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  1. #1

    Default Lodi, CA-Mille Lacs Lake, MN and everything in between

    hey there,

    I was lookin for some advice on a roadtrip I'm planning for next spring or summer. I'm looking to do a few days of fishing in Minnesota and will be driving from Lodi, CA (which is just south of Sacramento). On the way to Minnesota I'm planning to take a very direct route and try to make it in 2 days. There is gonna be at least 2 people, possibly a third to break up driving duties. The way back we are gonna go way off the beaten path and try to see as many sites as we can.
    Here is how I have this:
    Sat: Leaving lodi, Ca at 3 am and sleeping in Cheyenne, WY

    Sun: The next morning I have us leaving Cheyenne and arriving in Minneapolis via Des Moines, IA that night.

    Mon: Fish

    Tue: Fish

    Wed: Fish

    Thurs: Leave Onamia, MN go to Fargo, ND. From there I want to see Theodore Roosevelt National Park in Medora, ND.
    Not sure how much time I should spend at this park. At this point I have us leaving Medora that day and sleeping in Rapid City, SD.

    Fri: Want to visit Mount Rushmore and Badlands NP

    Sat:drive to denver (is Rocky Mountain NP woth checkin out?) Do fishing along I-70

    Sunday: fish along I-70, stay in Grand Junction

    Monday: Leave Grand Junction early and go back to Lodi via Highway 50

    I might try to add 1-2 more days on to this. I'd also like to check out Great Basin National Park on the way home.
    Just need to know how long I should allow myself to visit each of the parks -- TR, Badlands, Rushmore, Rocky Mountain, Great Basin. Also is there anything I'm missing along these routes? And can this trip be done at this pace? Seems kind of breakneck.


  2. #2


    Quote Originally Posted by packman
    is Rocky Mountain NP woth checkin out?
    Obviously it depends on your tastes but in my opinion Rocky Mtn NP is much more interesting then Mt Rushmore! Great Basin NP is difficult to visit quickly, it's not very developed and is huge. You really have to hike and camp to appreciate it properly, the Lehmann Caves near Baker, NV just off US50, are worth visiting.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default a big challenge

    I'd certainly say this is a breakneck speed trip. You're basically planning back to back 15 hour days on the road to cover the 2000 mile trip to Minnesota. It can be done, but it's not easy and few people would call it fun.

    The one other thing that really sticks out as being challenging, if not impossible, is your trip to T.R.N.P. Its hard to say how much time you should spend there, but right now, you haven't given yourself any time. Its going to take you at least 7 hours to get from Brainerd to western N.D., not to mention from the park its another couple hours back down to Rapid City. Think of it this way, the distance you're looking to cover would be similar to driving from Sacramento to "see" San Diego, and then heading back to L.A. on the same day.

    I think you could do pretty much everything else, but you'll still have to be making good time. Its easy to forget how far apart things are in the plains and the west, and even things that are relatively close together - like Rushmore and the Badlands for example - can still be an hour or more drive away from each other.
    Last edited by Robert Schaller; 11-03-2005 at 11:58 AM.

  4. #4

    Default I figured this would be tough

    Maybe I could get into TRNP that same day. According to mapquest I could leave onamia, MN at 5 am and be at TRNP by roughly 1 pm. Maybe spend 4- hours and drive part of the way to Rapid City that evening since its 5 hours from Medora. Then I could get a good night's sleep and roll into the black hills area mid-mornin the next day, spend the day there and sleep in Rapid City or push a few hours towards Denver that evening, maybe get to Cheyenne or Fort Collins and be close to explore Rocky Mountain National Park that next day. I figure Mt. Rushmore is a quick stop. I've always been intrigued by the Badlands and want to take some time there. Right now I have this trip being done in 10 days...I'm sure I could make it into 12.

    Thanks for the insight.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default common mistake

    Probably the biggest mistake people make when planning an overly ambishous road trip is figuring what time they'll be starting their day. For most people, it ends up being much later than they expect.

    When you think about it, to be on the road by 5am, you'll have to be up by 4 am at the latest to get up, get dressed, pack up your things, check out of your hotel, gas up your car, and grab a quick bite to eat. Throw in a couple of showers, or if you have to tear down a campsite it will take even longer.

    I'm not saying it can't be done, certainly if you are an early riser and determined to do it, it could be done. Just be aware of what you're planning, and be ready to scale back your plans if you decide you've bit off a little more than you can chew.

  6. Default Me, me, me.

    Just be aware of what you're planning, and be ready to scale back your plans if you decide you've bit off a little more than you can chew.
    Yes, that's a lesson I re-learn vacation after vacation! Bob

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