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  1. #1
    RoadTripper XYZ Guest

    Default Baltimore to RedRocks/Denver, CO and back in a week and a half

    Ok guys I need some help/ideas/tips on an upcoming road trip... My roomate and I are driving out to Red Rocks to see DMB play there- I am going to the concert she isn't. Right now we're planning on taking 3 days to drive out there. It takes 27 hours at least to get there, and we're going to plan on driving 8-10 hours a day and split the driving so we drive 4-5 hours each and only during the day, so if we see somewhere along the way that we want to stop we won't have to feel guilty, and also so we won't drive through the night. We plan on camping along the way, maybe staying in a hotel one night in Denver or some other city. I have a friend that lives in Cleveland and we might stay at his place and she has some family in Indiana and we might also stop there. Right now this is our tentative plan:

    ----
    Wednesday Sep 7: Drive to somewhere 8-10 hours away (between cleveland and chicago) (if we are taking the northern route) Hang out in Cleveland at my friends place downtown and then maybe keep going or just stay at his place. Anything fun to do along the way/places to check out?
    Thursday: Drive somewhere 8-10 hours. Probably end up somewhere in Iowa or Kansas. What is there to do along the way here and where is a good place to end up for the night?
    Friday: Drive to Denver/Golden area. Camp out in Golden Canyon. Hang out.
    Sat: Check out the Coors Plant. Tour takes about 90 min. Check out Denver. Possibly go hiking/biking
    Sunday: Check out Red Rocks. There is a park there we can hike and take pictures. I want to get to the amphitheatre kinda early like maybe 4-5ish. So we can do stuff in the morning. She however is not going to the concert so she is probably gonna go hang out in Denver or something...any suggestions for her?
    Monday: Drive to garden of the gods hangout during the day, it's about an hour from there. Then drive out to somewhere in the evening. We had also planned on hitting up Mt. Rushmore, but I don't know if we can go there. That will be at least an 8 hour drive and we wouldn't be leaving in the morning if we did this. So I'm thinkin we drive to somewhere just to stay for the evening either heading back east, OR heading up to Mt. Rushmore and check it out on Tuesday.
    Tuesday: ???
    Wednesday:???
    Thursday: ???
    Friday: Driving 6-10 hours to B-more depending on where we coming from
    or
    Saturday: Driving 8-10 hours to B-more depending on where we coming from


    We don't, if possible, want to just drive out there from point to point and then hang out in denver for 2-3 days and then drive home. We'd like to have some nice scenic drives in CO and along the way and hit up some fun places, hopefully nice places to take photographs. So we need suggestions on nice drives through states in between MD and CO (PA, WV, OH, Indiana, Iowa, WI, Illinois, Kansas, maybe Wyoming and South Dakota)

    Also how is the weather in CO in early sept? I read another post that snow is a possibility in late sept-oct. Are the highways in Colorado scenic or should we try and find some 2-lane or county roads to drive on?

    Ok sorry for the long post. I appreciate your help! THANKS!

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

    Default Decision Time

    I think you're biting off far more than you can chew in the plan you've laid out. The biggest problem I see is with your intended route and timing from Baltimore to Denver. You can make it in three days. You can stop in Cleveland. You cannot do both. One of the primary requirements to covering a lot of ground is to keep up a steady pace and to avoid unnecessary side trips. The direct route from Baltimore to Denver is about 1680 miles. To cover this in three days means you have to drive pretty close to 560 miles a day. That is doable, especially with two drivers, and I applaud your decision to travel only during the day. Not only will it keep you rested, but you don't get to see much when traveling at night anyway. But, if you stop in Cleveland, you will have only covered 375 miles the first day, and will have to try to go 670 miles each of the next two days, which will not be enjoyable. Indiana would make a much better first day stop (I used Indianapolis in my calculations). With a second day stop in Topeka, you're then doing 3 days of 595, 545, and 540 miles - much more reasonable. Similarly, on the way back, Mt. Rushmore and Wisconsin are well off any direct route and would add a day or more to your return trip.

    So what you've got to do first off is make some basic decisions. What is the purpose of the trip: Fun? Speed run? Visit friends and family? See Denver? See stuff along the way? You will have to pick and choose. You can have different objectives and do different things on the outbound and return legs. If you're limited in the number of days you have outbound, then I strongly recommend that you just get there and, other than a short visit the first night in Indiana, just enjoy being on the road and watching the world flow past at 70 in the Interstates. You seem to have more time for the return, and you could stop in Cleveland on this run. You apparently enjoy the outdoors, and you could even get to Mt Rushmore (this IS a day's drive from Denver), see the Badlands, take a few less traveled roads, and a few other things in the 5 days you indicate that you can spend on getting home. But there's nothing worse than a trip which starts to go wrong (or not as planned) in the middle when you're far from home and have only the choice to continue or abandon it.

