Page 1 of 4 1234 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 38

Thread: The great US

  1. #1

    Default The great US

    Well, this forum seems to be totally amazing but I saw that a lot of the posts for only for coastal or shorter trips. I am planning to drive coast to coast, leaving June 12. I have 5 days to get there and know that doesn't leave me a whole lot of time to see much but would like to squeeze a few highlights in there. I am driving with a friend and we are willing to drive looooong days to fit it all in. Starting in Northwest Washington and headed for Maryland. Any suggestions???
    My car is updated and ready to go, I am getting AAA next week (with TripTix of course) and we decided on the cheapest hotels we can find since neither one of us has ever pitched a tent. Comments, concerns, suggestions are greatly appreciated. Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default You Will See a Lot

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    There have actually been quite a few threads regarding cross country trips, and what you'll find in most of them is that 5 days is the absolute minimum required to make the trek. You'll be making one of the longer such journeys in as much as you're doing it in the north where the country is widest. Also, power driving, or speed runs require dedication to make them work, and even then are tiring at best. Still, if you stick basically to the Interstates, you should be able to make the occasional stop to see some of the highlights of America. Just don't lose sight of the fact that you'll be seeing a lot of it from the road, and that a safe journey is better than an adventurous journey that ends badly. The main advice I'd give you is to set a comfortable but steady pace, and I think you'll surprise yourselves with what you'll be able to see. So, what should you try to see. Your basic route is I-90/I-80/I-76/I/70. Absolutely Yellowstone and Badlands National Parks. Beyond that, there might be a few others, but those would depend on your interests and your goals for this trip


  3. #3

    Default Thanks

    Hey thanks for the advice. I figured I wouldn't be able to see much but it will be worth it. I am mainly taking the trip for the end destination and not the trip itself but I am very excited about seeing God's beautiful country!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default The Trip's the Thing

    You are absolutely correct in realizing that this is a great and beautiful country. As I mentioned, you will see a lot of it. Here are a few more tips on how to make the most of your journey, and a few of the smaller 'attractions' along your way. First and foremost, while you will have to make heavy use of the Interstates to keep to your schedule, you can and should get off them from time to time. One occasion in particular is meals. You can find the same old, same old fast food and chain restaurants at any exit in America. Convenient but charmless. You can spare the time to go into the small towns and cities you'll be passing and find the local diners and cafês where the locals eat. Talk to your server. Listen in on the conversations around you. Get a feel for the local argot and concerns.

    Be sure to get some exercise every day, at least a half hour's walk. Local and state parks are wonderful for this, if none are handy, walk around town after lunch or dinner. You'll be tempted to make miles at the expense of sleep. I think this is one of the deadliest traps long haul drivers make. I insist on being off the road for 10 hours each night. That gives me an hour to relax from the tension of driving, eight hours of sleep, and an hour to get up and going in the morning. Use at least part of that morning hour to check in with the Weather Channel and see what lies ahead for the day.

    Besides taking your meals off the Interstates, from time to time hop over onto the US and state highway systems and drive through a few towns and some of the countryside, farmland, forests on these smaller roads where you'll be close enough and slow enough to appreciate them. US-89 into and US-212 out of Yellowstone are certainly two examples, but also consider US-14 in northeastern Wyoming and a detour to Devils Tower National Monument. Make a stop at Wall Drug (you'll see the signs) for a free glass of water. See if you can time a meal in Mitchell, SD and stop by the Corn Palace. US-12 runs parallel to I-90 through Wisconsin between Tomah and Madison, but will give you a much different feel for the state. As a reward to yourselves for clearing the Chicago area, think about a stop at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, less than 3 miles off the highway. Another restful locale in an urban center is Cuyahoga Valley National Park. And for a quick touch of history, Fort Frederick is right off I-70 a few miles before Hagerstown, MD.

    Last edited by AZBuck; 05-13-2007 at 03:05 PM. Reason: Typo

  5. #5

    Default Hey

    Thanks for the continued advice. I wish we had more time to do it but realistically we dont. I am actually staying in Maryland for the summer and then driving back in August or September. I'm thinking about driving the southern route on the way back to get a bit of a diverse view. I should have a little more time coming back - hopefully at least a week. Thanks again!

  6. #6
    gorn256 Guest


    Buy a National Geographic Map of the USA and a USA tour guide published by DK. That's all you'll need to make strategic sight-seeing tours.

  7. #7

    Default thanks!

    Thanks for everyone's advice. I stopped by AAA the other day and the lady loaded me up with a Triptix, maps and tourbooks. I think I am good to go, except for maybe buying a silly sights book of funny things to see around the country. US here I come!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula

    Default Triptik review?

