New coast-to-coast itinerary!

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Jul 30th, 2007, 01:25 AM
  #1
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New coast-to-coast itinerary!

Thanks again to all who comments and made suggested on my previous itinerary! I thought you might be glad to hear that I've taken advise and dumped the lower route (Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, NM) in favour of a more northerly route with hopefully less sweaty days and more varied scenery! A lot of it is booked already and, although not actually cast in stone, I don't think I'll be straying too far from this. I hate that it is somewhat rushed and hurried, but time restraints are the problem here and we really want to drive across the whole country - whether that's foolish or not! OK ....

Day 1 - fly from Heathrow to JFK. Taxi to Radio City Apartments (booked) where we stay 3 nights.

Day 2 - first day in NYC (first time for us) - first stop, probably Rockefeller Center as it's so close - Times Square, 5th Avenue etc. Maybe Central Park if we have time - if not - tomorrow!

Day 3 - another free day in NYC. Take a boat trip/ferry for views of the Statue of Liberty. Ground Zero. Consider a hop-on; hop-off bus ticket for these two days. Also consider trying to buy cheaper show tickets. (Nothing much is decided on yet, as you can tell!

Day 4 - Pick up hire car from W40th Street and hopefully escape the city quickly (through Lincoln Tunnel?) Looooooooooooooong drive today (475 miles - eek), through NY, Penn, Indiana and Ohio. Booked an overnight at Elyria (cos it's close to the freeway) at Country Inn and Suites. (We can't really do cheap motels because they generally only offer 2 queen beds and the hub and I refuse to share a bed while our son would get one of his own!! So we go for suites).

Day 5 - 320 miles left to Chicago! I've booked 2 nights in the Hampton Inn.

Day 6 - free in Chicago.

Day 7 - 282 miles up to Wisconsin and an overnight at La Crosse - booked the Marriott Courtyard for the night (as it's down by the Mississippi)

Day 8 - 299 miles to Sioux Falls - overnight at the Clubhouse Hotel and Suites.

Day 9 - 347 miles + to The Black Hills. I'm not totally sure where to stay here - Custer probably, but we will do the loop through the Badlands on the way - and also stop off at Wall Drug Store.

Day 10 - free in the Black Hills. A quick peek at Mt Rushmore and then Custer State Park.

Day 11 - 280 miles - stop off at Hot Springs to see the Mammoth Site. Then to Estes Park, CO. Have my sights on a lovely house set on the hill overlooking EP, from vrbo. Almost without doubt will book that.

Day 12 - free in EP - will 'do' the Trail Ridge Road in RNP.

Day 13 - free in EP.

Day 14 - 291 miles - decided to stop in Fruita, CO for our overnight as it is close to Colorado NM.

Day 15 - 278 miles to Monument Valley. I am HOPING to take in Arches along the way. A quick peek will be better than no peek. Overnight at Gouldings (booked).

Day 16 - probably start the morning with a jeep trip into the valley, if we didn't already do it yesterday. Then drive down the Canyon de Chelly. No time for tours. Stop overnight at La Posada Hotel, Wilmslow, AZ (approx 240 miles)

Day 17 - To Vegas (308 miles) via Hoover Dam (not been there). Just an overnight (as we've been to LV and not enjoyed it all that much the first time - but it's a handy stopover!

Day 18 - 141 miles to Death Valley (we HAVE to do it, despite the heat!). Already booked Furnace Creek Ranch room for the night.

Day 19 - 299 miles to Palm Springs. Couldn't resist the great summer deals on villas with wonderful pools and prepared to roast!

Day 20 - free in PS

Day 21 - free in PS

Day 22 - 139 miles to San Diego. Stay at Humphreys.

Day 23 - free in SD

Day 24 - 125 miles up to LAX and evening flight.

Phew. I'm tired out just typing it!!!! The trip's not until next June!!
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Jul 30th, 2007, 06:09 AM
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If your only goal is to drive the U.S.A. from coast-to-coast, this itinerary will achieve that goal.

