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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Fredericksburg, VA

    Default Vintage Car Road-Trip

    My first posting...this is my tentative (but somewhat firmed up agenda) for driving across country in a vintage (1939) Rolls-Royce to attend a car event in the Columbia River Gorge.

    Just typing it out here....will continue searching the forums here for advice...thanks for the great resource.

    Leave Virginia Wednesday 25 July mid-day. It is about 26 hours to Pike's Peak and I will drive steady on this first leg so I have as much time for fun stuff as I can arriving at Pike's Peak vicinity on Friday night.

    Two nights camping near Pike's Peak (Fri/Sat 27-28 July).

    Leave Pike's Peak area Sun 29 July heading towards Arches National Park, about 6.5 hours away...staying in Moab, UT next to the park that evening (29 July).

    Leave Moab Monday 30 July and head towards Bryce and Zion. Stay one night (unfortunately only one night) in the Zion/Bryce area. About 4 hrs 45 mins from Moab to Bryce, and then another 1 hr 50 mins from there to Zion, so staying somewhere in the middle or in one of the parks. Leave the Zion/Bryce area Tuesday 31 July.

    From Zion to the next stop (Yosemite) is about 16 hours 50 minutes, so I'm going to have to schedule a stop in there somewhere. Arriving at Yosemite on Wednesday 1 August and camping two nights at Hodgdon Meadow camping area within the park (the only campground with ANY availability left within the park for those dates).

    I'll leave Yosemite on Friday 3 August heading north. If I go directly to the Redwoods and then directly to Stevenson (meet site), I've got about 16 hours of driving...I wish I would have time to drive along the coast of CA and/or OR some, but I need to be to Stevenson by late Saturday 4 August...or at least to the Portland airport nearby to pick up my wife and son who will be arriving at 2AM on Sunday 5 August.

    Sunday 5 August will be chilling/recovering at the Econolodge less than 2 miles from the Skamania Lodge. We'll stay there through Monday (doing the Mt. St. Helen's tour on Monday, too), and finally check into Skamania Lodge on Tuesday.

    I'm signed up for a lot of stuff through the meet week, but leaving mid-day Saturday 11 August.

    My wife and son will accompany me on the return trip.

    From Skamania to the Grand Tetons National Park in WY is about 12 hours 20 mins, so we'll stay somewhere overnight along the way.

    We have reservations at Colter Bay Tent Village within Grand Tetons for Sunday and Monday, 12-13 August.

    Grand Tetons is very close to Yellowstone. We'll head to Yellowstone and stay within the park two this point, there was no one lodging option available for successive nights, so on Tuesday 14 August we're staying in a small cabin at Old Faithful Lodge Cabins. On Wednesday 15 August we're staying in another small cabin at Canyon Lodge. We'll leave Yosemite on Thursday 16 August.

    Thursday 16 August will be a driving day for the 8 hour plus drive to Rapid City, SD. We'll probably stay somewhere there....I've heard it's a touristy type place, and it is very accessible to Mt. Rushmore. Others have recommended Hill City instead of Rapid City.

    We'll leave early from Rapid City/Hill City on Friday 17 August and head towards Minneapolis via Badlands. We'll have time to stay one night in the Badlands area, then leave towards Minneapolis on Saturday 18 August.

    It's about 10.5 hours from Badlands to Minneapolis, so we'll leave in the morning hours to go towards Minneapolis where my wife might fly the rest of the way home, leaving me and my son with about 18.5 hours driving back home to take at whatever pace is comfortable.

    It looks daunting!

    Things left to do:

    Figure out exactly where I'll stay:
    i) Near Pike's Peak
    ii) In the Zion/Bryce area
    iii) Between Zion/Bryce and Yosemite (maybe a Walmart parking lot with all the RVs)
    iv) Between Yosemite and Skamania (Walmart?)
    v)Between Skamania and Grand Tetons (NOT a Walmart...the wife will be with me!)
    vi) At Rapid City/Hill City
    vii) At Badlands
    viii) At Minneapolis

    Also need to determine if my wife wants to fly home from Minneapolis on that Sunday or stick it out with us for 18 more hours of driving (flights from MPLS home are only ~$110 nonstop).

    This is all still in the planning stages and will evolve as we get closer to the trip time...


  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default Eyes Bigger than Reality

    Welcome to the RTA Forum! I'd say your trip certainly looks daunting, and that's at the very least.

    While I appreciate the goal of wanting to see it all, you simply can't do everything you want on this timeline. I think you really are underappreciating the distances you will have to cover.

    Your first leg is 1700 miles. Best case, you're going to need at least 31 hours on the road to cover that distance once you include basic stops and slowdowns for food/fuel/restrooms/traffic/construction/etc. 2 and a half days to cover that is really on the edge of being unsafe as a solo driver.