    If you want, you could post the main routes for your trip and maybe we can fill out in on tips of things to see/do along the way. And, sometimes, AAA does things that seem screwy to me. Somebody might have advice on better, alternative routes. Just a thought...

    Enjoy your trip. I hope you'll visit us when you're done and let us know how things went.

  9. #9

    Default TripTix

    Sorry it took so long to reply, but without further ado, here is the route that AAA gave me in my triptix.
    I-405 to I-90
    Take I-90 until it's time to get off for Yellowstone. Get to Yellowstone off US-191. To get to Devils Tower, take US-89 to Grand Loop Road to US-14, then back to I-90, then US-14 to WY-24 to WY-110. Arrive at Devils Tower. Blah, blah, back to I-90 to I-190 and on a couple smaller roads to get to Mount Rushmore. Then take US-16 back to I-90 to SD-240 to get to Badlands National Park.
    Next, back to I-90 to I-29 (in Sioux Falls), to I-680 to I-80, to I-235. Back to I-80 to I-74 to I-55 back to I-74, then a bunch of smaller roads to I-70. I-79 to I-68, to I-70 basically till I get there. I hope you guys understand this guy I don't really. I think I'll have my mom look at it because I don't really understand why I have to take a bunch of smaller roads, only to get right back on the Interstate I was on? I don't know.

    I am curious to know about silly, random stops we could make along the way. Also, do you guys think we could hit Chicago and still make it in (hopefully) under 5 days? One more question: is there a way to drive through part of the Badlands without visiting the National Park? Say if we just wanted to enjoy the scenary without walking around? Hopefully, ya'll have some answers. Thanks!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Several 'Glitches'

    What you got from AAA looks like it was designed by a computer with no assistance, so here's one human's review. I-90 to Yellowstone is fine, but don't take US-191 to get to the park. Rather, continue on to Livingston and use US-89 south. This is shorter, will bring you in through the classic arch at Mammoth Hot Springs, and set you up for a drive through some of the park's best features to get to Old Faithful. If you have a little time, and want to experience a beautiful road with some serious switchbacks, leave the park to the northeast on US-212 to Billings, otherwise just return to Livingston on US-89.

    However you return to it, now continue east on I-90 (consider a stop at the Little BighornBattlefield National Monument at Crow Agency, MT) to exit 154 in Wyoming and take US-14 and WY-24 to Devils Tower. Return to I-90 either by backtracking on WY-24 to US-14 and turning left (east) to rejoin the highway, or take a little break from the superslab by continuing on WY-24 east into South Dakota and turning south on US-85 to reconnect with I-90.

    The easiest way to Mt. Rushmore is to just take US-16 south through Rapid City and then Alt-US-16 to the monument. Again, you can return the way you came or make a relatively short loop by continuing on Alt-US-16 to Custer and turning north (marked US-16 east and US-385 north) to see the Crazy Horse memorial as well, then just continue on US-16 to Rapid City and back on the highway.SD-240 is the correct road to take for the Badlands, as it is a nice loop through the park and will return you to I-90 with no fuss.

    I really don't understand why AAA is sending you down through Sioux Falls and eastward through Indianapolis, unless it is specifically to avoid Chicago (which is undergoing major freeway construction), but the 'little roads' you refer to are beltways and bypasses around major cities and are perfectly reasonable alternatives to driving through the downtown sections of say Omaha, Des Moines or Indianapolis. On the other hand, if you want to stop in Chicago, what you'll need to do is simple - just stay on I-90 to and through Chicago (but don't say you weren't warned about the construction). Then switch over to I-80 which will share the road with I-90 for quite a while. Around Youngstown, OH switch numbers a gain to I-76 (but in reality - just stay with the Ohio and Pennsylvania Turnpikes - only the numbers change). When I-70 leaves the Pennsylvania turnpike in southern Pennsylvania, take it for your final leg into Maryland,


Similar Threads

  1. Best Route (quickest?) Great Sand Dunes to Yosemite
    By dantelobster in forum Spring RoadTrips
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 04-23-2006, 03:37 PM
  2. a great trip across states
    By Tom1984 in forum Share the Gas
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: 11-24-2005, 10:02 AM
  3. The Great River Road - TN, AR, KY, MO, IL
    By Boston Wrangler in forum Spring RoadTrips
    Replies: 14
    Last Post: 07-31-2005, 10:49 AM
  4. Great Food in Shelby, Montana
    By Mark Sedenquist in forum Off the Beaten Path
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 07-20-2005, 07:55 PM
  5. The Great Lakes Challenge
    By Chuck in forum Planning Summer RoadTrips
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: 05-03-2004, 01:30 PM


Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts