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Road Trip California to Iowa (visit daughter at college)

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Road Trip California to Iowa (visit daughter at college)

We're planning a 2-week road trip from Sunnyvale, California to Norman, Oklahoma then Ames, Iowa. My sister and I will be driving with my children in tow (19 and 11 y.o.) Our start date is flexible but we need to be in Iowa at the latest Friday, the 8th of August. We have to stop in Oklahoma for business which requires at most 3-5 hours. There is nothing really a "Must see" on this road trip for us except visiting my daughter at Iowa State and going to the Iowa State Fair which my youngest daughter did her state report on and couldn't wait to try all those fried foods on sticks :) We would love to see as many "Nice to see" as we can on this trip but concern about the lack of time to add more destinations to the itinerary.

Do you think this is doable in 2 week time? If I'm able to add 2 more days to our trip, could we visit our brother in Granite Falls, Texas for a day before driving home? We each can drive 5-6 hours per day at most and our favorite activities when traveling are finding good eats and visiting historical towns or scenic areas.

This will be our very first multi-state road trip so I'm very grateful for any tip/suggestion. If there are "Must See" or "Nice to See" you can recommend, please do. Thank you.

Norwich, United...
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1. Re: Road Trip California to Iowa (visit daughter at college)

Sorry, I couldn't find a Granite Falls in Texas so I'll have to omit that option.

Sunnyvale > Norman > Ames > Sunnyvale is about 4100 miles according to Google Maps. If you plan to have ten days on the road that's 410 miles per day. At an average of 40mph (which allows for stops and delays) that's just over ten hours driving per day. Obviously increasing the number of days would help, and I guess some people might regard a 40mph average as being less than they could achieve.

If you had more time then you could visit the south rim of the Grand Canyon on the outward trip.

Uden, The...
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2. Re: Road Trip California to Iowa (visit daughter at college)

Do you mean Granite Shoals? That's near Austin and will be a major detour in this trip. And do you want to drive same way you came? If I read correctly you are driving to OKC first, to Ames after that and back to Ca. But back to Ca best can be done via the northern route via Cheyenne and Salt Lake City of for a more scenic route via Denver through Colorado and Utah and maybe follow us50 through Nevada.

With 5-6 hours of driving each and every day and an average interstate speed (and that's fast) of 60mph you're already on the road for 10-12 days.

Tet

Aubrey, Texas
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3. Re: Road Trip California to Iowa (visit daughter at college)

Assuming you mean Granite Shoals as Tet mentions or nearby Marble Falls, it could fit in on the front of your trip. That would add about 450 miles to the Norman-Ames-Sunnyvale itinerary with the northern return suggested by Tet. The way I see it, it's a 3 day drive Sunnyvale-Granite Shoals via the southern I10 route, a day on to Norman, another day to Ames, and 3 days back to Sunnyvale via I80. Theoretically, 8 days on the road. So you have time to play with and allocate to shorter days on the road and more stops. Tombstone, AZ, Ft. Davis, Fredericksburg and Ft. Worth, TX are possibilities on the way to Norman.

Corona del Mar, CA
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4. Re: Road Trip California to Iowa (visit daughter at college)

I would drop the idea of TX, it is a big detour and you are tight as is.

The big decision is do you go the Northern Route to get there or Southern or some variation of it. There are great national parks along the way like the Grand Canyon, Zion, Bryce, Monument Valley, etc.

I would dig into the Google Maps below. You can zoom in on various sections of the road and see what is in the area, even use Street View to view the immediate area. It just depends on what interests you.

http://goo.gl/maps/C8LHY Northern Route

http://goo.gl/maps/axr2Z Southern Route

http://goo.gl/maps/oivub Variation #1

http://goo.gl/maps/mmJqE Variation #2

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5. Re: Road Trip California to Iowa (visit daughter at college)

Thank you so much for all your suggestions. You're absolutely right; it's Marble Falls, my bad. It sounds like a major detour like you said and would add at least 3 days to the trip. We can visit him another time. He's the one who encouraged me to do the road trip so I was hoping to impress him :) We'll definitely takes the northern route on the way back. I've been to most of the states on this route but only by flying there. It would awesome to be able to drive and take in the scenery this time. For the outward trip, if we get on I-80 and keep going to OKC, a short detour to the south rim of the Grand Canyon is possible right? Again thank you for any suggestion. I'm hoping to make road trips a part of our summers from now on.

Aubrey, Texas
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6. Re: Road Trip California to Iowa (visit daughter at college)

Actually, Marble Falls adds only one day's drive, albeit a long one, if done on the front end before Norman. After Ames it doesn't work at all.

Grand Canyon South Rim is off I40 which is what you mean, I think. Yes, you could easily fit it in but try for a reservation in the park ASAP. If nothing is available there try nearby Tusayan. http://www.grandcanyonlodges.com

You also have time for Santa Fe, a unique city.

Norwich, United...
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7. Re: Road Trip California to Iowa (visit daughter at college)

> a short detour to the south rim of the Grand Canyon is possible right?

It's possible (given sufficient time) but it's not a short detour. Williams to Flagstaff direct via I-40 is 33 miles. Via the south rim of the Grand Canyon and returning to Flagstaff via US180 it's 138 miles. If you return to Flagstaff via the park's eastern entrance and US89 then it's 165 miles.

Henderson, Nevada
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8. Re: Road Trip California to Iowa (visit daughter at college)

With no road trip experience, do you have moderate longer driving experience? Say, Sunnyvale to LA? or maybe Yosemite? Living in Sunnyvale I would expect a level of comfort with freeways (have you ever made a fast run up 280?)... The experience will help. Will your sister and (older) daughter share some driving?

At 400 miles a day this isn't impossible (or even unwise) It is ambitious for a first road trip... but, In the far west (California outside of cities, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, New Mexico and Texas speed limits are higher, traffic generally lighter and it reasonable to average with basic stops (gas, restrooms) above 70 mph... so you can eat up a bit of distance, and "transit" days of well over 500 miles are possible, especially with a couple of drivers sharing the work.

It looks like you can drop down I-5 to Bakersfield, then across Hwy 58 to Barstow where you will pick up I-40, which for much of your route would be along old Rt 66... If it was me I would visit the Grand Canyon... then east dropping south in New Mexico to visit you brother, then north to Oklahoma... north to Iowa, then home via I-80, or maybe I-80 and I-70 through Colorado...

It would be a nice loop...

Randy

Uden, The...
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9. Re: Road Trip California to Iowa (visit daughter at college)

Don't count on 70 mph for an average. Max speed outside Ca mostly is 75mph on interstates but with the reststops (I suggest every 3 hours), traffic, roadworks and refilling that won't be feasible.

Henderson, Nevada
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10. Re: Road Trip California to Iowa (visit daughter at college)

Tet,

In general, In the western US, outside of a town with a reduced speed limit, you can exceed the speed limit by 10 miles without issue... Frequently more so on the Interstate, especially if you are a part of a pack of cars... A good rule of thumb is be slower than 10% of the traffic. I typically average well above 70 on California intercity trips, a bit higher outside of the state, without having discussions with the nice highway patrolman...

I once averaged above 80 (with stops) driving from Tucson to San Francisco... over 900 miles in 11 hours, but that was a very unusual fast trip... The same trip two weeks ago took nearly 14 hours... Plan for the slower trip then enjoy the extra time if things go well.

If you are on a highway with reduced speeds through town, never ever exceed the lower speed limit through town... This is true across the US... In most places it is locals tired of people speeding through town, in a few places it is part of the revenue stream...

The higher speeds allow longer transits... and more ambitious trips... but understand your personal limits.

Randy