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  1. Default June Trip from NYC

    I am trying to plan a solo road trip, leaving the NYC area around June 15. I'm 49, male, driving solo. Here is a broad itinerary:
    1. Drive from NYC to Front Royal, VA
    2. Drive the skyline Drive and Blue Ridge Parkway (a few days)
    3. Drive to Mammoth Caves in Kentucky
    4. Drive to Mount Rushmore
    5. Drive through the Badlands to Minneapolis.
    6. Drive north along Lake Superior, HWY-61
    7. Either take the Trans-Canadian Highway back to NYC, or drive to Duluth and go throgh northern WI and MI, and pick up the Trans-Canadian Highway after that

    I've never done a big road trip---is this too much? An alternative would be to shoot to Mount Rushmore over 3 days on the Interstate, and then do everything from #4-#7

    Thanks for any help.

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


    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    That does sound like a great trip. The big question is how much time do you have available? Without knowing that, it's hard to say if that's too much trip.

    If you did the alternate, getting from NYC to Mount Rushmore in 3 days would be tough as a solo driver. Not impossible, but you'd be on the road 10+ hours a day, and certainly not much fun.

  3. Default

    Well, I'm a teacher, so I technically have as much tie as I need. Though I was thinking of around 3 weeks.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Laying it out in a little more detail.

    That would be a lovely trip over three weeks, but you would need to it schedule it out in a little more detail. Not necessarily to the mile/day, but you will want to say how many days you'd like to spend on each leg. e.g. how many days is 'a few days'?

    I rarely plan anything much, but mark on my (paper) maps where I want/need to be on certain days/dates. Then break the rest up so that I stay on-track.

    Great trip. Enjoy!


  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    Three weeks seems very reasonable for a trip like this. I'd imagine you'd spend your first week exploring the BRP and mammoth cave, the second getting to and then exploring the black hills and badlands, and then the third making your way east through canada.

    If you're planning to explore the north shore of lake superior along MN-61 then I would continue through Thunder Bay and around that way. There's lots of great stuff on both sides of the lake, but it would be quite a bit of backtracking to go back to duluth. Of course, don't forget your passport for travel into Canada.

  6. Default 2 Possible Road Trip

    Here are 2 possible trips I am thinking of starting around June 15. This will be my first road trip ever. I'm 49, male, and will be traveling solo from NYC. Here are my "goals" for this trip: Scenic/interesting drives; getting a taste of small-town America/rural America.
    Here are 2 itineraries I've come up with for each trip. I don't have any real time restrictions on needing to return home by a certain date. Thanks in advance for any feedback.

    Option A (4223 miles according to Google maps)
    June 15: Drive to Cedar Point
    June 16: Cedar Point Amusement Park
    June 17: Drive to Illinois (no planned stops)
    June 18/19/20: Drive Lincoln Highway (US-30) through Illinois, Iowa, and Nebraska (several stops)
    June 21: Drive to Rapid City and Mount Rushmore
    June 22: Other sites---Crazy Horse; Deadwood, SD
    June 23: Through Badlands
    June 24: Drive to MPLS
    June 25: Day in MPLS with Uncle Bob
    June 26/27: Drive Northern Minnesota
    June 28: Drive to Sault Ste. Marie Michigan
    June 29: Either continue on Trans-Canadian Highway back home over 2-3 days
    June 29: Drive south in Michigan to Ann Arbor
    June 30: Spend day in Ann Arbor
    July 1: Drive back home

    Option B (1990 miles)
    June 15: Drive to Front Royal, VA
    June 16: Drive the Skyline Drive (105 miles)
    Jun 17/18/19: Drive the Blue Ridge Parkway (435 miles)
    June 20: Drive through Great Smoky Mountains to Gatlinburg, TN (5-6 hours)
    June 21: Drive to Mammoth Caves
    June 22: Mammoth Caves
    June 23: Louisville and Churchill Downs
    June 24: Drive to Cedar Point
    June 25: Cedar Point Amusement Park
    June 26: Drive Home

    Moderator Note: Please keep all questions about the same trip in the same thread.
    Last edited by Midwest Michael; 06-07-2014 at 07:26 AM.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    Well-planned! Nothing seems out of line as far as drive times, allowing yourself enough time at the place to actually see something, get out of the car and take a hike or a tour, to absorb what you are seeing. In Option A, you would need a passport in order to go into Canada and back to the USA, where you wouldn't need one in Option B.

    Which one do YOU prefer? To me, I would do one and keep the other in reserve for another trip. Whichever one you prefer, though, you will want to make some reservations in certain areas: Sandusky, Black Hills of South Dakota, Mammoth Cave, Gatlinburg. Those are tourist-laden areas where you may want to know you've got a place that night to rest your body rather than spending time looking/calling/poking around the Internet trying to find one.

    PS: I see you are a teacher...I am, too. Lots of things can be collected on your trip, for use in your classroom - depending, of course, on what you teach. I probably look in gift stores more for teaching ideas and supplies, than I do for souvenirs and gifts!


  8. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by squart View Post
    June 20: Drive through Great Smoky Mountains to Gatlinburg, TN (5-6 hours)
    If you could give the Smokies one more day then you could visit the Cades Cove area of the park. It's a beautiful remote valley with a large collection of pioneer wooden cabins and farm buildings. Highly recommended, if time allows.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    I'd agree with Donna, I think it really all depends upon which you'd rather see more: South Dakota or the Smokies. Although available time/money is a factor too, since obviously you'll need more for the South Dakota trip. Perhaps also worth thinking about is potential future trips. The smokies are closer, so could be done when you want to do a relatively quick trip in the future, although if perhaps you are thinking of doing an even bigger trip out to say Yellowstone in the future, then maybe SD would be better to wait.

  10. Default

    Thanks for the reply.
    I really do not know yet which trip I'd prefer. I am certainly just going to do one, and not combine them in any way.
    I'm really bad at decision making, so if anyone has any thoughts on helping the decision, please share things I should consider. I know Michael said thinking about possible future trips might help. then obviously the longer trip is more time and money.
    I thought one trip might lead to cooler weather than the other, but I don't think you ever know with weather. Speaking of which---is there a good APP to track severe weather, so I don't end up driving into a thunderstorm or tornado warning?
    I've never done a road trip, so I don't know if one "eases" into it, making Option B a better choice.
    AS always, any help is appreciated.

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