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  1. Default Mid May trip from NYC->Seattle

    I am planning a trip out west from New York to Seattle.

    My route is looking something like NYC-Chicago-Minniapolis-S.Dakota-Jackson WY-Missoula MT-Seattle.

    I am thinking of taking highways instead of the interstate and giving myself about 5-6 days to complete the journey. I do want to catch the occasional sight but I will be focusing more on the small towns I will be passing through. I plan on sleeping in my car (a wagon)-except in Jackson where I will be at a friends house.

    my questions are:

    -will it be warm enough in early to mid May in these northern states to be sleeping in my car?

    -will there be much snow in Minn, S. Dakota or the higher elevations that would hinder my progress?

    -is 5-6 days an adequate amount of time?

    -has anyone used the app trapster to avoid speed traps, traffic, hazards, etc?

    -any great little towns that I should seek out?

    some notes: I have been told I am a recklessly fast driver. My car is all wheel drive. My cat is my co-pilot

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Several Problems

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    There are several obvious problems with your proposed trip. The first and worst of them is that even under the best of conditions, sticking to the Interstates and encountering no adverse weather, this trip would take a minimum of 6 days to do safely. Throw in the facts that you plan to use 'surface' roads and go through small towns, that there is almost zero chance of your not seeing at least some snow especially getting into and out of Jackson, and that your car will provide exactly zero insulation against the cold of night, and you are setting your self up for a disaster brought on by trying to cover too many miles and do too much in not enough time and with nowhere near enough sleep.

    You need to be far more realistic in the amount of time that you're allocating to this drive, in the necessity for a good night's sleep between each and every day while you're doing it, and your chances for doing it with no natural hindrances whatsoever. Thinking you can make up for all the things working against you by driving recklessly fast is, quite simply, foolish.


  3. Default

    Thanks for your response and honesty.
    I am in the very early stages of planning this and still figuring out what is doable, hence my posting on this lovely forum.
    I will be the first to admit I am ignorant, and yes, possibly foolish in my planning. I should have mentioned that I will have a 0 degree rated down sleeping bag and that I am expecting to encounter some snow along the way... Just wondering how much, and if roads will be open.

    For the timing I am pretty flexible. 6 days is what I was hoping for, the road trip website and google said it would take about two days, or 50 hours, so I was extrapolating that to be about 6 days of decent driving. However, I can't argue with someone who has a title like 'RoadTrip Guru' so I will take your word for it. I must ask oh great Guru- on surface roads with mid-May weather conditions how long would you give yourself?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Personally...

    I would schedule ten or eleven days for such a trip: Seven days (minimum) for traveling the 3100 miles via surface streets and small towns, a day to visit my friend in Jackson, a day's worth of time spread out over the trip to actually stop and see some of the amazing sites that I'll be spending all that time driving by, and a day in reserve to sit out any nasty weather and wait for the road crews to do their jobs. Note that at least eight of those days are used to fulfill your design of the trip. Only two days are set aside for safety and enjoyment.

    I will note that when I was younger, I did a similar early spring trip, Eugene OR to York ME in seven days and was absolutely miserable for the last 4-5 days of it. But I had left myself no margin. It was one of those learning experiences that everyone on here has had and to which we unanimously vowed "Never again".


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia


    Having driven this route on more than one occasion, I would have to agree, seven days is an absolute minimum. It is a most enjoyable drive off the Interstates, but can be slow going. Sleeping in a wagon can be OK if you have a mattress on which to get good rest. In May your sleeping bag will probably provide enough warmth.

    But where are you going to park? Once off the Interstates, truck stops (the safest place to spend the night) are going to be few and far between. It may be worth your while to invest in a copy of the Trucker's Friend.


  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    To me, even 7 days seems like it won't be nearly enough time to make this trip on 2 lane roads. I'd think 10 days would be about the minimum if you are really going to skip the freeways.

    As an aside, if you're really got a lead foot, 2 lane highways could be very expensive. Two lane highways have much more police patrols, especially since you're going through lots of towns, plus frequently changing speed limits. Something to consider that you've mentioned you like to speed, and no app is going to provide very much in the way of protection.

    I do think your sleeping plan is the biggest problem though. Weather for you, with a winter rated sleeping bag probably won't be a big problem, but the fact that you are traveling with a cat and planning to sleep in a car is pretty troublesome. Most cats don't love to travel, and they certainly aren't going to like being confined to a tin can for more than a week.Not at least having a hotel room at night, so they can move around use the litter box, and eat and drink in comfort sounds pretty cruel to me. I mean, all those things have the potential to make things pretty uncomfortable for you too, but at least you have a choice!

  7. Default

    Thanks everyone for your input.
    With all this knowledge being dropped upon me I am considering a southern route of BBQ, desert and sadly, sans cat. He made the trip from southern California to Seattle without a fuss curled up on my lap but at that point he was just a pup and it was only three days with proper housing.

    The New route is looking like NYC>Charleston>Saint-Louis>Denver>Arches Ntl Park Utah>Sun Valley ID and/or Jackson WY>Seattle.
    still sleeping in the car with a therm-a-rest and my winter bag. Probably sticking to the interstates.
    anyone have some must-sees, must eats, must dos?

    I'll start us off: Pioneer Saloon in Ketchum Idaho, get the Prime Rib.

    Thanks again,

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    If you are in the area:

    Sparky's Garage in Dillon, MT.

    Ridgewood Barbecue in Bluff City, TN.

    Super Smokers in Eureka, MO (stay away from their other location in Dardenne Prairie)

    Arthur Bryant's in Kansas City.

    Serious Texas Bar-B-Q, various locations in CO and NM, I've eaten at the one in Durango across the highway from the Super 8.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Central Idaho

    If you're planning to go through Kechum ID, then make sure you visit Shoshone Falls in Twin Falls. In May, these should be at their best. Heading north from Twin Falls there is the bridge over the Snake River and further along the Ice Caves. Along the way to Ketchum the lava fields come right up to the road.

    Continue north through the Sawtooth National Recreation Area over Galena Pass to Stanley, along the Salmon River. A lovely spot to camp would be at Stanley Lake. Continue on the Ponderosa Scenic Byway to Lowman, through Garden City to Banks. Then north through Lewiston and pick up US2 near Spokane. That will take you directly to Seattle.

    Such beautiful country. Such a pleasant drive.


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