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Big Drive

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1. Posted by Kafdog (Budding Member 5 posts) 6y Star this if you like it!

Hi everyone…

ok here is my crazy plan…..I will be flying into San Francisco early February 2012, hiring a rental, and I have 28 days in which I want to get from San Francisco to Rutland in Vermont and back……there are a few places I ‘need’ to visit and these are

• Reno, NV
• Las Vegas, NV
• The extraterrestrial highway (I know…I just want to say I have been on it)
• Palmer Lake, CO
• Wall, SD
• Detroit
• Scranton, PA

I know it’s ambitious, and I know it’s going to be constant driving, but I am looking for suggestion on the best and most unusual things I can see/head towards on the journey

Any help would be great



2. Posted by Utrecht (Moderator 5642 posts) 6y Star this if you like it!


Well, although it's indeed ambitious, if you don't mind driving (if somebody would ask me to drive this route in 10 days I would say yes in a split second...:) it's doable. Of course, you should decide what you want to see on top of this, but a potential list could be the following (and I don't know if you like nature or more of a city person?). I tried to limit detours (had to search where exactly Palmer Lake, Wall and Scranton were though lol) and by the way first do the extraterrestrial highway (route 375) between Reno and LV.
After Las Vegas:

  • Grand Canyon and Route 66 (follow the route between Kingman and Seligman!)
  • Then drive north from Tuba City, Arizona to Monument Valley, cross into Utah and directly into souther Colorado
  • Visit Mesa Verde NP
  • Then Palmer Lake

Between Palmer Lake and Wall:

  • Badlands NP, south Dakota
  • Mount Rushmore and/or Crazy Horse Memorial

East from Wall, SD, it's more cities than nature, so Chicago might be a good one to break your trip for a day or so.
As you are going in February/March, I would suggest a more southern Route on your way back, maybe all the way south through Texas and New Mexico, southern Arizona, LA and north again. About the route and possible sights above: I don't know exactly if every road is passable during that time!

Cheers and have fun!

3. Posted by Isadora (Travel Guru 13926 posts) 6y Star this if you like it!

Yes, that is quite an ambitious trip, but if you really like driving, it's doable and sounds fun.

A good place to find the odd and unusual things along your route is Roadside America. They won't be found off the main interstate highways but most are located along the state highways. (The only routes around before interstates became the rage.)

Do you have a basic route charted yet? Depending on that, check out Cody, Wyoming on your way to Wall, SD. A bit touristy but some great stuff about Wild Bill Hickok. Wall, SD is an interesting place... One big western-style shopping mall in the middle of nowhere. But, if you've never seen it, it's pretty trippy. They post road signs starting at 500 miles away - follow the signs.

Also, keep in mind that the midwest does get snow even into early April as do the Rockies. I see you live in Mongolia so understand snow. Interstates are the high priority for keeping them cleared. State highways are usually quite good too.

Pack so you can dress in layers as you're going from one extreme to the other and much in between. Include gloves and a winter hat for up here.

Check with the NOAA's National Weather Service periodically for warnings and forecasts as you get closer to your trip dates. It will help you prepare and allow you to make changes in your route if necessary.

Have fun planning!

4. Posted by Cyberia (Travel Guru 1851 posts) 6y Star this if you like it!

I have hired a car a few times before in California and the companies I used did not allow the cars to be taken out of the state. Do check.

5. Posted by Kafdog (Budding Member 5 posts) 6y Star this if you like it!

Thanks Guys (and girls)

this is a great help for my planning, this plan might just work

i will post my plan ideas soon, and welcome any suggestions



6. Posted by johnraami (Budding Member 4 posts) 6y Star this if you like it!

Hi ,the best way to see any city is to walk. You miss so much if you are on a bus or in a car.

San Francisco is compact enough that I think that the hop on hop off bus tour is sort of a waste of money. You can travel the city much cheaper by public transportation.

You may want to consider a different type of riding tour all together. There are a couple of smaller tour vehicles that would give you the opportunity to see the far flung stuff like the bridge and the beach.

7. Posted by Daawgon (Travel Guru 2012 posts) 6y Star this if you like it!

johnraami is right - you do not want to drive in SF (you'll miss it)!

Why February - that's the height of winter. What if snow stops you in your tracks, and you are unable to return the car on time (not to mention missing your flight)???

I believe that Budget does not restrict your travel locations, but Enterprise does. They actually put GPS devices on the car, so they know exactly where you've been - the fines are pretty high.

Mountain locations in Colorado in February are almost certain to be under a heavy blanket of snow. My question is why on earth does any sane person want to see Detroit or Scranton when there are so many cities that are not as depressed???

I think you really need to rethink much of this trip

8. Posted by Kafdog (Budding Member 5 posts) 6y Star this if you like it!


thanks again for your sugestions, taking all onboard.....i will be checking with the hire company before booking thanks for that one.


Why February??? its the only time next year i am able to get 30 days paid R&R in one hit, and if the snow stops me, or i miss my flight......theres no real drama mate, its not the first time i would have had to deal with an issue on a roadtrip... but like i said nothing is set in stone, and i am on here asking for advice and suggestions, i will take on board the things people are saying and adjust where necessary...thanks for your advice