My boyfriend, my sister and I are planning a road trip from Pittsburgh to LA in the second week of August. We are considering the pros and cons of the northern and southern route. It seems like the latter has some really cool sights (Sierra Nevada, Rockies, Lake Tahoe, Grand Canyon, just to name a few) and is the most direct route. However, my biggest fear is the summer heat, and being stranded in the Death Valley with an overheated Corolla '99.
The argument for the northern route is that it'll be cooler (temperature-wise) and we'd get to see Mt. Rushmore, Yellowstone National Park and Redwood National Park (we would drive down the California coast if we take this route). But it is longer, and the sights and attractions seem a little sparse in the middle.
Please advise on:
-the "safer" route if there is one
-whether it would really be too hot on the southern route
-if we take the northern route, what are some of the big attractions in the middle?
We are planning this for seven days (give or take a couple), but because we've done Pittsburgh-Chicago, we would probably drive straight to Chicago in one day and save the other six to get the rest of the way.