seatte-red woods-grnd cayon-mo caverns-indy-ywstone-home late april 21 days
My husband and I are planning a trip from seattle via red woods in northern california to grand canyon (and hopefully see desert flowers blooming), then on to missouri caverns, relatives in indy and michigan and back to yellowstone then home. We have April 24-May 15 to do this. I have already reserved a campsite at one of the redwood state parks for April 24th. What would be the next best route over the sierra's and overnight camping stop on our way to the grand canyon (and desert flowers) given it is still April although almost May?
Thanks for your help!
Over, Under, Sideways. 'Round
Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America forum.
In late April, you can still count on many of the smaller, state highways over the Sierras still being snowbound. They all will be iffy at best. The only route(s) through the mountains that you can count on are I-80 and US-50. Either of these would put a serious kink in your direction of travel. If you want to plan ahead with a certain amount of confidence, then you might want to look at continuing down US-101 from the Redwoods area, then in the Bay Area pick up I-5 south to Bakersfield and use CA-58 to cut over to I-40 for the trip to the Grand Canyon. Bakersfield would be about the half-way point of this route, but would still make for two pretty long days of about 550 miles each. By comparison, the route over the Sierras via I-80 ends up being about 100 miles longer. If you can stay flexible, it might be that one of the smaller passes opens up just in time for your trip, but predicting which one and when is a game of chance at this point. You can check in with Caltrans as the time approaches.
On the other hand, late April is the tail end of wildflower season in the Mojave, so you might want to check on the conditions at the Mojave National Preserve before you head by that way. Sounds like you've got a great trip ahead of you, but three weeks won't leave a lot of time for dawdling anywhere.
Last edited by AZBuck; 01-29-2006 at 11:36 AM.
Route 66 and the Caverns
Pick up 66 in Missouri and drive it as much as possible. It runs right beside I-44, so if you you get waylaid with sightseeing, you can always get on it to make some time.
There are at least four caves and caverns along 66. Of course, the most famous is Meramec Caverns in Stanton. You'll love all the signs advertising it, but I was very disappointed when we visited it as there were no bumper stickers. They might very well have originated the bumper sticker as an advertising ploy.
Outside of Springfield, there are two. There is the Fantastic Cavern which might be one of the only drive-thru ones in the world, and Crystal Cavern. Onondaga is also near 66.
In St. Louis, stop at Ted Drewe's for a concrete (I'll let you figure out what that is) and see the site of the famous Coral Courts Motel along with several other vintage ma and pop motels.
If you have time, take the National Road across Illinois.
We're hoping to do the Redwoods trip this fall. There was an excellent article about it in the American Road Magazine. Hopefully, you'll do a field report to this site.
Keep on Down that Two Lane Cavern. -- RoadDog