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  1. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by AZBuck
    Both Tampa to Yellowstone and Los Angeles to Tampa are on the order or 2500 miles. I think that if you budget 5 days to each of those legs, then you'll have time to stop for a few hours each day at interesting places along the way, be able to have relaxing meals, and still manage to cover around 500 miles per day. Yellowstone to Los Angeles is roughly 1000 miles, so two such days. That leaves you 8 days to spend at Yellowstone, Salt Lake City, Bryce, Zion, and Los Angeles, and the only places you'd miss are Mt. Rushmore and Sequoia. Not a bad trade-off for making the trip truly enjoyable. Just remember to concentrate on all the great stuff you'll be seeing, rather than fixate on the one or two places you didn't have time for this trip. There will be others.

    thanks man! im really starting to see an amazing road trip emerge.

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default My personal "escape" destination

    Quote Originally Posted by Frog1387
    ..this trip was about escape.
    Since you already have too many destinations... I will share another possible one with you -- one of the places I go when I need to re-boot my brain. The Chiricahua mountains are located in the extreme southeastern corner of Arizona. They were the once the refuge of Geromino & his band and a whole host of refugees continue to go there seeking an escape from the pressures of the civilized world. In particular, I like to hike in the upper drainages of Cave Creek canyon. There is an awesome dirt road from Portal to the Chiricahua Monument (it is graded and a normal passenger car can make it) -- from the road, you can see Silver Peak (where I was a fire lookout in 1976) and there creatures living in those mountains that simply don't exist elsewhere in large numbers... (oh, and a few thousand rattlesnakes as well)... Also in the area is Tombstone -- a fun place to check out and Ft. Bowie!

    Actually, I could probably create a list of a 500+ such places of refuge I have found in my travels. But one more --- Eagle Nest Lake in New Mexico -- good vibes there.

    You are going to love the, hot, dry winds of the American southwest. A good place for inflating that balloon!

    Happy Planning!


  3. #13


    I know every has already mentioned it, but there's just too much driving your trying to do at a time. If your are trying to do things outside of driving, there's just not enough time to do things. I live just north of Des Moines, and I've done the trip to the Keystone area several times. It will take you the entire day. Depending on the time you leave, you won't even be able to make it to Mount Rushmore at a reasonable hour. That'd be missing out on the Badlands (which are awesome, take the Scenic Byway through), Couple of Caves there, and alot of other things in the Rapid City area. It seems every point in your intinery, just accounts for travel time. No sightseeing time. You'd get to every stop (outside of the multiday stops) in the afternoon, and leave yourself with very few hours to actually enjoy some of America's most beautiful Landmarks. I'll be honest with you, the first few of my road trips I did were about getting there and seeing it, not getting there, experiencing it and enjoying it like I do now. I believe with your current trip plan, you'll get back wishing that you'd spent more time in some places and missed out on alot of stuff. Is it possilbe to lengthen the amount of time on your trip? I'd hate to see you go on a trip and feel like you missed out on lot of stuff.
    If your like 99.9% of all college students, you probably don't have a huge budget for this trip. If time is of the essence, may I suggest you fly out and rent a car? Yes, I know it will be a bit more money, BUT, it'll give you more days in parks like Yellowstone(don't forget the Tetons), Grand Canyon, etc. If you flew into SLC, it'd be somewhat of a Central Location, You could make a big circle of all your places. (maybe skipping mount rushmore) Student Universe might be able to find you a good deal. It can't hurt to research.
    If you are planning on camping in National Parks, most are first come first serve. I believe there are a few that you can book online. I'd check out for more info.
    Good Luck on the Trip! You've picked some of the world's greatest natural wonders.

  4. Default My revision

    Thanks alot to everyone for your helpful tips and suggestions. I have revised my trip and now it seems much more pheasable.

    Basically its broken up into 3 parts.
    PT 1 :Tampa to Los Angeles (8 days)
    -take our time
    - stop along grand canyon for a day
    -spend some time in vegas
    -enjoy the open road
    PT 2: Los Angeles (5 days)
    -enjoy everything the city has to offer
    PT 3: Los Angeles to Yellowstone
    -stop in sequoia for 2 nights (7 days)
    -2 days drive to yellowstone
    -stop in yellowstone for few nights
    PT 4: Yellowstone to Tampa (5 days)

    Basically this covers 25 days from may1st to may 25th.
    I think this will give us enough time to enjoy the road without rushing.

