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  1. Default New Jersey to LA Quick Trip in November

    My friend and I are driving her aunt's car from NJ to LA where she has moved. We are planning to leave Newark, NJ and drive to Cincinnati, OH (we have friends there). Then, we'll drive to Des Moins, Iowa (more friends). Then, to Denver. We plan to stay the night in Vegas (to avoid the awful Sunday night traffic to LA).

    We're good after Denver. I know that area well. What we'd like to know, is what kinds of things could we make a quick stop and see until Denver? We'd be interested in Amish things, quirky sites and historical sites. But, we're on a time schedule, so it's needs to be pretty close to the interstates.

    Any suggestions?

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

    Default a very tight schedule

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    I will caution you that you are really pushing the limits of what you can do safely for part of this plan.

    Your first two days aren't bad, although you are right that you won't have much extra time to stop - considering that both of those days will be 10-12 hour days on the road, and presumably you want to spend a little time with your friends.

    From there things start getting more troublesome. Its nearly 700 miles from Des Moines to Denver, which is really starting to push the limits for a multi-day trip. You'll probably be able to do it, but it is a day that will take a lot out of you.

    Then that next day is really the one where I'd strongly urge you to cut back. Denver to Vegas is 750 miles, and doing that after being on the road for 3 full days previous, and have having a rather exhausting 700 mile drive the day before is really asking for trouble. If this was just a one day sprint between the two, it would be a little different story, but in the context of your whole trip, I'd strongly recommend scaling this leg back. Stopping at St. George UT would make for a much more manageable day, and still will set you up for a relatively short drive to LA.

    As far as things to do, the one thing that jumps out if you are interested in Amish type cultures would be the Amana Colonies just off I-80 in eastern Iowa. Here is a good list of lots of other places that make for easy short breaks off the interstates.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    To expand on Michael's suggestion, I'd make it a full 3 days from Des Moines to LA, with stops in Sterling or Fort Morgan CO and Richfield UT. You are generally better off with hotels in more rural areas anyway - frequently cheaper and much less traffic hassles getting in and out of town in the evening and morning.

    You really do need 5 full days to make this a safe trip. If you want to do some sightseeing, it would be best to add another day.

  4. #4


    Being familiar with these speed runs I try not to put two days of 700+ miles back to back. It's doable if you switch drivers.

    I know that staying with friends is cheaper, but going to Des Moines is taking you out of the way by about 60 miles. It doesn't sound like much but over the long haul it could make a difference of having a 650 and then a 750. If you go this route you can go from Cincinnati through Kentucky and southern portions of Illinois and Indiana to avoid traffic in urban areas like Indianapolis. Kansas and eastern Colorado will be traffic free all the way through and is a very interesting drive.

    But if you decide to go to Iowa, the Iowa 80 truck stop is an amazing truck stop. It's huge. You can buy anything there. With the type of drive you are planning that type of thing is all you're really going to have time to see, and that is if you get up at dawn and plan to be in by dark, which is the best way to go in my opinion.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    I had a similar thought in terms of the route - considering your schedule its is a bit of a zig zag to go to both Cinci and Des Moines. The way I calculate it, you could save about 100 miles by skipping Cincinnati and going to Des Moines via Chicago.

    Alternatively, you could do Cinci and skip Des Moines and Denver, instead routing via St. Louis and Oklahoma City which would be the fastest route west from Cinci. Or you could certainly do Cinci and Denver sticking to I-70 as described in the above post which adds about 30 miles vs. going down to I-40.

    When you're talking about 100 miles over a 3000 mile trip, its not a huge deal, but when you've got an aggressive schedule to start, it is something worth thinking about. If these cities are places where you have good friends you want to see, then its probably worth it, but if you are just thinking of these places as a free place to spend the night, then I'd think more about saving the time and miles.

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