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Trip from Illinois to Southwest

Illinois
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Trip from Illinois to Southwest

Need suggestions on things to see and do-particularly between Midstate Illinois and Denver CO. Have 3 weeks RT. Enjoy historical sites, National parks, moderate-luxury hotels

Edited: 03 February 2013, 16:22
Marina, California
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1. Re: Trip from Illinois to Southwest

When do you plan to do this? July?

Ohio
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2. Re: Trip from Illinois to Southwest

we travel from central Ohio often-- I 70 across-- I struggle to find things of interest each trip and typically just end up biting the bullet and driving long distances to just "get there" You might find something here to stop and see along the way? http://www.roadsideamerica.com/

Sorry not to be more help.

Chula Vista...
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3. Re: Trip from Illinois to Southwest

Hi,

Here's a possible route for your trip:

http://goo.gl/maps/swGrm

In West Branch, IA there's the Herbert Hoover Birthplace:

http://www.nps.gov/heho/index.htm

In Iowa near Iowa City are the Amana Colonies.

http://amanacolonies.com/

Just west of Des Moines (with its impressive state capitol building) is the Living History Farm:

http://www.lhf.org/

In western Iowa, there are the Loess Hills:

http://www.visitloesshills.com/

Sorry to say, I'm drawing a blank on Nebraska, but here's their website:

http://www.visitnebraska.com/

For Colorado, however, here are some ideas:

Boulder with the University of Colorado campus is a very interesting, eclectic town with a youthful vibe to it.

http://www.bouldercoloradousa.com/

Rocky Mountain National Park is spectacular with its scenery, high elevations, and wildlife.

http://www.nps.gov/romo/index.htm

If you exit the park to the west, you can work your way down to the ski resort towns of Vail or Breckenridge on your way to Grand Junction.

You can head south to the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park:

http://www.nps.gov/blca/index.htm

And continue on to Durango, where you can ride a narrow gauge railroad to Silverton and back (all day affair) along the spectacular scenery of the Animas River, and then on to Mesa Verde National Park.

http://www.durangotrain.com/

http://www.nps.gov/meve/index.htm

You may want to consider dipping into northwestern New Mexico and Santa Fe and Taos, two of my favorite towns in the area.

http://www.santafe.org/

http://taos.org/

Then work your way back into Colorado to see the Great Sand Dunes National Park, Royal Gorge, Pikes Peak, or Garden of the Gods

http://www.nps.gov/grsa/index.htm

http://www.royalgorgebridge.com/

http://www.pikes-peak.com/

www.gardenofgods.com/home/index.cfm?flash=1

As you're driving through Kansas on your way home, you may want to check out the bison in Hays, Kansas:

http://www.haysusa.com/html/bison_pens.html

If you spend two days driving out and two days driving back, you'll have 17 days to play. I'll let you figure out how to spread those 17 days out between those attractions (or any of your own).

Zed

Las Vegas, Nevada
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4. Re: Trip from Illinois to Southwest

Rocky Mountain National Park north of Denver should be on your must-see list. Estes Park, just outside the east entrance of RMNP has luxury shopping, but I'm not sure what it has to offer in luxury accommodations. Colorado Springs and Pikes Peak would be worth a trip south from Denver.

One place to look for moderate luxury in the Mountain West at a decent price is out-of-season ski resorts, such as Vail, Aspen or Steamboat. The accommodations are generally very nice and upscalee and there's usually great hiking and decent food to be found.

For more of what you're looking for, you might want to steer northward for one of the legs, and drive through South Dakota, with Mt. Rushmore, the unfinished Crazy Horse Memorial, the Black Hills, Wind Cave National Park, Badlands National Park, and, on the eastern side of South Dakota, the infamous Corn Palace of Mitchell, SD. If you do the South Dakota thing, then Devil's Tower, Wyoming, is just a stone's throw.

Edited: 03 February 2013, 20:23
Illinois
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5. Re: Trip from Illinois to Southwest

Thanks I had on my list the Presidential Musuem. I struggle with Nebraska-I guess it will just have to be a long travel day. I did see Iowa also has the I80 museum that looks interesting. My thoughts were to include Montrose, CO and Ouray, CO. We've done Colorado Springs and all the natural attractions there. But I'd like to swing over to Utah too. So, I'm trying to figure out the best route.

Illinois
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6. Re: Trip from Illinois to Southwest

Thanks for the feedback. We did this trip a couple of years ago and it was fantastic.

Ohio
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7. Re: Trip from Illinois to Southwest

Montrose and Ouray are both great. I presume you'll head to the Black Canyon of the Gunnison at Montrose? We loved it! Can drive down into the canyon. The road from Montrose down to Durango- thru Ouray and Silverton- is an awesome drive.

I know what you mean about just getting thru some of those plains states :) Trying to plan a fall road trip myself going out 70 and back 40 and looking for something of interest to stop and see. Been both routes several times, so... it gets harder and harder :)

Illinois
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8. Re: Trip from Illinois to Southwest

The Eisenhower Presidentiall musuem was a nice stop in Abilene KS. His boyhood home and Library is there. The grounds are very nice and the museum, while rather small was good.

USA
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9. Re: Trip from Illinois to Southwest

Nebraska is more fun if you think of it as a destination rather than an obstacle. Some worthwhile attractions along I-80 from east to west:

Omaha has a top notch zoo.

Take a picture of a 75 mph speed limit sign along I-80.

Ashland has the Strategic Air and Space museum, great collection of planes and memorabilia: http://sasmuseum.com/

The Stuhr Museum of the Prairie Pioneer is in Grand Island. tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g45592-d57…

I have no personal experience with the Great Platte River Road Archway Monument in Kearney. tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g45649-d12…

I want to visit the Heartland Museum of Military Vehicles in Lexington: http://www.heartlandmuseum.com/ tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g45665-d10…

North Platte has the Buffalo Bill Ranch, open March into October: …ne.gov/parks/guides/parksearch/showpark.asp…

North Platte also has the Golden Spike Tower with views of the Bailey (railroad) Yard, the world's largest. tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g45737-d26… http://www.goldenspiketower.com/

Read up the North Platte Canteen before your visit. "From December 25, 1941 until April 1, 1946 more than 6 million servicemen and women who traveled through Nebraska during World War II fondly remember the hospitality of the North Platte Canteen where every troop train was met by volunteers who prepared and served sandwiches, coffee, cookies, cakes, and other homemade ‘goodies’ during stops there." http://npcanteen.net/

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_Platte_Canteen The canteen volunteers are included in the 20th Century Veterans' Memorial at I-80 and US-83, also worth a stop.

Also in North Platte, we enjoyed clambering on the trains in Cody Park: tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g45737-d19…

The spring migration of sandhill cranes runs until early April on the Platte River. You will have to check for viewing points and dates. We saw thousands of them at a distance from an interstate rest area.

Illinois
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10. Re: Trip from Illinois to Southwest

Thanks Hoogo, those are some great tips. North Platte looks like it might be a good stopping place too. I love historic homes and Buffalo Bill's ranch sounds interesting along with the largest railroad yard.