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  1. Default Cross-Country Trip USA

    Hey, everyone! My name is Chandler and I'm planning a cross country road trip with my friends (3) for this summer. Our current budget is $2500 per person. We are hoping to complete the trip in about a month. We plan to camp half of the time and stay in a hotel half of the time. My roadtrippers app estimated that gas will cost around $1600, but I bumped it up to $2000 to be on the safe side. We plan to bring a cooler along in order to save money on food. We are also purchasing an annual national park pass for $80. If anyone has any tips or recommendations we would love to know! Here is our itinerary:

    Dates: July 15th - Aug*

    •Florence to Springfield, MO (15 hours)

    •Mitchell, SD (9 hours)

    •Mt. Rushmore in Custer, SD (5 hours)

    •Devils Tower National Monument (2 hours)
    •Grand Teton National Park (8 hours)

    •Yellowstone National Park in Moose, WY (2 hours)

    •Coeur D’ Alene (8 hours)

    •Seattle (5 hours)

    •Crater Lake National Park, Oregon (7 1/2 hours)

    •Redwood National Park, CA (4 1/2 hours)

    •San Francisco, CA (6 hours)

    •Los Angeles, CA (8 1/2 hours)
    •Malibu, CA (1 1/2 hours)

    •Las Vegas, NV (8 hours)

    •Grand Canyon, AZ (4 1/2 hours)

    •Zion National Park in Springdale, UT (4 1/2 hours)
    •Bryce Canyon National Park, UT ( 1 1/2 hours)

    •The Wave, AZ (4 hours)
    •Horseshoe Bend (1 hour)
    •Antelope Canyon (10 minutes)
    •Lake Powell, AZ (10 minutes)

    •Monument Valley (2 hours)
    •Four Corners Monument (2 hours)

    •Taos Pueblo, NM (5 hours)
    •Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo, TX (5 hours)
    •Abilene, TX (4 1/2 hours)


    •San Antonio, TX (4 hours)
    •Austin, TX (1 hour)

    •New Orleans (8 1/2 hours)
    •Birmingham, AL (5 hours)

    •Florence (6 1/2 hours)

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    It sounds like you could have a nice trip, although a list of cities and places without any sort of context doesn't really tell us a whole lot about what you hope to get out of this trip.

    I will provide the warning that online mapping programs do a horrible job of estimating travel times, and all of these drives will likely take you more time than you've got planned. Most of what you've got laid out should still be ok, except that first day. I'm not sure which "Florence" you are starting from, but I can tell you that any drive that's estimated to be at 15 hours is much more likely to be closer to 20, and if you try to start your trip like that, you will both be a danger to everyone on the road, but you'll set yourself to be exhausted, cranky, and unable to have much fun for the next several days of your trip.

  3. Default

    Thanks for the response! My friend has family that lives in Springfield, MO and he has made the drive a few times in the past. All 4 of us plan on driving so we will definitely split up the time. Thanks again!

  4. Default

    Also, here is the link to the Roadtrippers map.

    https://roadtrippers.com/map?a2=t%21...ource=copy&z=5

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default

    Like I said, driving nearly 1,000 miles to start your trip is both unsafe and just not smart. There is a big difference between a 1 day sprint and the marathon of a month long roadtrip.

    Your map does list out the places you plan to go, just like your previous list did, however, that still gives us no context about what you hope to get out of this trip, how long you plan to stay at these places, really anything more than a list.

    What sort of things do you have questions about and what information are you looking for?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default Are you all on the same page?

    Have you thought of each of you taking this quiz independently? It will give you some sort of guide as to what you should include and leave out.

    I agree with Michael, that first day is going to be a killer. Not only has your friend's relation taken that trip as a single day trip (which still is not a wise thing to do), but he is familiar with the territory and with the trip, and probably a much more experienced roadtripper than any of you. Don't underestimate the value of experience when trying to emulate another's actions. Best break up that first day into two equal days. That will even allow you to stop at some things closer to home, things we so often neglect, because we "can see it anytime".

