So we're barely home a month from our previous roadtrip to Alaska, and here I start drafting for the next big one. I had 2 future roadtrips in mind, one going to the Great Lakes area and the other to the Deep South. But our next roadtrip will turn out to be neither.
For Fall 2014 (probably the last 2 weeks in September) I'm looking at flying into Denver and doing a 2,500-mile loop covering the Upper Midwestern states (Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas). My folks are big into Sioux history and Lewis & Clark, so what better place to travel for that? There's also plenty more National Parks/Monuments and Capitols for me to mark off. It really helps that fuel and hotels in this area are relatively cheap, since most of this area isn't exactly popular tourist destinations.
All of us have covered some of this route previously in Roadtrips #1 and #2, but this trip is a little more intimate to the upper midwest environment. We may skip over things we've seen before (like Mt. Rushmore/Crazy Horse) if prioritization becomes necessary.
Here's the route we're thinking of (and I really am trying to keep the schedule down per day):
Day 1 - Fly to Denver, CO - Drive north through Cheyenne, WY - Stay in Wheatland, WY
Day 2 - Devils Tower National Monument (WY) - Stay in Sheridan, WY
Day 3 - Little Bighorn Battlefield (MT) - Pompey's Pillar (MT) - Stay in Miles City, MT
Day 4 - Theodore Roosevelt National Park (ND) - Stay in Bismarck, ND
Day 5 - Native American Scenic Byway (Sioux Nation) - Stay in Pierre, SD
Day 6 - Badlands National Park (SD) - Stay in Custer, SD (2 nights)
Day 7 - Wind Cave National Park (SD) - Mt. Rushmore/Crazy Horse (SD, Tentative)
Day 8 - Wounded Knee, SD - Scotts Bluff National Monument (NE) - Stay in Ogallala, NE
Day 9 - Center of the US (KS) - Cawker City, KS - Stay in Hays, KS
Day 10 - Drive to Colorado Springs, CO (Stay 3-4 nights with friends)
Day 11 - Garden of the Gods (CO) - Air Force Academy (CO)
Day 12 - Rocky Mountains National Park (CO)
Day 13 - Cushion/Chill day
Day 14 - Back to Denver, CO - Fly home
If you want to see the exact route proposed, you can view the Google Maps route I've constructed. At this stage it's all rough draft of course so it can (and probably will) change.
Questions for this thread
1) Does anyone know some extra hidden jewels along this route? I've tried to hit everything that looks obvious but I'm always prone to missing things.
2) Although Kansas is currently on the roster, it's sort of out of the way. We're taking an extra travel day just to stand in the center of the US, and also view the world's biggest ball of twine in Cawker City (something silly/crazy to do). My folks think there's nothing out there so it's not priority to them. But I figured it would be cool to knock another state off their list (they will have visited every state on the western half of the nation). If there's any other "attractions" in the northwestern area of Kansas that would be of interest, please sound them off. Otherwise there's a possibility that Kansas may not make the cut.