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  1. Default Couples roadtrip from California to South Dakota/Nebraska

    Hello all, my boyfriend and I are planning on taking a road trip at the beginning of next month (September 2013) from our town of Salinas, California to South Dakota (Mount Rushmore area) and Nebraska (Chimney Rock), and we're looking to find any travel tips that you all might have, as far as the best places to stay on the road, to estimated fuel costs, or just basic tips for a safe and fun time. I'd appreciate any advice you might have, thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    Welcome to RTA!

    If you check around the site, there are numerous articles with tips, as well as a great Map Center to help you find things along the way that might interest you. For estimated fuel costs, there's a fuel cost calculator. You'll need to know the approximate mileage you'll put on your car and the average mpg you get, and then a good "guess" about price per gallon. (Depending on the routes you intend to take, I'm thinking you'll put 3200-3500 miles on your car.)

    Best places to stay on the road....well, there's two or three ways to look at that. I'm assuming you will be staying at hotel/motels rather than camping? Some folks pick up a frequent-stay card from one brand of hotel, and stay at one of those as much as they can. Others aren't as picky and just take something that looks good. Some, like us, take a good look at coupon deals along the way. No matter how you do it, you have the right to look at the room before checking in, and if something doesn't feel right, it probably isn't.

    SInce Salinas to Rapid City is about 1500 miles, you're looking at a 2-1/2 to 3 day drive, so you'll probably stay overnight twice on the way there.

    Another tip: make sure you have the vehicle looked over before you leave, and if needed, an oil change. If you have a AAA membership, be sure to take your card with you -- it's good for free maps, as well as that peace-of-mind on the road in the event of a mechanical difficulty.


  3. Default

    Thank you, I just came across this website and its been one of the best resources I have in our travel plans. Thank you for your advice, yes we do plan on staying overnight for a few days in various different places. Our trip is going to be kind of a loop around, from Salinas to the Four Corners Monument and then up to Rapid City SD and then back, stopping for some sight-seeing along the way.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Time.

    It sounds like a wondeful trip you have planned. Much will dpened on how many a few nights planned on your travels actually are. On the way to Four Corners you could visit the Grand canyon South rim and drive through Monument Valley. Not far the other side of Four Corners is the town of Cortez where close by you will find historic ruins at Mesa Verde NP. Rocky Mountain NP in Colorado would be high on most peoples lists and to get there you could drive the spectacular 'Million Dollar Highway' [US550] through the lovely mountain towns of Silverton and Ouray to Montrose and then take US50 east past Black Canyon NP, through Currecanti Nat Rec. area and over the continental divide at Monarch Pass.

    In SD you also have the likes of Custer State Park, and Wind cave NP plus Devils Tower in WY just north of I90. If you have enough time you could visit Yellowstone on the way home. If you know where you are going and want to plan things before leaving then sometimes the best deals are found by pre-booking on the Internet. You can get an idea of costs and what to expect for your budget by looking at the RTA hotels link to the right of every page.

  5. Default

    Most definitely, the stops we've planned on for sure is Las Vegas, Four Corners Monument, Denver, Cheyanne/ Fort Laramie in Wyoming, Chimney Rock in Nebraska, up to Mount Rushmore, Crazy Horse memorial and then on to Devil's Tower and Yellowstone/ Grand Teton, with a few other stops along the way. We've budgeted for this and its something we've always wanted to do. I don't drive but my boyfriend has assured me that he has no problem with doing the driving. I told him that he's in control of that because its going to be a long way and when we stop can be up to him. We plan on being gone for 2+ weeks, if the trip takes that long, we want to take our time.

  6. #6

    Default Since you'll be in the neighborhood.........

    .........of Crawford, NE, I'd suggest a stop at Fort Robinson State Park. Fort Robinson is a well-restored US Cavalry post originally built in the late 1800s but "modernized" with brick buildings, parade grounds, barracks, etc in the early 20th century.

    In nearby Chadron, NE is the Museum of the Fur Trade and the Sandoz High Plains Center. The former treats how French and other fur traders laid the groundwork for much of the exploration of the West while the latter celebrates the life and times of the late Mari Sandoz, an author who grew up on hardscrabble homesteads near Chadron and in the nearby Sandhills. For that matter, you might want to swing east of Alliance and traverse the western edge of the Sandhills. It's a unique area: 20,000 square miles of grass-stabilized, virtually treeless sand hills, with thousands of "pothole" lakes, wetlands, and bold rivers.


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