Washington DC to California

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May 26, 2012
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Hi all, we're starting planning a 45 days trip from DC to San Francisco, CA, and we are open for all routes ideas. For the while, we only have a few waypoints on mind: Niagara Falls and Yellowstone park.
All ideas are welcome. We'll make the trip in next summer, then we have time for planning. Also are welcome another similar trip example.

thanks for helping us dreaming...

 
    You could always follow historic US 50, which originally went from Annapolis to San Fran Cisco.  It crosses some very nice scenery, keeps you away from major cities.

Ed
 
45 days may seem like a long time; however, DC to Niagara Falls to Yellowstone to San Francisco is about 3,300 miles. Round trip will likely be 6,100+. Niagara Falls is only about 400 miles from DC so you might want to consider doing that as a separate trip if your on a definite time schedule.

If you want to stay off the interstates US-50 is a good route and will take you through the middle of the country. It passes South of St' Louis and Kansas City. In Kansas it goes through Kinsley which is half-way across the country and has the Edwards County Museum and Carnavel Heritage Center. Not far from US-50 in Ellinwood is the Underground World and Haunted Wolf Hotel . US-50 also goes through Dodge City.

In Colorado, US-50 will take you through Pueblo, Gunnison and Montrose.

If you choose to use interstates, I-70 to I-68 will avoid the PA turnpike. You can go North on I-79 to get back to I-70 or pickup I-64 to continue West. If you take I-70, I-74 from Indianapolis will avoid the Chicago area and get you to I-80.

If you do keep both Yellowstone and Niagara Falls on the itinerary, the Little Big Horn Battlefield and Devils Tower National Monuments are not too far from I-90 and worth seeing.

Hope you have a Great Trip!
 
See the USA in 45 days!  :eek: 

Maybe 45 years ...  but what the heck here goes.

First of all, shall I make some assumptions:  1) You live in the DC area as it is your starting point;  2) You are looking for natural wonders and sights, as Niagara and Yellowstone are already on your list;  3) You are heading out to the West as indicated by Yellowstone.    Secondly, being that I am a westerner (California, Arizona, Alaska), I will concentrate my suggestions on the West and let others handle the east-of-the-Rockies.

Bucket list sites in the West:  Yellowstone, Yosemite, The Grand Canyon, Glacier National Park. 

Nearly bucket list sites:  Mt Rainier;  Redwood NP;  Lake Tahoe; Monument Valley; the canyonlands around Moab, UT; Sequoia/King's Canyon NP; San Francisco Bay; The Coasts of OR, WA, and CA;  Death Valley*;  Mt Hood, OR.

Get out a map of the US Interstate highways and trace along the EW routes of I-90, I-80, and I-40 and the NS routes of I-5 and I-15 for starters and see how many of these sites you can side trip to. 

Enjoy the scheming and remember to keep your driving to 200-300 miles per day max.


[*Death Valley is definitely a winter destination.  July-August temps are in the 120s!]
 
I've rode motorcycles all over this country.  The goal was always to stay off of interstates, freeways, etc. and the smaller two lane and back roads were much preferred.  During those journeys I traveled many roads and came across just a handful that I think everybody should travel at least once in their life.  In no certain order, some of them are:

Million Dollar Hwy. between Ouray and Durango, Colorado
Monument Valley, Utah/Ariz.
Chief Joseph Hwy. and Bear Tooth Pass between Cody, Wyoming and Red Lodge, Mont.
Ca. Hwy. 108, The Sonora Pass over the Sierra Nevada Mountains in California
 
I agree! i need all 45 years for know the country!!! But i only have 45 days and i will do the best with that! for that i'm really appreciate  the guidelines.

about the assumptions, that's right. We live in DC and want to go west. But it's one way travel to California. I'm looking for wonderful routes and beautiful natural  place. We're a young family, with 3 little kids, and we love know new horizons...

 

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