Hello all! I just came back from an amazing road trip from Chicago to the southwest, hitting 10 states and several amazing parks (Grand Canyon, Zion, Bryce and Arches, with a few places in between). Now I'm itching for more!
I initially intended for my last trip to be solo, but a friend really wanted to join me (and then her friend joined us along the way as well). It was great, but I felt there was a lot I missed out on because after our hike through Zion, my friend was done (and that was only our second stop!). She said towards the end of our trip that it was clear she was a city girl because all she wanted was to get home. Meanwhile, I'm already ready to hit the road again.
So I decided to start planning and keep it as a solo trip this time. I'm thinking Chicago to Portland - probably mid-September 2016 (the only other time I could take off work would be in the middle of summer and that seemed like a bad idea temp-wise and crowd-wise). I love love love driving. The trip I just took, my friend doesn't drive at all, so I drove almost the entire trip myself. Her friend insisted on giving me a rest at one point, but then I felt like I missed out on some of the most fun driving of the trip! I would have been content driving the entire time.
So with all these things in mind, here's my question(s). How many days should I set aside for a trip like this? To drive there and back? I did the last trip in 10 days, and I made it from Chicago to Oklahoma City in day 1 (if that's any indication of my driving stamina). I know that's pretty far (800ish miles, I think?), but I felt fine. I got an early start (7am I think it was), made a bunch of stops along the way, and decided to stop for the night around dinner time, giving myself plenty of time to rest before the next day. (The intent was to get the most driving done in day 1 so I'd be able to relax and drive less each day after.) For that trip, my intention was to be spontaneous and stop anywhere that seemed interesting. We did a little of that, but again... my friend didn't really want to do anything so that was pretty limited. So this time around, I want to be able to stop if there's something interesting. I don't intend to spend half a day wandering around each state, though. So how many days is reasonable for a trip like this?
I picked Portland because I heard it's a fun city to tackle on your own. Anyone have experience with this?
I've never traveled super long distances by myself, but I used to drive from NYC to Montreal alone all the time. I think that's where I found my love of driving. I want to travel the world, and don't want to wait for someone to travel with, so I decided I would need to learn to travel solo. I figured a road trip would be the best way to do this. I could always turn around if I *really* needed to. I honestly don't think I will, though. I know Portland is far and maybe I should try someplace closer, but I love a challenge. : )
I was using roadtrippers to plan a route, and basically, I'm currently looking at this:
TO: Illinois > Wisconsin > Minnesota > North Dakota > Montana > Idaho > Washington > Oregon
FROM: Oregon > Idaho > Utah > Wyoming > South Dakota > Iowa > Illinois
I like the idea of going through 12 different states, and I would like to be able to say I actually went to each one as opposed to just drove through, even if for just a meal and/or a walk around town.
Does this sound like a decent plan? Any suggestions of places to see along the way? Any alternate route suggestions? I love doing active things, like hiking, and adventurous things, like skydiving, but I also like just seeing the sights. I just want to see something I've never seen before. Coming from Chicago, I already know city life. I want to experience something else.
Thanks in advance everyone, and sorry for the long post!