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  1. Default Eastern Iowa to San Diego

    We are driving from Eastern Iowa to San Diego this July. What are the best routes to take, how long do we need, what should we see along the way, can we fit in the Grand Canyon? We need to arrive in San Diego at 2:00 in the afternoon on a Saturday. We are traveling with 2 middle school aged children.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,271

    Default

    Welcome to RTA!

    You didn't say when you are leaving - so how many days do you have for this trip? Where in eastern Iowa?

    Cedar Rapids to San Diego can be done in 3 very long days on the road with no sightseeing (3.5 days would be a lot better), and the fastest route does not take you near the Grand Canyon. The Grand Canyon needs a whole day to see, so you would need 5 days to include it - 5.5 days would be better.

    The most efficient route would be I-80/I-76 to Denver, I-70 to Utah, CO-128/US-191 through Moab, where you can see Arches and Canyonlands (add more time), to US-163 through Monument Valley to Kayenta, US-160/US-89/AZ-64 into the GC.

    AZ-64 south/US-180 to Flagstaff, I-17 to Phoenix, Loop-101 to I-10 to AZ-85 to Gila Bend, I-8 to SD.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default A Week Would Be Nice

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    At a bare minimum, you would need just under four days to get from 'eastern Iowa' (I assumed the Quad Cities) to San Diego. So, I suppose that you could leave as late as Wednesday morning, but that would mean basically sealing the kids in the back seat and not really stopping anywhere during day after day of unrelenting long drives. If you leave Tuesday morning, you'd at least have time for a few short breaks each day, but still not enough time for major stops or detours such as the Grand Canyon. And if you can leave Monday morning, why not leave over the weekend and have the time for a truly memorable RoadTrip that is more about the sights you could see and the experience you could have along the way rather than just the drive?

    So, assuming you do in fact leave yourselves six days or so for the drive, what would I suggest? First off, it is quite possible to see the Grand Canyon, but you will have to choose between two separate routes across the country and two separate places to view the Grand Canyon, so that will be your first task. The two routes are 'northern' and 'southern'. The northern route would be I-80 west through Iowa and Nebraska, I-76 to Denver, I-70 through Colorado into Utah, and I-15 down to San Diego. Highlights would include the Oregon Trail, Rocky Mountain National Park (NP), Arches NP, Bryce Canyon NP, Zion NP and the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. The southern route would be I-35 south from Des Moines to Wichita, US-54 across the panhandles of Oklahoma and Texas, I-40 through New Mexico and Arizona, I-17 and connecting roads down to Gila Bend AZ and I-8 into San Diego. Highlights of this route include Dodge City, Cadillac Ranch Petroglyph National Monument, Petrified Forest NP and the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. It should also be noted that the southern route would require about a half-day of extra driving, but on a trip of this length that might not make much of a difference.

    So talk it over with the rest of your family and see which way they'd rather go and how much time you can devote to the task. At that point we can perhaps offer some more assistance as your planning gets more detailed.

    AZBuck

  4. Default Trip

    We would be leaving on a Wednesday needing to arrive on a Saturday by 2:00. We will leaving San Diego on a Saturday needing to be back by Monday night. If we can't see anything its the best we can do with vacation time. What would still be the best routes and stopping places?


    Quote Originally Posted by glc View Post
    Welcome to RTA!

    You didn't say when you are leaving - so how many days do you have for this trip? Where in eastern Iowa?

    Cedar Rapids to San Diego can be done in 3 very long days on the road with no sightseeing (3.5 days would be a lot better), and the fastest route does not take you near the Grand Canyon. The Grand Canyon needs a whole day to see, so you would need 5 days to include it - 5.5 days would be better.

    The most efficient route would be I-80/I-76 to Denver, I-70 to Utah, CO-128/US-191 through Moab, where you can see Arches and Canyonlands (add more time), to US-163 through Monument Valley to Kayenta, US-160/US-89/AZ-64 into the GC.

    AZ-64 south/US-180 to Flagstaff, I-17 to Phoenix, Loop-101 to I-10 to AZ-85 to Gila Bend, I-8 to SD.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,271

    Default

    I'm sorry, if you need to be back by Monday night you need to leave on Friday. If you only have from Wednesday to Saturday afternoon to get there, you don't have time for any sightseeing. It's just too many miles. You will need to take the same route both ways - I-80/I-76/I-70/I-15. It is what it is, you may want to fly both ways and rent a car to do some sightseeing out West, you just don't have time to do a "vacation" drive with your time constraints.

    Overnights will be North Platte NE, Grand Junction CO, and Barstow CA if you drive it, leaving early Wednesday morning. Same on the return trip leaving midday Friday.

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