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Need help planning a 15 day road trip from San Francisco and back

Need help planning a 15 day road trip from San Francisco and back

Old Dec 30th, 2014, 11:17 AM
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Need help planning a 15 day road trip from San Francisco and back

A good friend is visiting me from London in early April and we want to see and experience America on the road. As we are not bringing our spouses or kids along, would like to rough it out. I am looking for help planning the trip. I want to skip Vegas and Grand Canyon Westend as we did that a couple of years ago. Yellowstone, Mt Rushmore and New Orleans are at the top of the wish list to cover on this trip. All suggestions and rout plans will be highly appreciated. Thanks.
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Old Dec 30th, 2014, 11:54 AM
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Distance too great for 15 days. Stay north, keeping in mind weather will be a factor, or south, not both. South will be warmer, a good thing.
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Old Dec 30th, 2014, 01:01 PM
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What about the Highway 1 drive with a few days in Yosemite if you can get reservations.
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Old Dec 30th, 2014, 01:02 PM
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The majority of Yellowstone National Park will be closed for snow removal in early April so I would not recommend trying to go there. Mt. Rushmore is a very long 2800 mile drive just to spend a couple of hours and not being able to do Yellowstone.

New Orleans would be a 4,500 mile round trip from San Francisco. You could stop at the S. Rim of the Grand Canyon, Meteor Crater, Petrified Forest - Painted Desert National Parks, some of the old Route 66 and a few other not so well known national monuments on the way. You could add Carlsbad Caverns National Park. Or you might consider flying. I've never spent much time in New Orleans so can't advise there.

Yosemite is beautiful in the spring with the waterfalls. I've worn shorts on hikes in April and we've had snow in May...so weather will be unpredictable. Tioga Pass will be closed so you won't be able to travel that route over that mountain pass.

There are the national parks in Utah like Zion, Bryce which is high elevation and will have snow, but it's beautiful. Scenic Highway 12, Capitol Reef National Park and it might be pushing it to make it to Moab, Utah and see Arches and Canyonlands National Parks. Just make sure you don't go to Moab over the Easter jeep safari 2015 week unless you have reservations and you love crowds!

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Old Dec 30th, 2014, 01:23 PM
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Probably skip Mt. Rushmore. Here is how I would spend a 15 day USA Rail Pass ($459 each). http://tickets.amtrak.com/itd/amtrak/selectpass
Bus 4790 from SF Ferry Building 7:40AM 4/1 Arrives about 1:10 PM in SLO. 790 Surfliner SLO to LAX arriving about 7:10PM.
Train #2 Sunset Ltd. leaves LAX @ 10PM arrives in New Orleans 45-46 hours later 9:40PM CT 4/3 in New Orleans.
Spend a day and a half in New Orleans getting on the "City of New Orleans" Mon 4/6 at 1:45PM. You arrive in Chicago at 9AM 4/7.
Spend 4-5 hours in Chicago (maybe Willis Tower) before boarding the California Zephyr 4/7 leaving @2PM arriving in Denver about 7:15AM on April 8. Rent a car for 5 days to drive to and from Yellowstone.
Board the CZ again on Monday 4/13 leaving Denver at 8:05AM.
You will arrive on the CZ at Emeryville about 4:10PM on 4/14 with an Amtrak bus over to the Ferry Building arriving shortly after 5PM.
By my count that is 7 "segments". I have spent many nights sleeping in Amtrak coach seats.
You lodging costs would be 2 nights in New Orleans and 5 nights on the Yellowstone loop from Denver.
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Old Dec 30th, 2014, 01:48 PM
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Thank you MmePerdu, jamie99, Utahtea and Tomfuller for all your replies to my post for help. From your responses it looks like I am better off sticking to south. I will seriously consider the rail trip and thanks for the detailed itinerary. USA Rail trip is on my bucket list also
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Old Dec 30th, 2014, 07:17 PM
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Be prepared for snow in Yellowstone in April. On two occasions snow prevented us from visiting Yellowstone in June, and I will risk a tongue-lashing from other contributors to say that it may not be wise to use your precious time to drive all the way to SD to look at a big statue.

Yosemite NP, Death Valley NP, Zion NP, Bryce NP, Sedona AZ, Moab UT, and western Colorado are a few places you might consider if you haven't been to them previously.

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Old Dec 31st, 2014, 08:22 AM
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If you decide to travel by train, you'll need to be somewhat flexible to accommodate delays. You can check the on-time performance record for long-haul train routes:

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Old Jan 2nd, 2015, 08:23 AM
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Thank you happytrailstoyou and Jean. Good suggestions from both of you. I will consider them in to my planning. Regards.
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