    The next "section" is just as bad. I don't see any possible way that you'll be able to Leave Colorado Spring on Sunday, visit Arches, Bryce, Zion, and make it to Yosemite on Wednesday. You need to be on the road 22 hours just to cover the mileage on a direct route, so I'm not exactly sure where you are going to come up with the time to visit the national parks.

    I could continue, but the basic point remains, you are trying so hard to see everything that you are going to be very much in danger of trying to do so much that at best you'll be flying through places to say you've "been there" but will have to be so concerned about staying on schedule, you won't be able to enjoy any of it. At worst, you will end up fighting exhaustion to see everything and stay on schedule, which will end up putting you, others, and your awesome car in some real danger when you are on the road.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Western/Central Massachusetts

    Default Classic car cross-country

    Welcome to the RoadTrip America Forum!

    This sounds like quite the adventure - I trust the vehicle is up to traveling such a long distance, and that you are mechanically inclined should a problem arise. I would say that it is difficult to find a Rolls Royce mechanic on the road.

    Quote Originally Posted by mattboyd View Post
    Leave Virginia Wednesday 25 July mid-day. It is about 26 hours to Pike's Peak and I will drive steady on this first leg so I have as much time for fun stuff as I can arriving at Pike's Peak vicinity on Friday night.
    Using our average rate of 57mph West of the Mississippi, accounting in for rest stops, etc., puts this trip at closer to 29 hours - which is too much to cover in two days, let alone in a vehicle such as you are taking. I did a cursory check on the distance from your home to Stevenson, WA - almost 2900 miles by the online map routes - 50 hours of travel time. Generally, it takes 5 days to go from coast to coast.

    The stopover at Yosemite would be the first part of this trip I would cut out - it is simply too much to try to fit that in with your tight schedule. Plus, the reality is that you most likely will not be able to get to Pike's Peak from your home in two days. It would be a very stressful, time-constrained drive.

  4. #4

    Default Best of luck...

    It sounds like one hell of an adventure, be sure to report back on how it goes when you hit the road. I bet there'll be some fantastic stories to be told!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula

    Default Do-able? Yes. Enjoyable?

    I'm torn. Mileage-wise, it's do-able. If I'm reading your itinerary right, you have about 19-20 days to do the actual there-and-back traveling. Your trip is roughly 7300 so this would be about 375 miles/day. That's really not that bad...if you're traveling for a week or two at most, that is. But 20 days of traveling PLUS a week at a car show and doing some exploring around there, I'm thinking it's way too much. Over that much time, you will get fatigued and I think you'll need more rest stops along the way than you have planned. And while you've got a few highlights selected to explore, you're not planning any time for all the things along the way.

    Personally, I think I would delete Zion, Bryce, Yosemite and the Redwoods from your trip. I'd plan a future trip for the Southwest that includes Zion and Bryce, and another California trip for Yosemite and the Redwoods. This would cut about 1000 miles off of your trip and allow you time to enjoy the areas that you're driving through better.

    I would then add a few things in the states you're going through. Maybe something like this...
    * Fredericksburg
    * Pike's Peak - I think you need at 3 days for this leg. It's 1700 miles. If you do it in two days, I don't think you'll have much oomph to actually enjoy playing around the peak.
    * Durango - awesome town and this takes you through some breath-taking portions of the Rockies
    * Mesa Verde NP - Native American cave-dwellings
    * through Cortez and Monticello to Moab (breath-taking drive), enjoy Arches
    * Green River, then Hwy 6 to Salt Lake City
    * Boise
    * I-84 to Portland

    Your return route looks good and it sounds like you have some flexibility after dropping your wife off in Minneapolis to enjoy the trip home.

    How does the RR handle? Cool car. I'm sure you're gonna get a lot of double-takes from folks along the way. Especially in the national parks. We've been known to follow folks off the road to try to meet up with them to view their cars if they're driving something intriguing. One of the coolest was a beautiful old Hudson. The trunk actually had an extension that pulled out that made a sort of extended truck bed. if a red New Beetle is on your tail, pull over and let me have a look at that beauty. In fact, I don't live all that far from Skamania so I'm curious when this car show is. It sounds like one I'd like to take a day to go over and check out.

    I should end with this thought....your ability to do this trip is somewhat equal to your desire to do it. If you really want to try to cram all these things in, go for it. But please allow yourself to make changes, if you realize you've bitten off more than you can chew. For example, if you get to Yosemite and you're zonked and just can't see yourself making the drive to see the Redwoods, don't do it. Rest up an extra day and then head straight to Portland. It's not defeat to be tired and take a break from driving for an extra day or two making changes to your trip on-the-fly. It's safer for you and will make a more enjoyable trip. And, besides, we want you and your classic RR to make it home safe and unharmed for future road-trips.
    Last edited by PNW Judy; 05-20-2007 at 12:14 PM. Reason: added info

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Fredericksburg, VA

    Default thanks so far


    Thanks for the info/advice so far. Lots of questions to reply to...

