Driving Chicago-San Francisco on I-80
I have five days to get from Chicago to San Francisco next month, and I'm hoping that on one or two of the days, I can spare a couple of hours for some sight-seeing. Specifically, it looks like I'll have time to spare in Nebraska, Wyoming and Utah. However, all the parks I've considered (Arches, etc.) seem to be at least a 180-mile detour from I-80. Are there any sights close to the highway? I only have a few hours to spare on any day. (Also, I have a dog, but I would assume that's probably not a big deal if I'm pretty much just running in and out of these parks.)
Historical sites and Flaming Gorge
Along I-80, there are a number of sites associated with the Oregon and California Trails -- in Nebraska, for example, there is a Pony Express station near Gothenburg and along the Platte River in the far western part of the state, there's Chimney Rock -- a well known landmark to those who traveled west in wagon trains in the 1840s and 1850s. Wyoming has other similar attractions -- if you're interested in history. In western Wyoming, you might check out Flaming Gorge Recreation area -- if you enter the name as a search on the internet, you'll come up wuith a couple of good sites that describe it and some photos. You can take the doggie for a walk! He'll have lots of energy after being cooped up in the car all that way! When you get to California, the area around Truckee is beautiful -- you might take a short detour and check out Squaw Valley (site of the winter Olympics at least once). Bob
Also of note at Truckee
Is Donner Pass, the site where the Donner Party was snowed in during the winter of 1846-7 and resorted to cannibalism. There is a nice little museum and nature area, and Donner Lake is very nice. I'm sure there are campgrounds in the area.
IMHO, I-80 in Wyoming is SO BORING!
What if you took I-75 down to Denver and then took I-70 across Colorado. You will drive thought some beautiful mountain areas. Just past Grand Junction you can drive thought Colorado National Monument and then pick up I-70 again. At Cisco, Utah take scenic Hwy 128 into Moab, Utah. Dogs are not allowed on trails in the National Parks and I wouldn't leave him/her in the car in the heat, but you can see a lot of the scenery of Arches by just driving in and out. Take Hwy 191 back up to I-70. After Green River you will pass the thought the San Rafeal Swell area and this is very scenic. Take Hwy 50 to I-15. Here you have two choices. Go north to Salt Lake City and take I-80 across Nevada (2405 miles) OR take Hwy 50 across Nevada (2280 miles) Taking I-80 all the way I came up with 2132 miles.
Its the Great American Plains!
I am shocked that a semi-pro roadtripper like yourself could admit to finding any stretch of road boring. Actually, I like your alternative routing, the only problem is that if speed is really an issue, zooming over the Colorado Rockies is much slower than doing I-80.
I like both routes -- I have probably driven them 20-30 times in the last couple of decades. I find I-80 very pleasant -- hammer down and enjoy wide plains vistas!
OK, Mark....I'll admit....
traveling any road is better than sitting at home! I do enjoy the open road.
Nicole had 5 days to make the trip and wanted to see some scenic sites so I thought she would have plenty of time to do I-70 and Hwy 50. Especially if she pushes it for the first couple of days.