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  1. #1

    Default Michigan to California zigzagging across a number of states

    Hi
    Iím planning a summer trip for 2021, hoping we might be allowed to visit your wonderful country again by then. You have been very helpful in the past can I gauge your opinion on my bones of an itinerary.

    Michigan-California itinerary

    Day 1
    Arrive Detroit (stay in Detroit 2 nights)

    Day 2
    Visit Motown museum, Henry Ford museum and Greenfield village/drive a model t Ford. (Accommodation as per day 1)

    Day 3
    Drive Detroit to Luddington using I96W fastest route. (Approx 250 miles 3hours 45 mins). Stay in Luddington.

    Day 4
    Drive Luddington to sleeping bear dunes np via scenic drive M22 ( 82 miles under 2 hours) and when in the NP drive the 30 minute circuit known as pierce stocking scenic drive. Watch the dune climbers and stop at various lookouts be sure to stop at #9 and park for a short walk through to the best views of Lake Michigan. After enjoying the dunes drive on to traverse city (30 miles 45 minutes). Perhaps stop at leelanau cellars for a lakefront winery and pick up some good value wines. Stay the night at traverse city?? Expensive?? Alternatives?
    Eat cherry pie, the region is famous for its cherry orchards

    Day 5
    Drive from traverse city onto petoskey and then through tunnel of trees (m119) then onto mackinaw city. (122 miles 2 1/2 hours).

    Day 6
    Park car and catch ferry over to Mackinac island and stay the night.

    Day 7
    Ferry back from island. Drive upper peninsula of Michigan round to escanaba on US2 (150 miles 2 hours 40mins).
    Pit stop for the night.

    Day 8
    Escanaba to Greenbay , stop at kitch -iti-kipi spring, then possibly onto door county via US2W (no avoiding tolls?) 257 miles 5 hours.
    Pit stop over night.

    Day 9
    Greenbay to dells of Wisconsin ( 130 miles 3 hours) take a 2 hour boat tour of the upper dells / duck tour. Stay the night in Wisconsin dells.

    Day 10
    Drive on to la crosse (90 miles 2 hours) Cross the river on the bridge for US 14 into downtown LaCrosse. See the International Friendship Gardens along the river and the Shrine of Guadalupe.
    Pick up the great river road to maiden rock bluff. (90 miles 2 hours) (land marks on the route include from la crosse enjoying the scenery along US 61. Criss criss fom Wisconsin side to Minnesota side of river, Winona MN, Cross to the Wisconsin side of the river. Pull out at Maiden Rock. Eat at Nelson Creamery, See the National Eagle Center in Wabasha. Cross at Wabasha, See Buena Vista Park in Alma, WI)

    Drive on to redwing, stay the night in this area.

    Day 11
    Drive into St. Paul and Minneapolis Minnesota (60 miles 90 minutes). Explore Minneapolis and St. Paulís. Catch up day stay in Minneapolis

    Day 12
    Drive to clear lake - buddy holly crash site and surf ballroom. (132 miles 2 hours on I 35)
    Then continue on to Des Moines (115 miles 1 hour 45mins)
    Stay in Des Moines area.

    Day 13
    Leave Des Moines and drive to Omaha and onto Lincoln (200 miles 3 hours)
    Stay in Lincoln area

    Day 14
    Drive from Lincoln stop at the original pony express station and museum (Gothenburg) and then at buffalo bills ranch. (232 miles 3 hours 35) Stay in the area.

    Day 15
    Buffalo bill ranch to chimney rock and onto scottsbluff 178 miles 3 hours.

    Hopefully the visitor center at Scotts Bluff NM will be open--if so, go there first and see the excellent video presentation of that journey along the Oregon Trail. Then drive up to the top of the bluff. When you see that panoramic view, you can really visualize the three different trails converging on this spot. You will also understand why some of the folks decided to stop there, and really appreciate what it took for the others to push onward. And seeing the marks still there from the wagon trains is fantastic.

