Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 11
  1. #1
    britluke Guest

    Default Kansas to California and back again. Hwy 50?

    Hi everyone,

    I'm 22 and from the UK. I'm really keen on doing a road trip through the west of America. My ideal is to drive through beautiful, open areas with few other human beings/cars around, where you can see for miles and enjoy good weather. And I'm British, so my standards of "good weather" aren't that high ;).

    I've looked into it and Route 50 looks like a good bet. I'd probably go with a friend. We'd fly to Kansas City, rent a car (booked in advance, probably a Chrysler Sebring convertible), get on Route 50, drive as far as we could towards California in somewhere between three and five days (we don't mind driving all day and don't mind if we don't get there, though obviously we'd really like to). Then we'd turn around and come back to Kansas City in the same amount of time. We'd get on a plane and fly home.

    There are a few questions I hope you can help me answer:

    1) Would you recommend Route 50 for the sort of road trip I'm looking for?
    2) How frequent are motels/gas stations alone Route 50? Are we likely to end up driving for hours longer than we anticipated because we can't find a motel/breaking down because we can't find a gas station in time?
    3) How long do you think it'd take to go from Kansas City to the cost of California, having (for example) a ten hour driving day?
    4) Are there any better routes to take in that direction?
    5) Is there anything else I might have overlooked?

    Thanks in advance for any suggestions/help.

    Luke

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2000
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    9,274

    Default Wild Wild West

    Quote Originally Posted by britluke
    I'm 22 and from the UK. I'm really keen on doing a road trip through the west of America. My ideal is to drive through beautiful, open areas with few other human beings/cars around, where you can see for miles and enjoy good weather. And I'm British, so my standards of "good weather" aren't that high ;).
    Luke, Welcome to the Forum. I really admire your plan and a Sebring Convertible would be the classic American road trip car -- One question: What time of year is the envisioned for?
    1) Would you recommend Route 50 for the sort of road trip I'm looking for?
    Yes and no. I have driven much of US-50 and it is a great, classic two-lane highway and I know that is some of your point, but... what I would recommend is to get on Interstate 70 and head west, past Denver -- through Utah and return to the two-lane US-50 at Salina, Utah. Much of the views of the plains of Iowa and Nebraska can be seen from the Interstate nearly as well as from US-50 and the section of I-70 between Denver and Salina, Utah is some of the most gorgeous interstate highway in the nation.

    From Salina, you could follow US-50 all the way to the Pacific Ocean at San Francisco. Zipping westward on Interstate highways will allow you to a) reach the Pacific in 2-3 days and also allow you more time to cruise some of the two-lane roads adjacent to US-50 on your return trip -- spending extra time (if you want in Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, or Colorado). Plus you would have time to explore the traditional and historic small towns in Iowa, and Nebraska.
    2) How frequent are motels/gas stations alone Route 50? Are we likely to end up driving for hours longer than we anticipated because we can't find a motel/breaking down because we can't find a gas station in time?
    If you do elect to travel the entire way on US-50, except for rare places, you should find fuel locations at least every 100 miles or so -- well within the fuel tank range of the Sebring.
    3) How long do you think it'd take to go from Kansas City to the coast of California, having (for example) a ten hour driving day?
    On US-50 it would take about four days, using I-70 2-3 days.

    What do you think?

    Mark

  3. #3
    britluke Guest

    Default

    One question: What time of year is the envisioned for?
    I hadn't decided yet. I wouldn't have the money together to do it until next year, so at this point I'm very flexible. As I said, I'd just like it to be nice and sunny and not risk road closures. If you could recommend a range of months that'd be great.

    Your US-50/I-70 plan sounds great. You mentioned the lengths of journeys of each, but what about the journey time of that combined route? 3-4 days?

    I'm having a little difficulty with route planner websites. When I plug in Kansas City and San Francisco (or wherever) they all steer me along I-70 or I-80 and away from US-50 and I can't seem to specify the roads I want to travel along.

    I also found a fantastic route planning site the other day (not freetrip.com, but similar) which had listings of all the motels, all the gas stops and all the restaurants/eateries on any given journey, complete with a bit of information about each. I've completely forgotten where it was, though, so if anyone knows it, could you pass on the information to me?

    Also, what sort of price should I budget for motels along the route? And what about gas? Is $2 a gallon wildly off? And yes, apparently the Sebring I'm looking at has a fuel tank range of about 370 miles, so we should be fine.

