I need advice. Starting next Monday I’ll be on a roadtrip from Ann Arbor to San Francisco, where my friend Amy has an internship for the summer. (She wanted her car out there and didn’t want to drive out alone, so I agreed to go with her.) We already have plans to stop in Kansas City, where I will complete my tour of AL Central stadiums and catch a baseball game. Other than that, we’re pretty much plan-less.
Anyone have ideas of things to do in either Kansas or Nebraska, Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, or Nevada?


8 responses »

  1. Driving across Kansas or Nebraska are among the least enjoyable things I’ve ever done. Advice for that leg: drive fast.
    Colorado is high in the running for most naturally beautiful state in the union. Advice for that leg: take your time and avoid Interstates if at all possible. Probably ditto for WY, but I’ve never been.
    Utah is beautiful down south, and Vegas is awesome but also down south. I’m afraid you’ll have to just do more driving fast (across the desert) unless you make a huge detour.
    Take lots of pics!

  2. If you feel like going north a bit in Wyoming, Jackson Hole and Grand Teton National Park are nice places there. They are also the only places I’ve been in that list of states, so I’m not much of a help.

  3. Ditto about Colorado. I wouldn’t spend too much time in Denver, but Colorado Springs is perty. You can drive/hike up Pikes Peak if you feel like bagging a fourteener, and Garden of the Gods is beautiful, unsurprisingly. I am told Boulder, Rifle, Fort Collins are good places to visit, as well.
    Wyoming is nice to drive through. Sheridan is a nice little town that feels much hipper than it should be, out in the middle of nowhere (On I90, I believe). They run all kinds of events there, many rodeos and such. I think one of the Miss Something pageants takes place there, if you decide to act OMG-American. The main street has a nice frontier feel to it. I remember a coffeeshop with funny bumper stickers. Whatever, stop there for lunch, if you pass by.
    As for MT, Bozeman and parts West are beautiful, and from that area you can drive through Yellowstone and Grand Teton, north-to-south, and then choose where you want to go. The Tetons are also pretty high in the running for beautiful spots in the Union, and not just because I get to say “breasts.”
    Nebraska has Carhenge, which is definitely gonna be out of your way unless you make it a destination. It’s a neat piece of Americana, and if you’re passing within 100 miles, you might as well visit. Amrys may have photos of it, if you need a preview.
    All the neat stuff in Utah is, indeed south; Zion is definitely worth driving through. If you do make it there, Angel’s Landing is a fantastic hike, but I think during the summer you need to park the car and take a short bus ride into the canyon to get to the trail heads. Don’t let that dissuade you. Really.
    If you’re staying north, I would definitely plan to go west from Reno and up through the Tahoe area, then drive around Yosemite for at least a day, and head to SF from there.
    If you will be visiting national parks, you may want to purchase the National Parks Pass. It’s $50 and will last you a year. Otherwise, you’ll be buying 7-day tickets for every park, and possibly feel silly for leaving much sooner.

  4. Don’t let ‘On the Road’ nostalgia fool you: Ogallala has nothing to offer you. Unless you’ve got a yen for natural beauty, take Jeff’s advice, put a bowling ball on the accelerator and go to sleep at the wheel. I second That Darn Katz’s rec: Vegas, baby. Tacky and despicable but that kind of sensory overload has much to recommend it in small doses.

  5. Snake River Canyon jet boat rides well worth it (Idaho. which is LOVELY up in the north — also the route into the back door of Yellowstone, eh). There is also plenty to contemplate in the American Falls, ID, area when looking at the ruts laid down on soid rock along the old Oregon Trail: they are deep.
    Western Wyoming is quite lovely, but you’ll largely be driving on a north/south axis (likewise for Idaho).
    Utah is the face of the moon if you are driving direcly east to west, but north/south axis trips have some things to see…and it is worth spending a day+ in Salt Lake.
    Marsha and I were married in the (no longer extant) meadow outside the chapel in the middle of Yosemite, and then camped there for half a week or so, both in the valley and up along the rim: there is NO place like Yosemite and you owe it to yourself to see as much of it as you are able in the time available to you — sacrifice other stops (including Vegas) to stay in Yosemite as long as you can.
    When you are laying your last plans, take a look at the Big Horn Custer Monument area (it seems out of your way, and eastern Montana is less lovely than the western half, I hear, but it makes sense to not miss the Big Horn: it may be your only chance even though you may think otherwise, being young: but life gets in the way of such “future” plans).
    Zion and Bryce Canyon or well worth the stop as suggested elsewhere; and then there is Death Valley too — well worth it: bering cardboard sheets and slide down the sand dunes! BRING WATER.
    Sequoia is a good CA stop, too.
    South of SF is Heast Castle along the coast, Pacific Highway No. 1…and Big Sur south of SF.

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