40th Anniversary Trip

Old Feb 7th, 2021, 05:03 PM
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40th Anniversary Trip

My wife and I are planning a 14 day trip out west from north Alabama. We are planning on driving. Our proposed itinerary takes us to Nashville, St. Louis, Kansas City, and Denver via I-24 and 70. From there we’d love to go to Mt Rushmore, Devil’s Tower, Little Bighorn, up to Glacier N.P.(2-3 days),back to Yellowstone (2-3 days), Grand Tetons, I-15 down to Hoover Dam, Grand Canyon, Winslow, AZ and then home via I-40 & 65 South. What do we need to cut out, or how should we travel? We enjoy driving and seeing the sites on our way. But that’s a lot packed into two weeks. We like the journey aspect and not merely the destination. BYW, it’s our 40th anniversary. Looking forward to your input.
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Old Feb 7th, 2021, 05:33 PM
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Welcome to Fodors. You say you want to do this in two weeks?! Near on impossible Just the most direct drive of the loop you list N. Alabama > N. Alabama would take 80 to 85 hours car time. That's without a single stop for gas or food or whatever. So basically with just fast food and gas stops you'd have 10 straight days of 9+ hours driving.

If you want to explore out west -- it would be MUCH better to Fly out to city 1 (PHX, or LAS or SLC or wherever) do a one way car rental to cover the sites/sights, drop the car at city 2 and fly home from there. That is dropping the Tn/Mo/S Dak bits. And even that would be very rushed in 2 weeks.
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Old Feb 8th, 2021, 03:19 AM
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If it is a road trip you want, I would pare down a lot and consider driving to Denver, then heading to Yellowstone and the Tetons, then down to Grand Canyon and back to Nashville. This still means that, even driving 8-10 hours per day you will be spending about half of the trip just driving without stops, but you will see lots of beautiful scenery as well as the two most iconic National parks IMHO.

Your original plan would leave you very little time to see the other sites and there are lots of places where you might want to spend a day visiting other sites both on the way out and on the way back.

Decide what is most important for YOU to see, get an old fashioned paper map and stick pins in then go to one of the mapping sites and plan the route. Then look for lodging in or near the National Parks and decide which direction to do the loop. You might want two or three different places in Yellowstone as it is so large and driving in the park in summer is slow, some mapping programs will not let you drive through right now because most of the roads in the park are closed.

Have a great trip.
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Old Feb 8th, 2021, 06:54 AM
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Been to all of those in the past 20 years (even Tuscaloosa for a night). This was done on many trips of a week to 10 days. I agree with janisj you need a lot less sites to visit. I would choose between the northern section ((Mt. Rushmore, Devils Tower, Glacier and Yellowstone) OR Las Vegas, Hoover Dam, South Rim of the Grand Canyon and Winslow returning to Las Vegas and flying home. For the northern trip fly to MSP or SLC.
You live close enough to TN, MO and Kansas to make those on a road trip from home at some later date. Since you mentioned Winslow, yes there is a flat bed Ford on "the corner" along with 2 statues of Glen Frey. It is worth maybe an hour. There is a good little restaurant in an old bank building across the street.
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Old Feb 9th, 2021, 10:48 AM
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Boulder is nicer

Boulder is nicer than Denver!
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Old Feb 9th, 2021, 11:23 AM
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the Malloy has it. Get the map. stick pins in it and connect the dots. And his/her itinerary is a good one.
You canNOT see MT Rushmore and the Grand Canyon!! Or Grand Canyon and Glacier. The American West is a BIG place!! And you do want to SEE it not just drive by.






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Old Feb 10th, 2021, 04:36 AM
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If you do choose the route with Keystone I would certainly find time to go to Custer State Park and the Badlands. Those have been two of my favorite places to visit and are not near as busy as many other tourist places. In fact the Blue Bell Lodge Chuckwagon Ride/Dinner ( in Custer State Park) has been the highlight of our travel for the last many years. It was an absolutely wonderful experience. You could add in the Crazy Horse Monument and have a very nice trip.
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Old Mar 23rd, 2021, 08:16 PM
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Lots of good advice. Agree you can't do all of that in a month much less 2 weeks. Good luck with planning a fabulous anniversary trip
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