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  1. Default Roadtrip - July 2013 - Start in Chicago end up in San Fransisco - RV/Car

    Hi,

    We are 7 close friends from Sweden (around the age of 30) who is planning a road trip vacation in your lovely country :)
    I’ve been reading a lot and tried search this forum but mainly found trips and advice around LA/LV/SD/SF so here I am with a few questions.

    All of us have being on different parts of USA before but never taken a road trip and would love some advice on what not to miss and if our scheduled is possible :) Note that it is in no way decided and we only want a rough estimation on how to drive and if we want we will take detours or stay longer/less at some place during the roadtrip. There is however a few times and places that are set.

    We have a total of 27 days in USA with the start of:
    We will arrive at Chicago the 29th of June and will pick up a RV the 2nd July and hit the road.
    The 16th (early morning) we have to leave the RV in Las Vegas.
    The 18th we will pick up 2 cars is Las Vegas
    23th we will leave the cars in San Francisco.
    Plane home will depart the 27th.

    I’ve just set up some small pointers to estimate the trip, what do you say about it? Possible? Quick trip Roadtrip


    • So, what is there to see/do between Chicago - San Francisco (lol what a huge question that is :) )?

    • Where should one spend 4th of July?

    • And we pretty much have nothing planned from Chicago to Las Vegas and need help.

    • Is it possible to go from Las Vegas to San Francisco in 5 days and see some stuffs in-between like a peek at Yosemite?


    Our thought is to spend the first part of the trip (the RV part) pretty much outdoor and in NP areas and after LV when we have cars it will be more city´s.

    Comments please :)

    Regards,
    Hefram

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    What is your reasoning for trading the RV in for 2 cars in Las Vegas? It will be much easier, and likely cheaper, just to keep the RV for the entire length of your trip. The one day of vehicle rental you'll save will just be eaten up by extra one way drop fees for the car, plus an RV could be very useful in Yosemite and along the coast.

    An RV will be more challenging in LA, however, it might be worth considering ending your trip in Los Angeles. That would let you go from Vegas through Death Valley, and across Tioga Pass into Yosemite. From there, go to SF, and head south down the coast, which is a bit easier because the ocean is on your side of the road. Once in LA, you could trade the RV in for a car if you want.

    Narrowing down everything you could see between Chicago and California is a completely impossible task. It looks like you've got a good start at this point, and there are tons of National Parks along your current route, especially in Colorado and Utah. Spend a lot of time looking around the National Parks Service website.

    One area that I would at least consider going that's not on your current plan is Yellowstone - perhaps heading from Chicago across South Dakota's Badlands and Black Hills along the way, before heading back south to Utah and Colorado.

    As far as the 4th of July, nearly every town big and small has some sort of celebration, with a parade and/or fireworks, so finding a place won't be difficult. If you stick with the current route you listed, I'd think St. Louis would be a perfect spot - as they have a festival and fireworks right at the Arch.

  3. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Midwest Michael View Post
    What is your reasoning for trading the RV in for 2 cars in Las Vegas? It will be much easier, and likely cheaper, just to keep the RV for the entire length of your trip. The one day of vehicle rental you'll save will just be eaten up by extra one way drop fees for the car, plus an RV could be very useful in Yosemite and along the coast.

    An RV will be more challenging in LA, however, it might be worth considering ending your trip in Los Angeles. That would let you go from Vegas through Death Valley, and across Tioga Pass into Yosemite. From there, go to SF, and head south down the coast, which is a bit easier because the ocean is on your side of the road. Once in LA, you could trade the RV in for a car if you want.
    The reason is just that we would like cars is in the city´s and also would be fun for a change to have cars and use hotel/motel and not RV all the time. I think some of us will have a motorbike for a day or 2 also. The money difference aint that big and we can live with it :)
    About ending in LA I see your point however we already got the plane ticket set from San Francisco and cant change that.

    Quote Originally Posted by Midwest Michael View Post
    Narrowing down everything you could see between Chicago and California is a completely impossible task. It looks like you've got a good start at this point, and there are tons of National Parks along your current route, especially in Colorado and Utah. Spend a lot of time looking around the National Parks Service website.

    One area that I would at least consider going that's not on your current plan is Yellowstone - perhaps heading from Chicago across South Dakota's Badlands and Black Hills along the way, before heading back south to Utah and Colorado.

    As far as the 4th of July, nearly every town big and small has some sort of celebration, with a parade and/or fireworks, so finding a place won't be difficult. If you stick with the current route you listed, I'd think St. Louis would be a perfect spot - as they have a festival and fireworks right at the Arch.
    Thanks for the tips, will take em with me. And ya its a huge and hehe hard task to choose what to do and how to drive, thats why you all expert and experienced ppl can help me out! :)

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,748

    Default Help to get started.

    I will start out from Denver west to give you some suggestions to work with. If you spent July 4 in St Louis and 2 days getting to Denver with an overnight stop midway, it would leave you with 10 days to get to Vegas. First off I would recommend you head towards Estes Park and into Rocky mountain NP where you will find the Morraine park campground. You can then drive the highest continous paved highway in the US, [providing it's open] the Trail Ridge Road to Grand Lake and down to I70. You could follow I70 west to Colorado NM and Moab [Arches NP], or head down to US50 via the historic town of Leadville and then head west over Monarch Pass, through Currecanti National Recreation area to the Black canyon of the Gunnison. From Black canyon continue to Montrose and head south on US550 aka 'The Million Dollar Highway' through the wonderful mountain towns of Ouray and Silverton to Durango. Further west near to Cortez you will find the historic remains at Mesa Verde NP from where you could continue west through Monument valley to Grand canyon south rim before Vegas, or head north to Moab and then head to Bryce canyon via I70/UT24 and UT12 scenic byway and then to the quieter north rim of the Grand canyon, Zion NP and down I15 to Vegas.

    With just 5 days to get to SF, I think you will be better off dropping something and have more time to appreciate where you go. I guess that would be either Yosemite or LA and for me, it would be a 'no brainer', I would steer clear of the urban sprawl of LA and head to Yosemite, one of the finest of all NP's and a much nicer drive, but that's your decision to make based on your main interests. If you chose Yosemite you could drive across Death valley and over the mountains on the spectacular Tioga Pass to the Valley. You could make time enough to head to the coast and drive the Big Sur section by heading to Cambria and up through Monterey on the way to SF.

    Of course these are a tiny few of the options available, so you should keep getting together with your friends and make sure everyone is involved in the planning and that you are all on the same page with regards to what you want from the trip. Once you have some dots on the map we can help fill in the blanks.

    A couple of words of warning with the RV. First you must check that it has 7 safety belts as it may not matter how many it can sleep, it's how many it can legally transport with seatbelt laws. USA campgrounds usually have nice roomy sites with a fire ring and table and bench set, but inside it's gonna get real small with all of you in there, so I hope you are used to each others bad habits ! ;-) The other thing to consider is that in popular areas, such as the National parks during the peak season, they get real busy and with only limited RV sites available they book up well in advance. You will find private campgrounds with availability but you might have to hunt around for them if you are not booking in advance. You can not park and sleep where you like, the parks have designated areas and you can't legally set up camp by the side of the road.

    Your trip sounds like great fun and I'm sure you will have a blast !

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