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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,943

    Default Fantasy RoadTrips

    I've been going a little stir crazy lately with all the sheltering in place. I've had to cancel two trips planned for this spring and summer, and will probably not get on the road again until next year. But that doesn't mean I can't enjoy some of the other aspects of RoadTripping. In particular, I and others have occasionally made the point that planning for a RoadTrip is almost as much fun as actually taking one. with that in mind, I've spent the last few days 'planning' a hypothetical one week RoadTrip from my home in Tucson AZ. I had a few criteria such as: 'one week' actually meant nine days with both weekends; there should be no more than three days' worth of driving; a preference for two separate stopping points with a short driving day between each stop. Below is the outline (with links) for when I can get back on the road again. Obviously one wouldn't have time to do everything listed below. That's not the point. Knowing what's out there to make this, or any similar, trip interesting and enjoyable IS.

    One Week From Tucson


    Day 1: Tucson AZ to Shiprock/Farmington NM
    Real World Driving Time: About 8 hours
    Salt River Canyon
    Petrified Forest National Park (NP)
    Neither of these 'stops' takes very long.
    Indeed both can be done as just scenic parts of the drive.

    Days 2-4: Shiprock/Farmington NM
    Canyons of the Ancients National Monument (NM)
    Mesa Verde NP
    Chaco Canyon National Historical Park (NHP)
    Durango
    Navajo Lake State Park (SP)

    Day 5: Shiprock/Farmington to Taos NM via US-64
    Real World Driving Time: About 5 hours
    Salmon Ruins Museum
    Monastery of Our Lady of the Desert
    Carson National Forest

    Days 5-7: Taos NM
    Chimney Rock NM
    Rio Grande Gorge Bridge
    Eagle Nest Lake SP
    San Francisco De Asis Mission Church
    Kit Carson Home

    Days 8-9: Taos NM to Tucson AZ
    Real World Driving Time: About 11 hours
    Santa Fe:
    Georgia O'Keefe Museum
    Hyde Memorial SP
    Santa Fe Botanical Garden
    Albuquerque:
    Petroglyph NM
    New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science
    National Museum of Nuclear Science & History
    Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge
    Overnight: Socorro NM
    Elephant Butte Lake SP
    Lake Valley Historic Townsite and Backcountry Byway

    Home!

    AZBuck
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 04-18-2020 at 03:33 PM. Reason: increased size of post title, since AZ Buck opened the thread to all such fantasy trips

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,477

    Default I love this concept.

    I love this concept. I will create one now. (Back in a few minutes)

    Mark

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,477

    Default One Week from Las Vegas

    Day 1: Las Vegas, Nevada to Tecopa, California
    Real World Driving Time: 2.5 hours (Because I would take the Old Spanish Trail)
    Soak at the new pool at Delights Hot Springs and the private baths
    Extraordinary BBQ (and often live music) at Tecopa Brewing Company

    Day 2. Tecopa, California to Bakersfield, California
    Real World Driving: 6.5 hours because stops along the way
    Kohnen's Country Bakery -- Best German Mustard and Great Pretzels in Tehachapi
    The Tehachapi Loop is a 0.73 miles long spiral, or helix, on the Union Pacific Railroad.
    Overnight at the Padre Hotel in Bakersfield.

    Day 3-4. Bakersfield, California to Mono Hot Springs, California
    Real World Driving: 10.5 hours.
    Driving along the All American City Highway through agricultural areas. This is a longer drive than I would normally take, but if the road were open through Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks I would do it!
    But the most amazing drive of the day is CA-Hwy 168 to Mono Hot Springs. And best to do it in daylight hours.

    Day 5.
    Mono Hot Springs, California to Bridgeport, California
    Real World Driving: 7.5 hours.
    One of my favorite of the trans-Sierra passes. The Sonora Pass is beautiful any time of the year.

    Day 6. Bridgeport, California to Benton, California
    Real World Driving: 2.5 hours.
    Shortest actual distance covered on the trip. But this follows a section of CA-120 that most people miss -- it's offers unusual views of Mono Lake.
    The rock formations near Benton have long been a favorite of mine.
    Benton Hot Springs

    Day 7. Benton, California to Tonopah, Nevada
    Real World Driving: 2.0 hours.
    Tonopah Historic Mining park
    Mizpah Hotel

    Day 8. Tonopah, Nevada to Las Vegas, Nevada
    Real World Driving: 6.5 hours. (+3.5 hours to drive to ghost towns)
    Goldfield Hotel
    Rhyolite Ghost Town
    Carrara Ghost Town
    Area 51 Travel Center
    Temple of Goddess Spirituality

    Home!