I gather than since you have omitted them you have already been to Yellowstone, Grand Tetons, Grand Canyon, Zion, Bryce, Las Vegas, Death Valley, San Francisco, Red Woods, Highway 1 from Carmel to Malibu, and some other popular destinations that might be a bit more interesting that the heartland of the homeland.
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Jul 30th, 2007, 07:26 AM
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Hi happytrails
Yellowstone - yes, went there last year. Grand Tetons - also last year, Grand Canyon - went there 2004, Zion, Bryce - both of these 2004, Las Vegas - 2004 (and again next year), Death Valley - no, haven't been here - which is why it's on next year's itinerary! , San Francisco - yes, been there, Red Woods -nope, not been there, but we've been to Sequoia NP and Yosemite, Highway 1 from Carmel to Malibu - we've been to LA and Santa Monica and did a little bit of Highway 1 to Malibu - would like to do more, but there is only so much time and we'd like to go to San Diego.
Having written all that lot, I feel very privileged to have travelled in the USA as I have (have also been to the Pacific NW). It is the most beautiful country and we can't wait to see even more of it!
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Jul 30th, 2007, 07:47 AM
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Considering that, changes I would make are to go to Aspen via Leadville and from there to Moab, UT, and to make time for a tour of Canyon de Chelly.

Also, investigate what you must do to view Maroon Bells, near Aspen.

Have fun, HTTY
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Jul 30th, 2007, 08:02 AM
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After you leave Fruita, CO and are traveling on I-70 towards Moab, get off I-70 at Cisco and take scenic hwy 128 into Moab. Then it is just 4 short miles north to Arches. Hwy 128 starts out flat farmland...but then you cross the Colorado River and the canyon keeps getting narrower and narrower till it's just the road and river before you reach Moab. Here it is mile by mile..but you will be doing in in reverse:

http://www.milebymile.com/main/Unite...el_guides.html

Utahtea

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Jul 30th, 2007, 08:14 AM
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Hi, wildblueyonder!

Sounds like a fantastic trip!

Day 3: in New York City, if your purpose is just to get views of the Statue of Liberty and not to tour the Statue itself, then the Staten Island Ferry is free and will take you fairly close to the Statue.

Day 4: Country Inn and Suites is a good chain, no frills place. Usually the rooms are just two queen beds and not a real suite. Make sure you ask for a suite with a couch which is a pullout bed.

Day 14: I'd suggest going as far as Arches National Park, rather than stopping off at Fruita. There is quite a lot to do at Arches and it's really not a drive-through park.

Day 16: Canyon de Chelly, you can hike down to the Canyon at various points without having to take the jeep tour of the valley. I'd suggest that you just drive around the rim, stop off at various points and admire the view. Usually each stop also provides a way to hike down to the canyon and back up. My favorite hike down is to the "White House".

I'd suggest staying at the Canyon de Chelly. You have so much to do this day - Monument Valley AND Canyon de Chelly - that you need to schedule more time for activities at these sites. Thunderbird Lodge is a good place, if you can get reservations.

The drive from Canyon de Chelly to Las Vegas shouldn't be that bad and LV is just a hotel stop for you anyhow.

Have a great trip and welcome to the US!
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Jul 30th, 2007, 10:54 AM
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easytraveler, I'm not sure what other hikes beside the White House Ruins you have taken in Canyon de Chelly, but you weren't suppose to be doing them without a permit and a navajo guide.

http://www.nps.gov/cach/planyourvisi...servations.htm

Utahtea
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Jul 30th, 2007, 11:15 AM
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Hi, utahtea:

Good to hear from you!

You're correct, as usual:

"Hiking within the canyon requires a Park Service permit and an authorized Navajo guide, except along the 2.5-mile (4-km) White House Ruins Trail. One guide may take up to 15 people for $15 per hour."

Except that one time, we were allowed to hike down another trail by ourselves. Just the two of us. I can't remember the details, which trail, who gave us the permission - I just remember hiking down and back up. Over the years, I've been on several relatively long hiking trips through the SW and they all sort of blend together now.

Do you have a new RV now? Where will you be going next?
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Aug 5th, 2007, 03:15 AM
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Thanks guys, for the new suggestions, which I'm working on! Apologies for delay in replying: computer trouble. I don't think that we can spare time in Aspen though, unfortunately.
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Aug 5th, 2007, 04:22 AM
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A couple of comments -

First, I think you'll find that your timing on days 7 - 9 will result in you having a lot of spare time at the end of the days, with not a lot to do. 300 miles or less driving in the Midwest and Great Plains won't take very long, even with a late start and early stop. The speed limit on the Interstates is 70 or 75 mph, but 80+ is very common, and the scenery for the most part uninspiring, so 300 miles can be done between breakfast and lunch.
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Aug 5th, 2007, 04:34 AM
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Sorry for premature posting - working on a new laptop with sensitive keys, and no editing function ( ) on Fodors...

