a couple of times before but nothing this ambitious. Thanks, P89

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default That and More

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    I know that 11 days doesn't seem like much, and it will fly by faster than you can imagine, but I still think that you can add a fairly substantial detour and see a couple of truly unique sites without adding too much to your driving burden. The 'detour' would be, after visiting the Bonneville Salt Flats, double back just a bit to UT-36/US-6/UT-136/US-50/UT-100 running south parallel to I-15 and eventually joining up with the Interstate at Meadow UT. That would put you in position to visit Zion National Park and then loop around via US-89/AZ-64 to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. Head from there to Las Vegas and you'll be in position to drive through Death Valley on your way to Yosemite. With Rocky Mountain and Yosemite National Parks, that gives you 5 of the most memorable parks in America on this journey. It will be a bit more pressed than what you have currently planned, but still would only require about 4 full days of driving time, leaving you 7 days to spread out among those sites.

    Whatever you end up deciding to do, you really don't need to worry (too much) about being out in the middle of nowhere with no food or fuel. You'll never be more than maybe 25-30 miles from 'civilization' of some sort, and as long as you don't let the gas gauge drop below about ¼ you should be fine. There is also an advantage to the 'magnificent desolation' of the desert southwest. Many of those road that look like 'A' and 'B' roads of Britain are actually wide open highways with speed limits approaching 70 mph. Typically, if you're planning on staying in standard motel type accommodations, you won't need to book ahead in order to assure having a room. However, I prefer to book ahead anyway to get my shopping out of the way beforehand rather than trying to compare rates and amenities when I'm tired and just want to sleep, and also to set a schedule for myself that gives me the best chance of having time for everything I want to see and do.

    Specific recommendations for historic sites will depend, obviously, on your final choice of route, but for the first part of it, out to Salt Lake City, I'd certainly plan on including a visit to the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park even if you don't stay there. This was the place that inspired the Stephen King book/movie "The Shining" and has magnificent views of the nearby Rockies. Then as you drive across southern Wyoming, you might want to consider a couple of quick stops at the Wyoming Frontier Prison Museum and Fort Bridger Historic Site.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Southern Utah ?

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    There are many great routes and attractions between these two City's. The route you have mentioned would work well and if it appeals to you then that's all that matters ! Personally speaking, I would head towards Southern Utah and explore some of the natural wonders there [Arches, Canyonlands, Bryce canyon, Zion NP's] and then perhaps head to the Grand canyon from where you can head through Vegas, across Death valley and into Yosemite NP before continuing to SF.

    170 is a very scenic Interstate but there are other options. From Rocky Mountain NP you could cut down to US50 and travel over Monarch Pass, through Currecanti National Recreation area to Black Canyon of the Gunnison. A couple of great driving roads are the 'Million Dollar Highway' [US550 through the lovely mountain towns of Ouray and Silverton] and Utah scenic By-way 12 that you could take between Arches and Bryce canyon if you decided to head that way.

    There's a million and one other possibilities, so I would keep studying a map, reading and researching on RTA and when you have decided on an outline of a route, we can help 'tweak it' and make suggestions.

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