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  1. #1

    Default Has anyone done the Great Circle Route?

    I really love this forum. Its great. I've spent so much time reading since discovering it. I can't wait to get out on the road. I have a list of road trips I'd like to do. For me, the joy is in the driving. I just love to be in the car on the open road.

    So far, I have-

    The Mother Road- Rt 66 from Chicago to LA
    The Original- Rt 50 from Sacramento to Ocean City, Md
    The Rockies Run- Tracing the Rockies on Rt 93 from Banff to Mexico

    However, the one that I've really been thinking about the most is what I call the Great Circle Route. I live in Seattle so it would be-

    Seattle to Boston on I 90
    Boston to Miami on I 95
    Double back to North Florida and then Florida to LA on I 10
    LA back to Seattle on I 5

    I calculated it out at just under 9000 miles including a very short detour from Rapid City to Mt. Rushmore and another in NE because I've always wanted to visit Ben and Jerry's. LOL

    I figure it would take a solid month.

    Has anyone ever tried this route?

  2. #2


    Welcome to the forum.

    You don't say what you want to see along the way, except Mt Rushmore and Ben and Jerry's, but there is so much to see that I wouldn't even attempt all that in a month. You have to get off the interstate highways to see almost anything, so the mileage and times will be way longer than you have estimated.

    I always try to keep my daily mileage to around 300 if I'm going to see the sights. There are some times when you can go up to 500 miles a day, but those are rare unless you've already been over the route and seen most of it before.

    I'd suggest that you see what there is to visit, choose two or three good sights per day and see how much of that territory you can reasonably cover in a month. I think you will find that it won't take in the entire circle you designated. Choose quality over quantity, if you know what I mean.

    Good luck in your planning and I hope you can see most of what you plan.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    A month would be a very, very short time for the "circle route". My husband and I were gone 7 weeks when we did the following trip: San Diego to Florida via I-8, I-10 (mostly, with a short detour up I-20 to see friends near Dallas and then came back down to I-10). Up both I-95 and US-17/US-13 from Florida to north-central NJ, up a series of routes (to AVOID I-95 around Boston) to Bar Harbor, ME. Then across ME, NH, VT, NY, OH, drop down to I-70, across to central Missouri and eventually across to UT and south on I-15 to go home. That is only a half of the great circle, and we were gone 7 weeks -- 5 of it spent on the road (and 2 weeks in central MO with family).

    Another year, we headed down I-8 and I-10 to Houston, up north to OK and MO, east to PA, back west to Chicago, northern WI, northern MN, ND, SD, MT to Yellowstone, Grand Tetons, and back to SoCal. Again, we were gone almost 7 weeks and spent only 12 of those days with family. We were driving a lot on both of those trips, when not with family.

    We debated a circle route when planning the trip that found us in ME, but the budget wasn't going to handle that. That would be another thing to reckon with.


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default It's all about what seems fun to you

    Quote Originally Posted by Smiling_Tiger View Post
    I really love this forum. Its great. I've spent so much time reading since discovering it. I can't wait to get out on the road. I have a list of road trips I'd like to do. For me, the joy is in the driving. I just love to be in the car on the open road.
    Hey, thanks for the kudos and welcome to the trip advice forum.

    I too love being on the road -- these days I rarely have the opportunity to just let the miles fly by, because I am working and that means lots of stops.... But.... one year I did a solo trip of about 11,000 miles in about 15 days --- which is way, way, way beyond what we recommend these days.

    And this goes against the rules-of-the-road by which we moderate this forum -- but, yes, you could complete the circle route you've laid out in about a month. You won't have a great deal of time to mosey or enjoy the sites -- but it is possible. I've driven all of those routes over the years. The great thing about your plan is that, within reason, you can cut some of the corners and spend more time in a few places and still get back in time.

    Enjoy the planning!


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default A little time for sightseeing.

    As above, I feel you are missing a lot if you are setting out just to cover the miles. However.....

    9000 miles can be driven in 18 days, i.e. a full day on the road each day without sightseeing, and covering at least 500 miles. That still leaves another 12 or 13 days to explore a few places.

    Get hold of some good maps, such as are produced by AAA (free to members), or get a road atlas, such as Rand McNally. These maps all have the major attractions and scenic routes shown on them - natural attractions, historical sites even touristy places. You don't get to see all those on a little screen. (Besides you will need good maps on the road - don't be tempted to rely solely on your electronics.) Pick out a dozen of the sites that are 'must sees' for you. You should be able to spend a day or so at each or most of them.

    Sightseeing days also give a respite from driving, which gets pretty tiring without a break, no matter how much you enjoy driving.


  6. #6


    Thanks, all. For me, the joy is in the driving. I very rarely go less than 500 miles in a day. I just like to be in the car.

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