    We're thinking we'd probably allow a total of about nine days. Three there, three back, with three in case things go wrong or we want to stop more often than we thought, or to spend a bit of time in California.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2000
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    9,274

    Default Paper Maps

    Quote Originally Posted by britluke
    I'm having a little difficulty with route planner websites. When I plug in Kansas City and San Francisco (or wherever) they all steer me along I-70 or I-80 and away from US-50 and I can't seem to specify the roads I want to travel along.
    Which is why printed paper maps are always going to be popular with roadtrippers. Our recommendations for maps can be found here.
    I also found a fantastic route planning site the other day (not freetrip.com, but similar) which had listings of all the motels, all the gas stops and all the restaurants/eateries on any given journey, complete with a bit of information about each. I've completely forgotten where it was, though, so if anyone knows it, could you pass on the information to me?
    There are about six main applications that we consider worth using at all, it sounds like the one you are describing could be TravMatix -- my review of that one and the others we have tested can be read here.
    Also, what sort of price should I budget for motels along the route? And what about gas? Is $2 a gallon wildly off? And yes, apparently the Sebring I'm looking at has a fuel tank range of about 370 miles, so we should be fine.
    Prices on fuel -- tricky -- I would suggest you figure at least USD$ 2.50 -- for current fuel prices all over USA and Canada and a nifty fuel price calculator, click here. For budgeting purposes on motels -- it really depends on your standards, but $35 to $125 per night would be about right. For more information about budgeting, look at the posts in the Cheap RoadTrip Section. (Be sure to select last 45 or more days to really get a good look at this section of posts.) And at the threads listed as being "similar" found on the bottom of this page. As an example, this thread -- offers tips for finding inexpensive motels in the West.

    Mark
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 07-04-2005 at 12:26 PM. Reason: typo

  5. #5

    Default Every minute in the car!

    It's 3960 miles from Kansas City to San Francisco via Hwy 50, then I-70 from Denver to Salina, Utah and then Hwy 50 to SF and then back to Kansas City. If you attempted this you would have to drive almost 800 miles every single day! I know you said you might not make it, but by starting in Kansas City, you would be missing the best part and seeing some of the most boring parts twice.

    I would recommend some changes.

    1. Start in San Francisco and drive east until you were half way done with your time and then double back. You would probably make it to Denver or a little farther east of Denver. At least you would guarentee seeing the most scenic areas.

    2. Start in Denver instead of Kansas City. If you wanted to know what the drive to Kansas was like...then just drive an hour east of Denver and back. It's pretty much all the same all the way to Kansas City!

    3. Fly into Kansas City and out of San Francisco.

    BTW, Hwy 50 in Utah and Nevada is one of my favorite drives. You will achive the open road with few humans!

    Utahtea

  6. #6

    Default

    There is enough gas and lodging on Hwy 50. Not a lot, but enough. Going west from Delta, UT, which is kind of the last outpost of civilization b/f you go into the wilderness, you go 83 miles until you hit the Border Inn on the UT/NV border. Gas and lodging there. Continuing west, there is a gas station at Major's Place, where Hwy 93 splits off from 50 and goes south. Past that, maybe 60 miles from the Border Inn, is Ely, a town of 5000 people with all the services you could want. About 85 miles west of Ely is Eureka, which has a couple of hundred people but boasts a couple of gas stations and nice hotels. 70 miles west of Eureka is Austin, which has a gas station and a motel, although I've never stayed there and it looked pretty spartan. 110 miles west of Austin is Fallon, a sizeable town with plenty of facilities. Going west from Fallon the driving becomes easier as you pass other small towns on the way to Carson City.

    There's a gas station or two between Fallon and Austin as well, IIRC.

    For a good rundown of Hwy 50, go here and click on the Nevada section of the link:

    http://www.roadtripusa.com/us_50/index.html

    And here is my own photo gallery of my Hwy 50 trip from two years ago.

    http://nivek.smugmug.com/gallery/446322

    The Shoe Tree, between Fallon and Austin:



    The Jackson House Hotel, Eureka:


  7. #7
    britluke Guest

    Default

    Hi guys,

    Thanks for the additional information.

    I think starting in Denver is definitely beginning to sound like a good idea. I hope I wouldn't end up missing any nice scenery that was on the Kansas City - Denver leg, though.

    As for this suggestion:

    Quote Originally Posted by Utahtea
    3. Fly into Kansas City and out of San Francisco.
    Much as I'd love to do exactly that, I looked into the costs involved. The "one way" charge for car hire, picking up in Kansas or Colorado and dropping off in California is in the region of $500 for the car I want to get. Additionally, getting a flight to one place but back from another is quite a bit more expensive than getting a flight back from the same place, hundreds of dollars more. What you've suggested was actually my original idea, but then I looked at the prices and realised there was no way I could afford it, sadly. In fact, if I had the money I'd go coast to coast, but again- can't afford it. While I'd gladly save up the money and do it all, my friend is likely to back out if the price gets too high.

    Also, flights from England to the middle of America are considerably cheaper than flights to the west coast, for obvious geographical reasons, hence why I'd rather start at the East side despite other logistical arguments.

