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  1. #1

    Default 2 Swedes driving LA -> SF -> LV -> Chicago -> Myrtle Beach, South C in 21 days

    Hi RTA!

    First I would like to thank you profoundly for this great website and informational resource.

    Second, I would like to have some feedback on the plans that me and my girlfriend have made for this summer.

    Is our trip doable in the timeframe we have chosen? (Late June to early July, about 21 days before we have to be at our destination in order to fly back home to Sweden)
    We want to spend two nights in LA before going up to SF along the coast. This leaves about 19 days to get to SC.

    We have also understood that we should plan for several more non-driving days in order to enjoy attractions etc.

    Should we take another route between Grand Canyon and Chicago, or is "Route 66" the preferred way?

    We fully understand that we might be a bit too ambitious, but we are only young and foolish once in a lifetime.

    I wish you all a great week and summer.
    Last edited by Midwest Michael; 06-16-2013 at 06:53 PM. Reason: New Members May Not Post Off-Site Links

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    I'm sorry, but we do not allow people to post off-site links, and we don't want members of the forum to have to go elsewhere to learn about the details of your trip.

    A couple things: 21 days in general is a nice amount of time to drive from coast to coast, although 1 way trips will mean very high fees for things like rental car fees, and typically it will increase your airfare expenses, especially if you end in a relatively small place like Myrtle Beach.

    1 day is not enough time to drive the coast from LA to SF. You really need 2 days, unless you're planning to skip the coast and stick to the freeway.

    Route 66 actually hasn't existed for about 30 years now. It was replaced by freeways. There are sections of the old road that are still around, and there are people who love follow it. Having said that, there are ton of things you could see and do between Arizona and Chicago, and if you force yourself to follow a single highway, then you're closing off a whole lot of options.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Making it your own.

    You should base your route on which one, or rather which combination of routes, matches your interests and goals for the trip which you haven't mentioned. There is no one 'preferred' [best] route as the whole beauty of the road trip is getting to choose where you want to go.

    If you want to see more of America than just City's, my preferred choice would be to create a route from LV to Chicago through the Four Corners region where you will find wonderful scenery and a high concentration of National Parks. From SF to Vegas a popular route would be to drive to Yosemite NP and cross the Sierra Nevada on the Tioga Pass [CA120] and down to Death Valley on 395. From Vegas the Grand canyon NP would be on most peoples itinerary and there are plenty of options to choose from in Southern Utah [Zion, Bryce canyon, Arches and Canyonlands] and Colorado [Colorado National Monument, Mesa Verde, Black Canyon, Rocky mountain NP] as well as some wonderful scenic drives and towns.

    You won't be able to do it all so you will have to decide how much time you wish to spend at the destinations you have listed and how much time you have for the journey. You can then study a good map, research all the info here at RTA and see what appeals to you. Once you have the basics down, we can help to fill in the gaps, make suggestions and answer any further questions.

    Enjoy the planning, it's a fun part of the journey !

  4. #4


    Thank you very much for the replies!

    I am terribly sorry for my mistake in linking external websites. I hope that a simple image is fine

    The car we are driving is in need of a transfer from coast to coast and we received some gas-money from the family that needs it moved.

    Thank you for the info on driving along the California coast. I guessed that it would take longer than 1 day of driving.

    I have read on the forum that Route 66 is no longer in use, but that it might be of interest to travel on some of the old parts of the road, alternating between it and some newer interstates nearby.

    Any more thoughts or question?

    Thank you again for the time you dedicate to this forum!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    I do have to issue a bit of a warning about driving someone else's car. There are liability issues that can come up with such a plan.

    Are you going to have your own insurance, or are you planning to use the car owner's policy? Are you certain that you will be covered by their insurance. Do you understand that if you do get into an accident, both you and the car's owner can be held financially responsible? What about a breakdown? Are you going to have to pay for the tow and repairs or is the owner going to cover it?

    Since it doesn't appear you'll be going through a professional driveaway company for this trip, there are a lot of issues you need to be aware of that go far beyond getting the keys and gas money. I would strongly suggest you make sure all of your bases are covered before you get on the road.

  6. #6


    All issues regarding insurance etc. is covered since the car belongs to my very close family.

    But thank you very much for your concern!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default A Couple of Suggestions

    As others have noted, you'll need at least two days for the drive up the California coast. I'd also suggest that you plan on spending around a full day in the Carmel/Monterey area for its history, scenery, and opulence. Another spot that could use some re-arranging is the area east of Yosemite and Las Vegas. It looks as though you plan to see Yosemite and then cross the Sierra Nevada through Tioga Pass (CA-120). If so, then it would make sense to come south on US-395 and then use CA-136/190 through Death Valley National Park on your way to Las Vegas.

