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Heading West, Any Suggestions?

Old Jan 20th, 2015, 05:12 AM
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Heading West, Any Suggestions?

Hello. I am planning a large road trip this spring. I'm from Wisconsin and I'm heading West. I am going to take about 6 weeks and make a big loop. I plan on mostly camping and a couple of small motels. I'm taking Route 66 for the most part, then up the Pacific Coastline and then through the northern states back to WI. My main destinations are as followed:
St. Louis, Ha Ha Tonka Castle near Camdenton MO, Joplin, Alma AR, Oklahoma City, Amarillo, Tucumcari, Albuquerque, the Petrified Forest, the Painted Desert, the Grand Canyon, Salvation Mt, Los Angeles, up the coast to San Francisco, the Redwood Forest, the Three Capes Loop OR, Astoria, Portland, Multnomah Falls, Mount St. Helens, Olympic National Forest, Forks, Port Angeles, Seattle, Glacier National Park MT, Butte, Billings, Buffalo WY, Deadwood SD, Mt. Rushmore, Fargo ND, Minneapolis and then back home to Wisconsin.
I have the route planned out for the most part but I am open to suggestions. And any suggestions on things to do or see along the way would be much appreciated.
lscott8737 is offline  
Old Jan 20th, 2015, 06:23 AM
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Rt. 66 starts at the intersection of Jackson Blvd and N. Michigan Ave in Chicago. Much of the route I'm familiar with is under I-40. Central Avenue in ABQ is the old 66.
There is a Rt. 66 hostel in the western part of the city.
After you come back to Williams AZ, take the exit at Seligman (se-LIG-man) to go on the old 66 past Grand Canyon Cavern.
You will rejoin I-40 at Kingman.
West of Needles CA, take Exit 115 and go through Amboy on the way to Barstow. Amboy is the model for Radiator Springs in the movie Cars.
There is a Rt. 66 museum in the lower level of the RR station in Barstow. Also take the National Trails highway from Barstow to Victorville. There's another Rt. 66 museum across the street from the RR station in Victorville.
The west end is in Santa Monica.
I'll be back with some more suggestions for OR and WA.
I think it is Olympic National Park you want to visit.
Bring your passport in case you want to take the ferry from Port Angeles to Victoria. You can leave the car in Port Angeles if you just wanted to go as a foot passenger.
tomfuller is offline  
Old Jan 20th, 2015, 07:35 AM
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Thank for your suggestions! I'm definitely going to take the old 66 on the way to Kingman. I'm looking into getting a passport so I can go to Victoria.
lscott8737 is offline  
Old Jan 20th, 2015, 12:55 PM
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Actually, the Route 66 hostel in Albuquerque is downtown, not on the west side.

Sounds like a great trip!

Lee Ann
ElendilPickle is offline  
Old Jan 20th, 2015, 03:36 PM
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West of the train station is what I remembered.
The room DW and I stayed in at the top of the stairs was Pepto Bismol pink. Thge room did have it's own bathroom. I did cook at least one meal in the kitchen.
There is good bus service up and down Central Avenue.
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Old Jan 20th, 2015, 08:28 PM
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In Amarillo is the Big Texan Steak Ranch. Even if you don't take the 72 oz. steak challenge, it's a hoot to go there. It's also on Route 66.

When in Albuquerque, I would suggest you visit Acoma Pueblo, just west of the city. A quirky place to visit in Old Town Albuquerque is the Rattlesnake Museum. There is also a great REI store along I-25.

In Oregon you might try Silver Falls State Park. Very lush and green. Crater Lake is also beautiful, but may be out of your way.

When in South Dakota after visiting Mt. Rushmore (which I found amazing), I hope you can visit Badlands National Park. It is a beautiful landscape and less crowded than many of the other national parks.

Have a great time. I love long road trips. I have gone from Memphis to Salem,OR twice, taking different routes and hitting different sights both times. There is nothing like it.
dmrt is offline  
Old Jan 20th, 2015, 09:56 PM
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1) Route 66 - From Kingman, continue on Route 66 to the historic and restored gold mining town of Oatman. This was the first town bypassed by 66 due to the climb over the mountain. At the time, they had special drivers when wimpy tourists would not drive down that (former) steep slope. See the room in Oatman Hotel where Clark Gable and Carol Lombard honeymooned on March 18, 1939. Feed the wild burrow - buy food at local store.
2) If you are a movie fan of Andy Devine, Kingman's town museum has a special section for him. Near that museum are some historic locomotives - huge!
3) Deadwood - Insure you visit Midnight Star casino. Kevin Costner restored it to the original western era. Very impressive. The tavern where Wild Bill Hickock was murdered is now a store. Alas
4) Astoria - insure you visit the fort where Lewis and Clark spent the winter. They have a very a rare US flag flying of that era.
5) Petrified Forest - Town of Holbrook retains the former Route 66 Teepee hotel with vintage cars parked in front.
6) You will be driving by Winslow, Az. Two fantastic tourist sites:
a) "Standing on the Corner: Murial - click on the 'History' tab:

6) La Posada hotel that is fully restored from the era of railroad travel. Stay there if you can.

