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  1. Default Wichita Falls, TX to Redding, CA ..quickest and most scenic route...?

    On around Nov 20/21 i will be traveling to Redding with my 3 year old son. I want to take him into the mountains but i am a little unsure of the safest route for us at this time of year. I had planned on going through the rockies but i'm now thinking that a route through san juan national forest would be better. I also want to go through canyon lands and arches n.p.'s but again i am not sure of driving conditions. I want to take the most scenic route possible but i also can't afford more than 2 nights for a hotel. I don't care about sticking to major highways as long as the roads i do take are safe. I can handle some snow and ice but would prefer to avoid anywhere that chains are required.

    ANY suggestions would be most welcome. I have my son all worked up over seeing the mountains so i want to really show him!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,749

    Default Time.

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    Before we talk about scenic routes and National parks we need to know whether or not you are saying that you need to do the journey in 3 days or not ? Three days is slighty beyond what we would recommend travelling each day to reach you goal and would leave you no time for scenic roads or sight seeing. You are already looknig at 10-11 hour days on the road with time just for basic stops and by the time you add getting ready in the morning and settling down at night the little fella will be exhausted as I am sure you will be. This is of course without weather disruption, or the need to stop longer if your son becomes restless with being in a car for such long periods, which is quite possible.

    I would recommend you plan on another night on the road as you can't put a price on safety and the trip will be far more comfortable. Talking of safety, if you need to use chains due to weather then you should really be pulling off the road while the storm passes and let the road crews go about their work, you will make little progress anyway and will end up even more exhausted. If you find an extra day it would make going through Moab a possibility, [and perhaps a quick look at Arches or Canyonlands but time will still be tight] I would check weather and road conditions before travelling before deciding.

  3. Default

    My only issue with adding an extra day or 2 is the hotel costs. If not for that then up to 5 days for the trip would not be a problem. I hadn't intended on many sight seeing stops, just basically looking for an incredibly scenic drive. I would like to spend night 1 in or near the mountains so he could wake up to that world on day 2. I was figuring on not getting to arches til day 3 and then driving on that night til we got to redding. I have no idea if that would be doable but then i'm just starting to plan the drive.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default Please reconsider.

    There is absolutely no way you can drive from Arches to Redding on one day, especially not with a three year old. I know you would count on the child being asleep for the latter part of the trip. However, even that could be counter productive. You will be on your third full day of driving. Add to this a child sleeping in the car, and your body will soon decide that it too needs to shut down and have a rest. On top of that, you will be driving in the dark with headlights shining into tired eyes. Not to mention the stretch you will need to drive with the setting sun in your eyes. A recipe for disaster.

    Consider your son and your own health and well-being, and make this a two day leg. 500 miles with a youngster in the car can be both trying on you and the child. To make this trip enjoyable for him, make frequent stop at local parks, and give your son the joy of running around a park, to burn of some of that pent up energy. Stop early and have ample time to wind down, before settling for a good and comfortable night's sleep.

    If the cost of hotels is all that is stopping you extending this trip, there are ways to minimize these. I have found the hotel / motel coupon booklets invaluable, on my travels. Many places also give discounts for all sorts of memberships, such as AAA. How much did you have budgeted for accommodation? You should be able to mostly find a room for around $50, if not less - especially in the 'low' season. As a last resort, borrow some money!

    As a mother, I urge you, for the sake of both of you, to reconsider your plan.

    Lifey

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,064

    Default more thought needed

    I understand that you are just starting to plan, but when you say you are "figuring on not getting to arches til day 3 and then driving on that night til we got to redding" it really tells me that you really are completely unprepared for just how big of a journey you are planning.

    Its nearly 1000 miles from Moab to Redding, with the last 200 miles being 2 lane roads through the mountains. No, that's not even close to safe or reasonable in one day - even if you didn't include a stop at Arches, it would a tough TWO day trip.

    We can understand that you've got a budget, but when it comes to spending money, I would hope you would consider safety to be your top priority.

    If you absolutely can not afford to spend more than 2 nights in a motel, then simply getting to your destination needs to be your only priority. On that schedule, you just don't have the time to be worrying about a scenic drive or any extra stops. It is a very hard and full 3 days of driving, going directly along the interstates (I-40 to CA-58 to I-5), and if you can not stop for more than 2 nights, then that really is your only option. You need to plan to take that route, and plan to spend your nights in Grants NM and Barstow CA. Any extra detours or scenic route will require time that you just don't have on this schedule - not to mention, I can't see how you could afford money for national park entry fees if you can't afford a cheap motel room.

    The other reality is that if you can't afford one more night on the road - are you even sure you can make this trip? What will you do if you have a storm that forces you to stop for the night, or even worse, what will you do if you have a mechanical problem that forces you to spend an extra night on the road, on top of the costs to actually fix the car?

