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  1. Default Road trip first timer. Need some advice

    Well it seems I've caught some bug. A few days back it suddenly hit me that in two days, my summer class will be over, and I have till August 28 until my final semester of college begins(thank you, thank you *bows*.) Oh, and I don't have a job either. So I've decided to take a road trip.

    I live in middle Tennessee, around the Nashville area. I've seen a lot of the east coast and have done the Florida thing a few times. Not to say that stuff is bad, but I'm somewhat set on Grand Canyon/Yellowstone/Teton parks. I'm wondering what some of the more experienced road trippers thoughts are on doing some kind of loop from TN, to the grand canyon, then yellowstone and teton.

    I'm pretty new at this. I've drove before, but never like 8+ hours more than a couple days at a time. I'm not worried about the drive though - I'm just wondering what to expect.

    Also, I'd like to keep it cheap. I'm not really sure what to expect in terms of actually going to these places. What do you actually *do* when you get there, and what does it cost to do it?

    I don't really care too much about eating in really fancy places, and don't care much at all about the lodging. Hell, I'd sleep in my car if it wasn't a toyota corolla. I'm content with a sandwich and beer every dinner (and lunch for that matter).

    So, I guess my main concerns are - and sorry for bombarding the questions, but, with so much stuff online I think it actually makes it *harder* to research the specific questions you want answered - A) any good "loop" ideas? And if you guys know some sweet spots on the way or back, I'm all down. Those three places are just the most well known to me. B) What would you suggest I actually do at these places, besides just driving through the park or going to the canyon? C) Any ballpark about the kinda price I'm looking at if I'm going alone? (May bring a friend or two but not sure yet.)

    Any other ideas you think a male 22 year old senior might enjoy, I'm all ears. *edit* I've also been to Gatlinburg TN and really enjoyed hiking some of the trails in cades cove. So, if there are any specific trails at any of these places, that's right up my alley. I'm not a rock climber or anything but I'm up for the most advanced trail you can get without needing equipment. I'd also be up for some 2 - 3 day treks where I just hike and explore. Never done this before, but I'd really really like to. Although I'm not sure exactly what I would need.

    Thanks! And great site btw.
    Last edited by pcm2f; 08-04-2009 at 10:33 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default A little more studying to do.

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    At this stage I think you need to study the map some more and look for places that appeal to you along the way, there are literally to many options open to you and a lot of that will depend on how long you have to do this trip and what budget you have to do it with [The two go together]. On the left hand of every page you will the fuel cost calculator and here are some budgeting tips. When you are on a multi day trip that will see you covering a lot of miles a beer and a sandwich twice a day isn't going to cut it, you will stay more alert taking a slightly healthier approach ;-).
    Your trip is over 4000 miles and will most likely be a very full 8 days of just driving plus whatever time you spend in the parks etc. When you arrive at the parks I doubt you will need to ask the question "what shall I do" especially as you enjoy hiking.
    From home I-40 would be your most direct route to the GC although you could take I-70 towards Denver and then down to GC passing Rocky NP, Arches, Monument valley on route. From GC you could stop in Zion that is an amazing canyon with some great walks, some slightly challenging [check it out on the parks link] and a diversion to Bryce is also possible. You could come home through part of Colorado if you didn't take that option on the way out but a more Northern route along I 90 could see you coming past the Black hills, Mount Rushmore and Badlands NP.
    Do a little studying and when you have some dots on the map let us know and we can help join them up.

    The NPS site has tons of info each and every park and is a great resource.

  3. Default

    Thanks for the advice. I'm not, however, as ill prepared so you may think. I'm plan on bringing a cooler with some lunch meats, cheese, bread. Some non perishables: protein bars, crakers, granola, etc. The beer/sandwich comment was a joke just showing that I'm not a "high roller". I don't mind sleeping at cheap places and eating for cheap.

    I plan on staying gone as long as it takes. School doesn't start till the 30th and I'm leaving the 8th, maybe. I don't want to stay gone that long, but if it takes 2 weeks to do what I want to do, that's how long I'll be gone.

    Concerning route... I want to pretty much make a straight shot for the canyon from Nashville, taking I 40. The only problem is, I don't know which part of the canyon to visit. Which is best? I mean... it's huge, lol. I would potentially see also Zion and Bryce, seeing as they're near I 15, but these places aren't essentials. I guess I 15 is the best route to Grant Teton and Yellowstone? Once in Teton, I definitely want to see the snake river, with those mountains in the background...the view that you get in that famous picture. Along the way I thought abuot stopping to see the Great Salt Lake. Does anyone recommend this or think I should pass it up? After that, I'm planning on going through Colorado and seeing the rockies. After that I guess it's a staight shot back to Tennessee, via, I suppose, I 70.

    My problems are that I pretty much have the general outline of my trip down, but I don't know about the specifics... like which part of the GC I should visit, or which part of the Tetons has that view of the snake river, or what part of yellowstone I ought to go to to get in a good 2-3 day backpack. Also, I'm not sure if the particlar interstates I've taken are the fastest routes. Should I circle under the GC by taking I 40 all the way, then get on I 15, or cut across Colorado?

    Any insight would be very appreciated.

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