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  1. #1

    Default Advise on solo trip to Wash/Ore from Colorado in Oct.

    Going solo for this one. Partially to scope out grad schools in Oregon and Washington and partially as doing a solo trip (as I have always wanted to do) as a bachelor gift for myself before I get married next June.

    Traveling through North Colo., Wyoming, Utah, Idaho and then Oregon and Washington. (Time will restrict me from taking Blue Highways)

    I want to camp part of the way there, with my hotel stays on nights prior to visiting schools.

    Anything I should know?

    Any advise on these areas in October?

    Anything at all? I am new to this.


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Should be Great

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America forum.

    For starters, you'll find some very good general advice on planning RoadTrips here. It sounds, unfortunately, like you won't have a lot of time for sightseeing along the way, but the countryside you'll be travelling through is gorgeous, and typically the vistas from the Interstates are long and beautiful. I've been through parts of the region you'll be covering at different times of the year, and October is easily my favorite. It's cool, all of the summer tourists have gone home, the skiers haven't shown up yet, and much of the wildlife is in motion moving to wintering grounds. To be of more help, I'd need to know the specifics of your route and timing. Any chance you'd have time for some stops on the way home, or are both legs devoted to school visits?


  3. #3


    This trip would be a big loop, probably over the course of 7-9 days. The route, generally will follow Interstates and here is a brief intenerary:

    Leg One: Fort Collins, CO to near Boise, ID or Ontario, OR(camping that night, with a stop in Salt Lake for lunch with a friend).
    Tentative Route: I-25 to I-80 to I-84
    Leg Two: Near Boise, ID (or Ontario, OR) to Seattle. (Hotel stay, look at University of Washington, maybe visit a friend or some sites in Seattle)
    Tentative Route: I-84 to I-82 to I-90 to I-5
    Leg Three: Seattle to Portland, OR. (Look at Portland State Univ. visit microbreweries)
    Tentative Route: I-5
    Leg Four: Portland to Eugene, OR. (Look at Univ of Oregon. Check town out, exist.)
    Tentative Route: I-5
    Leg Five: Eugene, OR to Newport, OR (See the Rogue Brewery, camp by the ocean, soak in scenery)
    Tentative Route: Any roads that will take me.
    Leg Six: Newport, OR to Ontario, ORE. or Boise, ID (heading home, camping that night)
    Tentative Route: US Hwy 20 (My first BLUE on this trip!)
    Home Stretch: Boise area to Fort Collins area (Home and rest before work).

    I guess, after breaking the route down this way, that I might have time to see some places or hike or dilly dally. this plan is only 2 days old, and I have some more things to think about with it. But it looks to be from Oct. 14 onward.
    Also, I am trying to contact frineds in the cities where I will stop in order to save $$ on lodging.

    There are some specifics.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Is the Trip Work or Fun?

    OK, let's have a look at your itinerary. Fort Collins to Salt Lake City is about 480 miles (all mileages are approximate). That's nearly a full day's drive, not something to knock off before lunch! Trying to get to Boise would make the total day's drive 820 miles while pushing on to Ontario would mean a 875 mile day. That is simply too much! Leg two to Seattle is then 505 miles from Boise, a more reasonable day, but you're going to be trying to cover 1325 miles in two days, and that is both dangerous and detrimental to the image you'll present when you interview at your prospective schools - you are going to be exhausted.

    Leg three is an easy 180 mile day, as are leg four (110 miles) and leg five (100 miles). But leg six and the home stretch are, together, another 1270 miles. So you're really looking at two and a half days out, two and a half days back, and a day visiting each of three universities. That's 8 days of your 7-9. You may have a little time for sightseeing, but if you're going to be doing any interviews at these schools, you should take it easy and be well rested when you show up.


  5. #5


    Perhaps it is time to rethink my stops and intenerary. I was going off of hours from Mapquest.
    I just got back from the Library and have a couple books on road trips; one for interstate highway travel and one for US highway travel. Just glancing through them quickly (I am at work still) there is some interesting places to stop. I may have to rethink this, but hey, I have tons for paid leave built up, maybe a couple extra days won't hurt.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Mapquest

    and other on-line mapping tools are notorious for underestimating the time needed to complete a trip. In the simplest terms, these programs look at the number of miles between Point A and Point B, say 2400, and then at the roads travelled, typically all Interstates. They then divide the miles by some arbitrary speed (say 70 mph) and tell you that you can make the trip in 34 hours. Your mind then says - OK, I can easily drive from 8: AM to 8:00 PM so that's 12 hours a day, so I can make the trip in 3 days! Not even close to reality. That kind of trip is going to take much closer to 5 days than 3. Mapquest makes no allowance for gas stops, meal breaks, traffic, rest stops, or anything else. It just blithely assumes that you can travel at 70 mph hour after hour after hour without getting tired, irritable, or bored. Around here, we use a couple of more reality-based estimates of time and distance. One is to assume that, with stops, what you'll really be able to maintain over a day's driving is an average speed of 55 mph - a couple of miles more in the west, a couple of miles less in the east. The other is to figure that in a solid day's driving you can cover 500-600 miles. There are people who can do a bit more and people who can only manage a bit less, but very few who can do more for more than a day or two. Finally, NO allowances are made for stops at the attractions along the way. What's the point of doing all the driving if all you see is the road. If you have the time, use it! And best of luck in finding a good fit for your post-grad studies.


  7. #7


    Thanks for the help on this one.
    I am now takning this trip with a buddy of mine which will help with expenses as well as adding to the fun of camping and sampling beers.

    I will chime in from time to time as more details come up and questions arise.

  8. #8


    If you want any opinions on schools let me know (especially U of O and Portland State), or what to see in Utah (dad lives in Park City), or Oregon or washington (currently live in Oregon, and have lived in Oregon and washington my whole life)

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