Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Western States Road Trip

Hi Jamie

Here comes another danged foreigner seeking free information !

I have enjoyed reading your Road Trip USA book, and looking at the routes and dreaming of that long lazy drive amassing more US states to add to the list of 24 I have so far (not bad for an Englishman)

However I want to get even more and next September I am planning to fly into Seattle and spend about 10 days to make my way to Las Vegas - flying home from there.I could stretch the 10 days if need be

So can you please suggest a route with plenty of interest that could include states I have not been in and including if possible Yellowstone and Yosemite. I would like Washington State, Oregon , Idaho (for the potatoes), Montana, Colorado & Wyoming as a minimum if possible . I have not done The Dakotas either but I don't know if they are realistically in reach or even if what I proposed already is really viable.... so I would like to ask the expert !

I have done California to death including Pacific Coastal drive Big Sur etc and Utah Arizona and of course Nevada coming up for 10 times so I will be going over some old ground but I would rather approach Las Vegas from the east than the west

I am already poring over the Maps and other sources of information and should you have any suggestions I would be REALLY grateful and most interested

Many thanks,


PS: wont rest till I touch all 50 States !


Hello there John --

Many thanks for your message -- hope I can help you get closer to your 50-state goal. After 30 years, I have got to 49 of them -- all that's left is Alaska.

(And I'm saving Alaska until after Sarah Palin has moved down to Hollywood...)

About your September trip -- from Seattle (which is a lovely city, surrounded by gorgeous scenery!), you could have fantastic trip. Drive east across Idaho (most of the potatoes are grown in the not-so-scenic south, but if you like breathtaking wilderness take US-93 up to Glacier National Park,), then down via Missoula and /or Stanley and Sun Valley. Idaho is amazing -- and you can then zip east again (along US-20, maybe?) to Yellowstone & Grand Tetons National Parks.

From there you could get to South Dakota in a day or two (to see Mount Rushmore, and the crazy Horse Horse statue) -- I cover these in my US-83 Road to Nowhere route.

Or if you don't want to have too many crazy drives, you could head south toward Colorado (check out the Million Dollar Highway, between Montrose and Durango in the SW corner of the state). And if you have time cross over into New Mexico -- Taos and Santa Fe are beautiful, historic "Wild West" towns.

And if you're collecting states, the Four Corners area is ideal -- even though there is some technical / cartographic dispute about where the state borderlines actually should be drawn. I love the Four Corners region -- if you haven't seen Monument Valley and Canyon de Chelley, put them on your list.

After all this you can make your way to Las Vegas -- I'd go via southern Utah, since I think Zion National Park is the most beautiful place on Earth.

(By the way, I just noticed Yosemite on your list -- it's a bit off the rest of your route, but from Las Vegas you could get to Yosemite, via Death Valley and Tioga Pass Road, and maybe you ought to consider finishing the loop and returning via Seattle -- car rental prices are often a lot cheaper if you return the car where you started!)

OK, there are some ideas -- hope you keep in touch, and have a great trip!

Happy Trails,

Jamie Jensen
Road Trip USA


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