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  1. Default Washington DC to LA (via the Indy 500 and lots of national parks!)

    I have the following roadtrip planned for late May into June:

    (first number is the day, 2nd is the date, eg. May 23)

    1 23 Washington DC (only fly in and have a morning here, so as much as i can see assuming the rain stays away!)
    2 24 Pittsburgh (stopover, Duquesne Incline)
    3 25 Indianapolis
    4 26 Indianapolis (Indy 500)
    5 27 Chicago
    6 28 Chicago (John Hancock Observatory, Skydeck, Adler, The Bean, Bridges)
    7 29 Chicago (Cubs game)
    8 30 Sioux Falls (stopover)
    9 31 Badlands NP
    10 1 Keystone (Mt Rushmore)
    11 2 Rocky Mountain NP (there's a remote chance of the Trail Ridge road being open)
    12 3 Colorado Springs (Pikes Peak)
    13 4 Great Sand Dunes NP
    14 5 Ouray (Million Dollar Highway)
    15 6 Moab (possibly Mesa Verde NP, i might not have time though)
    16 7 Moab (Arches NP)
    17 8 Moab (Canyonlands NP)
    18 9 Monument Valley (Moki Dugway, Gooseneck Bend)
    19 10 Page (Antelope Canyon)
    20 11 Page (Horseshoe Bend)
    21 12 Grand Canyon NP
    22 13 Grand Canyon NP
    23 14 Laguna Beach (pickup Corvette)
    24 15 Laguna Beach (Ortega Highway)
    25 16 Laguna Beach (possibly go out to Joshua Tree NP)
    26 17 Laguna Beach (fly out in the afternoon)


    If you have specific advice for these areas, or places in between (that i will drive past), then please let me know. I have a month or so of planning time now, so the more advice i can get, the better!

    Yes, i am well aware of the distances, and have done these trips before, so no need to tell me about that.
    My last trip was: Yellowstone NP > Grand Teton NP > Salt Lake City > Capitol Reef NP > Bryce Canyon NP > Zion NP > Valley of Fire > Death Valley NP > Mammoth Lakes > Yosemite NP > San Francisco > Carmel > Pismo Beach > Santa Barbara > LA.

    All of this is booked, though i have one potential change that i have been considering. That is removing Great Sand Dunes NP and moving the day somewhere else. Obviously i don't want to rearrange everything, so it would have to be in the area. Thoughts on this would be appreciated.

    This is mostly a photography trip with the dates somewhat dictated by the Indy 500.


    Thanks

  2. #2

    Default

    7 29 Chicago (Cubs game)
    8 30 Sioux Falls (stopover)


    Between Chicago and Sioux Falls you'll find Effigy Mounds National Monument in Fairview, IA (about 4 hours from Chicago) to stop and take a break. About 40 minutes outside Sioux Falls, you can exit I-90 in Luverne and head up 75 about 30 minutes to see Pipestone National Monument in Pipestone, MN - you can then head back to I-90 via 23 so you're not back tracking your route. From Pipestone to Sioux Falls is a touch under an hour.

    9 31 Badlands NP

    Right there is also the Minuteman Missiles NP to see if you're interested.

    10 1 Keystone (Mt Rushmore)

    The area also has Jewel Cave, Wind Cave and tooling around Custer, which has what looks like some fun things to see (I have a trip to the area planned in June, so working on my plans too)

    11 2 Rocky Mountain NP (there's a remote chance of the Trail Ridge road being open)

    If you head south to go through Chadron, NE you could see Agate Fossil Beds, Scotts Bluff, Fort Laramie NHS.

    12 3 Colorado Springs (Pikes Peak)
    13 4 Great Sand Dunes NP
    14 5 Ouray (Million Dollar Highway)


    I highly recommend Durango, CO on the way to Ouray - if you're not aware, the Million Dollar Highway is (to me) a harrowing ride in some places. I have no fear of heights per se, but roads with drops offs of 1000+ feet and no guardrail, they do me in! LOL When I did the drive last year, a huge boulder had fallen about 2 miles before Ouray onto the road, so it was down to one lane, on the side without a guardrail for traffic going both ways (eeeeegah); I also had a mountain sheep jump in front of my car on a turn (the things you just don't expect!). All in all Ouray is a very cute little town, even if getting there scared the bejeebers out of me!

    15 6 Moab (possibly Mesa Verde NP, i might not have time though)
    16 7 Moab (Arches NP)
    17 8 Moab (Canyonlands NP)
    18 9 Monument Valley (Moki Dugway, Gooseneck Bend)
    19 10 Page (Antelope Canyon)
    20 11 Page (Horseshoe Bend)
    21 12 Grand Canyon NP
    22 13 Grand Canyon NP


    What I'd suggest is go up to Ouray if you're okay with the roads - then head back to Durango, maybe spend the night - then you can do Hovenweep, Four Corners, Monument Valley, Natural Bridge on your way to Moab to see Arches and Canyonlands.

    What I think I'd do is rearrange the route - to Great Sand Dunes --> Moab (via Montrose to Grand Junction) --> Durango --> Hovenweep/Four Corners/Monument Valley --> Page --> Grand Canyon


    23 14 Laguna Beach (pickup Corvette)
    24 15 Laguna Beach (Ortega Highway)
    25 16 Laguna Beach (possibly go out to Joshua Tree NP)
    26 17 Laguna Beach (fly out in the afternoon)


    Sounds like fun!




    ------------------------

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default

    Are you planning to do anything in the Black Hills besides Mount Rushmore? There's a whole lot more to do in that part of the country. At the very least, I'd make sure you check out Custer State Park, and Wind or Jewel Cave.