7) Amarillo, Tx - suggest dipping south to Lubbock, tx to visit Buddy Holly Museum and his grave site.

enuff for now

RVvagabond is offline  
Old Jan 20th, 2015, 10:28 PM
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Great tips! We are planning simliar trip from Florida to Western stars and back, including Sedona, wine country, and the blues trail. I just added a forum topic for help in finding venues on the road for blues music.
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Old Jan 21st, 2015, 03:31 AM
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Great suggestions! Thank you. I am planning on visiting the Badlands after seeing some pictures. Looks great. I'm also going to Astoria to see where the Goonies was filmed. I'm worried about Montana though with the snow. I would be there in early to mid May and I've heard that a lot of the roads are still closed. Not sure if I should reroute or not.

I'm also looking for good road trip music, if anyone has any suggestions.
lscott8737 is offline  
Old Jan 21st, 2015, 06:48 AM
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If your car doesn't have it, buy an XM satellite receiver and antenna.
In Astoria visit the Astoria Column.
For your northern route, take US 2 all the way from Everett Washington to Williston North Dakota. From Williston take US 85 south to Spearfish to see Mt. Rushmore.
The only road that I'm pretty sure will be closed by snow in MT will be the Going to the Sun road through Glacier NP.
Montana keeps US 2 well plowed through the winter over the Marias Pass. There is a nice monument at the top of the pass with a rest area.
Don't try to find a hotel room in Williston. It is (or was) a booming oil town with few affordable rooms.
tomfuller is offline  
Old Feb 17th, 2015, 09:30 AM
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In California, please don't take I-5 between LA and San Francisco - you'd miss out on some amazing views. I'd take 101 to San Luis Obispo, get a tri tip sandwich at Firestone Grill, and then take Hwy 1 to Monterey. If you have the time and money, stop at Hearst Castle near Cambria. From Monterey, I'd probably take Hwy 101 up to San Francisco, but if you have the time, I think that stretch of Hwy 1 is also nice.

I second the Fort Clatsop recommendation in Astoria.

We drove I-90 to Montana in December and back in December one year and it was pretty clear most of the way because it's a major trucking route - I'd stick to it rather than taking US-2 myself.
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Old Feb 17th, 2015, 09:41 AM
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>In California, please don't take I-5 between LA and San Francisco<

I-5 is almost as mind numbing as I-80's moonscape through Nevada. PCH is much slower, but SO much more scenic!!!
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Old Feb 17th, 2015, 09:44 AM
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Iscott, have you set your March departure date?
Since he mentioned seeing Glacier NP, it has to be US 2 over the Marias Pass. Also check the possibility of seeing Theodore Roosevelt NP on the way back on the northern route.
tomfuller is offline  
Old Feb 17th, 2015, 11:26 AM
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Oh, good call on Glacier requiring US-2, Tom.
margotheangel is offline  
Old Feb 17th, 2015, 01:34 PM
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From Glacier, you could dip south to I-90 either by taking Hwy 93 through the Flathead to Missoula and then I-90 to Butte and then Billings. Or you can dip south to catch I-15 to Great Falls and then work over to Billings. I'm not a huge fan of Hwy 2.

Keep in mind that in mid-May, Going to the Sun will be closed.
kureiff is online now  
Old Feb 17th, 2015, 10:55 PM
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Re: margotheangel

Driving north from LA -

Suggest visiting President Reagan's library.
Very nice, isolated with outstanding views.

Montana - I try to visit historic houses in my travels. In Montana, I recommend Conrad Mansion in the town of Kalispell south of Glacier National Park. Unique about this house is that its owner simply left the home leaving everything (90%) intact. Even receipts for purchase of their furniture/painting from US to Europe that dates those items. When she left, she asked that the city assume responsibility for her home. Idiot city council took three years to agree. Surprised it was not purchased privately. Now the historic society manages this fine treasure of the west.

Montana's historic homes:
Conrad Mansion:


I-5. Not only boring, but massive cattle farms further north stink.
RVvagabond is offline  
Old Feb 18th, 2015, 05:20 AM
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Old Feb 18th, 2015, 06:23 AM
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I don't know why there are these several comments about I-5. You said in your initial post that you were going up the Pacific Coastline. That would be some combination of US 101 and CA 1.
dbdurand is offline  
Old Feb 18th, 2015, 09:59 AM
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Plan at least two days for Olympic National Park.

The red line is US-101. There are no roads through the park. See also:
Bobmrg is online now  
Old Feb 20th, 2015, 05:51 AM
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dbdurand: I think I started the comments about I-5 because of my poor reading comprehension skills - you're right that the OP was clear about going up the coast originally.
margotheangel is offline  
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