    Day 16
    From Scotts bluff get on scenic highway 385 and head to the black hills of SD
    Custer state park.
    Take the iron mountain road (US16a) a twist and turning road of loops that will give you a great approach to Mount Rushmore. 220 miles 3 1/2 hours.
    Drive on to crazy horse monument 15 miles 30 minutes.
    Stay at keystone for 2 nights.

    Day 17
    Visit badlands NP (drive the scenic road sd240)
    Visit waldrug store (a tourist trap shopping experience that shouldnít be missed)
    Second night at keystone

    Day 18 .
    Leave keystone drive on to deadwood (cemetery with calamity Jane and wild bill hicock graves, worth a pit stop? (1 hour 45 miles)
    Drive onto Medora North Dakota 3 1/2 hours 220 miles.
    Visit Theodore Roosevelt NP.
    Consider staying at rough riders hotel where Theodore Roosevelt stayed.
    Make sure you go to the medora musical
    Stay in medora 2 nights

    Day 19
    Flexible day stay in medora. Visit maah Daah hey trail (hike/horseback)

    Day 20
    Drive from medora to little Bighorn Battlefield 270 miles 4 hours
    then onto billings Montana. 60 miles 1 hour
    Then drive on to Stay the night in red lodge (62 miles 1hour)

    Day 21
    From red lodge Take Beartooth Highway to the Intersection of Chief Joseph Scenic Highway and then follow this to Cody. 113 miles 2 1/2 hours
    Stay at Cody for 2 nights

    Day 22
    Flexible day at Cody. Buffalo bill centre, old trail town, Visit rodeo.

    Day 23
    Drive From Cody to east entrance of Yellowstone and plan on 2 days close to Old faithful.

    Day 24
    Second night in Yellowstone near old faithful.

    Day 25
    Move to canyon accommodation for 2 nights in the park. And visit mammoth hot springs.

    Day 26
    Second night in canyon village accommodation

    Day 27
    Drive to grand teton. Aim to stay 2 nights in the park. Visit Jackson and Jackson hole. Snake river float trip. Rodeos on Wednesday and Saturdays?

    Day 28
    Second night in grand teton.

    Day 29
    Drive to the Shoshone falls and then on to the sawtooth scenic byway up to Stanley. Pit stop over night at Stanley.

    Day 30
    Drive from Stanley Idaho and cross over border to Missoula Montana. 5 hours 250 miles. Stay overnight.

    Day 31
    Drive to Glacier NP (travel the going to the sun road). 180 miles 4 hours.
    Stay 2 nights

    Day 32
    Second night in Glacier NP.

    Day 33
    Drive from Glacier NP Montana to Coeur díAlene Idaho 250 miles 4 hours.
    Stay the night

    Day 34
    Drive from coeur díAlene to Washington state 311 miles 4 hours 45 mins.
    Stay in Seattle

    Day 35
    Flexible day In Washington state - visit pike market Seattle needle

    Day 36
    Drive from Seattle to Portland Oregon 200 miles 4 hours
    Stay two nights? Food trucks

    Day 37
    Second night in Portland Oregon

    Day 38
    Leave Portland and Pick up the highway 101 Pacific highway drive south to Florence. (Stop and see the sea lion caves.) 160 miles 3 hours 30.
    Stay in Florence.

    Day 39
    Drive from Florence Oregon onto California. Crescent city is 180 miles 3 hours 42.
    Or carry on to redwood national park and find somewhere to stay.

    Day 40
    Drive to Mendocino
    Stay the night.

    Day 41
    Mendocino to san Francisco 150 miles 3 hours
    3 nights in San Francisco

    Day 42
    San Francisco

    Day 43
    San Francisco

    Day 44
    Flight to florida or uk.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,985

    Default Wow!

    While you usually won't be able to cover distances in the time stated by computer-based mapping routines, I don't see any obvious problems with your itinerary or timing. Indeed, it looks like one of my 'Fantasy RoadTrips' and I wouldn't mind doing something very similar myself. Actually I have driven much of it at one time or another and can certainly offer a few tips on other sites you might want to include when and where you have the time. But what those suggestions would be would be up to you. Where do you think you need suggestions? What kinds of attractions are you looking to add? Again, I don't think you need to change a thing. You've done an amazing job! But I will offer a hint or two if you want.