    However, I'm a little curious on your plan to get from there to Rocky Mountain NP. Certainly you can drive from the Black Hills to RMNP in a day, but the drive alone will take up most of that day, which wouldn't leave you much time to see the National Park. Unless you're planning to head south to CO right after you're done viewing Rushmore?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by RahRah View Post

    Between Chicago and Sioux Falls you'll find Effigy Mounds National Monument in Fairview, IA (about 4 hours from Chicago) to stop and take a break.
    That's not a bad stop at all, but it would be tough to include as part of a trip from Chicago to Sioux Falls in one day. It's just too far away from any major highway to be used as a place to take a break.

    It's also near Marquette, Iowa (Fairview appears to be over by Cedar Rapids?) and I don't think it would be possible to get there in just 4 hours from Chicago. I think you'd need a minimum of 5 hours, taking I-90 to Madison, and then US-18 into Iowa via Prairie du Chien.

  5. #5

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Midwest Michael View Post
    That's not a bad stop at all, but it would be tough to include as part of a trip from Chicago to Sioux Falls in one day. It's just too far away from any major highway to be used as a place to take a break.

    It's also near Marquette, Iowa (Fairview appears to be over by Cedar Rapids?) and I don't think it would be possible to get there in just 4 hours from Chicago. I think you'd need a minimum of 5 hours, taking I-90 to Madison, and then US-18 into Iowa via Prairie du Chien.
    yeah, from heart of the city it's likely 4.5-5.0 hours - maybe after the game she can head out to Rockford for the night to beat the rush hour in Chicago?

    It's a neat place to stop - really serene and quiet, nice to walk, stretch your legs and then get back on the road. http://www.nps.gov/efmo/index.htm

    I don't think one could necessarily do both in one day, just gave options.

  6. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Midwest Michael View Post
    Are you planning to do anything in the Black Hills besides Mount Rushmore? There's a whole lot more to do in that part of the country. At the very least, I'd make sure you check out Custer State Park, and Wind or Jewel Cave.
    That depends on how much time i spend in Badlands NP. I don't expect to have too much time to spend in the area unfortunately.

    Quote Originally Posted by Midwest Michael View Post
    However, I'm a little curious on your plan to get from there to Rocky Mountain NP. Certainly you can drive from the Black Hills to RMNP in a day, but the drive alone will take up most of that day, which wouldn't leave you much time to see the National Park. Unless you're planning to head south to CO right after you're done viewing Rushmore?
    Most of the day will be spend driving down. Then Most of the next day will be Rocky Mountain NP, and then drive down to Colorado springs late afternoon.

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

    Default Most Distances Aren't Bad, But...

    Actually, most of the distances you plan to drive in a day aren't unreasonable at all. There are just a couple of spots where maybe a reconsideration of minor details is in order. One is the planned drive from Chicago to the Badlands over two days. Eminently reasonable, but I'd suggest that you look at an overnight somewhere fairly east of Sioux Falls, say Jackson MN or thereabouts. As you no doubt know from past experience, RVs don't get quite the miles per hour that even a well tuned family car does, and 600 mile is probably pushing what you can cover with one of these behemoths in a day, particularly when you consider that you'll have to start by getting out of Chicago. Stopping for the night a hundred, or even seventy-five, miles sooner will just make for an easier day and more equally spaced drives on your two days to the Badlands.

    The other spot doesn't have so much to do with the miles as the road. US-98 from Page to Bitter Springs AZ (where US-89A joins it from the west) is closed for the foreseeable future due to a landslide. There are plans to pave one of the currently graded-dirt BIA roads through the Navajo Nation as a temporary detour, but even that will take some time. In the mean time you'd have to backtrack from Page to Cow Springs on AZ-98 to US-160 in order to get to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. Just something to take note of as you finalize your plans.

    Whether or not you include Great Sand Dunes National Park in your travels, I'd urge you to take US-50 westward through Colorado, specifically through the Black Canyon of the Gunnison. And another photo op that you shouldn't miss in the Four Corners/Monument Valley area is Goosenecks State Park in Utah at the end of UT-31 off UT-261 near the junction of the later road with US-163. And be aware that Monument Valley is a Navajo Tribal Park and You can't get to the best pix in your RV. Plan on hiring a native guide and his high clearance 4WD to get you into the back country. Also, if you can add a bit of time to your drive from the Grand Canyon to Laguna Beach, you have the opportunity to drive the longest remaining stretch of the original Route 66 between Seligman through Peach Springs to Kingman. But it is a good bit slower than I-40. Much farther east and on a slightly less majestic scale, check out Great River Bluffs State Park just after you cross the Mississippi on I-90 from Wisconsin into Minnesota.

    Finally, just to save you a few bucks and a bit of hassle, if you haven't already planned on it, take I-68 from Hancock MD west to Morgantown WV and use I-79 to reconnect to I-70, skipping the Pennsylvania Turnpike.

    AZBuck

  8. Default

    I will not be in an RV!

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

    Default Sorry

    I guess there were just so many RV posters today that I got you confused. My apologies, but my point of breaking the Chicago to Badlands run into two more roughly equal legs is probably still worth consideration.

    AZBuck

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default Great Sand Dunes NP

    Quote Originally Posted by WhyHelloThere View Post
    ... though i have one potential change that i have been considering. That is removing Great Sand Dunes NP and moving the day somewhere else. Obviously i don't want to rearrange everything, so it would have to be in the area. Thoughts on this would be appreciated.

    This is mostly a photography trip ...
    May I suggest that you not remove Great Sand Dunes NP, if photography is one of your objectives. Some of my best pictures ever were taken there (see my atavar), and I am a simple point and shoot photographer.

    Lifey

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