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  1. Default Optimize midpoint to fly to a and get a round trip rental car for Chicago to San Fran

    Optimize midpoint to fly to a and get a round trip rental car for Chicago to San Francisco/LA trip ( roughly )

    I was thinking to drive route 66 from Chicago to LA, but one way rental prices is very high, plus choice of convertible is almost missing. I am driving with a friend to drop him in San Francisco, so I will be driving alone back from San Francisco, so another goal is minimize driving time alone. I am thinking is fly to mid point (lets say Denver) fly to east wards first and then go wast drop my friend and drive back alone to starting point and fly back to newyork.
    I goal is meet with people, food and experience, budget is not tight, for good experience and food, I am also looking to build a portfolio of people-face photography.
    I would like this trip to be not more than 3,000 miles, starching over 14-16 days, driving less than 4 to 5 hours a day and few full days of no driving in between. Please suggest me
    My List in order of interest, but I am flexible.
    • New Mexico -Albuquerque/Santa FE
    • Arizona
    • Part of Route 66
    • Grand Canyon
    • Yellowstone/ Yosemite
    • Kansas city
    • San Diego
    • Some good old Texas Town, Ranch, Horses

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,359

    Default Where, Exactly?

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    You've listed three possible city pairs to define your trip: Chicago/Los Angeles; Chicago/San Francisco; and New York/San Francisco. Before we can help you, we need to know exactly where you're starting from, what your ultimate goal on the west coast is, and how much of the trip your friend will be with you. But with the time available to you and the places you've listed as goals, Kansas City International might prove a better drive/fly changeover point than Denver.

    AZBuck

  3. Default Clarification

    Quote Originally Posted by AZBuck View Post
    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    You've listed three possible city pairs to define your trip: Chicago/Los Angeles; Chicago/San Francisco; and New York/San Francisco. Before we can help you, we need to know exactly where you're starting from, what your ultimate goal on the west coast is, and how much of the trip your friend will be with you. But with the time available to you and the places you've listed as goals, Kansas City International might prove a better drive/fly changeover point than Denver.

    AZBuck
    Thanks you.
    I live in NYC, But I will like to fly to midpoint and start driving from there ( as you suggested lets say Kansas City), Drive East lets say Chicago and then take a turn and drive back west, drop my friend in San Francisco and return back to Kansas city drop the car and fly back to NYC. bascialy I have following goals
    - Be able to get round trip car rental.
    - Drop my friend in San Francisco
    - Minmum alone drive

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,067

    Default

    If you're going to do a loop trip anyway, and you want to minimize the amount of time you're spending alone, have you considered starting and ending your trip in San Francisco?

    With what I'm getting out of your goals - of doing a loop trip, that includes San Francisco, lasts about 2 weeks, and limits driving to 4-5 hours a day, not driving every day - I think you can start by cutting out quite a few of your "wish list" destinations. Going as far east as Texas and Kansas City probably aren't going to work well for you. Even Yellowstone is a bit of an outlier from your other destinations.

    What you're left with is a loop that could do a couple of things. Starting from SF, you could head through Yosemite towards Vegas, and then take Route 66/I-40 to the Grand Canyon, Albuquerque and Santa Fe. From there, you could go either north or south. South could take you down towards White Sands or maybe Carlsbad Caverns, and then back through Tucson towards San Diego, and up the coast. North could take you up into Colorado and Utah, checking out some of the many National Parks in those two states - perhaps following the "loneliest road" (US-50) through Nevada on your way back.

    If you don't want to start in SF, you could really start/end at any point on one of those loops (Vegas, Albuquerque, Tucson/Phoenix, San Diego, Denver, Salt Lake City), based on what works best.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,359

    Default Competing Goals

    Well, then, let's start with some basics. I don't see how you can backtrack to Chicago from anywhere that would reasonably serve as a fly/drive changeover point and complete your trip in less than 3000 miles. Simply taking two different scenic exploration routes from Kansas City to San Francisco and back would require well over 3500 miles of driving. So Denver is looking more like your best target, but that starts you out too far west to include Texas in your driving. Similarly, Yellowstone, San Diego, and Kansas City really can't be included within the limits you've laid out. However, using Denver means that you can take a great route to San Francisco and a relatively short route back.

    The drive westbound would start out in I-70 west from Denver through the heart of the Rockies. Rocky Mountain National Park could be a included with a short detour. Then in Utah you could visit Arches National Park and drop down through Canyonlands, across to Bryce Canyon and Zion, down to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, along the longest remaining stretch of ole Route 66 between Seligman and Kingman AZ, through the Mojave Desert and up the Central Valley to San Francisco.

    The drive eastbound would be shorter, basically just I-80 to Salt Lake City, although you could possibly include Yosemite with a modest detour, and then ether continue on I-80 through Wyoming, using US-287/I-25 back to Denver. Or, from Salt Lake, you could take US-40 past Dinosaur National Monument and then see Rocky Mountain National Park on this return leg.

    AZBuck

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,272

    Default

    Is your friend also in NYC? If so, I can't see how it would be any cheaper for airfare for 2 of you to some intermediate point, plus return airfare for you, than it would be to simply pay a NYC-SF dropoff fee. It will also be a lot cheaper renting the car in NJ than it would be in NYC.

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