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  1. Default Miami to San Fran; Non Traditional Route.

    I was hoping to get advice on driving from Miami to San Francisco. I've done the traditional route before, through New Orleans, Houston, and Tucson to Cali. And was hoping for something a bit different, maybe through the mid-west, Colorado, Utah......I'm driving with my dad and want to do something really special for him. Can someone suggest a very special route for us? Travel time? Anything will help........


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula

    Default What special things do you want to see and do?

    It's difficult to give advise like this without further information. What do you want to see and do? National parks? Historic sites? Spend time in deserts? Or high mountains with big trees? Or what?

    There are many routes you could take. Literally hundreds if you throw in backroads and smaller routes and don't stick to the interstates. Even if you stick to interstates, there are literally a few dozen ways you can go.

    How much time do you have? What do you want to see the most? Yada yada. Help us help you.

  3. Default More info....


    Thanks for helping me with my question. I will try to give you a bit more info and would appreciate all your help.
    1. I can only dedicate 7 days to this drive.
    2. I would like to go through some major cities and hopefully see some smaller towns along the way & some countryside.
    3. I truly would like the most scenic and time efficient route possible between Miami and San Fran. (I'm taking a foreigner with me and would like for them to see the most they can in 7 days and really get a true feel for this country)
    4. Plus, I love mountain scenic driving, I was hoping to get a really good route once I hit the mountains (ie: Colorado, Utah, maybe Wyoming if possible)
    5. Finally, would like to drive No More than 3500 this at all possible with such a route?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default Most Direct - 3136 miles...

    Quote Originally Posted by tako17
    would like to drive No More than 3500 this at all possible with such a route?
    Let's start here -- by the most direct route, which is I-10 to I-5 (etc) the shortest possible distance is 3136 miles. Your stated preference to only increase this trip by 364 miles just about elminates any chance you can see any of the Rockies, and you would never even be able to go as far north as the Grand Canyon, much less your goal to see Wyoming or Utah. The minimum distance to include some of the national parks and mountains along the way would add 750 miles at the minimum and you really should consider a bit more if you can.
    1. I can only dedicate 7 days to this drive.
    Seven day is doable, as long as you are able and willing to spend 8-10 hours per day driving? (obviously you can drive coast to coast faster, but not with the detours).
    4. Plus, I love mountain scenic driving, I was hoping to get a really good route once I hit the mountains (ie: Colorado, Utah, maybe Wyoming if possible)
    Ok, what I recommend is that you zip up I-75 to Nashville and then I-24 to I-64 and St. Louis, take the time to go up in the Arch and watch the movie! And then follow I-70 to Denver. North up I-25 to Loveland and then west on US-34 to Estes Park (stop at the Stanley Hotel) and continue to follow US-34 over the top of Rocky Mountain National Park past Grand Lake and then US-40 back to I-70 and head west again. When you reach Utah, you will be traveling along some of the most scenic Interstate highway in America (according to me).

    When you reach the US-50 turn-off at Salina you will be traveling along the "Lonliest Highway in America". You can go see the Lehman Caves at the Great Basin National Park and then stay over-night at the famous Hotel Nevada in Ely. Ask for the Andy Roonie room -- it is supposed to be haunted.
    Stay on US-50 past Carson City, stop by Virginia City and Lake Tahoe and then over the Sierras to San Francisco.

    A magnificent trip!


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default No Small Order

    (Note: When I went to post this, the Editor had beaten me to the punch. Our two suggestions are much the same, but enough different that I'll add my two cents as well)

    It is 3125 miles from Miami to San Francisco by the most direct and all Interstate Route (Fla Tpk, I-75, I-10, I-5) so you don't have a lot of wiggle room to do all the other things you'd like. Your basic desire seems to be to do a major portion of your drive through the mountains. The good news is that you CAN take a route through Denver and then on into San Francisco through some of the prettiest mountain scenery anywhere, and hit southeastern Utah, and it 'only' increases your mileage to 3415 miles, just under your stated limit. This routing would be:

    I-75 to Chattanooga
    I-24/I-57/I-64 to St. Louis
    I-70 to Utah
    I-15 to Barstow, CA
    CA-58 to I-5
    I-5 and I-580 into the Bay Area

    This routing takes you through some large cities (Atlanta, Nashville, St. Louis, Kansas City, Denver and Las Vegas) and as many small towns and as much countryside as you care to see. It gets you lots of mountain driving, as well as the South, the Great Plains, and some desert. You won't have time to really stop and enjoy any of the great scenic wonders you'll be driving near, and the route as outlined is almost entirely Interstate, but you can get off the freeways as time permits and drive some of the old US highway system through the smaller towns. That road system is, for the most part, still out there and often runs parallel to the newer Interstates. If you choose your spots carefully, you can use it on occasion without paying too big a penalty in time.


  6. Default Backroad help.....

    This forum has really helped me and I would like to thank you. After much thought I have decided to take the Miami/Nashville/St.Louis/Denver/Las Vegas/San Fran route. You mentioned backroads to me and I would love to take some if they don't take up too much of my time.....can you suggest any along this route....maybe along I-70. I look forward to your advice.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Back(?)Roads

    Glad we could be of assistance. In your case 'backroads' is probably a bit of a misnomer. You'll have to stay pretty close to the interstates to meet your time constraints, but that doesn't mean you can't occasionally get off the freeways and sample some slightly slower roads through some scenic areas. This can begin almost as soon as you leave Miami by taking US-27 and US-441 through the northwestern fringes of the Everglades and around Lake Okechobee in Florida, hopping onto the Florida Turnpike at Yeehaw Junction (love the name!). Another great opportunity is in northern Tennessee, where you can take US-79 west off I-24 through Clarksville and then TN-49 and KY-453 up through the Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area before rejoining I-24 and I-57 to I-70 and St. Louis. In Kansas, I-70 has largely supplanted US-40, but between Junction City and Collyer, the old pavement is still out there. Take the opportunity to just get off the interstate and follow the old alignment which parallels the newer road. At the western end of this section, there is also the Smoky Valley Scenic Byway. Leave I-70 at exit 135 (Ogallah) and turn south on KS-147 past Cedar Bluff Wildlife Area to KS-4 west. Then return to I-70 by way of US-283 north. Once past Denver, scenery will not be a problem.


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