I am not sure if I am allowed to really post something this big and detailed, but better to try than not to try. Some of the areas are desperately in need of some assistance. If it is a little too much, then let me know. To go through this is a lot to ask.
It is a big road that my girlfriend and I will be going on in the summer. We have 48 days and I have budgeted about 45 days so there is a little buffer in case it is needed. The trip would start about mid May and end near the end of June. The “detail” is rough and is up for debate if:
a) it is insane to think we can drive from A to B in a day
b) if going through X would be a better way
c) if we would be wasting our time going “here”
d) Lodging “here” would be tough, so better plan to stop somewhere else
Thanks to all so far who have helped out. The assistance has really uncovered some great additions to the trip.
I was going to try to attach a Streets and Trips file for all to play along, but I think the site only takes pics.
Here is the route (after some tooling around, we will begin in Toronto)
1. Toronto to Niagara Falls – I have been there a hundred times, but it’ll be the first time for my girlfriend. We’ll spend about 5 hours there, then leave for Cleveland.
2. Niagara Falls to Cleveland. Stay in Cleveland overnight.
3. Cleveland to Chicago. Because Chicago is a milestone on the trip, we sort of want to get there fast and enjoy it. We are toying with spending some time in Cleveland, but aren’t sure yet.
Spend 2 nights in Chicago and then leave in the morning.
4. Chicago to Denver -- Taking I88 out and meeting up with I80 for the long haul. We are planning to stop somewhere just passed Lincoln NB for a sleep stop. We hope to get into Denver at around 3pm the next day.
In Denver, we plan on spending 2 nights. Mostly resting and doing some sightseeing of the city. It’s a great city.
Need help here:
5. Denver to Aspen
This portion is up for debate. I am not sure if Aspen is worth the detour. Any comments? We would spend one night in Aspen. Otherwise, we would be going from Denver to The Great Sand Dunes NP.
6. Aspen (or Denver) to Great Sand Dunes NP
I am totally excited about this part. Sand dunes…in the USA. When you live in the east, this is unfathomable. We would spend one night here.
Need help here
7. Great Sand Dunes NP to the Four Corners, then to Monument Valley.
We would stay a night in the monument valley area. I don’t hear a lot about lodging in the area, so if anyone knows if it is cool or not, please let me know.
8. Monument Valley to Moab
Stay the night in Moab and then get up and go to Arches NP (or else just go straight to Arches and camp there).
Stay another night in either Moab or Arches.
9. Arches/Moab to Canyonlands NP
Spend a few hours in the Islands in the sky district, then leave via I70 to SR-24 to Torrey.
10. Canyonlands to Torrey
As mentioned, take the “Scenic Route” and stay in Torrey for one night. Thanks again for the tip on this one!
11. Torry to Bryce
Spend the day in Bryce and camp there. Leave at noon(ish). Hopefully this will be enough time to see the good stuff in Bryce.
12. Bryce to Zion
Down SR 89 to 14 to Kolob road and into Zion. Apparently this will take 3 hours to get to Zion, so we should have the afternoon to see the place. One night in Zion and leave at noon.
Need help here
13. Zion to the Grand Canyon.
This portion is up for debate. My fear is: will I be sick of crazy geological formations? Will they all start to look the same after visiting Arches, Canyonlands, Bryce, Zion? We would be going to the North Rim because I have heard that it is better and has less crowds. We would be probably staying 2 nights (if we can get lodging). The problem is that we would have to go back the same route to go to Vegas which is a drag. The other option would be to go from Zion to Vegas and swing around to the South Rim from Vegas. Hmmm…..if anyone has opinions, it would be greatly appreciated.
A couple of nights in Vegas. I’ll do what I do best: Contribute to the Nevada economy.
15 Vegas to LA.
Looks like the standard issue for this route. Take I15 for the most of it. I would love to go to Death Valley, but just can’t swing it due to time.
Don’t really know what to do in LA besides go see Beverly Hills. It’s a big city, so I am sure that we will find something.
16. LA to Big Sur along SR-1
This is going to be amazing. The pictures I have seen are incredible. We are stopping in Big Sur to break up the drive. I am sure that we will be stopping many times along this route.
16 Big Sur to San Fran
San Fran is awesome, so we will be spending 3 nights there. We could spend 2 weeks there, or if I had a zillion dollars, we could purchase a 500 Square foot basement apartment and live there.
17 San Fran to Napa
Hopefully here, we can do a few toasts to a healthy liver. We can visit wineries, right? I saw that they did in “Sideways”, but that’s Hollywood and sometimes they stretch reality.
17. Napa to Yosemite
Drive SR 120 and make it to Yosemite after a few hours. The place looks amazing. I am just worried about the billions of people being there and it turning into an amusement park. We are budgeting 2 nights here, but may knock it down to 1 if we don’t like it.
18. Yosemite to Lake Tahoe.
Leaving from the east of the park and traveling up SR-395, we venture through Carson City and onto Tahoe. Friends of ours said it is amazing so we will spend 2 nights there.
Need help here:
19. Tahoe to Crater Lake NP
This is a long drive and we will probably have to stop somewhere. Does anyone know a good place to stop along the way?
20. Crater Lake to the Oregon Coast to Portland.
Seeing things like the Smelt Sands Recreation center and the Dean Creek Elk Viewing area (again-- thanks for the tip on these places!). I hope to also see some lighthouses on the way. This is a long day, so we will probably arrive in Portland at night and spend the next day and night in Portland.
21. Portland to Seattle
3 nights in Seattle. It’s one of those cities that you hear about and see on the TV and wonder “if this place had a NHL team, then I would do whatever I could to live here”.
22. Seattle to Glacier NP
From Seattle through to Spokane and finally to Glacier NP. Take the Road to the Sun road. Stay 2 nights, hopefully enjoying some mountainous scenery.
23. Glacier NP to Craters of the moon NM
After some side roads, take SR-93 to I15 down to the Craters of the moon. Stay one night in the area.
24. Craters of the moon to Teton NP.
Mostly just driving through Teton NP up to Yellowstone.
25. Teton to Yellowstone
We won’t be spending a ton of time in Yellowstone. We will spend a few hours hopefully touring a few of the sites. It’ll be one night there too before we get up and head out.
26. Teton to Devil’s Tower!
I asked my girlfriend she would think it’s weird that I was going to bring some mashed potatoes in the car with us when we left Yellowstone. She didn’t get it.
It’s mostly I90 from here on…
27 Devil’s tower to Mount Rushmore.
We are spending a night in Rushmore and maybe a night in the Badlands, we’ll see.
27. From the Badlands all the way to Minnesota.
We may not make it to the Mall of America, but it’ll be close. I hate shopping, but it might be neat to see a place so huge.
From here, we will either go over into Canada and over Lake Huron or else go under through Chicago and back to Toronto. It’ll be the end of the trip, so we’ll probably just see the end and try to get there.
Phew... that's it so far, but like I said...it's up for debate considering there are still 5 months to plan it. It's going to be huge. It's going to be exhausting. Hopefully, most of all, it will be memorable.
Thanks again to everybody who has helped (knowingly or unknowingly) on this trip so far!