The Big One.
I am in the very early stages of planning my version of "The Ultimate Roadtrip." My best friend and I have been toying with the notion of "48 States in 48 Days" for several years now. Over the last few months, she and I have been speaking more often and more seriously of the idea and what it would take to pull off such a feat. The tentative schedule is set for June and July of 2008, giving us plenty of time to hammer out the details, make reservations and what have you. The Objective of the trip is to stay one night, do at least one touristy thing, and get a photo of the "Welcome To..." sign in each of the continental 48 states. California and Ohio have been figured out. Since she and I are theme park junkies, Cedar Point and Disneyland are non-negotiable. For the other 46 states we want to avoid typical things. I would greatly appreciate any suggestions you may have: things to avoid, places to stay, what to do, etc.
Americana At Its Best!
Welcome to the Forum!
Sounds like you've got an awesome trip ahead of you! Off the top of my head, I can't think of any places to avoid or anything like that.
As far as places to visit, I have a long list. Too long for here, so I'll just put down my top 7:
Leavenworth, Washington (US Route 2 between Stevens Pass and Wenatchee, Washington) www.leavenworth.org About the most touristy place in Washington!
The Seattle Waterfront, Pike Place Market, and The Space Needle ('tis a must see).
Grand Canyon, Arizona
Las Vegas, Nevada
Mount Rushmore National Park (Teddy, Abe, and Co.)
Crazy Horse Memorial, South Dakota (near Mt. Rushmore) www.crazyhorse.org
The rest of the National Parks, or as many as you can!
I would advise getting a National Park Pass, availble through the NPS or AAA. It will save you a lot of money on fees at many entrance fees at Parks and other NPS administered locations.
Also, since you're theme park junkies, you might want to check out Silverwood if you get to Northern Idaho. Just out side of Coeur d' Alene, ID in the town of Athol, this has some nice wooden roller coasters!
Okay, that was more than seven in the long run, but hey, I got a huge list for the PNW of places to see. So does Judy. But she still lives there, so she's got the one up on me!
One last thing about getting your photos with those "Welcome To..." signs... Be careful! Many of them are in places where there isn't a wide sholder or some may actually be suspended on a bridge if you hit a river crossing. And some highways will have them just show up out of nowhere with no warning that you're about to cross (I think the Idaho/Utah border was like that if I'm not mistaken), so they might sneek up on you!
Other than that, have a safe trip!
It is doable, but you will have to be diligent about keeping to a route. We call these type of roadtrips -- challenge roadtrips -- and the scope and variety of such adventures is quite mind-blowing.
Originally Posted by cleverlyclueless
Here is a possible route, created by the Quest-4 team, that you might wish to consider, it was undertaken a couple of years ago and would allow you to enter all 48 states by an efficient schedule. The fastest roadtrip I can remember was a 50 state effort that Gary and Peter Flanagan completed where they drove 8,563 miles from Hyder, Alaska to Pawtucket, Rhode Island in a little over eight days! Along the way, they managed to visit all 50 U.S. states (even Hawaii, with a little help from a jet)
Wow! What a great trip you have planned!
You got room for another passenger/driver? LOL
Brad's right. I've tried to get "Welcome to...." shots of my car at each state crossing and some are in really bad places making it precarious and even dangerous to do so. Of course, there's lots of points of entry into each state so you might have better luck than I have so far.
Washington: Mt. St. Helens, Wild Waves/Enchanted Village (since you're theme park junkies), Pike Place Market, Space Needle, Seattle Waterfront with a ferry in the background, Mt. Rainier, Olympic National Park
Oregon: Crater Lake, The Oregon Vortex (not quite a theme park but very strange and fun like one), anywhere along the coast but Depoe Bay is a favorite, the Sea Lion Caves, the Oregon Dunes National Rec Area, Mt. Hood, Columbia River Gorge Vista House
Idaho: Silverwood Theme Park (some of the biggest wooden roller coasters in the world), Craters of the Moon, Hagerman Fossil Beds, Shoshone Indian Ice Caves, Snake River Canyon...look for the infamous ramp where Evil Knieval attempted his crossing by motorcycle/rocket near Twin Falls
Montana: Glacier NP especially the Going to the Sun Road, Big Timber Waterslides, Greycliff Prairie Dog Town, Copper King Mansion in Butte, the museum in Bozeman, MT, at the university there with all the great dinosaur stuff found by Jack Horner (Jack Horner is who the paleontologist in "Jurassic Park" was based on), Little Bighorn Battlefield
Wyoming: Yellowstone NP, Grand Teton NP, Cody is a great "wild west" town (check out the Buffalo Bill Historical Center there), Fort Laramie, Devil's Tower
Utah: Wow, so much. You can't go wrong with any of these national parks - Zion, Arches, Bryce, Canyonlands, and even a few more I haven't mentioned. Hole in the Rock (south of Moab), Dinosaur Nat Monument (also in Colorado), Golden Spike National Historic Site, there's a theme park in Salt Lake City but I don't recall the name of it (I didn't have time to stop there but it looked pretty good from the highway).
Colorado: Glenwood Hot Springs (largest outdoor mineral pool in the world), Leadville (just a really cool mountain town and the only incorporated town at this elevation, the air is thin up here; eat at the wonderful Quincy's), Durango (wonderful mountain town, take the train ride if you have time), Mesa Verde, Rocky Mountain NP
New Mexico: Albuquerque (the historic district is wonderful and the view driving toward the city with the huge mesa behind it is stunning), Roswell for all that fun alien stuff, Carlsbad Caverns, White Sands, Fort Lincoln area and the Billy the Kid stuff there, Smoky the Bear's grave, the Very Large Array (as seen in the movie "Contact"), Gallup & Tucamcari (both great Route 66 towns)
I'll leave the rest of the Southwest for our many contributors who live there. Hope this gives you a good start on ideas.
If I were you, I'd google "(state name) tourism" for every state and start browsing for ideas. For each state, request their free tourism information. You'll get a wealth of free information from both of these sources.
Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 07-04-2006 at 09:56 AM.
Reason: added some RTA field report links
Congrats on working to making this trip a reality.
As others have said this will be quite a challenge. There are so many great things to see, but trying to sleep in a different state each night could make that more difficult. On the East Coast it shouldn't be very problematic, but out west where things are more spread out it will be a challenge.
Taking Disneyland as an example, you're really only going to be able to spend a half day there, because you'll have to make at least a 4-5 hour drive to get to/from Arizona or Nevada on that same day.
Its not to say you can't or shouldn't do this trip. It will just require a lot more detailed planning than most roadtrips to work out the logistics of making this dream come true.