    Indeed, the car will be ready for the's been in a shop recovering from a slight engine fire that evolved into a full mechanical restoration.....I left it there in March....of last year. We're finishing everything up with the trip as the due date. I'm hoping to get it back at least a month before-hand to do some long runs with it to shake anything out, but if any car (modern or vintage) is ready for this trip, it should be my car. It's also a big v12 that is fully capable of running with modern traffic -- that said, I'm going to be hesitant to run it long distances over 65mph...although it's fully capable of up to 100mph, I'm not going to stress it.

    My initial stab at a trip included going Pike's Peak, Grand Canyon, Yosemite, Redwoods, and then Columbia River Gorge. GC ended up being a bit too far out of the way, but Bryce/Zion might be stretching it a bit, too.

    The only paid reservations on the trip out so far are Moab and Yosemite, and even if Yosemite doesn't work out, it's only $10 a night to tent camp in the park, so if I lose out....I lose $20.

    I've heard a lot of advice from on this forum already, as well as co-workers friends. It has varied from "no problem" on the agenda, to the more cautious/realistic here. When I head out, I should probably have a fully charted out plan A and plan B (and maybe even plan C)....along the lines of what Judy has suggested.

    One of the neat things I've done for the preparation for the trip is I'm having an external trunk designed. The car has a "feature" not too dissimlar to the Hudson Judy described. My car is a big limo which really was designed for the city, not long distance touring. Therefore the boot (trunk) is fairly small, but you can drop down the boot-lid and there are rubber strips and places to string a strap to mount an external trunk. I'm having a seventh-generation cabinet-maker up in Pennsylvania design an external trunk so I don't have to carry so much within the passenger cabin of the car....and it's being designed to somewhat match the lines of my car. Will be a nice addition to the car, I think.

    I'll keep searching for more advice here and elsewhere, but thanks so far for the advice.


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

    Default Plans A, B, C

    I never hurts to have more than one plan when you're on the road. Or simply just be open to spontaneous changes. I think that's the key to a successful roadtrip. If you don't see everything on your "must-see" list, no matter. It will be there another time. Just prioritize and have some markers so you know if you're on pace or not. You don't want to wake up one morning and find out that you have 1000 miles to cover in one day to get to Portland to pick up your wife.

    One of the neat things I've done for the preparation for the trip is I'm having an external trunk designed. The car has a "feature" not too dissimlar to the Hudson Judy described.
    Very cool. Would you mind posting a picture here of your car? It sure sounds sweet. And a picture of your new trunk extension, too.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Fredericksburg, VA

    Default Pics and Trunk


    Thanks for the follow-on reply. I do have reservations at Yosemite since when I looked at their site for camping, there were so few spots left available to reserve (and at only one of their many campgrounds), I had to make a reservation if I even wanted a shot at staying there. There's nothing on my list that I'm interested in dropping off the agenda, so I'm going to have to think long and hard about priorities, which is difficult to do since I have never been to any of the places so I don't know which to drop off. On each park, different people I've consulted with have said "Oh that's a must-do, drop off another park so you can spend time here." I'm considering this trip as kind of an "appetizer sampler" of sorts where you dabble with many things and then decide which entree you want to get next time. I guess one option I could make is skipping Bryce/Zion and taking my time getting to Yosemite, or dropping Yosemite and spending more time at Bryce/Zion.

    As for pictures, some stuff is posted at my website, and I have a page dedicated to the design of my trunk here.

    Last edited by AZBuck; 05-21-2007 at 08:24 AM. Reason: Preferred URL format

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Incroyable!

    And you drive that beauty on the street? What must your insurance run you? I can see why the 'parentage' of owners stays in touch. If you're ever in Tucson....


  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula

    Default Gorgeous car!

    I can see why previous owners like to have it visit them. :-)

    There's really nothing wrong with a whistle-stop tour. I've done those myself. It just all depends on stamina and whether or not you've having fun. If you're not having fun, you're probably just too tired and need a break for a day or so.

    And it's really hard to recommend what to keep and what to drop off to somebody else. What is like heaven to one person is only so-so to another, and so it goes.

    You might consider this...while the vistas are quite different from Arches to Bryce to Zion, they do share in common that they are made of reddish rocks. Just very different configurations of rock. If you're totally wowed by Arches, you'll probably be wowed by Bryce and Zion and should consider going down that way. If Arches is only kinda OK, then you probably won't get much more out of the other parks and should just skip onto Yosemite, exploring other points along the way.

    Personally, I still think I might skip Zion and Bryce this trip. Not because they aren't absolutely breath-taking but because of the miles it adds to go there. Your trip is long enough already. You might actually just enjoy spending a bit of extra time in Arches and then taking it slower to Yosemite with ample time to stop and visit things along the way. Since you won't be taking time for Grand Canyon, I still think that a future trip where you fly into the Southwest and rent a car to tour Grand Canyon-Zion-Bryce might be worth considering.

    There's no wrong or right answer though. You just need to eventually go with your gut.

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