what to do?
We are two people travelling from Portland, Oregon to Boston, MA. We have 9 days in which to do this trip. One of us did Tuscon, AZ to Boston a year ago in 5 days, but it left VERY little time for sightseeing. We have the following spots in mind which we would like to visit - Yellowstone, Mt. Rushmore, Badlands, Chicago, Toronto, Niagara Falls. According to MapQuest, this will take 58 hours of driving. Does this seem ridiculous? Other than time, what changes would you suggest? How can we spend any time at any of these places? Any and all suggestions will be appreciated!
By the most direct route, (and not going to any of your enroute destinations) the mileage is 3100 miles and stopping only for fuel and 3 meals per day the trip would require a minimum of 66 driving hours. That means you still have to drive at least 7.5 hours per day over the course of the nine days. Now, if you want to explore some of those places -- to allow for photo stops and the lower speed limits in national parks a good rule of thumb is to figure an average a top speed of 35 mph in national parks.
To pick up the destinations you have outlined, you should figure an additional 975 miles of zig-zagging and an additional 23 hours (driving and sight-seeing time) to scratch the surface.
If you decide to pull some all-nighters to allow more sightseeing in certain locations, we recommend changing drivers every two to three hours. On one particularily sleep-deprived drive fest I drove from Tucson to Washingtion DC in 40 hours -- not something I would recommend.
Take Niagara and Toronto out of the equation, and you've got yourself an excellent 9 day trip, without having to push it or rush through some of the other areas.
Chicago to Boston can be done in a straight shot in a long last day of the trip.
Good luck and safe driving.