First timer here, great forum and a wealth of information available.
My girlfriend Alice and I are planning a coast-to-coast trip across the US from NYC to LA in May-June. We'll be mainly taking in big cities for the first half of the trip which is looking like NYC > Boston > Chicago before zipping across to Denver, probably on the California Zephyr.
Our plan is then to hire a van and drive West, via SF (and possibly a short stop off in Napa/Mendocino where we have friends) and down Highway 1 to LA where we'll fly home from LAX. This section of the trip is the bit where we'd like to get out into the countryside, the rest of the trip is going to be city-focused and as we both like to camp so it'd be good to get outside for a while.
There seem to be a number of routes open to us to take from Denver and I wondered if anyone on here could offer some insight into them. I should also say this: Alice has already been to Vegas, Bryce Grand Canyon, and Death Valley areas so we've ruled that route out.
Route 1: Denver > Yellowstone > Portland area > Mendocino > SF
Route 2: Denver > Arches NP > Utah > Salt Lake City > Boise > Portland > Mendocino > SF
Route 3: Denver > Arches NP > Salt Lake City > Reno > Mendocino > SF
We've got approx 10 days for this part of the trip. We're both healthy adults (I'm 35, she's 26) and aren't afraid of occasional long drive days.
I'm interested to hear if there are any reasons that make one of these routes more appealing than other in mid-late May. Weather, public holidays, access roads, volume of tourists, etc.
Or of course if there are other routes then we're all ears!
Thanks a bunch.