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  1. Default Cape Cod to Oregon -Maybe more

    I live on Cape Cod MA and was invited to my cousin's wedding this summer in Montana, at Yellowstone. I am going to be 39 a few days before this trip begins and have decided to take 2 weeks to cross a coast to coast trip off my bucket list. At this time it looks like I am leaving my family behind and going alone, there is some concern about me going alone from my husband and parents. To help keep everyone on board I have agreed to have detailed itinerary planned for this adventure.

    Although I have July 4, 5, and 6th off I decided not to travel on them as they are typically heavy travel days and I can spend a few days with my family before leaving.

    July 7th – jump in the Atlantic Ocean and drive approximately 12 hours to Cuyahoga National Park in Ohio – tent camp
    July 8th – drive approximately 12 hours to Forestville/ Mystery Cave Park in MN – tent camp
    July 9th- drive approximately 8 hours to Badland National Park- tent camp
    July 10th – see Mt Rushmore, Crazy Horse and camp at Cluster State Park
    July 11-12- Visit family/attend a wedding at Yellowstone- explore Yellowstone and stay at the condo my parents rented
    July 13- drive to Portland Oregon – no idea of were exactly to camp- the goal is to swim in the Pacific by the 14th
    July 14-19th – I have wrestled with my return trip. Part of me wants to go to Seattle or if the weather is right to Vancouver to cross off see the Northern lights from my to do list of life. Frankly I am only going to Oregon to get to the Pacific and Portland seems like a pretty interesting city. I need some direction from someone with more experience on the second leg of my trip; frankly I am sure the entire trip needs some tweaking. I have always been more of a spontaneous traveler but the deal I made was to have a plan, make reservations and to be safe.

    I love weird road side attractions, kitschy, artsy, folk type of stuff. I also have the capacity to drive up to 15 hours a day without issue but I really would like to enjoy the trip. I need to start booking camp sights and coming up with a more. If anyone can help me mold my trip I would appreciate it.

    It looks like gas and tolls will eat up around 1300. This leaves me 700 for food, lodging, park admissions, etc.., I am working on saving the money for this currently since their is no one to split the cost with and it's hard to find someone who wants to drive for 2 weeks in a car.

    I would love some advice and assistance putting together a plan that is fun for me and gives my family a feeling of security while away on the road for 2 weeks. I know people do it all the time, just not me….

    Thanks for your help!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default Whoa!

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    I'm sorry, but I think your family has good reason to be concerned about your plans. You really are trying to do far more than is safe.

    Quote Originally Posted by marcellite View Post
    I also have the capacity to drive up to 15 hours a day without issue but I really would like to enjoy the trip.
    Put very simply, there is no human being on earth who has the capacity to be a safe driver for 15 hours a day. After 10 hours behind the wheel, your driving skills will start to deteriorate, it is just a fact of how the body physically works. That is why professional drivers are prohibited by law from trying to drive 15 hours a day.

    Add to that fact, there is a very big difference between trying to make one, 15 hour drive, and making back to back to back 15 hour days. Fatigue will catch up with you, very quickly, and that kind of pace is not sustainable.
    July 7th – jump in the Atlantic Ocean and drive approximately 12 hours to Cuyahoga National Park in Ohio – tent camp
    July 8th – drive approximately 12 hours to Forestville/ Mystery Cave Park in MN – tent camp -
    Each of those drives are about 700 miles, way too much for a solo drive, and again, illegal for a professional driver. 12 hours is extremely optimistic, and they will likely take you much closer to 13-14, once you factor in just basic stops for food, fuel, etc.

    Yellowstone to Portland is more than 800 miles, including several miles on 2 lane roads.

