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  1. Default Philadelphia to Wyoming to Vegas to Grand Canyon in 38 days?

    Can it be done? i need some advice. i want to do this this summer. i havent done much homework yet but i wanted some opinions. i will be traveling alone and dont mind sleeping in the car and cheap motels. i want to see yellowstone for a couple days and stay in vegas for about 5 days. oh yea im driving back to philadelphia from the grand canyon. give me some input!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula

    Default 38 days! Go for it

    You will not only be able to explore Yellowstone, Vegas, and the Grand Canyon in this time, but numerous places along the way as well.

    You say you want several days...let's call it three...for Yellowstone and five days in Vegas. I'm assuming you'll want at least two in Grand Canyon. That's 10 days, leaving you 28 days to travel.

    I don't recommend a strict daily itinerary when you have this much time. You want to allow time to explore unexpected discoveries along the way and time to linger at places that intrigue you. You might figure something like 10 days to get to Yellowstone, 8 days to get to Vegas, and 10 days to get back to Philidelphia after you're done at the Grand Canyon. This will leave you a fair amount of time to explore the routes in-between these destinations.

    The total mileage you're looking at is somewhere around 5700. This doesn't include any side-trips but just the straight routes. 5700/28 days is only 205 miles per day of travel. This would be about 3-4 hours of travel leaving you plenty of time to explore.

    It sounds like a wonderful trip.

    If you're going to sleep in your car, you might consider doing it at truck stops where you should be safe and have access to bathrooms and paid shower facilities. Avoid rest stops.

    A big money-saver is eating out of a cooler and replenishing at full-size grocery stores instead of convenience stores.

    Is there anything specific you would like help with as you do your planning? Let us know how we can help further.

  3. Default

    thanks for the help! yes the plan is still in its infancy. i dont know exactly where to start. i need to figure out costs to fund such a long trip. i think i want to stop in Los angeles before going to vegas as well.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula

    Default You have time for LA, too

    If you want to spend several days in LA, the extra miles and less travel days will definitely increase your daily miles. I think you could spend a week in LA and still barely scratch the surface.

    For budgeting, you might want to check out this thread. On the trip you're planning, I'm sure fuel will be your biggest single expense. I wouldn't figure less than $3.50/gallon for next summer. In fact, I think I'd figure things at $4/gallon. I'd rather figure that high and be pleasantly surprised with less than have a summer price-hike blindside me and, possibly, cause me to have to change my plans due to budget reasons.

    What to see? - You have already identified a few key places where you'd like to go. I would get a big map of the US and mark those places on the map. It's relatively easy to see the major routes in-between these locations. You might trace along those major routes and see which ones have other places intrigue you. A good map will show cities, national parks, and other landmarks that will give you ideas of things you want to see.

    Since you have time, you might identify the states that you're likely to be traveling through and then google "tourism __state name__". This should take you to the state tourism websites for each state. They all offer a wealth of free information both online and maps/guidebooks you can request via mail. They take awhile to arrive so request them soon. Pouring over these will probably give you a hundred ideas that you never thought of.

    Also read through the various threads on this forum and explore the other parts of this website for articles and links to other websites. Just doing this will give you a wealth of information.

    Let us know how we can help you further.

  5. Default Similar Trip

    Yes, I think this is a great idea. Ive been planning a similar trip this summer. I'll be travelling from Columbus, OH to Seattle, San Diego, New Orleans, then back to Columbus in about 26 days. This will be my first time really seeing the American west, although I've been living in the Midwest my entire life, and I'll be travelling with my 20-lb dog.

    I plan to sleep in my minivan at truck stops, rest stops, and 24-hour stores; and to shower at truck stops. I also plan to buy much of my food from grocery stores and keep it in a cooler; I believe this will be the cheapest possible way to travel across the country.

    By my estimation, this pace will include about 5 hours of driving per day, which I will make enjoyable by taking scenic , mostly two-lane roads. I plan to take Route 20 from Chicago to the Pacific Northwest, then PCH all the way to San Diego, Route 10 to New Orleans, then probably a fast interstate route back up to Columbus.

    I plan to see Chicago, Seattle, Redwoods NP, San Francisco, LA, San Diego, the California desert, Sequoia/Kings Canyon NP, Yosemite NP, Las Vegas, the Grand Canyon, Phoenix, San Antonio, and New Orleans, spending extra time along the Pacific coast.

    By my estimation, I will spend around $1200 on gas, and living on an additional $50 per day would spend $2500 total for the trip. That's pretty cheap for a month-long trip to all those places!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default Welcome

    Welcome to the RTA Forum, Buckeyefan!

    I think you've got a nice ideal for a trip, although I think you're going to have a hard time seeing everything you want to see at a 5 hour a day pace. If you are sticking to 2 lane roads, that's going to be 300 miles a day tops, and often less.

    I'm also guessing by your list that you are planning to go all the way to San Diego, then back up to Yosemite and across to Vegas and the Grand Canyon before working back down to Interstate 10? That's also going to add up some more miles to fit in. I'm not trying to be discouraging and a month seems like a long time, but I do think your plan might be a little overenthusiastic, and you might have to increase your pace to fit everything you've got listed into 26 days.

    If you stick to sleeping in your van, I think your budget it reasonable, although even a couple nights in a motel could start chipping away at that number pretty quickly. The art of a barebones budget is keeping everything as affordable as possible, without skimping so much that you are miserable trying to keep your costs down, or you "give up" trying to do things so cheap that you end up splurging, destroying your budget in the meantime. But I think $50 a day on top of your fuel expenses should keep you in a fairly safe zone.