    How does this sound:

    Allowing nine or maybe ten days for the whole trip.
    1) Fly to Denver.
    2) Set off from Denver on I-70 to Salina, UT.
    3) Change onto Hwy 50.
    4) Travel to San Francisco.
    5) Do the whole thing backwards. Well... not backwards, but you know what I mean.

    So, nine days to do almost 4000 miles. 450 miles a day or so. Which is much more management. Eight hours of driving a day, perhaps- which sounds fine. that way we should be fairly sure we'd definitely get to do the whole thing.

    Sorry to limit my dream of all of this with the financial situations, but it's got to be done.

    Luke

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    10,591

    Default Lookin Good

    Looks like a decent plan, and don't apologise for having financial concerns, most all of us have them. Starting at Denver sounds like a very good plan considering your time limitations, although I hate to say you wouldn't miss anything avoiding Kansas. I think there's something very american about driving through small towns and corn fields, its just not nearly as eye-catching as the great Mountains and Deserts of the West.

    My one suggestion would be to find a different route back to Denver. I've always hated backtracking, and with so many things to see across the country, to me it seems silly to see the same things twice.

    If you're looking crunched for time after San Fran, I'd say take I-80 back all the way into Wyoming and then cut back south to Denver on I-25. If you've got a little more time, perhaps Just take I-80 to Salt Lake, cut south back to I-70, and pick up US-50 again in Grand Junction for the trip back across Colorado.

    On a somewhat unrelated note, has anyone actually driven US-50 across Kansas? I was thinking of taking it on my own road trip coming up just so I can avoid taking I-70 twice.

  9. #9

    Default Sounds MUCH BETTER!

    And the extra special good news is it's only 2425 miles round trip from Denver to San Francisco and back!

    Yes, one way rentals and air fares are much higher. Are you interested in camping? If so, I can suggest some places along the way.

    Also, now that you are going to have more time, I can suggest a few little detours off your route for different scenic areas on the way back if you find you have the time.

    Detours:

    In California driving thru Yosemite National Park (Hwy 120) and then taking Hwy 395 up to Hwy 50.

    From Salina, Utah take Hwy 24 down to Torrey, Utah and Capitol Reef National Park, past Hanksville and back up to I-70 in Utah

    Take Hwy 191 south to Moab, Utah. At least take the scenic drive into Arches National Park and then take scenic Hwy 128 past the Dewey Bridge and back up to Interstate 70.

    In Fruita, Colorado take the Hwy 340 into Colorado National Monument. If you are low on time, then go to the scenic overlook near the visitor center and come back out the same way because the scenic drive thru the park is pretty slow to Grand Junction.

    Like I said, if you want to know what the drive to Kansas City would be like, just head east from Denver for an hour or two. That's pretty much what you would be seeing for miles and miles and miles and miles!

    Utahtea

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Torrey, Utah, USA
    Posts
    53

    Default

    "From Salina, Utah take Hwy 24 down to Torrey, Utah and Capitol Reef National Park, past Hanksville and back up to I-70 in Utah"

    You should definitely do this in one direction, great scenery. If you do, stop in and see your fellow Brits in Torrey (pop 170 - Brits 2, we didn't know each other before meeting here). Don't go out and back the same way, maybe try CA 4 over the Sierras on the way back then 95 to 6 to 375 to 15 and wind back to 50 through the hills. (I did that last week, great trip)

    US50 is a great road, you won't miss much scenery by skipping Kansas though it does give you a real appreciation of how big this country is. I often compare prices flying from the US to the UK and Denver has never been cheaper than San Francisco, are you sure of that?

    I have a Sebring convertible, it's a good car for this trip.

    I would say that the best time of year would be right at the beginning of June, after Memorial Day (end of May) but before the schools let out. In the summer much of the area you are looking at will be extremely hot, you'll have to have the roof up much of the time.

    Bob Palin
    Torrey, UT

Similar Threads

  1. Cross Country Road trip from Northern California and back
    By surfgrrl76 in forum Planning Summer RoadTrips
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 04-19-2010, 10:37 AM
  2. Michigan to California - Need Advice
    By Meghan in forum Gear-Up!
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: 01-15-2009, 11:01 AM
  3. Boston to California and back
    By imported_Eli in forum Planning Summer RoadTrips
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 03-03-2005, 07:40 PM
  4. Philly to Ca and back
    By imported_Justin in forum Planning Summer RoadTrips
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 03-27-2004, 10:57 AM
  5. Going Back To California!
    By imported_Stefan in forum Share the Gas
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 07-29-2002, 09:11 AM

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
  •  
  • EmailTwitterFacebookMore!

    RoadTrip Reservations
    Fuel Cost Calculator