    And then coming back home, from Portland, without detours to Seattle/Vancouver/anywhere else, you're already looking at more than 3000 miles, which is a bare minimum of 5 days to drive back home safely, and that's at a speed run pace - not leaving time for artsy/kitchy attractions.
    I know people do it all the time, just not me….
    The reality is that while you certainly can drive from coast to coast and back in 2 weeks, there aren't many people who do it for fun. At the pace you need to cover those kinds of miles, and still be safe, you just don't have enough time to do much anything beyond looking out your car window. After a couple days, spending all day, every day, driving feels much more like work than anything else, even if you enjoy driving.

    If you want this trip to be fun and safe, then I would strongly urge you to either find more time, or worry less about going ocean to ocean, and focus much more on having an enjoyable trip.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Priorities.

    As a solo female roadtripper feel assured that it is quite a safe activity to undertake. However, when you start to pack too many activities into a limited time, and driving insanely long distances in a day, you are compromising your safety. I share your family's concerns.

    You need to sit down and ask yourself what your priorities are, other than the wedding. You can't do it all. As already mentioned, driving coast to coast and back in two weeks is possible, but it is not a vacation. It will end up being more like work. If you want to swim in the Pacific Ocean, if that is the most important part of the trip, plan it in such a way that you have a day at the wedding, and the rest of your days will be spent driving, with minimal, if any, sightseeing.

    The trip will need to be planned like a marathon, carefully paced, so that there is no chance of running out of time and energetic concentraction right to the very end.

    Have a safe trip.


  4. Default Massachusetts to Montana

    I am taking a 2 week trip from Marion, MA to Yellowstone on the Monana side. I am leaving July 6th and would like to travel scenic route. On the way out it looks like my niece and I will stop somewhere near Sandusky Ohio on day 1, Forrester Mystery of the Cave in MN day 2 the do 2 days in South Dakota enjoying the badlands, Rushmore and Crazy Horse before making our way down to Yellowstone. On route back we are going to drop down to Wyoming and try to drove route 20 home. It has been had to find a sight that will give me a great deal of information on taking the roads less traveld and I was wondering if anyone had any suggestions. I also am tent camping and am looking for cheap sites, not to commercial. I can live with a shower and a firepit. We love fun roadside attractions and the more the better. Please let me know if you have any suggestions. Thanks!

    Moderator Note: While your final destination has changed, we still prefer to keep all questions about the same trip in the same thread.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default In the Real World

    Even your trimmed down plan, Massachusetts to Yellowstone, is a five day drive. So with stopping in Minnesota and spending a couple of days in southwestern South Dakota you'll get to Yellowstone with barely enough time to see the entrance before you have to turn around and start your trek back. That is specially true if you plan to use US-20 rather than the Interstates, and to camp rather than use motels. There simply isn't enough time in your schedule to do all the things you're already planning on let alone adding more fun roadside attractions.

    If Yellowstone is your goal and if two weeks is all you have, then you're going to have to pretty much stick to the Interstates all the way, camp at state parks near those highways, and limit your stops to quick breaks also near the highway. You won't have time for extended stays in any one area, nor to take long detours on two-lane roads through town after town.


  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    Another warning here: We were researching a stay in the Sandusky area. On weekends, many motels require a 2-day stay, and they are far more expensive than cutting short at Cleveland. Cleveland is 638 miles as it is, which is a bit further than we usually recommend for a one-day drive. But if you're camping, cut it shorter at Cuyahoga like your original post said. That's about 600 miles -- the maximum, especially if you're camping.

    Yellowstone "needs" 2-3 days to really see it right; more if you are going to do any extensive hiking or other activities.


  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Enjoy Yellowstone.

    Everything above, especially the advice from AZBuck, is relevant even if your niece is able to take a spell at driving. Don't fall into the trap of thinking that you will be able to cover more miles with two drivers. As well as that, 600 miles might be the limit for professional drivers, but as an amateur who does not carry her motel in the back, believe me, it is exhausting to keep up 600 miles, day after day. It is completely out of the question is you plan on camping.

    If you really want to enjoy this trip and stop to take the occasional photo, I would plan on 500 miles a day. That should leave you quality time in Yellowstone and create great memories to recall and relate to loved ones.


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