Planning to drive to LA in late January from Toronto, Canada. I want to see some sights but its a trip to get there, not a road trip. Any ideas on how long it'll take?
What route to take? Interesting highways that can get me there, but with a little scenery?
4 days, roughly
If you stick to driving, with as few stops as possible, you might make this trip in 4 days, with 3 nights on the road.
Take 403 and 402 to Michigan; I-69 to I-94 and Chicago; I-80 to I-76; I-76 to Denver, I-70 to I-15, and I-15 to Los Angeles. I-80 all the way to I-15 at Salt Lake is faster, but only by a few minutes, and the scenery is better on that section of I-70, and despite the mountains west of Denver, it's usually a better snow route, according to folks who know.
Possible stops include your choice of the Amana Colonies (in Iowa), hot springs at Glenwood Springs, CO, Zion National Park and Las Vegas. If you only do one, make it Zion -- it is as magnificent as any park in the United States!
thanks, that helps
any other thoughts as to good places to stop along the way? i'm excited about desert scenery and the mountains.
Desert scenery and mountains...
Well, you'll see plenty of mountains west of Denver on I-70. For desert scenery, you'll have quite a bit of that in Utah, and all the way from Las Vegas and beyond.
If you want to get out INTO the desert, I recommend Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area -- it is just west of Las Vegas and there are plenty of hiking trails. You can get into "wilderness" scenery without being too far from people or a road! In addition, right "next door" is the <a href = "http://www.meganedwards.com/Vegasland/Spring-Mountain-State-Park.htm">Spring Mountain State Park<a/> which used to be the hang-out of Howard Hughes. If you're interested, I can get you specific directions, etc.
Then, when you tire of the desert, lizards, rocks, etc, you can bop over to Las Vegas and see the Strip! Be sure to check out the fountains at the Bellagio -- they're magnificent!
thanks so much for all your help! this site rules. My next question is: are there any smaller highways along the way that are scenic or interesting but that keep me going in the right direction--so that i can take a break from interstate travel?
I'm assuming that you want to do just a LITTLE bit of a break -- besides, keep in mind there aren't too many highways that are prettier than I-70 across Colorado.
If that's the case (you want just a little bit of two-lane road), then you might leave I-70 just west of Green River Utah, take SR24 south through Capitol Reef National Park to Torrey, then SR12 through Escalante to Bryce and US89 and SR9 to Zion National Park, picking up I-15 again at St George, and that to Las Vegas. Allow as much time as you can spare for this diversion, it's worth it. It's only about 8 hours of driving, but you could easily spend a day at each of Bryce and Zion, and several extra hours sightseeing in Capitol Reef and through the Grand Staircase/Escalante areas along SR12.
My opinion is this is one of the most scenic routes I've ever driven/visited -- and I go back time and again. Bob
Because i'll be spending two months in LA, i won't want to be using winter tires there. As i don't have extra room to take down my summer tires, i think i'll be making the drive in all-season tires.
Therefore, should i go south and take the drive through the southern states to avoid snow? I'm a good winter driver, but i don't imagine its a good idea to go through colorado in January with all season tires.... or is it?
It's a risk
You'd just be betting that the roads would be clear -- and that's a gamble with poor odds, overall. I'd buy a set of chains and take them for insurance. Make sure you practice putting them on (before you go) -- it's no fun to have to learn in the middle of a cold snowy/icy night on the side of a mountain pass (like one guy I know who had to put them on a semi on Rogers Pass, Montana, during a FREAK September storm one nasty night in 1978...). Perhaps you've used them before though. Bob