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Old 05-13-2006, 09:08 AM   #1
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Boxstering from Chicago to the Westcoast and back

The girl and I am planning to take our lovely new Boxster on a long haul from Chicago to the west coast and back in July. The tentative plan is something like Chicago -> Omaha -> Denver -> Las Vegas over three days. Then we're going to stay on the coast two weeks driving Las Vegas -> LA -> SF. And finally, the idea is to go SF -> Salt Lake City -> Cheyenne -> Omaha -> Chicago.

We're all ideas for suggestions on what to do. We're both from Denmark and this will be my girlfriend's first big tour of US cities and highways. What should we see? Which back roads must we drive? What should we be aware of when putting 4,000 miles on the car in 3 weeks?

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Old 05-13-2006, 11:03 AM   #2
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The folks from California could tell you better, but definately Highway 1 from San Diego to San Francisco. I wouldn't get too excited about the drive to Cheyenne...there is nothing out there...very boring. You can drive fast though!
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Old 05-13-2006, 11:51 AM   #3
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Rails right. Don't miss Hwy. 1. If you can, keep going north past San Fran to the Mendacino coast, up to Fort Bragg then you can take Hwy. 20 to I5 and go from there. Hwy. 20 isn't the most scenic route, but it's a fun drive. The Mendacino coast is breath taking you won't regret it!
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Old 05-13-2006, 12:03 PM   #4
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Oh dear, your car will be a beater.
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Old 05-13-2006, 06:24 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by redman12
Oh dear, your car will be a beater.
God forbid you actually drive the damn thing...

I'd suggest a trip up the Peak-to-Peak scenic byway in Colorado. It's a wonderful historic and beautiful trip. It starts in in Black Hawk/Central City where you can partake in some gambling in a mountain town originally known as the "richest square mile on earth" during the silver and gold boom.

Another thing I'd hit is to take the road to Idaho Springs towards Mount Evans off of I-70. It's the highest paved road in North America reaching 14,258 feet above sea level.

Naturally, you should stop at the Cherry Cricket in Cherry Creek (Denver) for what's generally considered to be the best burger joint in Denver. As an aside, the trademark for "Cheeseburger" was awarded to a Denverite named Louis Ballast. Cherry Creek is also great area for some very high end shopping.

From there, you can cruise down Colfax Avenue - the nation's longest continuous street in America.

If you cruise up I-70 and over the Continental Divide (as opposed to going over Monarch Pass and into Winter Park) you'll pass through the Eisenhower tunnel which at 1 mile long is also the highest auto tunnel in the world.

If you decide to take the back way into Aspen, you'll pass through Leadville, the highest incorporated city in the U.S. By the way, I've seen it snow in Leadville in July...

If you're coming up I-25 from the south, you might want to check out the Great Sand Dunes National Monument out of Alamosa. It's really quite amazing and the closest to the Sahara that many of us will ever get.

While you're down and around that area, you might also want to take a drive up Pike's Peak. Obviously, this is the same road travelled every year by many of the world's best racers in the Pikes Peak Hill Climb. This is also the mountain which inspired Katherine Bates to write "America the Beautiful".

On your way out of Colorado towards California, you can swing through Glenwood Springs which is the world's largest natural hot spring. It's also where the infamous Doc Holiday succumbed to tuburculosis.

I've probably skipped hundreds of other places I've taken visitors to this amazing state. But, the above is a great start. Hell, I wouldn't even bother going to California since they all just move here anyway....

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Old 05-13-2006, 07:03 PM   #6
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If you go to Salt Lake city there are two things to do that should not be missed and one other that the locals will talk about:

1. Go to the Snowbird ski resort - it is eay to find and take the tram to the top of the mountain, It is breathtaking. Also the drive up Little Cottonwood Canyon will be a thrill in a Boxster.

2. Another drive close to SLC is to ride up Big Cottonwood Canyon to the Brighton Ski resort, the resort is closed but the 15 mile ride up the canyon is great. I you want to walk around a mountain lake stop about 0.5 miles before Brighton ski resort on the right and walk around Silver Lake it will be beautiful.

2. For a sedate tour spend an hour in Temple Square.

Finally take a ride to Park City there are some great bars on main street. Squatters at the top of main street on the left as you go up hill has great beer and reasonable food.
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Old 05-14-2006, 04:54 AM   #7
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...I don't know...my advice would be...birth control!
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Old 05-14-2006, 05:56 AM   #8
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The tentative plan is something like Chicago -> Omaha -> Denver -> Las Vegas over three days. Then we're going to stay on the coast two weeks driving Las Vegas -> LA -> SF. And finally, the idea is to go SF -> Salt Lake City -> Cheyenne -> Omaha -> Chicago

Looks like you have tentatively planned I80/I76 from Omaha to Denver. Not much to see along there unless you detour through the Neb. Sandhills (Ogalalla, Neb., to Valentine, SD, then I90 through the Black Hills (Mt. Rushmore) and south to Denver. Then I70 w. through the mtns (very scenic) with extraordinary scenery in the canyonlands in Utah, then I15 south to St. George Utah through the Virgin River canyon to Vegas.
From the mouth of the Virgin River canyon to Los Angeles, be prepared for the most pathetic scenery in the US. Dirt and cactus all the way with some neon in Las Vegas. Once you have had your wallet vacuumed out in Vegas, there is nothing to see except the World's Tallest Thermometer in Baker, CA, until you reach the Pacific.
As suggested, Hwy 1 north along the coast is one of the premier drives in the US, although I wouldn't necessarily detour from LA to San Diego to do that part of it. The most scenic part, IMHO, is from Santa Monica to Monterey. Allow pretty much a whole day to do it, as although it's only what, 190 miles or so, it takes forever because unless you do it at 3am you'll be lucky to average more that 35mph the whole way. Beautiful, but slow. Definately take the 18 Mile Drive ($8.00) through the Pebble Beach area between Carmel and Monterey. You will easily see why the rich folks live there.
On the way back from SF to Salt Lake on I80, the highlights will be the mtns around Tahoe/Reno, and the Salt Flats west of Salt Lake City. That is something to experience, flat as a tiled floor and I80 straight as a string as far as you can see. Something like 25 miles, as I recall.
Side trips such as those suggested by Pete are available all along the way. You will have a great time, and the Box is great to do it in, although I'd be interested in knowing what you think of the seats by the time you're done.

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