Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Pennsylvania to Colorado - Summer 2012

Hi Jamie,

My husband and I and our three children are planning a two week road trip (next summer) to visit my brother in Cotopaxi, Colorado. We live in Pa. We would like to stop at a few places along the way. This will be our first major road trip and we are clueless!!!! When in Co. we plan on taking a two day trip to the Grand Canyon. Any suggestions for sites from Pa. to Co.?




Hi Marcel --

It took me a while longer than I wanted to write back to you, but I have some suggestions for your big road trip next summer.

Hope you're still looking forward to the great adventure!

Cotopaxi CO is right on my "Loneliest Road" road trip, so old US-50 should definitely feature in your trip planning -- especially if you have any interest in the Santa Fe trail and pioneer American history. US-50 follows the old trail all the way from Kansas City to Santa Fe, and there are "trail ruts" and frontier forts the whole way. And near Cotopaxi is one of the best "living history" experiences anywhere: Bent's Fort, which gives a great sense of what America looked like (and how people lived...) 200 years ago.

It's great for kids, too -- especially when they have special activities and events (I learned how to throw a tomahawk!) Here's a URL:

So factor US-50 into your route, one way or the other, or both. US50 takes a very interesting route in the east, too -- from the Washington DC environs, via lovely and historic Harpers Ferry West Virginia, then via Louisville and Cincinnati and across the forests of southern Indiana to the Mississippi River.

Places I'd recommend you look into for "overnight stops" along the way between PA and CO would include Louisville KY and the nearby Ohio River town of Madison, Indiana. Maybe a quick cruise along Route 66, southwest from St Louis to Meramec Caverns? And / or a cruise up the Mississippi River from St Louis to Mark Twain's hometown of Hannibal, Missouri (where they have a very fun, kid-friendly 4th of July!)

I also have enjoyed exploring Independence Missouri, where many of the "pioneer trails" set off west, and where Pres. Harry Truman grew up and lived for most of his life.

I'd say you'll need at least 3 days driving each way if you want to avoid getting exhausted (depending upon which end of Pennsylvania you're from!..)

You'll probably want to take advantage of some Interstate Freeways on your way there and back, since you have a pretty big trip ahead of you -- I-70 is a godsend for saving time across the Great Plains. And make sure you have plenty of time in Colorado, as that whole "Four Corners" region is spectacular -- besides the Grand Canyon, check out Mesa Verde in Colorado, Monument Valley on the Utah/ Arizona border, and the dozens of other parks (I especially like Zion and Arches). Once you've made the long haul west from Pennsylvania, all these places will seem very close, and they are all worth your time and attention.

OK, there are some ideas. Hope it helps you and your family to have a memorable adventure.

With best wishes,

Jamie Jensen
Road Trip USA


WOW!!! Thank you so much Jamie!!! You are amazing!!! I will be sure to pick up your book and will refer you to all my family & friends!!!


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