    Of course, I'm not trying to actually discourage you from making this roadtrip, and there are lots of things you can do to cut your costs to make a trip that could fit into your budget. But if you are planning a trip where $50 could break the bank and/or you are considering risking the safety of yourself and your child over $50, then I think you've got some serious things to think about that are far more important than scenery.
    Last edited by Midwest Michael; 11-15-2012 at 06:26 AM. Reason: clarification

  6. Default

    I appreciate your input. I grew up taking this trip from texas to redding every year with my grandparents. We rarely stayed in a hotel more than one night and was in redding by night 2. I was thinking an extra day would be enough to go a more scenic route. Of course i will change my plans for the safety and comfort of my child. That is my #1 concern. I am still planning on taking a route through the mountains since i have promised that to my son. So with that being said, adding on an extra night, what route would you recommend?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,271

    Default

    There are several ways to go to take you through mountains - and which one you choose is going to depend on up-to-the-minute conditions. If conditions are dodgy, you would almost always be better off sticking to Interstate highways.

    I don't think you have the time to do much, if any, parks exploring, but you can certainly get up into the mountains.

    Here's one suggestion, which would involve 3 nights on the road.

    Take US-287 to Amarillo and Dumas, then US-87/US-64 to Raton. Take I-25 north to Pueblo and spend the night. Now, you need to make a decision based on conditions. Your goal is to get to Grand Junction. You could take US-50 straight across, or go to Denver and take I-70. You could spend the night in Grand Junction, or press on a bit farther to Green River. From there, you can take US-191/US-6 to south of Salt Lake City, then take I-15 to I-80. Your next overnight will be in NV - Wells, Elko, Battle Mountain, or Winnemucca. You can take I-80 to Sacramento to I-5, or you can use US-395/CA-44 to cut the corner to Redding, depending on conditions.

    If possible, I would travel with a laptop with wifi. Lacking that, a smartphone would be a plus. There are links to road conditions in every state at safetravelusa.com.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,749

    Default Possible stopping points.

    If you wanted to go via Moab you could head to Albuquerque or Santa Fe for a reasonably comfortable day one. Day two to Moab and then on to Elko perhaps for your last overnight stop. Each day would be reasonably comfortable with time to unwind a little while allowing a little 'wiggle' room in case of poor weather. That would make a nice route but there would be others to choose from. For example you could head towards Fort Garland/Alamosa near the Great sand dunes for night one and up to Salida and take US50 over the continental divide at Monarch Pass and through Currecanti Rec area and up to Grand junction and then to Elko. Moab would be a possibilty instead of Grand junction but would add a couple of hours over the other route. Again check conditions before travelling as Monarch Pass can get snowed up pretty quick. Another option would be to head to Colorado Springs for night one and then up through Woodland Park and Breckenridge to I70, the most scenic of Interstates.

  9. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by glc View Post
    There are several ways to go to take you through mountains - and which one you choose is going to depend on up-to-the-minute conditions. If conditions are dodgy, you would almost always be better off sticking to Interstate highways.

    I don't think you have the time to do much, if any, parks exploring, but you can certainly get up into the mountains.

    Here's one suggestion, which would involve 3 nights on the road.

    Take US-287 to Amarillo and Dumas, then US-87/US-64 to Raton. Take I-25 north to Pueblo and spend the night. Now, you need to make a decision based on conditions. Your goal is to get to Grand Junction. You could take US-50 straight across, or go to Denver and take I-70. You could spend the night in Grand Junction, or press on a bit farther to Green River. From there, you can take US-191/US-6 to south of Salt Lake City, then take I-15 to I-80. Your next overnight will be in NV - Wells, Elko, Battle Mountain, or Winnemucca. You can take I-80 to Sacramento to I-5, or you can use US-395/CA-44 to cut the corner to Redding, depending on conditions.

    If possible, I would travel with a laptop with wifi. Lacking that, a smartphone would be a plus. There are links to road conditions in every state at safetravelusa.com.
    Oh thank you! I have so many road condition apps on my iphone that its getting confusing. Having it all n one place is great! The route you gave is basically the same route i was toying with. I would probably opt for cutting across 50. Road conditions and the forecast seem favorable. I also plan on 395/44 into redding. Thats the way we always went and its so pretty. My dad said there was a storm coming in so i will have to keep my eye on that part though.

    I appreciate all your help. If you have any more suggestions or concerns, feel free to let me know. The only thing solid so far is that we leave bright and early tuesday morning...probably around 5 am.

  10. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Southwest Dave View Post
    If you wanted to go via Moab you could head to Albuquerque or Santa Fe for a reasonably comfortable day one. Day two to Moab and then on to Elko perhaps for your last overnight stop. Each day would be reasonably comfortable with time to unwind a little while allowing a little 'wiggle' room in case of poor weather. That would make a nice route but there would be others to choose from. For example you could head towards Fort Garland/Alamosa near the Great sand dunes for night one and up to Salida and take US50 over the continental divide at Monarch Pass and through Currecanti Rec area and up to Grand junction and then to Elko. Moab would be a possibilty instead of Grand junction but would add a couple of hours over the other route. Again check conditions before travelling as Monarch Pass can get snowed up pretty quick. Another option would be to head to Colorado Springs for night one and then up through Woodland Park and Breckenridge to I70, the most scenic of Interstates.
    Thank you. There are just so many choices here that i can't seem to commit myself to a single one! I had originally planned to spend night 1 in either trinidad or pueblo but then i thought new mexico is pretty too...i think i am starting to lean back towards pueblo area and cut across on 50. Do you happen to know where i could view some photos of that area?

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