    Mark

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,943

    Default One Week in the Heartland

    For my second Fantasy RoadTrip I considered a number of places including the mid-Atlantic coast where I grew up, Wisconsin where my parents were born and grew up, and northern New England where I lived for my early adult life. But I've actually done those in real life and written up my experiences on these pages. So instead I decided to plan a trip in the heart of 'fly-over country' as an exercise in, and demonstration of, the principle that "There are no boring places." Otherwise, the same criteria as before.

    One Week From Kansas City

    Day 1: Kansas City KS/MO to Manhattan KS
    Real World Driving Time: About 2 hours (Assumption: flight to KC, then the drive)

    Days 2-3: Manhattan KS
    Fort Riley/Custer Home
    Milford SP
    Eisenhower Library
    Marysville Pony Express Station
    Oz Museum
    Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve

    Days 4-5: Drive to Rapid City SD
    Real World Driving Time: About 12 hours
    Glen Elder SP
    Kirwin NWR
    Classic Car Collection
    East Willow Island Wildlife Management Area
    Overnight: North Platte NE
    East Hershey State Wildlife Management Area
    California Hill, Oregon Trail
    Courthouse and Jail Rocks
    Nebraska National Forest and Grasslands

    Day 6-7: Rapid City SD
    Mount Rushmore NM
    Crazy Horse Memorial
    Badlands NP
    Wind Cave NP
    Jewel Cave NM

    Days 8-9:Rapid City SD to Kansas City KS/MO
    Real World Driving Time: About 13 hours
    Mitchell Corn Palace
    Falls Park
    Great Plains Zoo & Delbridge Museum of Natural History
    Sioux City Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center
    Sergeant Floyd River Museum & Welcome Center
    Overnight: Omaha
    Loess Bluffs National Wildlife Refuge
    Pony Express National Museum
    Jesse James Home Museum

    AZBuck

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,477

    Default a bit of cogitation

    There aren't that many areas of the USA that I haven't driven in -- at least once or twice -- but I will ponder a trip that includes towns and cities that I've never been to as a continued demonstration of, the principle that "There are no boring places" as alluded to above.

    This might take a bit of cogitation and I have telecom in a few minutes so, until then....

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,477

    Default Exploring Northern Minnesota

    One week from Duluth, Minnesota

    Day 1. Duluth, Minnesota to Fargo N. Dakota
    Real World Driving Time with side trips 6.5 hours
    FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT'S ONE AND ONLY GAS STATION
    Extra Tall Paul Bunyan in Akeley
    Big Tom Turkey
    HoDo in Fargo

    Day 2. Fargo, N. Dakota to Warroad, Minnesota
    Real World Driving Time with side trips 4.5 hours
    World's Second Tallest Structure.
    Far North Spirits (The northernmost distillery in the contiguous United States)
    Marvin Windows Museum

    Day 3. Warroad, Minnesota to Biwabik, Minnesota
    Real World Driving Time with side trips 5.5 hours
    The Lookout Tower at Ft. Francis
    Vermilion Falls, near Orr, MN.
    Chisolm Iron Ore Miner Statue
    World's Largest Loon
    World's Largest Free-Standing Hockey Stick
    Honk the Moose

    Day 4. Biwabik, Minnesota to Silver Bay, Minnesota
    Real World Driving Time with side trips 3.5 hours
    Voyageur North Outfitters in Ely,
    Tettegouche State Park
    Silver Bay

    Day 5. Silver Bay to Duluth along Lake Superior
    Real World Driving Time with side trips 3.4 hours
    Split Rock Lighthouse
    Castle Danger Brewery
    Two Harbors Lighthouse Museum
    Great Lakes Candy Kitchen
    Enger Tower
    Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge
    Uncle Harvey's Mauseleum

    And Back to Duluth!
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 04-19-2020 at 08:36 AM. Reason: made driving hours clearer

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    5,475

    Default

    These are really cool ideas. It's amazing how many of the places I have been to, but also how many I've missed.

    As for me, my dream vacation is just to be able to take the one that is planned, reservations made a long time ago (including the ones to stay inside Yellowstone NP, which we reserved last July for this coming summer). We are not canceling anything yet. I figure if Yellowstone decides not to open for the summer, they'll let us know and give us our deposit back. (Right now, YNP Lodges are taking reservations for May 22nd and later.) Then we can make a decision, if our dictating governor doesn't make it FOR us, about whether to cancel the rest of it or not.


