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  1. Default Florida - California - Las Vegas - Mt. Rushmore

    Hello All,
    Boy, I'm so pleased I found this board!! Am planning to take my Mom (she's 81 and I'm 55) on one heck of a road trip this June. Have 36 days planned so far, starting in Northern Florida and driving to Oceanside, CA. She & my Dad lived there in the mid 1940's when he was in the Marines. He passed away a couple years back and she hasn't been back to Oceanside since they moved away in 1945. Am wondering if anyone is familar with Oceanside and could recommend a nice (but on the budget side) place to stay for a few days. Mom doesn't remember much other than they lived in little trailers right on the beach very close to Camp Pendleton. I'm sure all of the trailers are gone but am in hopes she will recognize some of the landmarks.

    On the way from Florida (driving I-10), we plan to see The Alamo (San Antonio) and visit Roswell, NM -- I'm a huge sci fi fan. Other than that, it's up in the air for visits if someone has suggestions.

    From Oceanside, we plan to drive to Sequoia National Forest on the to Las Vegas for a few days. Then down to Bryce Canyon and over to Cortez, CO to visit relatives (yeah, we HAD to work the relatives in). From there up to Cheyenee, WY and over to Rapid City, SD for a few days at Mount Rushmore. On the tail end of the trip we are just heading to my home in Wake Forest, NC then back to Florida.

    I know this is long but, any good travel pointers would be most welcomed. Hopefully, on the driving days we can keep it to no more than 500 miles daily.



  2. #2
    travel_monkeys Guest

    Default big question

    Well, basically you're asking "what is there to see in the US?" A huge question. It would help to know what kind of things you like. But since you're going to be in South Dakota I have some suggestions. First, I cannot imagine what you'll do in "a few days at Mount Rushmore." It's interesting for sure but it's a rock that you look at. I'm not sure how one would fill a few days there. But luckily for you, there's tons of other stuff to see around there. Check out Badlands National Park, which has some beautiful and bizarre landscapes. And if you want to see buffalo herds head over to Custer State Park, only 20 miles from Rushmore. Wild Cave National Park is also right there but I don't know much about that one. Another neat landmark is Devils Tower just over the state line in Wyoming. And there are several national grasslands around there with beautiful prairie landscapes.
    Now for the area around Cortez, CO. There's Mesa Verde National Park which has 800 year-old Anasazi ruins. It's VERY impressive but only 1 of the ruins is accessible without climbing some stairs or ladders.
    One of the top 10 scenic drives in the country is very near Cortez. It's highway 145, the San Juan Skyway. Head east from Cortez and few miles, turn left, and climb up all the way to the village of Telluride. The drive is spectacular as you go from the desert southwest to Colorado mountain high in a matter of minutes. In the village of Telluride, there's a free gondola that takes you high up over the town for a really great view.
    I hope this helps.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default 6700 Miles

    Welcome to the RTA Forum

    A quick look at your tip shows that you've planned out a trip that will take about 6700 hundred miles. Figuring an average of 53 mph, a good rule of thumb for a long distance trip including gas/rest stops, that works out to a little over 126 hours of driving. You said you're planning on a 36 day trip, that works out to an average of 3 and a half hours of travel per day.

    3-4 Hours a day of travel is certainly do-able, but if you are planning on spending several days at each of your stops, you'll have to start making up time and extending your driving day, which could start becoming difficult, particulalry if you have to do all or even the majority of the driving.

    There is plenty to see, but take your time and do your best to enjoy every minute of it.

  4. Default

    Thanks Midwest Michael & travel_monkeys for the replies. TM, you hit the nail on the head when you wrote about things to see around Mount Rushmore. I was using Rapid City, SD as a point of reference for the 2-3 day visit in which we plan to hit many attractions in the area.

    May need to extend the trip to a few more days considering your calculations Michael however, I do plan to do some 8 hour driving days going from Florida to California and Rapid City, SD to Wake Forest, NC. I travel extensively with my employment so driving is second nature to me.

    My main concern is Oceanside, CA and finding someone who is a familar with the area.


  5. #5


    Quote Originally Posted by Patsy
    My main concern is Oceanside, CA and finding someone who is a familar with the area.

    I lived in Fallbrook for 2 years which is just inland from Oceanside so I suppose I am somewhat familiar with the area. What do you want to know?

    I suspect your mother will be disappointed, the area has changed beyond all recognition in the last 10-15 years let alone 60 years. Oceanside still has a pier but that's about the limit of it. If she ever went a little further inland there may be some things she remembers, Fallbrook for instance has preserved many of the buildings on the main street (which would have been US 395 way back then I think) The observatory is still on top of Palomar and can be visited. San Diego County is now busy, crowded and expensive, good luck on the budget hotels. Sorry to be so negative, I didn't really enjoy living there because of the crowds - and I moved there from the San Francisco area!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default I did a similar journey last July

    Quote Originally Posted by Patsy
    He passed away a couple years back and she hasn't been back to Oceanside since they moved away in 1945.
    Patsy, I did a similar trip (4819 miles-- 13-days) with my Dad last July. He hadn't back to his home town of Havre, Montana since the late 40's and from my experience, I think it might be a bittersweet trip (at the least the part in Oceanside). Unlike Oceanside, Havre hasn't changed much in fifty-five years and my brother and I were able to find and identify his former schools, houses and workplaces from descriptions from his memory, but he was unable to recognize those same places himself. So my advice would be to don't place much emphasis on finding the "old places in Oceanside" enjoy the moment wherever you are on the rest of the trip. That part of the road trip was the best for my Dad.


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