    Then after Las Vegas, it appears that you plan to drive through southern Utah and then down into Arizona. While that would let you see Zion National Park, you would have to miss several other sites that I think would more than make up for that. Instead, I would suggest that you head south from Las Vegas and cross the Colorado River at the Hoover Dam. Look into a stop at the unique town of Oatman, and then from Kingman take the longest remaining stretch of the old Route 66, now signed as AZ-66, through Peach Springs to Seligman. At Williams head north on AZ-64 into Grand Canyon National Park, and follow that same road fro 25 miles along the South Rim of the Canyon. When you exit the park onto US-89 take that back south to Flagstaff and I-40 eastbound.

    The way that US-66 went to Chicago from there is now covered by I-40/I-44/I-55 through Albuquerque, Oklahoma City, and St, Louis, and is a fine way to make that trip. But you have more time than most people do when making the drive so you have the chance to get off on some 'back' roads and see a bit more of America than just our major highways. You might want to consider instead heading from the east exit of the Grand Canyon up through the Four Corners area past Monument Valley and Mesa Verde National Park to Durango, then north on the Million Dollar Highway (US-550) to US-50 east through the Black Canyon of the Gunnison to Denver and Rocky Mountain National Park. You'd then have the opportunity to follow one of our old pioneer routes, the Oregon Trail, along the Platte River by taking US-30 and/or I-80 to Chicago.

    You can make similar choices about which roads to use in getting from Chicago to Myrtle Beach, but however you end up going, plan on stopping at both Mammoth Cave and Great Smoky Mountains National Parks.


  8. Default

    You've got some great suggestions to go on here, I'll summarize and add a few notes of my own.

    LA - SF: The Pacific Coast Highway is a marvel unto itself. Make time for a drive on Mulholland Drive in Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. Further up CA-1, Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park is not to be missed. In SF itself you've got Alcatraz, the Golden Gate Bridge (Golden Gate National Recreation Area), Fisherman's Wharf (San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park), Fort Point National Historic Site, Muir Woods National Monument across the mouth of the bay.

    SF - LV: It is almost required that you go via Yosemite National Park. You could easily spend a week here, but two days will give you a taste. Heading down US-395 on the east side of the Sierra Nevadas, you've got Devil's Postpile National Monument (basalt formations), Manzanar National Historic Site (tribute to Japanese internment during WWII), and Death Valley National Park, home to the lowest spot in North America. In Las Vegas you should at least walk the strip and the Fremont Street Experience.

    LV - Chicago: Holy moley there are too many options to count! I'd highly recommend a Hoover Dam tour; if you want you can spend some time at Lake Meade National Recreation Area. From here you can either go north or south, but US-93 is the last crossing of the Colorado River until US-89A, at the far end of the canyon. The Grand Canyon is amazing from either rim, so your decision rests upon whether you are more interested in pairing your visit with Sedona/Montezuma Castle National Monument and Sunset Crater National Monument or Zion National Park and Pipe Spring National Monument. I'd go north because Zion is phenomenal and the north rim is far less crowded. If you do go south, take the train to the canyon - you'll save yourself tons of parking headache.

    Either way, I'd recommend heading up US-160 to Navajo National Monument and Four Corners. From here you can easily see Mesa Verde National Park before heading up US-550/Million Dollar Highway. Take US-50 E in Montrose to Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park and Curecanti National Recreation Area. Take US-285 N to Buena Vista and US-24 E to Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument and Colorado Springs. A tour of the US Air Force Academy and a drive up Pikes Peak are in order before you head north on I-25 to Denver.

    The US Mint in Denver is interesting, as is the State House. After that head northeast on I-76 to Nebraska. People say I-80 across the state is boring, but I found it beautiful. The sheer distances you can see as you look across the landscape are amazing. Be sure to stop in Kearney at the Great Platte River Road Archway Museum - one of the best museums I've ever visited. In Iowa you can visit Herbert Hoover National Historic Site, which is right off the interstate. Chicago has its own draws, including the Sears (Willis) Tower, and the second oldest ballpark in the country (Wrigley Field). And be sure to get yourself a pizza while you're in town!

    Chicago - Myrtle Beach: There hasn't been much discussion on this leg of the trip. I haven't actually done much traveling in Indiana, so I can't recommend much more than I-65. Mammoth Cave in Kentucky, however, if very impressive. From there you can take the Cumberland Parkway east and head down US-25E to Cumberland Gap National Historical Park. Continuing south through the Appalachians, you cross the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the Appalachian Trail. In South Carolina you can enjoy a wonderful canoe trip in Congaree National Park before heading across to the coast at Myrtle Beach.

    Obviously, all of this is not possible in 21 days, although if you carefully plan your days you might get more in than you think. You'll need to prioritize your trip - do you mind doing a long driving day to allow extra time at a park, or do you want each day to have a few hours? Do you prefer mountain climbing/hiking or boating? Are you comfortable taking back roads or do you prefer the security of the interstates? Answering these questions will help you get the most out of your road trip. A three week trek across the US is a wonderful opportunity - no matter which route you choose, keep your options open and your National Park Pass handy and you're sure to have fun!


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