    Lifey

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,546

    Default

    I will "third" the suggestion to break up that first day into two days. You will hate yourselves, trying to make a speed run of 1000 miles in one day. I also know from experience, 1000 miles is definitely NOT 15 hours. Computers don't have to stop for gas, go to the bathroom, get a few meals, stretch their legs, go through a construction zone, get behind a convoy for miles that you can't get around, etc. It will be closer to 18 or even 20 hours.

    Springfield, MO (15 hours) •Mitchell, SD (9 hours) •Mt. Rushmore in Custer, SD (5 hours) •Devils Tower National Monument (2 hours) •Grand Teton National Park (8 hours) •Yellowstone National Park in Moose, WY (2 hours)
    Springfield to Mitchell, SD, is going to be closer to 10-1/2 hours. It's over 600 miles, and you have to traverse Kansas City. Mitchell to Mount Rushmore is going to be closer to 6 hours, maybe even 6-1/2. Mount Rushmore to Devil's Tower may also be more than 2 hours. We went from Custer City up to I-90 via Deadwood, using US-385 to 85N, then I-90 to 14 to DTNM. It took us about 2-1/2 or 3 hours, if I recall, but US-385 was a beautiful drive.

    Finally, you might want to think about this: Go to Yellowstone first, and use the Northeast entrance. You would keep going on I-90 after Devil's Tower, go through WY and into Montana. Just past Billings, at Laurel, you head south toward Red Lodge on US-212. You head into the Beartooth mountains after Red Lodge -- slow drive but absolutely GORGEOUS. You'd then get to see the northeast quadrant of Yellowstone, too. From Yellowstone (hope you're planning to stay at least 3 days!) head for Grand Teton. BTW, from Red Lodge to Yellowstone's entrance station was about 3-4 hours, and another 3-4 hours took us across the quadrant. You stop a lot, that's why, and the drive is slow.


    Donna

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default Slow, but ever so worth it.

    Quote Originally Posted by DonnaR57 View Post
    Finally, you might want to think about this: Go to Yellowstone first, and use the Northeast entrance. You would keep going on I-90 after Devil's Tower, go through WY and into Montana. Just past Billings, at Laurel, you head south toward Red Lodge on US-212. You head into the Beartooth mountains after Red Lodge -- slow drive but absolutely GORGEOUS. You'd then get to see the northeast quadrant of Yellowstone, too. From Yellowstone (hope you're planning to stay at least 3 days!) head for Grand Teton. BTW, from Red Lodge to Yellowstone's entrance station was about 3-4 hours, and another 3-4 hours took us across the quadrant. You stop a lot, that's why, and the drive is slow.
    If you leave I-90 earlier, at Sheridan, WY, then take Alt US-14 over the Big Horn Mts and onto Lovell, from where you head up north west to pick up US 212 near Joliet. It is true, these routes are slow because there is so much to see along the way. there's an abundance of wildlife up on the high plains as well as the short walk to the Medicine Wheel, the Big Horn Lake and Canyon. This route will also take you right by the Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Range. Be sure to stop at the Top of The World Store on Beartooth Pass.

    I'd allow a full day from Red Lodge to wherever you will be staying in Yellowstone NP, if you are staying in the park. Once you enter Yellowstone the going gets really, really slow. Not only are there limits on speed, but wildlife gets preference, and at times there can be a lot of wildlife on the roads.... not willing to get out of your way.

    Lifey

  9. Default

    Thanks everyone for your responses! They have helped a lot! We now plan to stop in Nashville for 1 night instead of going straight to Springfield from Florence, SC. Does anyone know of any good camping sites (preferably with showers) near Nashville? Aslo, we plan on camping a night in the Badlands before seeing Mt. Rushmore. What is the best campground in the Badlands?

    Thanks again!!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default

    Within the Badlands, there are 2 campgrounds.

    The main campground, Cedar Pass Campground, is right near the east entrance to the park, near Interior. It's a basic campground, with flat ground, picnic tables, flush toilets, etc.

    The other campground, Sage Creek, is very primitive. It's off a gravel road in a fairly remote section of the park. It is free, but there is no water and just a pit toilet.

    No fire are allowed in either campground.

    Near Nashville, I'd probably look at Cedars of Lebanon State Park.

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