Family X-Country Road Trip

Old May 29th, 2007, 04:49 PM
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Family X-Country Road Trip

Hi - I'm new to any forums but have enjoyed reading the posts here on Fodors. Our family of six is taking a road trip from the east coast to the west coast and back. We have our itinerary planned - all but the section from San Francisco, CA to Jackson Hole, WY. Could anyone tell me if it's worth driving straight through (mapquest says about 14 hours) vs. stopping somewhere along the way? We're not too interested in Reno or Salt Lake City but maybe somewhere for hot springs? Or should we take the 14 hour plunge and have more time in the Tetons? Any information would be appreciated. Thanks!
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Old May 29th, 2007, 06:56 PM
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In my opinion, there's no reason to force a 14-hour driving day upon yourselves during a long roadtrip, especially since the last part is non-Interstate and pretty mountainous.

Stop in Idaho Falls or before, and arrive next morning instead.
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Old May 29th, 2007, 09:42 PM
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That 14 hour plunge means you're going to be driving 75 mph for all of the Interstate driving. It also does NOT allow for gas, pit or eatting stops. The last part of the route will be mountain driving...at the end of a LONG HARD day. I highly recommend stopping at Twin Falls and not kill yourselves or the 5 other passangers.

The drive from Twin Falls to Jackson is more on the scenic side as you follow the Snake River.

Utahtea
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Old May 30th, 2007, 05:32 AM
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Thanks so much - it seems to be a different drive than our treck through Kansas. =) So ... should we stop in Elko, Twin Falls, or somewhere else? Any ideas??? Thanks again!
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Old May 30th, 2007, 06:41 AM
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Definitely not like your drive through Kansas. I'd second Twin Falls. That puts you more than half way and should make for an earlier arrival in Jackson. It's been a long time since I've been to Elko, but my recollection is that I'd much rather stay in Twin Falls than Elko.
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Old May 30th, 2007, 07:27 AM
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Traveling though Nevada will be fast, so I'd shoot for either Elko, NV (510 miles) Wells, NV (560 miles) or Twin Falls, Idaho (675 miles), but wouldn't push it any farther.

Take in to consideration that you might hit traffic leaving San Francisco and again in Sacarmento..depending on what day and time you leave.

Utahtea
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Old May 30th, 2007, 12:35 PM
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Thanks so much! I'll check hotels in all three areas. One more question if you are familiar with the area ... Another longer day of our journey is from Durango, CO to Tropic, Ut. (Bryce) We'd like to drive it in one day just stopping by Mesa Verde, Four Corners, and Monument Valley. Not intending to tour since we have many other options over the course of 30 days and can't see everything - just opting to see them, take photos and be on our way. Any thoughts on that? Thanks again! kawg
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Old May 30th, 2007, 12:43 PM
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Four Corners can be a 5 minute stop and you are driving through Monument Valley, but you do need to plan to spend some time in Mesa Verde. It's not just a quick "drive by" kind of place. And, it happens to be my favorite NP so I think it deserves as much time as you can spend there.
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Old May 30th, 2007, 01:15 PM
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Thanks everyone - this is so helpful.

Starrsville.. if we only have a short time there can you recommend what we should do in just a few short hours?
Thanks again!
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Old May 30th, 2007, 01:48 PM
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We just got back from Mesa Verde and Arches National Parks. Definitely do one of the ranger-guided tours; Mr. Pickle and the kids did Balcony House, and I went with them on the Cliff Palace tour.

Keep in mind that it takes a while to drive from the entrance to the Far View visitor center, where you buy tickets for those tours. You can tour the Spruce Tree House up on Chapin Mesa on your own if you can't do one of the other tours.

When are you traveling? If it's this summer, I recommend getting to the visitor center when it opens at 8:00 a.m., and getting your tickets for as early as possible so you can beat the heat.

Lee Ann
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Old May 30th, 2007, 02:43 PM
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Durango to Tropic without stops is 417 miles and none of it is on interstate roads. Add 40 pretty slow driving miles if you do Mesa Verde and another 50 miles if you do Monument Valley. That's a total of 510 miles so are looking at 12 hours of just driving. That is going to be one long day!

Mesa Verde can not be seen from the road, so if you don't have time to get out and look at the view points, I'd skip it. Monument Valley can be seen from the highway.

You will also be driving right by Glen Canyon National Recreational Area (beautiful Lake Powell)

You sure you can't add one more day to your trip?

Utahtea
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Old May 30th, 2007, 05:03 PM
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We'll be back down to the Lake Powell/Page area after Bryce on our way to the Grand Canyon. So we'll see slot canyons and a number of other things in AZ. The Bryce trip was a cut up to UT before the AZ canyons... so I think we might need to miss Mesa Verde and put that on the "next time" list. We just can't fit everything in ... nor too many of these long travel days or we'll be to tired to enjoy it. =)
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Old May 30th, 2007, 05:24 PM
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Don't skip my favorite NP!
Find room somewhere!
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Old May 30th, 2007, 10:51 PM
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Out of pure curiosity, I'd love to know the age range of the 6 family members and the trip itinerary.

Just so I'm clear, Mesa Verde is worth seeing, but if you go, make sure you have some time to explore.

Utahtea
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