MO to CA and back
This year really has been a road-trip year for us - in May-June (30 days total) we did Missouri to Oregon and back via the southwest, last month we did Missouri to DC to NY and back (21 days total), and now I'm looking at three weeks from Missouri to CA and back via the southwest for another one that'll be 23 days this time.
Our last two trips were in our minivan, and having clocked over 10,000 miles just for two trips, we decided to give the minivan a break for this one and rent an RV (B+ class so I get better gas mileage and don't have to drive a huge beast). So I'm looking for suggestions of things to stop to see along our planned out route and places I may not otherwise find out about. Since we'll be using an RV, one of my biggest needs for advice is where to stay!!!
Day 1, Tuesday, all I'm doing is getting myself to Colorado Springs so I can pick up the RV for the trip. It's going to be a long and boring ride, but I have an early pick-up day 2 so we can actually enjoy the day and get to our destination for overnight, Taos, NM. From there our pace will slow down a bit since I don't need to be in San Diego until the afternoon of the 19th. For the night, I plan to stay in Taos somewhere.....?
Day 3, Thursday - explore Taos & Santa Fe, then go to Albuquerque, NM for the evening.
Day 4, Friday - explore around Albuquerque, then go to Grants, NM for the evening.
Day 5, Saturday - explore the area, head into AZ through Petrified Forest area, then down to Phoenix.
Day 6, Sunday - Phoenix area day and night.
Day 7, Monday - Phoenix area, then to somewhere near Joshua Tree overnight.
Day 8, Tuesday - Joshua Tree, then to San Bernadino area overnight.
Day 9, Wednesday - visit family, then overnight in Anaheim area.
Day 10, Thursday - Disneyland, then Newport Beach area overnight.
Day 11, Friday - get to San Diego, pick up husband flying in
Day 12-18, Saturday-Thursday - San Diego area
Day 18, drop husband at airport and drive to north of Phoenix
Day 19, Friday - south of Flagstaff area, drive to Winslow, AZ?
Day 20, Saturday - Drive to Nageezi, see Chaco Canyon, drive to Grants, NM overnight
Day 21, Sunday - explore Albuquerque and to Santa Fe overnight
Day 22, Monday - explore more of Santa Fe, NM, then Alamoso, CO overnight
Day 23, Tuesday - drive to Colorado Springs, drop off RV and pick up minivan, drive to Colby, KS overnight
Day 24, Wednesday - drive home
Am I being over ambitious? Where to stop? What to see? Ideas welcome!
Do I read correctly in another thread that you are in Columbia? It's over 700 miles from there to COS - not exactly a good way to start a trip, especially if you want to get up early to pick up a RV.
I'd seriously consider stopping in Burlington for the night, then head in to COS in the morning. That should take you about 2.5 hours, then it's about 5 hours to Taos.
From the Petrified Forest to PHX, I can highly recommend the following route for scenery:
Go to Holbrook, take AZ-377 to AZ-277 to AZ-260 to Payson, then AZ-87 to PHX. This is also a popular shortcut to get from I-40 to PHX, it saves about 50 miles over going to Flagstaff and down I-17.
Getting to COS is key first night.....stinks to drive that far and that long, but if we can get within 2 hours of COS (my real goal), we're golden for the rest of the trip with no more long-long drives needed for the most part. Burlington does look like an option to stay the night, or Limon. I just want to be as close as possible since I have a 10:00 AM pick-up, which is super early for an RV pick-up! We'll definitely look at that route to PHX from the Petrified Forest!
It shouldn't be too difficult to get on the road from Burlington by 7am or so. I think the hotel selections are better in Burlington than they are in Limon. Just get out of Columbia reasonably early but not so early that you hit KC in rush hour.
You might want to look at taking I-470/I-435 around the south side of KC, then K-10 to Lawrence to get back on I-70. I-70 through downtown KC is a mess.
I will second the suggestion of staying in Burlington. That's just about 600 miles from Columbia. You have several motel selections there. One is Chaparral Inn, just off the 2nd Burlington exit going west on I-70. It's an older property but clean and in fairly good shape ... plus the price is NOT expensive. There's a Denny's on one side, a Pizza Hut across the street and it's just down from a couple of other fast food places. Also across the street is Burlington Inn. We've never stayed there. There's also a chain motel across the street. The one I'd stay away from is Sloan's Motel. We stayed there once ... and never will, again.
Limon has some choices but it's an hour further down the road. I checked ratings as we debated going on to Limon last year. The prices were also higher than Chaparral, so we stayed at Chaparral. (We've been staying there on our trips for years, because it's 600 miles out of Columbia where we have family.)
I've only stayed in Limon once, we got caught in a nasty ice storm and managed to get to Limon and stayed at the Holiday Inn Express there.
After giving it some thought, it is probably wise to plan to stay in Burlington - it's close enough that if we get up and out early, we'll easily get to the pick-up for the RV around 10:00 and be able to enjoy the day without me being frightfully tired!
I usually loop south to avoid KC, especially around rush hour! Great tip!
Thought about mixing it up a bit?
I'm just curious if there is a reason for going back to the same places you will travelling through on the way to San Diego, such as Santa Fe and the Phoenix area ?
There is nothing wrong with those choices, but if I were heading out one way I would take another back and see as many different places as possible. Not to mention that from Flagstaff to Colorado Springs you could visit [Grand canyon of course] Monument valley Mesa Verde NP, drive the spectacular 'Million Dollar Highway', through the lovely mountain towns of Silverton and Ouray and take US50 past Black Canyon of the Gunnison, through Currecanti Nat. Rec. area and over the continental divide at Monarch Pass. Continuing on US50 you will find the Royal Gorge Bridge near Canon City before turning off onto CO115 through Penrose [look out foe the worlds largest rocking chair if it's still there] to Colorado Springs. If you have a little time to spare 'Garden of the Gods' near Manitou Springs is well worth a visit.
Just a thought as it's quite a spectacular drive with much to see !