  5. #15
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default I think you are "good to go"

    Quote Originally Posted by Frog1387
    I have revised my trip and now it seems much more feasible.
    I think so too. You will see more than you can imagine, but you will have the time to think about it a little more.
    I think this will give us enough time to enjoy the road without rushing.
    For your drive as you approach Yellowstone -- my I suggest this audio book written and read by Tim Cahill "Lost in my own Backyard" (my review here). Also I would suggest Michael and Heidi Pfeil Dougherty Wyoming and Montana Atlas and Travel Encyclopedias-- there are a little tough to use at first glance but full of information you are unlikely to find as easily.

    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 03-16-2006 at 08:01 PM. Reason: correction of typo

  6. Default

    Just a quick suggestion:

    Would it be worth taking a flight to Des Moines and hiring a car for the rest of the trip? That should give your schedule more room to move, and still allow you to keep to your planned duration. I don't know how much a short internal flight would be, but they are cheap here in the UK.

    It put things into perspective for me though- if you drove for 11 hours in any direction from where I live you'd be in water :) The UK is only about 10 hours long (at 70mph)...

  7. #17
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula

    Default Great job, Frog!

    I think your itinerary seems a lot more fun and do-able now. You should still have time to stop at serendipitious places along the way as well.

    Enjoy! And if you need any specific help with something now that you're getting your route nailed down, please let us give you another hand.

  8. Default What a trip!

    Hey Frog,

    Your second iteniteray sounds much better. i've driven around the country twice by myself (from FL too). Last summer, I drove from here, my first stop was a ventriloquist puppet museum in Fort Mitchell, KY, then realizing Cincinnati was just a 10 minute drive, I made an unplanned stop there. Then I found out a friend was also driving through Cin. that evening, so I waited around and spent an unplanned night there. This type of thing will probably happen to you too, not running inito friends, but unplanned stops. Then, off to Chicago, spent one night and planned on leaving the next morning, but got tied up and left the next night. Got lost for many many hours in WI, drove through MN.

    Next stop was The Badlands. If you are going to Mt Rushmore. I highly recommend, stopping at the badlands (freaking amazing) and Deadwood, and get to Mt Rushmore about 7 pm, so you can be there for the lighting ceremony, I think it's at 9 pm, but call and check. All three of those places are very close together in South Dakota.

    Then I drove up to Glacier National Park, not realizing how far it actually was, so i ended up losing another entire day driving there and leaving there.

    Then I drove straight through (I was exhausted) to Winnemucca, NV, slept for a couple of hours, did laundry and shopping and headed to Burning Man for a week, got to the desert Sunday instead of my planned Sat. So, even though I added a few days on, unplanned, I still made it to bm only a day late, but that included driving over night.

    Then, I went to San Fran. ended up staying there an extra couple of days, down the coast, to San Diego, spent an unplanned night there. To Joshua Tree (highly recommended), then to Bryce, Zion and the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. Got through Bryce and the Grand Canyon quickly, Zion was much more than I expected. I spent a full day there and still didn't get to see everything I wanted to see. Did hike the Emerald falls hike though, I recommend that too.

    After that I think my last real fun stop was in Las Cruces, NM to visit a friend.

    Anyway, the point of all of this is to tell you that I did all of this in exactly one month. With one full week of that (Sun-Mon) spent at burning man, so basically that trip was done in three weeks. I had a great time, there were a few places I wish I had more time, but now I know better for this summer.

    Here are my pics if you are interested in checking some out, this entire gallery is from that trip.

    I am more hard core than the average road tripper I think. I love to drive, once I'm in the groove.

    The day I got home, my car got totalled, so now I have a new one, and after 4 times driving around the country, I decided last year was the last time, but, now I'm thinking my new car needs to have the experience.

    Good luck!

  9. #19


    Quote Originally Posted by Frog1387
    -stop in sequoia for 2 nights (7 days)
    Frog - quick bit about Sequoia National Park, sounds as if you are coming out of Los Angeles and making a beeline there. Not too far, about 200 miles, half day's drive maybe depending on the pace. As you come up the hill into the park, right at the top of the hill, mountain really, is Morro Rock (at center in the keyhole map). You can walk a short distance out to this and stand at 6725 Feet surrounded by NOTHING!! Truly an amazing spot in all the state. On a clearest of days, you can see clear across the Central Valley say nearly 100 miles.

    Very cool map plus all your campgrounds

    Make sure you take Hwy 180 down into Kings Canyon all the way to Cedar Grove at the end. Everything is very expensive (lodging/gas/food) inside the park so bring everything and gas up BEFORE you enter the park!

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