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  1. Default East Coasters Looking for the stars of the west

    My friend and I who have lived in the NYC area our whole lives are trying to plan a road trip for the month of August. We have both stayed in Colorado for a week before during the winter and seen part of northern cali/the bay area before. Besides that, neither of us has really seen anything West of the Appalacians so we are looking to see as much as we can of all the beautiful things that we have always waited to see (obviously, we aren't going to see everything though)
    We are planning to leave July 31st and I need to return for work by August 21st (my friend owns his own business so he might end up staying somewhere if we find a place that he really likes along the way or he might be going to visit friends in California when I decide to head back). We are planning to do this as cheaply as possible (camping nearly everywhere that we sleep and crashing at friend's places in Chicago and Colorado). We'll be driving my Dodge Neon with a storage compartment on the roof and bringing a bike rack with two mountain bikes. We have a Magellean GPS so we probably won't get lost at any point but we still want to (albeit, last minute) try to plan as much as possible so that we can make the most out of our time. Besides wondering how much in terms of supplies and money I need to realistically make this trip,( and make it back for work) I'm most curious about how many places I can see in this short period of time (ideally, I would have liked to spend a whole summer touring the continental U.S.)

    I'm most interested in seeing as many beautiful outdoor sights as I can more than I am in seeing cities, although I would like to make the most out of any city that I need to stop in to sleep (by seeing things that are unique to that city). I haven't really made too much of a supplies list yet, but here is a rough itinerary that I was playing around with(*notice that I've scheduled the trip partially around my ability to stay, and get taken care of, by friends in Colorado, LA, and possibly Prescott, Az.). I'm willing to part with most of my plans here so any and all suggestions are much appreciated. Also, I'd be really gracious to hear of any cultural happenings or off-the-map locations that we'll be driving by which someone would want to give me the inside scoop on. We'd also like to bike, hike, raft, canoe, respectively, at least once so any recommendations about how to choose the best place to do each would be awesome. Also, does any body recommend buying an 80 "beautiful America" NPS pass? Sorry if I've given too much information and thanks, in advance, for any advice/help that anybody feels like offering.

    Depart from Newark, NJ July 31st Arrive in Chicago August1st

    Leave Chicago August 1st [Eat lunch on the banks of the Mississippi] Arrive _Sioux Falls___? or a good place to stop
    [Check out Sioux Falls or Granite City Brewery if SF is the place]

    Leave Sioux Falls. August 2nd Arrive Badlands NP August 2nd

    Leave Badlands August 3rd [Stop By Mt Rushmore] Arrive in Jackson Hole August 3rd

    Leave Jackson Hole August 4th [View Grand Tetons] Arrive in Yellowstone August 4th

    Spend August 5th in Yellowstone [View Old Faithful, etc…] Sleep in Yellowstone August 5th

    Leave Yellowstone August 6th [Drive through Craters of the Moon] Arrive in Salt Lake City August 6th

    Leave Salt Lake City August 7th Arrive in Breckenridge August 7th

    Leave Spend August 8th in Boulder Sleep in Breckenridge or Boulder August 8th

    Rafting/ Chilling in Breckenridge August 9th during the day String Cheese concert at Red Rocks at Night; Sleep at friends in Breck. or in Denver (w/ friends) at night of the 9th

    Leave comforts of roofs in beds in search of the stars once again on Aug. 10th
    [4 and ½ hours west on 70 should get us to Moab]
    Sunset hike/bike at Arches Camp at Arches or Canyonlands Aug. 10
    (possibly rent a canoe or boat for an overnight river trip at Canyonlands)
    Leave Aug. 11 for All Day Bike Trip [Sunset at Bryce] Camp at Bryce Aug. 11th

    See Sunrise at Bryce Aug. 12th Arrive in Zion August 12th

    Leave Zion August 13th [See Grand Canyon] Arrive in Vegas August 13th
    Leave Vegas August 14th [Stop by the Joshua Tree]
    Arrive in L.A. August 14th
    Leave LA 16th Arrive in Sedona/Prescott 16th

    Leave Sedona/Prescott 17th
    [Stop by the North Rim during the day,
    drive through Monument Valley at Sunset]
    Arrive in Telluride August 17th
    (possibly camp in San Juan Mts./Forest for sleeping)

    Leave Telluride August 18th Arrive in Breckenridge August 18th

    Leave Breckenridge August 19th Arrive in Kansas City August 19th

    Leave K.C. August 20th Arrive at State College August 20th

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

    Default Head still spinning...

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    While I admire your desire to see "Everything," this would be a trip that would put you beyond the exhausted stage very quickly. You might see everything, but even the most dedicated iron butt would be running out of gas by the end of your first week.

    You talk about wanting to bike, hike, canoe, etc, but I just don't see how that would be possible at any time during your trip. You've just got so many days where you are going to need to drive all day to get to your next destination (and some days that just aren't possible) that the couple of times you have some down time to do the activities you talk about, I think you're going to be so exhausted, you aren't going to feel like doing anything.

    The NPS Park Pass would easily pay for itself on this trip. Figure most parks are going to cost you about $20 to enter (some are a little less some a little more), so after 4 parks it would pay for itself.

  3. Default

    Thanks for offering me a realistic perspective of the situation...I've never done this before so I don't know what's possible and what's not...

    Anyone with any suggestions of what I should cut out and what I should leave in?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default A good start

    Quote Originally Posted by Shrtrip View Post
    Sorry if I've given too much information
    We love it when new roadtrippers think this much about such adventure -- the problem for you is overcoming the cultural/geographical bias that comes from living in the east. It is relatively easy to travel to 2 or more states in one day when traveling in New England, but there are several states in the west, where it takes 2-3 days just to cross ONE state. I have looked at your schedule and while it might (barely) be possible to get to all of those places in the 21 days you have alloted -- it would be impossible to hike, camp, boat and explore as much as you have listed and still have any time for sleeping or even looking at those western skies!

    I like the intensity of your schedule, but what I would suggest is that you go back through it and limit your travel miles to 500 miles per day (in most places this will mean nine solid hours of travel) so for those days where you want to hike and explore (and drive several hours) try and limit those days to 350 miles. Then re-work your schedule with the new parameters and then come back and let us help you tweak it a bit.


  5. Default

    Okay, well we haven't worked out everything completely but I know that we are definitely going to cut "Craters of the Moon" and Salt Lake City out of our trip.

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