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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2017
    Harpenden, Hertfordshire, ENGLAND

    Default March 2018 Gettysburg to SF via Death Valley, Yosemite and Lake Tahoe - suggestions?

    Before we start.....I know the Tioga Pass will be closed in March 🙂
    As the ending to a 5 month travelling vacation (from England) taking in Australia, New Zealand and the USA (Florida, North Carolina and driving from Charlotte to Gettysburg) we are looking at the practicality of driving from Gettysburg over to San Francisco. We would be in no particular rush (10+ days not including stops) and would like to stop off at Death Valley, Yosemite and Lake Tahoe at that end of the drive.
    Some details about us which may help form answers
    2 drivers both having driven long distance professionally, (1 ex military so used to extreme driving weather etc)
    Both very well travelled so used to roughing it and going with the flow
    Both enjoy driving (no problems taking turns etc)
    Not in a major rush as we will have been travelling since November by the time we do this next March/April
    Interested in a wide range of things from military history (hence Civil War battlefields before we start) and nature (we hike and camp)
    We will have a rental car that will be picked up in Florida
    I have a few questions I would like some help with to see if this drive is doable (or if we should fly which we don't really want to do)
    1, if you had the chance to do this drive would you and if not why not?
    2, is 10 days a reasonable amount of time to do the major part of the drive (Gettysburg to Death Valley)
    3, we have driven the SF /Yosemite/Tahoe/Death Valley/ drive in October how much poor weather are we likely to find in late march?
    4, as we have not driven across the US before (especially in Spring) what should we expect weather wise?
    5, if you were to recommend places as 'must see' on this route what would they be?
    6, are there any places on the route you would avoid ?

    Should we bite the bullet and just fly across? We really fancy taking the time to see more of the US and this seems like a great opportunity

    Thanks in advance

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Travelling through so much history.

    Welcome to the Great American Roadtrip Forum.

    Well, we are a roadtrip forum, so I doubt if anyone would suggest you fly. the centre of the continent is such an interesting place, if you take the time to learn and reflect on who lived there thousands of years ago, and what roamed across those plains. Then think of the pioneers who migrated west and took the land. And the farmersd/rangers who live there now, miles from the services we mostly take for granted in the cities. And check out the dustbowl country. How bad that era must have been, causing many to take the trip you will be taking, but in horse and buggy over the rough unmade roads. So interesting to compare with the luxury travel we experience today. It is wonderful country.

    Do you have some good maps? If not, I suggest you purchase a Rand McNally road atlas (there is none better) from the RTA store, via the link at the bottom of this page. If you order it now, you will have it in a couple of weeks. It will show you just how many routes you could take to travel across that country, and of course you experience so much more when you travel off the interstates.

    [How long will you be in Australia? Do you have maps of it? When you do, compare the number of routes available in both countries which are basically the same area. (If you would like any suggestions for downunder feel free to email me.)]


  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2017
    Harpenden, Hertfordshire, ENGLAND


    Thanks Lifey, in my job (8yrs as library manager & avid reader) I've done a lot of reading on the history of the migration west, Native Americans and the depression so have a reasonable understanding of the areas. We have some very good maps both Rand McNally, Benchmark Maps and national geographic maps working on 1:300,000 on the whole.

    We will be spending a week in Sydney then a few weeks on a cruise to New Zealand than back to Sydney for a dash over to Geelong to get there for Christmas Evenwith family Then 6 weeks there before off to visit more family near Young for a couple of weeks before Blue mountains and Sydney and onto Hawaii.

    I would be interested in suggestions on where to visit in Melbourne as when we visited last year we went to the Grand Prix.....and with them in town it was hard to see much..

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Yes and No

    As with almost everything associated with a good RoadTrip, there are no hard and fast answers to most of your questions.

    If I had the chance to do this RoadTrip, would I? Of course, but then this is a RoadTrip site!

    Is ten days enough for a comfortable drive from Gettysburg to San Francisco via Death Valley? Yes. I find a roughly 50/50 mix of driving days and sightseeing days makes for a very enjoyable journey. But there is so much scenery and history as you cross an entire continent that you might find yourself wishing you had more time. Still, if you're used to getting your enjoyment 'on the fly', ten days should work for you.

    What will the weather be in March of 2018? That really is anyone's guess. Weather is by its very nature unpredictable more than a couple of days out, let alone almost a full year. Normally, we might be able to tell you what the general climate is usually like for broad areas and general time spans, but even that is now changing too rapidly for predictions to be meaningful other than that there will be more storms (very generally) and those storms will be more severe (again, very generally). Just be prepared for anything.

    What would I recommend that you see? Since your time is already limited, I'd recommend that you take a fairly direct route and make the most of what's on it. Fortunately for you the more or less direct route includes a lot of westward expansion and Native American sites including, possibly and depending on the actual roads you choose to drive, the National Road and Fort Necessity, Hannibal MO (Mark Twain), St. Joseph MO (Pony Express), the old Oregon Trail along the Platte River in Nebraska, Rocky Mountain National Park, Arches National Park, Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park, the Navajo and Hopi Indian Reservations, the Grand Canyon, etc., etc., etc. You can see why ten days might not be enough.


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