    AZBuck

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    5,531

    Default

    Drive from medora to little Bighorn Battlefield 270 miles 4 hours
    then onto billings Montana. 60 miles 1 hour
    Then drive on to Stay the night in red lodge (62 miles 1hour)
    Between Medora and Little Bighorn, there's a "quick stop" that you might want to make just off I-94. It's Pompey's Pillar. It is a known place where Lewis & Clark, major explorers of the western USA back in the early 1800s, stopped. It's named for Sacajawea's young baby boy.

    Give yourself plenty of time for Little Bighorn to absorb the history there. We spent a couple of hours and wish we could have devoted another hour or two!

    As AZBuck says, you're obviously looking at the travel times given to you by computer-based mapping systems. While the 1-hr from Little Bighorn to Billings is about right, and so is the stint from Billings to Red Lodge, bear in mind that anything can quickly change that.

    Day 36
    Drive from Seattle to Portland Oregon 200 miles 4 hours
    Stay two nights? Food trucks
    Food trucks won't keep you that busy, but you may want to drive along the Columbia River, which quickly becomes the Columbia Gorge, at least as far as Multnomah Falls. There are a number of sights along the River!

    Day 38
    Leave Portland and Pick up the highway 101 Pacific highway drive south to Florence. (Stop and see the sea lion caves.) 160 miles 3 hours 30.
    Stay in Florence.

    Day 39
    Drive from Florence Oregon onto California. Crescent city is 180 miles 3 hours 42.
    Or carry on to redwood national park and find somewhere to stay.

    Day 40
    Drive to Mendocino
    Stay the night.

    Day 41
    Mendocino to san Francisco 150 miles 3 hours
    3 nights in San Francisco
    Bear in mind that the traffic will be slower along US 101, and for good reason - the section you've chosen is beautiful.

    There are some cabins in/around Redwood National Park and the California state parks that surround it, but you could also stay as far north as Crescent City, or as far south as McKinleyville. I don't have any recommendations, though, as I haven't been up that far north in awhile and I was camping in a tent at the time.


    Donna

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,991

    Default

    Actually Mendocino to SF uses CA-1, not US-101. It's going to take a lot longer than 3 hours. Make sure you stop at the Point Arena Lighthouse.

    Note that traveling southbound, there's a toll to cross the Golden Gate Bridge. It's all electronic with a few options to pay.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,671

    Default

    Day 7
    Ferry back from island. Drive upper peninsula of Michigan round to escanaba on US2 (150 miles 2 hours 40mins).
    Pit stop for the night.

    Day 8
    Escanaba to Greenbay , stop at kitch -iti-kipi spring, then possibly onto door county via US2W (no avoiding tolls?) 257 miles 5 hours.
    Pit stop over night.
    US-2 doesn't go to Door County. Also, I can't think of any tolls in this area (or anywhere is Wisconsin actually.) The only thing I could think you're talking about would be the ferry, if you decided to go all the way to Washington Island? That said, if you're starting from Escanaba and need to get back to Green Bay that day, I'd think Washington Island would be too far anyway. There's plenty to do in a day in Door Co without continuing out to the islands.

    That said, I will offer an alternative here. Rather than following Lake Michigan from Mackinaw to Green Bay, I'd look at going up to Lake Superior and follow that from Sault Ste Marie, to Whitefish Point and Pictured Rocks. From there, you could work your way back down towards the Dells. Or you could even keep heading along the lake, to the Porcupine Mountains, maybe even the Apostle Islands and Duluth before heading down to Minneapolis - you could even continue down the Mississppi to LaCrosse from there before turning west again to Iowa. But that could just be my love of the UP and Lake Superior talking....

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    11,548

    Default A wonderful trip !

    As Buck said, great job with the planning and what an awesome trip !!

