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  1. Default Driving NY to Cal in June


    I'm moving from NYC to the Bay Area, picking up my big Sis in Ohio who has kindly agreed to join me on a cross country road trip. I'm planning to take about 10 days, but that's not etched in stone. We'd like to see some nice scenery and stop in some national parks/forests and do a little hiking. Roadtrip USA recommends Rte 50, some of which sounds great, but friends have recommended going up through S Dak and Wyoming (rather than what they call the "boring" states of IL, IN, MS, KS). Would love to hear suggestions from experienced cross-country road trippers!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    The beauty of a roadtrip is that you get to go which ever way looks most interesting to you. You aren't tied to the route that someone else has already decided.

    That's also why I often cringe at Roadtrip USA - while the info in the book/website is solid, it often gives people the impression that his list of places are the only roadtrip routes - or even the best ones.

    If you want to go through South Dakota and Wyoming, by all means, you should. I will only make note of two things - first, while 10 days sounds like a lot of time, just making this drive directly on the shortest route would take you about 6 days, the more miles you add to that, the more time you'll have to spend just covering ground, and the less time you'll have for exploration. I will also note that before you head out on the road, you should certainly consider one of the founding principals of RTA: There are no boring places.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default That depends on the attitude.

    Hi and Welcome to the Great American Roadtrip Forum.

    Thinking of the advice of your friends - Boring is not a road or route, it is a state of mind, the attitude of the individuals on the trip.

    I have passed through those States dozens of times now, and find them anything but. If you take the trouble to learn a little about what these States would have looked like, and who lived there before European Settlement. Then there are the stories of the early explorers, and the pioneers, who despite unimaginable hardships openied up the land, Today we have the ranchers and farmers who grow the food for so much of the country. The history of these States (and the whole country) is rich in stories and experiences. Think about them, imagine if you had to live those times.

    A road trip opens the mind to all sorts of experiences, even if those experiences are not your own. You'll be surprised how enjoyable it can be driving through, and stopping along the way, as you pass through those States.


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default It All Involves Trade-offs

    As Michael has pointed out, there is no single 'best' route between any two points, only that which suits you best. For example, going a more northerly route, through South Dakotas and Wyoming will certainly take you near to some great scenic and historic sites, but at a cost: You'll spend at least another full day driving to cover the extra miles incurred leaving less time to actually enjoy the places you've driven to, and you'll first have to spend time, money and effort to use the Midwestern toll highways (Ohio Turnpike, Indiana Toll Road, Tri-State Tollway, Jane Addams Tollway) to beat your way through or around Chicago.

    On the other hand, I have found several decidedly non-boring routes through the central Midwest that are more direct, non-toll, and just as interesting. As just one example, consider I-70 past Dayton (U.S. Air Force Museum and Wright Brothers sites) to Indianapolis (Motor Speedway), then I-74/I-72 to Hannibal MO (Mark Twain, Molly Brown) and US-36 across Missouri to St. Joseph (Pony Express), followed by I-29 up to NE-2/I-80 west through Nebraska along the Platte River (the old Oregon Trail route) and past Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area to the Great Salt Lake and finally through the Great Basin of Nevada to Virginia City/Reno/Lake Tahoe and over the Sierra Nevada to the Bay Area.

    As the Cheshire Cat said in Alice in Wonderland: "Of course, people do go both ways." Neither of them is boring, but they both come with pluses and minuses. At this point you and all your traveling companions should sit down and have a discussion about what you want. Once you've decided on your objectives, we can certainly help you find the best way to meet them. What we can't do is tell you what's always and everywhere 'the best'.


  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    First thing you should do is call up your sister and have a little chat about what she expects from the trip. What does she want to see? What do you want to see? How are you going to handle overnights -- pre-book or on-the-fly? Share space or separate rooms? How about food? Discuss budget so you won't have any issues on that score, either. These are things you should talk with her about.

    Then start sketching out your trip day-to-day. Allow no more than 500-550 miles per day, less if you are stopping to see something "for a couple of hours". I find that sketching out day-to-day allows me to realize when I'm trying to overplan. As has been mentioned above, 10 days goes by awfully quickly when you're talking a coast-to-coast trip.


  6. #6


    Definitely try to make it to Yellowstone NP &/or the Grand Tetons. It's a beautiful time of year to visit. I was also pleasantly surprised by S. Dakota. I drove cross-country in 12 days with several stops along the way, so 10 days is absolutely doable.

  7. Default

    Thanks, all! I put "boring" in quotes to emphasize that it wasn't MY opinion ;-)

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default A belated welcome and thanks.

    Hi debsil58, and Welcome to the Great American Roadtrip Forum.

    It is most generous of you to share your experience of the places you have been, in your first posts. It is always helpful to get another opinion from those who have been there. Helps those planning trips to make a decision.

    Should you at any time need help in planning a roadytrip, feel free to start your own thread.


  9. Default

    I'm sure that's all very interesting--we did live in Dayton as kids so certainly saw all of the Wright Bros sites!--I'm not that interested in small museums devoted to Mark Twain or the Pony Express. I would like to drive scenic roads and make stops for day hikes. Having lived in an urban metropolis for 20 years, mid-sized cities hold no interest for me. Colorado & Utah have more natural wonders than I could ever hope to visit, but from Ohio to there are there any parks with interesting landscapes? I need to walk for a couple of hours every day.

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