Results 1 to 5 of 5
  1. Default Road Trip from Maryland/DC to Grand Canyon

    Hi Guys,

    I am planning a road trip this summer which I have been planning for a long time.

    I love to drive and love road trips. Ideally, I would prefer a sort of northern route going into Grand canyon and a more southern route on the way back. My goal is to see 'must see' places along the way -- therefore, the route plan should be constructed keeping that in mind. Since, this would be a quick road trip I would want to just see the place and move on without lingering for much long.

    I am thinking of 12-13 days from MD to Grand Canyon and back.

    i would love to get your feedback.

    You guys have been awesome in the past with your ideas and would want the same again.

    Thanks so much!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default I Hope You're Young and Alone

    Such a trip is possible, even with your limited timeframe, but the title of this response is dead serious. You are going to have to spend a full none days of your trip in the car watching through the windshield as the world goes by. I did such RoadTrips when I was younger, but by my mid 30s their allure had worn off. Believe it or not, just sitting for that long will be hard on your body with stiffness setting in after even just the first day. That only gets worse with age. As for the alone part, no matter how friendly you may be with a traveling companion at the start of such a trip, two weeks of enforced 24-hour togetherness has a way of destroying relationships. If you're still determined to carry on despite those caveats....

    Since you're going to be spending a lot more time driving than actually seeing sites, it's relatively important that you use scenic routes as much as possible and avoid large cities which will only slow you down and drain your energy. So for your 'northern' leg westbound, I'd be looking at something like I-70 west (but using I-68/I-79 through western MD) to Indianapolis, then I-74/I-72 to Hannibal MO, US-36 across northern Missouri, I-29/NE2 to Lincoln NE, I-80 west to I-76 into Colorado and Denver, I-70 again across the Rockies to US-191/US-89 south to the Grand Canyon. Some major points of interest (we don't believe in "must see" sites" - everyone's are different) would include the original National Road, the US Air Force Museum, Mark Twin's Hannibal, The eastern terminus of the Pony Express in St. Joseph MO, the old Oregon Trail route along the Platte River, Rocky Mountain National Park (NP), Colorado National Monument (NM), Arches NP, and Monument Valley.

    For a return route, I'd suggest roughly I-40 eastbound to Amarillo TX, US-287/US-82 down the Red River Valley to Texarkana, US-71 down to I-20 east to Jackson MS, the Natchez Trace Parkway up to Nashville, I-40 to I-81 north and I-66 back into the DC area. Possible highlights of that route include Petrified Forest NP, Petroglyph NM, Cadillac Ranch, the site where Bonnie and Clyde were gunned down outside Gibstown LA, Elvis' birthplace in Tupelo MS, and Great Smoky Mountains NP among others.

    Now it needs to be made clear that the above list of attractions is neither exhaustive NOR possible. You don't have time to see all of them, or to spend much time at any of them, and yet you might want to see others instead. What is important on a trip like this is that you ace yourself, both keeping an eye on where you need to be at any given time to be on schedule to complete your trip, as well as to take frequent short breaks each day to get some fresh air and exercise.

    AZBuck

  3. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by AZBuck View Post
    Such a trip is possible, even with your limited timeframe, but the title of this response is dead serious. You are going to have to spend a full none days of your trip in the car watching through the windshield as the world goes by. I did such RoadTrips when I was younger, but by my mid 30s their allure had worn off. Believe it or not, just sitting for that long will be hard on your body with stiffness setting in after even just the first day. That only gets worse with age. As for the alone part, no matter how friendly you may be with a traveling companion at the start of such a trip, two weeks of enforced 24-hour togetherness has a way of destroying relationships. If you're still determined to carry on despite those caveats....

    Since you're going to be spending a lot more time driving than actually seeing sites, it's relatively important that you use scenic routes as much as possible and avoid large cities which will only slow you down and drain your energy. So for your 'northern' leg westbound, I'd be looking at something like I-70 west (but using I-68/I-79 through western MD) to Indianapolis, then I-74/I-72 to Hannibal MO, US-36 across northern Missouri, I-29/NE2 to Lincoln NE, I-80 west to I-76 into Colorado and Denver, I-70 again across the Rockies to US-191/US-89 south to the Grand Canyon. Some major points of interest (we don't believe in "must see" sites" - everyone's are different) would include the original National Road, the US Air Force Museum, Mark Twin's Hannibal, The eastern terminus of the Pony Express in St. Joseph MO, the old Oregon Trail route along the Platte River, Rocky Mountain National Park (NP), Colorado National Monument (NM), Arches NP, and Monument Valley.

    For a return route, I'd suggest roughly I-40 eastbound to Amarillo TX, US-287/US-82 down the Red River Valley to Texarkana, US-71 down to I-20 east to Jackson MS, the Natchez Trace Parkway up to Nashville, I-40 to I-81 north and I-66 back into the DC area. Possible highlights of that route include Petrified Forest NP, Petroglyph NM, Cadillac Ranch, the site where Bonnie and Clyde were gunned down outside Gibstown LA, Elvis' birthplace in Tupelo MS, and Great Smoky Mountains NP among others.

    Now it needs to be made clear that the above list of attractions is neither exhaustive NOR possible. You don't have time to see all of them, or to spend much time at any of them, and yet you might want to see others instead. What is important on a trip like this is that you ace yourself, both keeping an eye on where you need to be at any given time to be on schedule to complete your trip, as well as to take frequent short breaks each day to get some fresh air and exercise.

