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  1. Default Michigan to California

    Hello All

    New to the site. In reading some posts, it seems there's alot of experienced travelers on this site.
    This will be our first road trip westward. The only research we have is maps, books and web sites. None of our friends have made this trip. We would greatly appreciate any real life ideas you have.
    Apologies for all the info below, but we thought it may be best to give all info possible.

    The wife and I are hoping to travel for 16 days this October, in a mini van.
    Things we would like to accomplish;

    1. Beautiful scenery (duh,
    2. Wild west show/town (closed Missouri/Kansas after Labor day), couldn't find any in Carson City.
    3. San Fran food and tour
    4. Montery/ Big sur and hopefully affordable accomodations with view (are we
    5. LA/ Hollywood, tour, accomodations.
    6. At least one night oceanfront
    7. At least one night away from lights for a star filled night (not camping though).

    Thinking it will take 4 days to get to the coast. Not sure whether to take I70 or I80, previous posts sound like I70, but sometimes the wife has issues with ear pressure at heights. She's willing to try, as long as we can turn around if needed.
    Was thinking taking I70 or I80 there so we could go south on Hwy 1. This probably means I40 back.

    Other things on our wish list are;

    1. Yosemite- preference order, if time, valley, mountain tops (ear issue?), trees.
    2. San Diego
    3. 1. KC bbq (time wise, probably not an issue) best way to route it in? what restaurant?

    Would like to leave coast by the 10th day, maybe 11, to allow a day recoop. What would you do?

    Thank you all for your time.

  2. Default

    Hey. Have fun on the trip. Sorry that I can't help you. I'm planning a same trip from Michigan to California in December. Could you give me some tips and suggestions after your trip? I would really appreciate it.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Eyes, Meet Stomach

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    Unfortunately, the trek you've laid out for yourselves requires about 11 full days of driving, so there won't be a lot of time for all the things you'd like to see out west. Still, the trip is doable if you don't mind spending that much time in the car and can be satisfied with just a couple of hours each day to see a sight or two close to the main highways you'll be following. You'll need more than 4 days to get from 'Michigan' (I assumed Lansing for mileage purposes). That would require driving nearly 600 miles a day - way to much to be enjoyable or leave any time for sight seeing. And the drive down the Pacific Coast Highway from S.F. to L.A. is a good two days PLUS time spent in Monterey. Then another 4½ days from L.A, to home. So that leaves you all of 5 days to spread around. Figure a day each in San Francisco and Los Angeles and you can see that your days are dwindling sown to a precious few. Personally, I'd spend those few days exploring the old Oregon Trail through western Nebraska, visiting the Grand Canyon, Monument Valley and Mesa Verde, and finally a quick stop at Rocky Mountain National Park. But you really can't do all the things you originally listed. And by the way, shore front rentals in Monterey and L.A. can be described with lots of words, but 'cheap' is not among them.


  4. Default

    Thanks for the eye opener AZBuck.
    You're right, thats not alot of time. We are hoping to do Glacier and Tetons in a few years, so it seems to make sense dropping Yosemite, also we have done the Grand Canyon many years ago. Looks like we should narrow it down to our top priority, which would be seeing the coastline. Would you advise taking I80 there and I40 back?
    Any advice for sites, lodging and food for S.F. to L.A. Thinking we would like to relax down the coast so there may not be time for San Diego.
    Would still love a night on the ocean, and one beautiful star lit on the route out or back.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Maximize Your Time on Site

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    If you've decided that the coast is the raison d'etre for this RoadTrip, then your routes of choice would be I-80 to San Francisco, CA-1 down to Los Angeles, and I-15/I-70/I-76/I-80 home. You're still looking at a minimum of 4½ days out and 4½ days back, but if you can spare an extra day on the major to/from drives you can start throwing in visits to Flaming Gorge, the Great Salt Lake, Lake Tahoe, Las Vegas, and Zion, Arches and Rocky Mountain National Parks. Your best bet for oceanside lodging would be on the way down the PCH at either San Simeon or Cambria, and you really shouldn't have any trouble finding dark skies somewhere on your cross country segments.

    Last edited by AZBuck; 09-12-2010 at 07:17 PM.

  6. Default looking at amtrak

    Thanks again AZ. Trying to squeeze more time in, we did a bit of research. Again any thoughts are greatly appreciated.

    We looked at Amtrak (again, wife can't fly). Cost is $350 for 2 and would leave Dearborn (nearest depot for us) at 7AM and get to Albequrque the next night at 11PM. Figured that would mean sleeping one night on the train since a sleeper room is $650, thinking we could sleep one night on the chairs but not 2. Return trip from Albequrque leaves at noon, where as Salt Lake City leaves at 4AM. Also, rent a cars charge so much more if you pick up and drop at different locations. The best deal we found was National, especially with unlimited miles and free upgrade for weekly rentals. Only thing is getting to airport for rental from train station (any ideas, cab?).

    Reccomendations and thoughts about time and stops on the following route?

    Albequrque to Yosemite to SF- Monterey Penn- LA.
    Hoping to get within hour or two of Seq Nat park area one day from Albequrque. Then up to Yosemite and down the coast and back to Albequrque. Thinking this may open up a couple more days.

    If this does seem like a good alternative, is there a better side of the train travel on, also guessing lower level would be best for sway.
    We are probably overlooking something though. Again, helpful insight greatly appreciated.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Too far on day 1.

    To get within an hour or two of Sequoia would put you in the Bakersfield area which is 800 miles and too much to do in a day, especially after an uncomfortable and interrupted sleep on the train. Of course there is always the Grand canyon to "drop in" to on your drive West and is about half way to Bakersfield.

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