    Donna

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,477

    Default In Search of Dinosaurs & Badlands Bison

    A One Week Circuit of North Dakota

    For my next Fantasy RoadTrip -- I return to an area I last explored about six years ago. And since part of it closely follows a route that Peter wrote about in 2010, I include his short description.
    Peter Thody:
    This quiet and often remote-feeling drive passes through some of North Dakota's loveliest and most dramatic scenery, taking in the history and nightlife of busy little Medora, the beauty and wildlife of North Dakota's Badlands in the form of Theodore Roosevelt National Park, and ending up close to the Missouri-Yellowstone Confluence, one of North Dakota's many Lewis & Clark-related sites.


    Day 1. Dickinson, North Dakota to Watford City
    Real World Driving: 4.5 hours
    Dickinson Museum
    Rough Riders Hotel in Medora
    Grassy Butte Post Office
    Cedar Canyon Road Scenic Drive in Theodore Roosevelt National Park
    StoneHome Brewing
    Door 204 Coffee

    Day 2. Watford City, North Dakota to Minot, North Dakota
    Real World Driving: 3.0 hours
    Fort Burford State Historic Site
    BBQ-n-Broncs in Tioga, ND
    Lostwood National Wildlife Refuge (14,469 acres of prairie)
    Norsk Høstfest
    Mouse River Walk

    Day 3. Minot, North Dakota to Bismark, ND.
    Real World Driving: 4.0 hours
    Pride Dairy Ice Cream Parlour
    International Peace Garden
    Geographical Center of North America in Rugby.
    Fort Totten
    Icelandic State Park
    Arrowwood National Wildlife Refuge
    National Buffalo Museum
    North Dakota State Capital Tour
    Lewis & Clark Riverboat Tour
    Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park

    Day 4. Bismark, North Dakota back to Dickinson, North Dakota
    Real Time Driving: 3.0 hours (it is only 98 miles, but lots of stops)
    Salem Sue
    Bur Oak Nature Trail in the Schnell Recreation Area
    Geese in Flight on the Enchanted Highway -- Must stop!

    Wasn't that a fun one!

    -Mark

  9. #9

    Default

    Good readings!

  10. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by DonnaR57 View Post
    These are really cool ideas. It's amazing how many of the places I have been to, but also how many I've missed.

    As for me, my dream vacation is just to be able to take the one that is planned, reservations made a long time ago (including the ones to stay inside Yellowstone NP, which we reserved last July for this coming summer). We are not canceling anything yet. I figure if Yellowstone decides not to open for the summer, they'll let us know and give us our deposit back. (Right now, YNP Lodges are taking reservations for May 22nd and later.)


    Donna
    I hope you get to take your trip! Where in Yellowstone are you staying & how long?

    Last November we made 2+ months of camping reservations for this fall with some close friends. I wouldn't say it's my dream vacation but it covers many locations we haven't been to very often and we have allotted a lot more time at each place.

    Our upcoming trip:

    Days 1-4 Driving 920 miles. We like to take it slow
    Days 5-6 Exploring Dinosaur National Monument
    Days 7-8 Drive 525 miles
    Day 9 Exploring Devil's Tower National Monument
    Day 10 Drive 200 miles
    Days 11-13 Exploring Badlands National Park & area
    Days 14-22 Mt. Rushmore, Crazy Horse, Custer State Park, Jewel & Wind Caves & Deadwood
    Day 23 Drive 210 miles
    Day 24 Scotts Bluff National Monument
    Day 25 Drive 200 miles
    Days 26-29 Explore Rocky Mountain National Park from East side near Estes Park
    Days 30-33 Explore Rocky Mountain National Park from West side
    Day 34 Drive 355 miles ...yeah...I know...a long driving day!
    Days 35-38 Explore Black Dragon Wash, Buckhorn Wash, Rochester Panel, Sego Petroglyphs & Nine mile canyon from Green River, Utah. (All petroglyphs and pictograph areas)
    Day 39 Drive 105 miles
    Day 40-41 Spend time in Torrey, Utah area including Capitol Reef
    Day 42-51 Move into Capitol Reef to camp and our friends head home. We will relax & hike!
    Day 52-54 Drive home the 855 miles

    We are looking forward to this trip but if we don't feel comfortable with how things with Covid-19 are progressing we will cancel even if the National Parks we want to visit are open.

    Utahtea

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