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  1. Default Advice on what to see from Little Rock to San Francisco via Denver

    Hello,
    I'm a new member and this is my first question. Planning a driving trip first week of August from Little Rock to San Francisco. My wife and I just retired from the military and I want to show my daughters some of America they have been flying over now that I have time. We would like to complete the trip in 5-7 days and will drive Little Rock-Denver-Las Vegas-Los Angeles-San Francisco.
    We would appreciate any input on any special or unique places to visit that are along this route. We could vary the route for a very special detour. My daughters are 16 and 17 and have spent most of their lives posted overseas so this is my chance to show them some of America and I would like to do it right. Many thanks in advance. Col (r) Chris Benya

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,060

    Default Thanks for your service!

    Howdy -- first of all --- thank you for your service! And welcome to the Great American RoadTrip Forum.

    What kind of attractions interest you more? Scenic vistas, hiking, biking, unusual inns, shopping, etc.?

    Is your time on the road fixed?

    Mark

  3. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Sedenquist View Post
    Howdy -- first of all --- thank you for your service! And welcome to the Great American RoadTrip Forum.

    What kind of attractions interest you more? Scenic vistas, hiking, biking, unusual inns, shopping, etc.?

    Is your time on the road fixed?

    Mark
    Mark,

    Thank you for answering. We are most interested in Scenic Vistas and any unusual sights or places to see along the way. We (unfortunately) will not be able to hike or explore too much. More of a 2-3 hour investment per place or event. Travel time is somewhat fixed....we cannot depart Little Rock until 30 July and we must arrive in SFO NLT 6 August but would prefer 4 or 5 August. I have great parents but Grandma and Grandpa can wait only so long~

    Ay insights or suggestions are most welcome. I have traveled throughout the world and always try to find the jewels that are just off the beaten path. Not always possible or viable but when it works then you have memories for a lifetime!!

    Thanks again and looking forward to your thoughts.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,060

    Default A couple of my favorite roads along your potential route!

    Well, the good news is that you've allowed sufficient time to pick and choose your route as you go. By the shortest possible route -- a trip from Little Rock to Denver to Las Vegas to Los Angeles to San Francisco would be about 2400 miles. If you limit the actual on-the-road travel days to six days -- you only have to travel about 400 miles per day.

    500 miles per day is about the maximum you can safely drive -- in the real world this takes about 8-10 hours per day of travel -- allowing sufficient time for fuel and food breaks, road construction delays, etc.

    The really good news is that your potential route travels along two of my favorite Interstate highways in America. I-70 in Utah and I-15 between Las Vegas and Los Angeles.

    Salina, Kansas might be a good first night -- there are plenty of motels in the area. On the way, you might find a quick stop at Little Sweden in Lindsborg interesting.

    There are lots of cool things to do in Denver -- but one thing I would suggest is to drive up to Lookout Mountain -- great views of Golden and Denver and the little museum dedicated to Buffalo Bill is interesting. There are lots of cool roads surrounding this area.

    To be continued....
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 07-16-2014 at 12:16 PM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,060

    Default I-70 and alternatives

    I-70 through Colorado is just gorgeous. Lots of places to pull over and explore. Instead of driving through the Eisenhower/Johnson Memorial Tunnel, I would suggest that you cross Loveland Pass -- magnificent views! Here is possible side trip worth considering.

    But even if you return to I-70 after Loveland Pass, or even go through the tunnel there is plenty of gorgeous stuff to see from the Interstate. Grand Junction is home to dinosaur digs and then one of my favorite stops -- (not for the driver) the Mead distillery in Palisade -- Also Palisade is a great place to find local fruit and vegetables for your cooler.

    Another alternative would be the Unaweep-Tabeguache Byway (Grand Junction to Telluride) and then make your way west...

    Back to I-70 -- I-70 through Utah -- this is one of my all-time favorite routes. Here is an article that describes this in more detail. The article traces the route west to east -- but if you read it -- fast read -- you'll see why I like it. And if you have even more time to wander -- here is some information about off-highway travel in this area. (Probably have to save this for another time).

    to be continued.... (hopefully, others will jump in -- I've got to leave the office for a couple of hours)

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,748

    Default Time to enjoy. [?]

    Personally speaking I would drop either going up to Denver or down to Los Angeles with the time you have available, or both. To really show your daughters some of America and for them to enjoy it, you need a better balance with time out of the car compared to in it. They won't enjoy it the same through the windshield. If it were me I would most likely head to the Four corners region, maybe not as far north as Denver even, although possible. You could head towards the Great sand dunes NP and take US50 through Currecanti Nat Rec area to the 'Million dollar Highway' [US550]and get the taste of the mountain towns of Ouray and Silverton. You would then drive by Mesa Verde NP and through Monument valley to the GC and then from LV drive through Death valley and across the wonderfully scenic Sierra Nevada into Yosemite NP on the Tioga Pass. [CA120] For less miles you could head through Santa Fe to Pagosa Springs and on through Durango and then as above. That would shave almost 300 hundred miles off your original plan and the time spent in LA, which I think is enough time to slow and appreciate your surroundings, but whatever you decide you still have quite a bit of driving to do and will have to pick and chose what appeals the most.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,060

    Default Snow Canyon

    Southwest Dave's points are tack-on -- but if you do elect to continue on I-70 all the way to I-15 -- I would certainly suggest a detour to Snow Canyon -- departing I-15 at St. George. It is the perfect scenic sidetrip -- like a small Zion NP. You can exit the park at Ivins and then proceed NW to Shivwits before heading back to the SW on Old Highway 91 and back to I-15 at Littlefield

    Mark

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