    AZBuck

    @AZBuck - Thanks for the necessary caveat. I have taken similar roads before --though never this long and just to put in on record, this forum and particularly yourself have been very helpful in the past. Since, I am thinking of taking this trip in July, I am very much in the planning stages, and I absolutely love that part of preparing details of such a long trip. Also, my vacation time would be 17 days as opposed to 13 mentioned earlier.

    Since posting the message earlier, I have been thinking of heading first towards Mount Rushmore to check off another key landmark visited. I would obviously take the northern route. This would mean going through Ohio, Illinois, Minnesota, Wisconsin. Is it worth heading there first and seeing Mt. Rushmore and the badlands or should I just stick with going to Grand Canyon first?

    My strategy as mentioned earlier by someone on this forum would be to get to the West as soon as possible. Although, I would love to visit must see places on the way. I love historical stuff so if you or anyone over here have recommendations for the northern route that would be awesome.

    From Mount Rushomore I can turn south and head towards Utah and Mount Zion & Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park. I am also thinking of stopping at Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming. I can spend a day or two in Grand Canyon and then head south towards Sedona and possibly take a detour to NV and see the Hoover Dam.

    I can start the journey back home by heading towards Texas. I am thinking of The Alamo, and Guadalupe Mountains National Park. A possible visit in Dallas is on the white board as well. On the way back I would want to visit Graceland too.

    This is a long trip and I want to be reasonable yet get the maximum out of this trip. In the past, I have done intense long road trips to Maine in the North and the Carolinas doing as much as 900 miles of driving in a day.

    Feel to free to advise me places to see along the routes, this way I can plot the route. I am hoping the advise I get over here would be useful to someone else down the road too.

    Thanks again!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,064

    Default

    Driving "intense" days of 900 miles isn't something that will earn you any respect here - it is impossible to drive that kind of distance without being impacted by fatigue, and fatigue is every bit as big of a killer on the highway as drunk driving. Even more to the point, driving 900 miles one day and arriving at your destination is dramatically different than driving 900 miles in a day and then still having to get back in the car again the next day for any distance - in the same way running a sprint is dramatically different than running a marathon. On a multi-day trip, if you're planning to drive more than 550-600 miles a day, you are planning to put other people's lives in danger, no matter how good of a drive you think you are.

    The difference between 13 days and 17 days is rather significant in this case, but I don't think Mt. Rushmore makes much sense, especially with all of the other things you've listed you already want to see. South Dakota would be 500 mile detour - so basically another full day of driving all by itself. It wouldn't be impossible to include it on your timeline, but you'd very much be back to the "see nothing but what is outside your window" kind of trip that Buck already talked about, and with talk of detours to places like the Alamo, Graceland, and other National Parks in your plans, it doesn't sound like that's the kind of trip you want..

  5. #5

    Default

    Last summer I roadtripped for 25 days, starting in Maryland to the Grand Canyon and back by way of Wind Cave NP (4.5 days/4 nights in-transit to Wind Cave, with an enroute scenic drive through the Badlands, 3 camping nights at Wind Cave), northern Wyoming (1 night), to Yellowstone NP and Grand Teton (camping a combined 4 nights), to Salt Lake City (1 night), another night headed towards Bryce Canyon (2 nights camping), Grand Canyon North Rim (1 night camping), one night hoteling on the way to Mesa Verde NP (2 nights camping) and then hotel nights in Gunnison, CO; Denver; Kansas City; St. Louis; camped Eastern Ohio off of I-70; and then home.

    So, without stopping off in Yellowstone and Grand Teton and Bryce Canyon (all of which you'd need to make advance reservations many, many months in advance for summer travel), you are right around 17 days. I was also pacing part of my return travel through Colorado to the Mississippi River, stopping off to visit some Presidential Libraries and such. I also opted for many scenic routes in Wyoming and the Southwest.

    If you are camping along the way you should have good luck with Mesa Verde NP and Great Sand Dune NP (maybe check for campsite availability in advance but during summer it isn't in demand like YNP, Grand Tetons, GCNP North Rim and others).

    I use a spreadsheet to plan out my trips from each destination, day-by-day, with mileage to be covered, Google Maps generated transit hours and my own transit-adjusted hours, just to bring some rationality to the process. Almost mandatory if I want to camp in some of the major parks or figure out where to spend the night in a motel close by so I can to get into the "early morning scrum" for campsites that do not take reservations.

Similar Threads

  1. Maryland to SW (Bryce, Zion, Grand Canyon, etc)
    By jjhummer in forum Planning Summer RoadTrips
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 03-09-2016, 02:08 AM
  2. ROAD TRIP FROM MA to GRAND CANYON, NV
    By evacindy in forum Planning Summer RoadTrips
    Replies: 13
    Last Post: 01-09-2015, 09:35 PM
  3. Road trip from PA to Grand Canyon
    By Sheba in forum Planning Summer RoadTrips
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 07-25-2013, 12:42 PM
  4. From Maryland to Grand Canyon National Park
    By maestro96 in forum Spring RoadTrips
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: 01-23-2013, 03:26 PM
  5. Maryland to Grand Canyon & Maybe More (April 2011)
    By DCSB in forum Spring RoadTrips
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 08-16-2010, 09:13 AM

Tags for this Thread

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
  • Find the Perfect Hotel
    Search RoadTrip Motels
    Enter city name

    Loading...



  • MORE STORIES