    Day 28
    Second night in grand teton.

    Day 29
    Drive to the Shoshone falls and then on to the sawtooth scenic byway up to Stanley. Pit stop over night at Stanley.
    Day 29 is doable but would be quite a long day with the detour to Shoshone Falls. You could consider leaving Teton during the afternoon and making your way to Idaho Falls/Pocatello. While in the Tetons a visit to Mormon row is worth it imo.

    Day 30
    Drive from Stanley Idaho and cross over border to Missoula Montana. 5 hours 250 miles. Stay overnight.
    Just north of Missoula is the National Bison range. You can drive the loop around the park but it is slow going and will take a couple of hours.


    Day 36
    Drive from Seattle to Portland Oregon 200 miles 4 hours
    Stay two nights? Food trucks
    Mt St Helens is a nice detour between these two City's. Another vote for the Columbia river Gorge.

    Day 39
    Drive from Florence Oregon onto California. Crescent city is 180 miles 3 hours 42.
    Or carry on to redwood national park and find somewhere to stay.
    It could pay to get a bit further south. There are many wonderful things to do along the California coast and a few of our highlights were, Newton B Dury scenic byway in Prarie creek redwoods SP. A walk around Lady Bird Johson Grove near Orick. The town of Ferndale. The Avenue of Giants in Humboldt Redwoods SP. The Marin headlands just before Golden gate bridge. Great views of the bridge, Alcatraz and SF from Conzelman road.

  7. #7

    Default

    Thanks Everyone. I have incorporated a number of your suggestions and made a note of the suggested things to see and do especially Columbia river and the places along the route from Portland to sanfrancisco. We love seeing wildlife, and enjoying nature, we also love food and enjoying the local cuisine and we like to check out any interesting exhibits on history and music. We might like to stay on a ranch and enjoy some chuck wagon dining for instance. So if there are any attractions that come to mind do let us know and AZ a buck please do share any of your hints on any topic. As always much appreciated.

  8. Default

    You cannot do Motown, Henry Ford and Greenfield Village in a day! It will be difficult to see both Henry Ford and Greenfield Village in one day! They each deserve a day. They are huge!

    The Henry Ford is mammoth, as is the village. They both close at 5pm! Get there when they open and head for the Village. If you arrive later on a busy day, finding a parking place, walking to the entrance, and standing in line for tickets could take an hour. Make sure to purchase the additional Rides Tickets or you won’t be able to ride the train, bus, carriages or Model T. Head for the Model T cars first. The lines can be long. If you want a tour of the Ford Assembly Plant, that is still another admission and will take several more hours. Tickets to the IMAX theatre are also an additional charge.

    If you decide to spend two days, consider buying a season pass. Last time I checked, it cost less than two separate days and offered free parking and other discounts.

    The Motown Museum? I went once and felt it was a waste of time and money. To each his own.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,985

    Default Wildlife and Nature Away from the Madding Crowds

    The US has an extensive National Wildlife Refuge System that you can make use of anywhere and everywhere along your journey. If you are really interested in seeing wildlife in a tranquil setting, these will suit you much better than the sometimes tourist-clogged national parks. These are almost universally free, and I only say 'almost' because I haven't visited them all. And while we're on the topic of costs, since you're planning on visiting a number of national parks, be sure to get an annual pass at the first one you come to.

    The other great outdoor, under-utilized natural resource that the US has to offer travelers is the land controlled by the US Forest Service. While these sites offer camping as often as not, they usually don't have much else in the way of facilities so again they're a great way to experience nature away from the crowds.

    Although technically they fall under the US National Park System, National Recreation Areas tend to get overlooked. So again, fewer tourists! Two of the best of them are on or near your proposed route so you may want to look into them: Lake Chelan and Rattlesnake.

    Finally, there are the lands under the care of the Bureau of Land Management. These are all in the western United States and have little to any 'improvements', but there's one near us and it's our 'Go To' destination when we just want to get out of town and back into nature. These, too, are worth looking into.

    AZBuck

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