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Author Topic: Seeing America, one monument at a time  (Read 748 times)

jbnv

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Seeing America, one monument at a time
« on: April 16, 2017, 11:16:05 PM »

My wife and I would like to take our son to see some of our great landmarks. We'd like to take him to Mount Rushmore, the Gateway Arch, Four Corners, the Grand Canyon and anything else interesting on the way. Basically, our footprint is the entire Louisiana Purchase at the minimum, with perhaps some parts west (but not too far west). The target time frame is no more than 9 days.

The main concern is that this would be a lot of driving. We know that this will be hard on him when he is younger because it will mean a lot of time in the car. It will be very hard on us because we aren't spring chickens. My current vehicle has over 100,000 miles, and I'm not sure I want to take it across the country. Obviously this would be a summer trip or during a week-long break in the spring.

I would consider alternative means of transportation. Greyhound could be an option. I've heard that trains are rather poor ways to see the country.

Any suggestions or things to consider? Also, any other noteworthy monuments or landmarks that I am missing?
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Max Rockatansky

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Re: Seeing America, one monument at a time
« Reply #1 on: April 16, 2017, 11:47:50 PM »

Nine days might be difficult given the range geography goes from the Grand Canyon to Mount Rushmore.  I would highly recommend hitting Colorado, Utah, and Arizona in full since I can think of a routing that would take you to 13 National Parks and hit up most of what you listed sans Rushmore.  I generally try to cap my own trips at 2,500 to 3,000 at a 300-500 clip per day to stave off road exhaustion. 

Basically this would be my generalized suggestion as far as destination points:

1.  Rocky Mountain National Park  (Might as well hit the most difficult stuff first to make sure you aren't biting off more than your car can handle)
2.  Pikes Peak Highway
3.  Great Sand Dunes National Park
4.  Mesa Verde National Park
5.  All of US 550
6.  Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park
7.  Colorado National Monument
8.  Canyonlands National Park and Dead Horse Point
9.  Arches National Park
10.  UT 261/Moki Dugway
11.  US 163 Monument Valley
12.  Glen Canyon Dam
13.  Bryce Canyon National Park
14.  Cedar Breaks National Monument
15.  Zion National Park
16.  Hoover Dam
17.  Oatman Highway
18.  AZ 66
19.  Grand Canyon National Park South Rim
20.  Meteor Crater (lots of US 66 stuff on the way like Twin Arrows and Two Guns)
21.  Petrified Forest National Park
22.  US 191/Coronado Trail
23.  Guadalupe Mountains National Park
24.  Carlsbad National Park  (From here start back through Texas east to Louisiana)

Really if you can manage what I described above it doesn't leave a ton on the table that is out in the Mountain States.  The real trick would be finding a pace you'd be comfortable with given you have passengers.  I'm usually alone which helps me for speed but I usually spend longer amounts of time at actual destinations.

You'll probably want to do this in the summer if you want to really hit anything in the Rockies with elevation given the weather will be less of a factor.  Hotels can be pricey that time of year but you can usually save some money if you are willing to do campgrounds.  I've typically found it more cost effective to go to a major airport like DIA, rent a car, and plan a trip that loops back.  The savings on round-trip flights and car rentals generally are substantial.

Here is an example of one of my trips that I did last year which ironically fell into a 9 day window:

http://www.aaroads.com/forum/index.php?topic=17644.0
« Last Edit: April 16, 2017, 11:58:59 PM by Max Rockatansky »
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jbnv

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Re: Seeing America, one monument at a time
« Reply #2 on: April 17, 2017, 08:39:20 AM »

I have been considering the ides of breaking the plan into two trips: a Louisiana Purchase trip and a western trip. This definitely helps.
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Max Rockatansky

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Re: Seeing America, one monument at a time
« Reply #3 on: April 17, 2017, 09:37:22 AM »

I have been considering the ides of breaking the plan into two trips: a Louisiana Purchase trip and a western trip. This definitely helps.

The smaller the grouping you can get the more you can see and experience in a given area IMO.  I know you've seen my Flickr account since I've uploaded all my digital photos.  Basically everything on there was from 2009 onwards, I did the country one section at a time...maybe 4-6 states in a single trip.  Really the only exception would be the Southwest when I worked in five states for three years and drove 60,000-80,000 miles a year for work...that helped a ton in fleshing out knocking things off the bucket list. 

 


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