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  1. #1
    margot23 Guest

    Default San Francisco to Washington DC


    I'm traveling from San Francisco to DC at the end of October and then from DC to San Francisco at the end of December/early January. Any advice? Places I need to see? Suggestions? I was thinking US-50 to DC and US-80 (maybe Route 66??) on the way back.

    Thanks for your time!


  2. Default

    Do you mean I-80, or old US80 (a two-lane road)? US80 has been decomissioned as a complete transcontinental route, so only limited segments of it remain.

    I'd do US50 across Nevada, working into I-70 across Utah and Colorado, then on east. The return trip, if you want to do I-40 and old 66, then use I-81 down into Tennessee and pick up I-40 west from there. This is a beautiful route, but adds a couple hundred miles to the journey over the shortest, most direct routes.

    There are great National Parks and scenery all along each route, and other great attractions as well. What are you most interested in? Bob

  3. #3


    Weather dependent, you may want to substitute Skyline Drive and The Blue Ridge Parkway for I-81 (which runs almost parallel to these roads); in early fall, I would say definitely, but I would imagine it could be treacherous in poor weather.

    I also was going to recommend I-40 West, taking you through Memphis TN. You would pick up Route 66 in Oklahoma City. That's going to go quite a bit farther South than your destination of SF, however.

  4. #4
    margot23 Guest


    thanks for the replies--I've been swamped trying to tie up loose enda at work. I'm interested in seeing anything worthwhile--sadly, my travels abroad are much more extensive than my travels here, and my parents were more the sit-on-the-beach type for vacations, so I haven't been to many national parks. We'll be bringing a tent with us to alternate between camping and motels.

    What national parks are along the way? I've heard Utah is beautiful, and I'd like to see the salt lake, but other than that, I have NO idea which way to go..


  5. #5
    margot23 Guest


    to be a bit more specific, I'm intersted in natural wonders, scenic views and all together anything interesting--my travels in the US have been restricted to the coasts...if that gives you an idea of what i might want to see

  6. Default For starters...

    Lake Tahoe, Zion National Park, Bryce National Park, then Capital Reef, before picking up I-70 into Colorado. If time permits, you could include some or all of Arches, Canyonlands, Natural Bridges and Monument Valley (in Utah), and then Mesa Verde in Colorado (and perhaps Black Canyon NP), before picking up I-70 again in that state.

    In Kansas City, check out Harry Truman's home, and the origin sites of the Oregon Trail (Independence and Westport). Some of the buildings from those days can be seen today -- and the Trail can be traced through the city if you know where to look.

    If you follow the Missouri River from Jefferson City into Defiance and St Charles, you'll pass some great little wineries in Missouri. In St Louis, be sure to visit the Westward Expansion Museum and the Gateway Arch. Spring for the ride to the top -- it's worth the ticket. Also, St Louis has some rather unique museums -- check out a short list here.

    In Pennsylvania, you'd pass not too far from Gettysburg Battlefield -- it's a very moving place
    Returning on I-40, there's numerous Civil War sites in the Shenandoah Valley , Smoky Mountains NP, a beautiful drive across Tennessee, and Memphis! Stop and see Graceland? Eat barbecue? Maybe listen to some Blues?

    In Arkansas, at the very least, visit Hot Springs for a nice soak. Another idea is to stop at the Fort Smith National Historic Site and learn about Fort Smith's role in the settling of the Indian Nations, the Trail of Tears and the old federal court (and Judge Isaac Parker).

    On west, Oklahoma has great scenery, cowboy museums, and the Oklahoma City Memorial. The western part of the state features the Black Kettle Battlefield on the Washita River or the Black Kettle Museum. Turn north from Sayre on US283.

    In New Mexico, visit Lincoln County for the Lincoln County War sites and Billy the Kid, or a little farther afield, White Sands Natl Monument...or make a stop in the Taos/Santa Fe area. Into Arizona, see the Petrified Forest, Hubbell Trading Post, Canyon de Chelly, Sedona and Oak Creek Canyon, and Grand Canyon. Other main attractions are Meteor Crater, Sunset Crater, Wupatki (the last two near Flagstaff). Take your pick!

    From there, be sure to pay a visit to Las Vegas and take in a show before heading back through Death Valley NP on your way toward San Francisco.

    Trip of a lifetime, but with luck, not your last!

  7. #7
    margot23 Guest


    Thanks so much for the advice! I want to arrive in DC 6 days after I leave San Francisco. I'm trying to focus on the west-east leg of the journey before I get into the east-west leg (which will be sometime in January). So...what road do I take to get to I-70 in Colorado...and to these places: Arches, Canyonlands, Natural Bridges and Monument Valley (in Utah), and then Mesa Verde in Colorado (and perhaps Black Canyon NP)?

    Thanks again for all your help!

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