    AZBuck

  3. #3
    Dee August Guest

    Default

    We're planning a trip to CO in early Sept. too. Leaving the 3rd, wanted DMB tickets but were sold out.
    I ask everyone I know how long it'll take to get to Colorado from Wilmington, DE, which is only an hour and 15 from B'More. I had a customer who came in to work the other day with Keystone, CO t-shirt and hat and asked her if she goes. She got all excited and told me this story about how they own a condo in Keystone which is 78 miles west of Denver on I-70. I asked her how long it takes her to get there and she said they just clocked it closely this trip 'cause they have a new car.
    She said it's 1780 miles front door to front door and they drive two 13 1/2 days. First day she said they end up right around Columbia, Missouri just west of St. Louis.
    She said pay no attention to the driving times on Mapquest etc. She said the distances are right but the times are way off. She said in reality everyone does 70 or over and in Kansas the speed limit is high, like 70 or 75 miles and hour and you'll see people doing 90.
    I found this info very interesting. Hope it helps.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default Truth be Told

    Quote Originally Posted by Dee August
    She said it's 1780 miles front door to front door and they drive two 13 1/2 days.
    Methinks that your customer may have not told whole truth. If, she really managed to drive an average speed of 66 mph over the 27 hours of driving mentioned above, than she was probably driving in excess of 90 mph for significant parts of those two days. It is not physically possible to drive 1780 miles in 27 hours unless they never stopped for fuel, food or slowed down for construction and/or normal congestion -- OR, (like I mentioned above) they drove close to 100 mph for large segments of the drive. Driving at triple digits could lead to the loss of the vehicle, driver's license and/or one's life and that hardly seems like an acceptable risk to me.

    Mark

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default Front Range Trips

    Quote Originally Posted by courtleigh
    Ok guys I need some help/ideas/tips on an upcoming road trip...
    There is a lot of cool stuff to see right around Red Rocks. The Dinosaur tracks exhibit is directly to the south of the facility.
    If your roomate wants a truly interesting experience -- I would suggest a visit to the grotto at the hot springs resort in Idaho Springs and is she would prefer to do a short scenic drive -- the "Peak to Peak" route is pretty amazing. Colorado SR-72 and SR-7

    Mark
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 08-23-2005 at 07:48 PM. Reason: Back to finish the post

  6. #6
    RoadTripper XYZ Guest

    Default Thanks AZ Buckaroo!

    What a great post, thanks for your help! We are following your advice and we are going to head out Wednesday morning and head to Indianapolis, there's a KOA campground there south of 70 and then head out to Topeka, where there is another KOA. Then Friday night we should arrive in Denver area- we're camping in Cherry Creek State Park and Golden Canyon State Park while we're there. We're not heading up to Mt Rushmore but we're going to take our time coming back. We're leaving Colorado Springs (Garden of the Gods) Tuesday afternoon and heading through Kansas and making leisurely stops on the 4 1/2 days we have to get home. I really apprecite your help. Looking forward to my first major road trip :)


    Quote Originally Posted by AZBuck
    I think you're biting off far more than you can chew in the plan you've laid out. The biggest problem I see is with your intended route and timing from Baltimore to Denver. You can make it in three days. You can stop in Cleveland. You cannot do both. One of the primary requirements to covering a lot of ground is to keep up a steady pace and to avoid unnecessary side trips. The direct route from Baltimore to Denver is about 1680 miles. To cover this in three days means you have to drive pretty close to 560 miles a day. That is doable, especially with two drivers, and I applaud your decision to travel only during the day. Not only will it keep you rested, but you don't get to see much when traveling at night anyway. But, if you stop in Cleveland, you will have only covered 375 miles the first day, and will have to try to go 670 miles each of the next two days, which will not be enjoyable. Indiana would make a much better first day stop (I used Indianapolis in my calculations). With a second day stop in Topeka, you're then doing 3 days of 595, 545, and 540 miles - much more reasonable. Similarly, on the way back, Mt. Rushmore and Wisconsin are well off any direct route and would add a day or more to your return trip.

    So what you've got to do first off is make some basic decisions. What is the purpose of the trip: Fun? Speed run? Visit friends and family? See Denver? See stuff along the way? You will have to pick and choose. You can have different objectives and do different things on the outbound and return legs. If you're limited in the number of days you have outbound, then I strongly recommend that you just get there and, other than a short visit the first night in Indiana, just enjoy being on the road and watching the world flow past at 70 in the Interstates. You seem to have more time for the return, and you could stop in Cleveland on this run. You apparently enjoy the outdoors, and you could even get to Mt Rushmore (this IS a day's drive from Denver), see the Badlands, take a few less traveled roads, and a few other things in the 5 days you indicate that you can spend on getting home. But there's nothing worse than a trip which starts to go wrong (or not as planned) in the middle when you're far from home and have only the choice to continue or abandon it.

    AZBuck

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