Hello! My husband and I are planning a road trip for late June/early July. We are leaving from Chicago, and our main destinations are Los Angeles and Portland. I am mainly looking for advice on routes and stopping points. My apologies if this is well worn territory - I haven't done a road trip over 700 miles since I was a kid, and I obviously wasn't driving back then! I'm overwhelmed by options.
-We'll be driving our own car (Scion Xa) and staying either with friends or in hotels/motels
-We're interested in scenic routes, but not anything too challenging
-We love kitsch and interesting thrifting/antiquing, so routes that would take us into good areas for that would be a plus. My husband is also very into rollercoasters.
-He definitely wants to see Mt. Rushmore. I'd love to see the Grand Canyon and Redwood National Forest, but I don't know that our timeframe will allow for it, so I haven't scheduled that in
-Realistically, we only have 3 weeks, tops, for the entire trip, but even that might be pushing it
What we're thinking:
Day 1 - Chicago to Kansas City
Day 2 - Kansas City to Denver
Day 3 - Denver to Las Vegas
Day 4 - Spend a day in Vegas
Day 5 - Vegas to LA
Day 1 - Los Angeles to San Jose via Pacific Coast Highway (stop at Big Sur)
Day 2 - San Jose to Portland
Day 1 - Portland to Butte, MT
Day 2 - Butte, MT to Rapid City, SD
Day 3 - Rapid City to La Crosse, WI (have to pick up our dogs from WI)
Day 4 - WI to Chicago
- How do the stopping points look? We're not married to this itinerary - Are there different routes or stopping points that you would suggest, based on experience?
- What quick stop points should we see along the way? (When I say "quick," I mean stopping out of the car for up to 30mn max, not spending a day or anything.)
- With only having 3 weeks, I wonder if this is pushing it? That's our absolute maximum amount of time. We need at least 2 full days in LA (want to see regular LA sights and go to Magic Mountain), and we'd like to spend as much time as possible in Portland, as that is where friends are.
- Given the above question - are there places we can/should cut out time to make get to our destinations more quickly? I was thinking we could do Chicago to Denver in a day, though that route is pretty dull, from what I've heard.
- Also related - Would it make more sense to focus on one main destination (LA or Portland) and save the other for another time? I'd love to hit both in one trip, but I also recognize that focusing on one destination would free us up to spend more time enjoying the journey and seeing more sights.
Thanks in advance for any input you can offer!