As you pass through S. Dakota, be sure to stop in Mitchell (w. of Sioux Falls) to visit the Corn Palace.

As for where to stay in the Black Hills, I'd recommend Deadwood or Lead ("leed") - bit of casino honky tonk in Deadwood, but some really wonderful historic buildings, and the great Mt. Moriah cemetery with the side-by-side graves of Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane.

Probably already been said, but the reason for all the great deals in Palm Springs in June is because it's really hard to do anything at all outside, even sit by the pool. Maybe you could make some of the time there contingent on conditions. There are plenty of places to stay in SoCal in June where you won't just hiss like eggs on the pavement.

In fact, watch out for "June gloom" at the beach - low overcast that sometimes doesn't burn off at all. Not a problem a few miles inland, so you might think about splitting the difference and find a place to stay in inland San Diego county (around La Costa or some such) where you'd have the heat you crave (?) but can get to the ocean in an hour or less.
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Aug 5th, 2007, 10:01 AM
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Hi Gardyloo - loads more to think about! I know what you mean about days 7-9, but I'm loathed to make the distances longer. La Crosse looks a very nice little place (they sent me a brochure!) and our hotel is right down by the river - so no probs there. I'm less sure about Sioux Falls - but I'm sure we'll find something of interest - we're fairly easy to please! I looked up the Corn Palace (thanks) and it looks really interesting - perhaps we should stay overnight in Mitchell instead? (I haven't looked at the map yet)
In the Black Hills, we were planning to stay in Custer, because we'd like to see the bison in Custer State Park (and it's fairly close to Mt Rushmore and the Indian fellow (sorry forgotten his name!) But now you mention graves .... my husband was almost overcome when we visited Jeremiah Johnstone's grave in Cody .... (I'll think about it!)
Yep, the heat of Palm Springs has been pointed out! And, no, we certainly don't crave heat! BUT, we really want a place with a private pool for a few days - and it's the only place we can afford (because it's cheap, because it's hot!) My son and myself can't swim and we never go into communal pools, because we feel silly! We had a holiday in Portugal this year - in a villa with our own private pool and it was wonderful!! We even managed to 'swim' with some rubber rings we found in the villa!! (see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ykLf6N_321U but DON'T LAUGH - LOL!) So, you can only do that in a private pool, which we are craving! (Couldn't sit *around* the pool for long, it was too hot! Not as hot as PS, but hot enough!) So we want some more of that!

Utahtea - thanks for the link on the route from Cisco to Moab - will definitely go that way (although we won't be hiring a 4 x 4, will that be ok?)
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Aug 10th, 2007, 05:57 AM
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(sorry to bring this up again!)

Gardyloo - I've been giving more thought about what you said about days 7-9 - ie Chicago to Black Hills and the 2 nights stop in between. It's a long drive, but I think you could be right about making it just one night and therefore giving ourselves another night in the Black Hills. Where would you suggest stopping? I have Worthington, MN pencilled in, because that's about half way (though a little closer to the Black Hills) - but do you really think that 500 miles is doable in a day. I've a dread that we might spend our 2 days in Chicago worrying about the next 2 days which will be so much driving. Still not sure what to do. Dithering.
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Aug 10th, 2007, 07:18 AM
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Re 3 beds: How young is the son? Just about any any hotel (even the cheap ones) will, on request, put an extra bed in the room (a twin size with mattress, on a metal frame), sometimes for free, sometimes for a small fee. So you could have the separate queen/double beds, and kiddo could use the small one.

If its about the privacy, be aware that some ``suites'' don't actually provide a separate bedroom. They do usually have kitchenettes, though.
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Aug 10th, 2007, 07:45 AM
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Hi capxxx
Kiddo is 33 and objects to rollouts when mother and father are sleeping on luscious marriott beds or whatever!! Also, mother and father object when they have to squeeze up together on a queen bed while kiddo gets one all to himself! Thus, 3 beds are ideal - or 2 and a sofa are fine. Sometimes I book 2 rooms, but it's obviously more expensive that way. Privacy isn't a problem, but the best option is a 3-bedroom cabin or villa, so we can have a room each to ourselves (hub snores something awful!) - and I have 3 of those lined up for this trip - 9 nights total! (You weren't to know he wasn't a little 'un!
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Aug 10th, 2007, 07:53 AM
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Hi, wildblueyonder:

How's the trip planning going?

So Junior is 33 and stands 6 foot 6? LOL!