  7. Default

    Thanks for the help, Michael. This forum is a great resource of information.

    I defenitely need to think about how much I can possibly see in a short amount of time. I hope to speed my trip up in a couple ways. First, I plan to get from Columbus to Yellowstone in a short amount of time, probably 4 days at the most, stopping to see Chicago. Also, I plan to get from New Orleans back to Columbus in a very short time, in maybe 1 1/2 days on a fast interstate. Second, because I'm going in September, I assume the national parks I would like to see will still be crowded with tourists, and I will be satisfied to drive through them seeing the biggest attractions in a 1/2 day or full day and continue driving.

    I do also need to consider whether it is wise to drive down the California coast, then back through the middle of the state. Choosing between the California coast and the Sierra Nevadas is hard though!

    My biggest worry is finding things I will be able to do with my dog (about 20 lbs). From what I've read on their websites, national parks don't allow dogs on any trails. Also, I plan to take her with me to walk around the big cities I visit. But I know that in some of those cities (San Francisco, Seattle, etc.) convential wisdom says it's better to park outside the city and take public transportation into the cities, so that's a concern. Does anyone have any experiences road tripping with a dog? Do walking tours normally allow them? Do national parks have any trails designated for dogs like state parks often do?

    Thanks again.

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

    Default Be flexible

    For your own good time and for your dog's sake, I think you need to be quite flexible. You need to stop for your dog to exercise and these type of stops might make it hard for you to see everything on your list. No matter. Just be flexible. You can always good back another time.

    I'm a beach person so, if it was me, I'd do the CA Coast. However, the Sierra Nevadas are also gorgeous. You can't go wrong either way. If you had more time, you could probably do both but I think you're going to be too pressed for time to do that. Of course, if you limit your time in California to just the northern-half, you could do both. See the California Coast until you hit the San Francisco area...this way you can see the Redwoods...then go east to Yosemite and continue home from there.

    Your conventional wisdom of taking mass transit into the cities might make sense in places like San Francisco with their BART system but, obviously, you won't be able to take that. Unless it's gotten a lot worse since our last visit, it wasn't that bad to drive in. Just avoid rush hour and I'm sure you'll be fine.

    Seattle has no good mass transit system. A hodgepodge of busses is about the best they have. And since busses get caught in traffic just like cars, parking outside the city and taking mass transit in really isn't that much of an advantage. Of course, commuters probably enjoy not having to do the driving in traffic jams and maybe catching a nap or reading instead. But it won't be a big time-saver for you. Again, just avoid rush hour and drive on in. There is a lot of parking available in downtown Seattle, especially near the waterfront.

    National Parks typically only allow dogs in paved areas, like parking lots. No special trails as far as I know. National Forests do allow dogs on trails. They must be leashed.

    Having your dog is definitely going to limit your activities. I don't believe you will be able to take your dog onto any transit systems, tours (even walking tours), into museums or visitor centers, restaurants, and numerous other settings. You can't take dogs into Seattle's famous Farmer's Market (a/k/a Pike Place Market). I don't know if you can take dogs into San Francisco's Fisherman's Wharf or not. In most places, the only dogs allowed will be working dogs.

    You can still have a great trip as long as you don't mind those missing these types of places because of your dog. To be honest, I love traveling with my dog. We take her on trips whenever we can. But, typically, only on camping trips and on day trips where we know we're going places where she can get out and play. I've not taken her on a longer roadtrip because she needs lots of exercise (she's a lot bigger than your dog) and I'm not sure that I'll always be able to find what she needs. But lots of people do it and do it just fine. Just be in-tune to meeting his/her needs and you'll be fine. Dogs are great traveling companions.

  9. Default Heres the plan...kind of.

    Ok so come june 31st im taking off from philadelphia in my nissan sentra. im going to stop in chicago for a day or two. i then want to drive through south dakota on I90 i believe and get to yellowstone asap. Anything REALLY worth seeing in between IL and WY? i want stay in yellowstone and camp for about 4 days. Then i want to head to Los angeles. Are the redwoods far? after a day or two there im heading straight to Vegas for 4 days. and i want to see the Grand canyon too. i plan on camping where ever there are camp sites and sleeping in my car. after vegas im doing a straight shot back to philadelphia. i need to be back by aug. 7th. any suggestions, recommendations, etc.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default Really???

    Quote Originally Posted by iamjoe66 View Post
    Anything REALLY worth seeing in between IL and WY?
    Not even getting into some of the small or off the beaten path things, You've just glossed over both the Badlands and the Black Hills! You could spend a full 38 days in western South Dakota alone and still find things you wouldn't have time for.

    First there's Badlands National Park, which really has some remarkable landscapes that you can't see anywhere else on earth.

    Then there is the Minuteman Missle Historic Site, which I personally am itching to get out to see.

    And of course you've got the Black Hills, including Mt. Rushmore, Wind and Jewel Cave National Parks, Custer State Park - just to name some of the things.

    Like I said, those are just the major things. There are lots more things just off the beaten path. This roadtrip report from South Dakota has some more reasons to avoid "just flying through to Yellowstone." And here is even more from the same correspondent for places just to the west of Chicago....
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 01-11-2008 at 04:55 PM. Reason: added the link to the SD field report

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