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Driving Cross Country - Need Help with Route / Stops

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Raleigh, NC
posts: 161
reviews: 33
Driving Cross Country - Need Help with Route / Stops

I apologize for the long post (and posting it in multiple places). Not sure where to post something like this. In early April of 2008, I will start a three-week journey driving from Raleigh, NC most likely ending in Sacramento, CA. I have bought a book called “120 Scenic Drives in America” and I am using this to help guide my route. The real purpose of the trip is to see the country, significant points of interest along the way, and just get away.

Below is what I have laid out thus far – and is subject to change based on my fellow TA’s advice. I have attempted to split it up to drive around 200 miles/day. The places that seem a bit strange to stop are those places along my routes that have a TA highly rated place to stay that are in my price range ($100/night). I frequent Hampton Inns and that class of hotel. I will need internet connectivity along the way as I will be working some.

Any input or advice on my journey would be very much appreciated. I am very open to your suggestions – I have received awesome advice from you guys thus far.

Day 1: Raleigh, NC to Lewisburg, WV. One of the “scenic drives”, the Midland Trail, starts in White Sulphur Springs, WV to and goes to Charleston, WV. 244 miles.

Day 2: Lewisburg, WV to Morehead, KY. Finishes the Midland Trail. 225 miles.

Day 3: Morehead, KY to Bowling Green, KY. Route includes the “Bluegrass to Pennroyal” drive. 248 miles.

Day 4: Bowling Green, KY to Metropolis, IL. Finish the “Bluegrass to Pennroyal” drive and get a little gambling in Metropolis. 163 miles.

Day 5: Metropolis, IL to Marian, IL via the “Shawnee Hills Scenic Byway” along the IL/KY border. 122 miles.

Day 6: Marian, IL to Jefferson City, MO. Will start the “Missouri Rhineland” drive. 262 miles.

Day 7: Jefferson City, MO to Kansas City, MO. Have friends there. 160 miles.

Day 8: Kansas City, MO to McPherson, KS. Will be doing the “Kansas East and West” drive. 215 miles.

Day 9: McPherson, KS to Goodland, KS. 271 miles.

Day 10: Goodland, KS to Walsenburg, CO. 272 miles.

Day 11: Walsenburg, CO to Espanola, NM. 258 miles.

Day 12: Espanola, NM to Gallup, NM. 222 miles.

Day 13: Gallup, NM to Sedona, AZ. 213 miles.

Day 14: Sedona, AZ to Williams, AZ via the Grand Canyon. 250 miles.

Day 15: Williams, AZ to Laughlin, NV. 146 miles.

Day 16: Laughlin, NV to Las Vegas, NV. 100 miles.

Day 17: Las Vegas, NV to Stovepipe Wells, CA. 152 miles.

Day 18: Stovepipe Wells, CA to Lone Pine, CA. 88 miles.

Day 19: Lone Pine, CA to Lee Vining, CA. 123 miles.

Day 20: Lee Vining, CA to South Lake Tahoe, CA. 110 miles.

Day 21: South Lake Tahoe, CA to Sacramento, CA. 110 miles.

Day 22: Fly back to North Carolina.

charleston, wv
posts: 2,923
reviews: 3
1. Re: Driving Cross Country - Need Help with Route / Stops

Best bet for room in Lewisburg would be Brier Inn. 304-645-7722 or reservation@brierinn.com. Staying there next week for State Fair. There are a couple Days Inn/Comfort Inn/Red Roof Inn places but Brier Inn is just a hair nicer.

Only "problem" I see with itenerary is not enough time to visit and sample the sights along the drive. To stop and take in, how would ya say it? American culture. Those little picture ops and nic-nac souveneers is what makes a trip like this memorable.

Running the back roads like the Midland Trail will take almost twice the driving time. Yeah it might only be 250 miles but with an average MPH of say 40 it will take much longer to cover it.

You might squeeze in one or two stops a day but how would you choose which ones from the dozens along the route? What if you choose one and it isn't that great? Second thoughts? What good one did I miss to see this one?

The WV segment alone has over half dozen places of interest. Almost a days trip to Charleston if you make any stops to sight see.

In Lewisburg you have a couple caverns to tour. Maybe an hour to two hours for one of those.

West on Rt 60 to Hico and short hop down Rt 19 to New River Bridge. Scenic overlooks and information center.

Few more miles west to Anstead. Hawks Nest Lodge. Tram ride down into gorge. Another mile west to actual scenic Hawks Nest overlook.

Another couple miles to Mystery Hole. Very cheesy but it's part of old time Americana travel across Rt 60. Down off the mountain into Gauley Bridge. Gift shop for local candle shop (if they're still in business.. Few more miles to Kanawha Falls for quick picture op.

In Charleston you might take walk around State Capitol, Cultural Center and museum there. Check schedule. Might catch live broadcast of Mountain Stage radio show from there on the weekend. Heard nationaly on radio and XM satillite.

West of Charleston in Milton. Blenko Glass Company. One of the few handblown glass companies left in country. Check schedule and watch workers do their thing.

Probably the same thing your second day in Kentucky. They have caverns. In western Kentucky you have distilleries to tour and "sample".

Raleigh, NC
posts: 161
reviews: 33
2. Re: Driving Cross Country - Need Help with Route / Stops

Thanks Pop. I am trying to balance out taking the back roads and enjoying the scenery with being able to do this in three weeks. I think I have too much time scheduled on the last leg and not enough early on. I will work on that.

Thanks again - I will repost in a few months.

charleston, wv
posts: 2,923
reviews: 3
3. Re: Driving Cross Country - Need Help with Route / Stops

Folks did a cross country trip when they retired. Teamed up with aunt and uncle. Drove out and back. Said if they did it again they would drive one way and fly the other. You're on target there.

They did a more southern route. Down to Little Rock, Ark to see a family member and then headed west. Always said the worst part of trip was through mid-west.. Kansas, Oklahoma etc....Not a lot to see or do.

As you tweak and tune your plans you might look at it in three segments. East, west and the middle. Breeze through mid-west to save a day or two for sightseeing in the east and west.