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  1. Default Big Trip Out West, need advice on 1st leg of trip

    Hi. I am new to the forum but have been reading such helpful advice from all the travelers since I joined. We are planning a trip from PA to Grand Canyon (staying 2 days), then up thru Tetons to Yellowstone (staying 3 days), then over to Custer, SD as a home base for 3 or 4 days to explore the sites in that area. Our plan is to get out to GC in 4 or 5 days from home. We can hit that portion quickly, or take some time to see anything special worth stopping for if anyone has some advice on that 1st leg of our trip. We will be heading out from the southeastern PA area (not far from Phila.) and can get to Grand Canyon whatever way is either fastest (already mapped) or do detours if warranted. Is there anything particularly special or fun to see between here and there? Background: We are two adults and one child who will be 13 by then. We travel well on roadtrips together and can do long days when necessary. The plan is to hit the road around the 3rd wk in June, traveling for appr. 3 weeks. I will have to firm up dates soon so I can try for reservations when they begin taking them for that time period. We hope to stay in a Bright Angel Rim Cabin at Grand Canyon, and both at Old Faithful Inn and Roosevelt cabins in Yellowstone. Wanted to stay at Slyvan Lake Lodge/Cabins in Custer State Park, SD, but due to budget constraints found a lovely group of cabins in Custer at a reasonable rate for our Black Hills visit. I apologize if I have babbled too much! Thanks to all.
    Last edited by rockformation; 03-28-2013 at 11:25 AM. Reason: Trip planned for 2014, not this year!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,748

    Default Balancing time and interests.

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    The loop trip you describes is going to take aprox 10 days of driving for 9-10 hours a day with time for short stops, lunch etc but no major sight seeing. That would leave you 10 or 11 days for sight seeing activities with 8 or 9 0f those already accounted for. How you divide that up really comes down to your personal tastes and where the things that interest you fit in along your journey. There is always something pretty special along any route that's not too far away, so I would first do a little research and see what appeals to you and mark them on the map and see how you can make things fit. Involve your partner and child in the planning so that they have a say in what appeals to them so they have a vested interest in the trip, it makes it fun for all. For example the child might like to do some 'legal' graffiti at Caddilac Ranch near Amarillo that won't take too long.

    Personally speaking I would enjoy spending 2 or 3 nights between the Grand canyon and Yellowstone and visit Monument Valley and spend a little time in Southern Utah checking out Zion and Bryce canyon NP's which are also quite amazing. From home you could create a route through Colorado on I70 into Utah and visit Arches NP and down through Monument valley to GC, rather than taking I44/40 from St Louis. It's very scenic and would only take an extra 2 hours or so of driving, but you will be so close to so many wonderful places without a lot of time to stop and enjoy.

    Have a read around the forums and check out the RTA mapping programs in the tool bar above where you can create routes and/or find attractions throughout the country and try and work out if you want to take your time getting to the GC or whether you want to take it easy and see a little more, but there are thousands of fun and worthwhile detours almost anywhere.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default Leg One Advice

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    Well let's see if we can help you make the best of this trip by getting it off to a great start with an enjoyable and memorable Leg 1. You could actually get to the Grand Canyon in four days of steady but not overly strenuous driving. That means you have a full day to 'spare' to see sights along the way. So why not plan on one or two hour or so stops each day to break up the drive and learn a little as you go. These don't have to be major stops, but some places that are right on your way would include a reproduction of George Washington's grist mill in Perryopolis PA and the Pennsylvania Trolley Museum in Washington on day 1; the US Air Force Museum in Dayton and the Arch in St. Louis on Day 2; One of the many caves in the Ozarks region of southwestern Missouri and the Oklahoma City Memorial on Day 3; Historic Fort Reno OK and Cadillac Ranch outside Amarillo on Day 4; and Petroglyph National Monument and Petrified Forest National Park on Day 5. You could make other choices depending on your interests, but the idea is simply to do one or two things each day other than just drive.

    AZBuck
    Last edited by AZBuck; 03-29-2013 at 08:40 AM.

  4. #4

    Default

    I tend to try to plan our entire trip being something special each day - it takes a lot of planning, but once done, we have destinations each day to look forward to and know when the sprints are coming. I never do more than one day of long hauls if I can help it at all - I have two small kids and long haul doesn't work well with them!

    From PA you have some great options to think about - you may want to reconsider how you do it and do Grand Canyon as part of the trip, but not your first major stop.

    For example:

    Philly
    Dayton
    Chicago
    Des Moines
    Sioux Falls
    Badlands
    Custer
    Yellowstone
    Grand Teton
    Fossil Butte
    Dinosaur
    Moab
    Bryce & Zion
    Grand Canyon
    Petrified Forest
    Albuquerque
    Amarillo
    Oklahoma City
    Little Rock
    Nashville
    Louisville
    Charleston
    Roanoke
    Washington DC
    Philly

    Is a loop that offers a ton of options along the way and loops you back home without backing through things you did on the way out.

  5. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by AZBuck View Post
    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    Well let's see if we can help you make the best of this trip by getting it off to a great start with an enjoyable and memorable Leg 1. You could actually get to the Grand Canyon in four days of steady but not overly strenuous driving. That means you have a full day to 'spare' to see sights along the way. So why not plan on one or two hour or so stops each day to break up the drive and learn a little as you go. These don't have to be major stops, but some places that are right on your way would include a reproduction of George Washington's grist mill in Perryopolis PA and the Pennsylvania Trolley Museum in Washington on day 1; the US Air Force Museum in Dayton and the Arch in St. Louis on Day 2; One of the many caves in the Ozarks region of southwestern Missouri and the Oklahoma City Memorial on Day 3; Historic Fort Reno OK and Cadillac Ranch outside Amarillo on Day 4; and Petroglyph National Monument and Petrified Forest National Park on Day 5. You could make other choices depending on your interests, but the idea is simply to do one or two things each day other than just drive.

    AZBuck
    Wow - you all gave some terrific ideas, and lots to keep me researching happily. Zion/Bryce/Arches look amazing and make sense since we'll be in the general vicinity. Definitely have to ride up to the top of the St. Louis Arch! And, that Cadillac Ranch will be such a fun side trip, especially since my son loves art and will have a blast. I'll get working on some of the other advice and may have some more questions as the plans unfold. My thanks to all three of you who kindly responded!

  6. Default

    I forgot to mention that after we do Black Hills we will spend the night Sioux Falls, SD en route to Oshkosh, WI. Then one night visiting family in Oshkosh. Then back home to PA, with a one night stay at the midway point somewhere in Ohio. So we won't be coming back the way we headed out - we are making a big ole loop though. If anyone has thoughts on the Black Hills to Wisconsin trek, or the Oshkosh to southeastern PA portion I'm all ears. Thanks again!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default B'Gosh

    As with everywhere else, there are great things to see and do between Sioux Falls and Oshkosh, and between Oshkosh and Philly. On the western half of that journey, consider Great River Bluffs State Park and Circus World Museum, while on the eastern several attractions in and near Cleveland stand out: the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Museum of Natural History, Cuyahoga Valley National Park, and the Pro Football Hall of Fame. And, of course, in Oshkosh itself, no visit would be complete without a stop at the EAA AirVenture Museum.

    AZBuck

  8. Default

    My 'places to research' list grows ever longer thanks to you!

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