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  1. Default Piedmont NC to Seattle, WA

    I'm planning to move from Piedmont, NC to Seattle, WA at the end of May / beginning of June. Considering a cross country road trip to make the big move. I'd like to make the trip in a week or less; allowing time for scenic stops. I'll be traveling with my cat so stops would be fairly short. Not sure how well he'd handle big stops and leaving him in the car is not an option. I'd love to see some amazing National Parks and State Parks along with way. Yellowstone, yes, please! I'm just starting my planning so any suggestions / tips are more than welcome!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    Welcome to RTA!

    The trip is just a little under 3000 miles, so you are looking at 6 days of driving @500 miles per day. It's like a marathon, you plan to keep the pace the same throughout. That's just the driving, not allowing for much sightseeing along the way. If you kept up a pace of 500 mile days, you'd have one day to "play around with".

    As for what you can see along the way -- short stops only -- the Wright Brothers things at Dayton OH, Lincoln's Tomb near Springfield, IL, the Amana Colonies in IA, the Corn Palace at Mitchell, SD, Badlands National Park SD, Mt Rushmore NM in SD, Devil's Tower NM in WY, Little Bighorn National Battlefield Monument in MT, Coeur d'Alene ID. Now, you probably wouldn't be able to do ALL of these, but you could pick and choose.

    Is your cat a good traveler? If not, you might want to talk to your vet about the trip. Just from experience, a cat who is not "car-trained" will probably do better in a crate/kennel. (We had a cat who liked the car, though -- just one. We trained her very early.)

    I would definitely not recommend Yellowstone, however, for several reasons. First, it's huge! It takes at least a couple of days to see most of the highlights, and if you only have a week to get across country, you don't have that kind of time. Second, it's not recommended that pets be in the vehicles at Yellowstone. Bears are attracted to vehicles with dogs, cats, and food.

    If you are planning to live in Seattle for awhile, Yellowstone is about 770 miles, so you could take a week off -- drive over in a day and a half, REALLY see that park and Grand Tetons to boot, and drive back.

    Seattle is so close to some amazing national parks: North Cascades NP, Mt Rainier NP, Mt St Helens NM, Olympic NP. Any of these could be a day or weekend trip. If you have a little more time, Crater Lake NP, Yellowstone NP, and Glacier NP are all within a long day's drive.

    Some of the Canadian National Parks are also within a day or two drive, though you DO have to have a passport to go to: Banff NP, Lake Louise NP, Jasper NP, Waterton Lakes NP (sister park to the US Glacier Park), Yoho NP, *their* Glacier NP, and then there are some really pretty provincial (state) parks, too, in Canada.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Options and Out-of-Bounds

    I would agree with one of the major points that Donna made. And that is that Yellowstone is just too large, too far off your main route, and will be too traffic choked to be worth seeing on this trip. Much as I would agree with you that it would be the highlight of any trip, in this particular case trying to include it would drain pretty much all of your available spare time and resources, leaving you with being able to do nothing on your other days but drive, drive, drive.

    However, I would disagree with her a bit on another point, the time needed to get to Seattle. I make it just about five days at 550 miles a day, leaving you with two 'spare' days worth of time for sight-seeing. Still not enough time for visiting Yellowstone, but enough to make the trip very relaxing for both you and your cat. Now, to be honest, the difference between 5 days at 550 miles/day and six days at 500 miles/day is not up to us, it's up to you and what you are comfortable with. Obviously, fewer miles a day allow for more frequent and or longer stops. There are many such free, scenic and interesting stops all along the major Interstates (even those not listed - check your maps).

    Besides deciding how many miles a day you'll be comfortable with, you have another decision to make - your route between Piedmont and Sioux Falls. There are at least two viable alternatives. One would have you heading south on I-81 first to Knoxville and I-40 west to Nashville. Then there's a series of Interstates (I-24/I-57/I-64) through Paducah KY and Mt. Vernon IL to St. Louis, I-70 west to Kansas City, and I-29 up to Sioux Falls. The other possibility would be to use US-25E up to Corbin KY and I-75 north to Lexington, I-64 west to Louisville, and I-65 north to Indianapolis. From there I-74 will take you to the Quad Cities and I-80 west to Iowa City where you would use I-380/US-218/US-18 up to Mason City IA and a short stint on I-35 north to Austin MN and I-90 west to Sioux Falls. Those routes are close enough in distance and drive-time that you should make the choice based on which one takes you to the most places or through the type of scenery that you'd like to see.

    Besides all the smaller stops already talked about, there are a few larger venues that will help make up for missing Yellowstone, On the southern route for the eastern leg of your journey, that might be Land Between The Lakes National Recreation Area. On the northern route for that same leg you should look at Cumberland Gap National Historical Park. While Badlands National Park would be on the western leg of both.


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