I'd agree with gardyloo. Some of these stretches over the Great Plains can be covered in a day instead of two. I've driven a thousand miles in a day, wouldn't recommend it for a fun trip, but it's just to show how quickly those miles can go by. Not much to see along the Interstate unless you make long detours.

Be interested in seeing your revised itinerary.
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Aug 10th, 2007, 09:08 AM
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People have different tolerances. I think you'd find that once outside Chicago, you set the cruise control on 70 mph and by mid-afternoon you'd have gone those 500 miles and would be asking yourselves "why not 600?"

But that's me, your mileage may vary (YMMV) as they say.

One small item is that western SD is in the Mountain time zone, an hour behind Central Time (Chicago) so right about when you cross the Missouri River you set your watch back an hour. Woo hoo - more time to drive. (I drove some British friends from Chicago to Seattle some years ago and the sight of the Missouri from the hilltop along I-90 where you first see it left them gobsmacked.)

I'd shoot for Sioux Falls but be ready to call it a day if you get too tired. Plenty of inexpensive and clean roadside motels in western MN or eastern SD.
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Aug 10th, 2007, 09:32 AM
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Hi easytraveller - yep, junior is 33 (LOL), but he's not so tall (but taller than me!) and it's because of him that we have to make this trip the length it is, as he can't get more time off work! So you think I should care if he has to sleep on a rollaway
You want my revised itinerary? It's bound to change again you know - but, here goes.

(the day before, we have to drive from home to Heathrow, which, in itself is 300 something miles of boring motorway - but the reward comes in the shape of an overnight at the Heathrow Marriott, where the beds are the best in the world - and son will sleep on a rollaway bed!
Day 1 - fly to NYC (JFK) - taxi to Manhattan - Radio City Apartments already booked for 3 nights.
Days 2 and 3, free in NYC
Day 4 - 475 miles to Elyria, Ohio, outside Cleveland (handy for the interstate) - booked Countryside Inn room (king + sofa bed)
Day 5 - 320 miles to Chicago. Booked 2 nights at the Hampton Inn.
Day 6 - free in Chicago
Day 7 (new route!) - 513 miles to Worthington, MN. The HI Express looks the most decent option (though I'm depressed because I had the Marriott Courtyard river view room booked for La Crosse, and I just love their beds ...)
Day 8 - 401 miles to Rapid City (but we won't stay there). Need to take the Falls in Sioux Falls (I'm a geologist; must see the pink quartzite!) and the Corn Palace at Mitchell, and (most importantly) the Badlands loop on the way - and Wall Drug Store! I haven't booked anywhere in the Black Hills yet - but I'm looking at cabins - plenty of choice.
Days 9 and 10 - free in the Black Hills
Day 11 280 miles to Estes Park (stopping at the Mammoth Site, Hot Springs, if not already seen). I have a 4 (!) bedroom place lined up for 3 nights (with outdoor hot tub!) but haven't booked it yet.
Day 12 - free in Estes Park (Rocky Mountain NP)
Day 13 - free in Estes Park
Day 14 - (this is new route, it was to be Fruita, but just as well continue) 402 miles to Moab. I'll probably book Red Cliffs Lodge.
Day 15 - Arches - then 164 miles to Monument Valley for overnight at Gouldings (booked) + jeep trip, either sunset or sunrise the next morning.
Day 16 - 240 miles - via Canyon de Chelly to Wilmslow for an overnight at La Posada - not booked yet.
Day 17 - 308 miles to Las Vegas - overnight at the Flamingo - GO room (not booked yet)
Day 18 - 141 miles to Death Valley. Overnight Furnace Creek Ranch (booked - rollaway bed required!)
Day 19 - 299 miles to Palm Springs. I have a nice villa lined up for 3 nights
Day 20 - free in PS - hit the hills or Joshua Tree.
Day 21 - free in PS
Day 22 - 139 miles to San Diego. Humphreys - junior suite (king + sofa) - not booked yet.
Day 23 - free in SD
Day 24 - 125 miles to LAX (I'll get an evening flight, so we'll have time to drive the coast road to LA) and fly home. Land the next day, cos of the time difference!

That's it - so far!
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Aug 10th, 2007, 09:36 AM
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Hi Gardyloo. Chicago to Seattle - wow!! We have driven long distances in Europe before, but, obviously would prefer not to. My hub likes somewhere booked to stay overnight; he feels more secure or something - so I should book somewhere. Probably Worthington would be the most sensible. I'll look out for the Missouri! We stayed down by the river, last year - one night in Fort Benton .... but the river was lovely!
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