By on October 9, 2015

The U.S. North to South 2015 series articles are published with a little bit of delay, necessary to process observations, write, retouch pictures and publish. Therefore I thought I’d let you know where I am currently and my planned itinerary for the next week.

If you live nearby and want to holler, please let me know in the comments! Also, if you have any advice on “must do” things and, more importantly, “must drive” roads along the planned itinerary, I have kept it relatively flexible to allow for this, so please let me know.

Currently I am in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming. Over the next few days I am planning to travel to:

– Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming.
– Jackson, Wyoming.
– Salt Lake City, Utah (via the 189, 26, 89, 34, 30 and then joining the I-15 South).
– Almost Las Vegas, Nevada then possibly Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona.
– Back northwest via Coyote Springs and 93 to Rachel, Nevada, to see some aliens at Area 51.
– North on the 93 to Route 50, “The Loneliest Road in America”, all the way to Carson City, Nevada.

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31 Comments on “U.S. North to South 2015 Itinerary...”

  • avatar

    I actually just got back from a week+ vacation in Moab. I’m not really a fan of Utah with their strange laws and even quirkier alcohol laws, but that aside, southern Utah is beautiful. I would recommend a serious look at Zion and Bryce Canyon as an option. Also, in Nothern Az (near Page) are the slot canyons (Antelope Canyon). I spent two full days there shooting pictures and although you’d never know from the outside, it is breathtaking on the inside. For many of the other roads around there it’s like driving no man’s land.

    • 0 avatar

      I’m of the mind that Route 89/89A in Arizona and Utah has some of the most beautiful scenery anywhere in the world. You cannot spend enough time in the various National Parks, State Parks, and other scenic sites around it.

    • 0 avatar

      Southern Utah and northern Arizona have some of the most uniquely beautiful country in the world. If you need a drink you can have your drink. The laws in Utah seem to work for them, as they have some of the safest cities and towns in the nation. Certainly not as weird as some towns in New Mexico, where it’s illegal for unshaven women to walk the streets.

      Why, being troubled by the laws in other states is almost like saying there’s nothing to do in Chicago but get shot to death or nothing to do in Georgia but eat Moon Pies, drink RC Cola and bark at the effin’ moon. Just ain’t so.

      Oh, and you should spend some time in Beaver… Utah.

  • avatar

    Looks like a great trip.

  • avatar

    Hi Matt – While you are in the park, make the short hike out to the Lone Star Geyser. You will have the show all to yourself.

    When you leave Jackson, drive south through the Red Desert in Wyoming – take 189 south towards Daniel Junction, then get on 191 south – I’ve driven all over the US and this is some of the most beautiful country you’ll see.

    A few miles before you get to Reliance, there is a sign on your right pointing to a dirt road (on the left) that will take you out to Petroglyphs on BLM land. It’s worth the trek.

    After Reliance, get on 80 west for a few miles and then back on 191 south and into the Flaming Gorge national rec area. The road down to the dam is steep switch-backs. I drove it in big old CX-9 and it was a hoot – I’m not sure how much fun it will be in a Ram, but it will be a good story.

    If you get to Vegas, make the trip over to Hoover dam, but get there when they open so you can take the tour into the dam itself.

    Depending on how much time you have at the Grand Canyon, the Desert View Watchtower over towards the east entrance it worth a visit.

    Enjoy the trip!

    • 0 avatar

      If you would have told us sooner, I could have given you some beautiful recommendations by Cody (Beartooth Highway). I’m not too versed with the southern part of the state, but I’d also advise Highway 189 South. I took it once when going down to Utah- it’s a beautiful trip.

  • avatar
    Felis Concolor

    From the most dangerous stretch of highway a decade ago to not even being close to the top 10 today, I’d suggest taking US 6 from Spanish Fork outside Provo to Price, then south to Emery and back to I-70 before linking back with I-15 south. The most dangerous aspects of that route these days are the distracting, gorgeous views. Utah’s highway engineers are the finest in the nation: after a crashed truck carrying explosives blew a gigantic crater in both lanes of US 6 in 2005, they got 2-way traffic up and running less than 24 hours later, and a friend who drove over to check it out had difficulty locating the original blast point, eventually figuring it out from examining damage along the canyon walls flanking the highway.

    Another of my favorite detours when returning from AZ to CO is heading north from Flagstaff through Kayenta and up to I-70: the Four Corners area is now well-known as the inspiration for the backdrop scenery in the animated Cars movie, but it never gets old for me when I journey through that region.

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      Solid recommendation, Matt’s missing all the good scenery just blowing south on I-15.

      I remember news of that Hwy 6 blast. The truck had 18 tons of explosives and somehow this was not enough to convince the driver to slow down for the curves. Not only did it crater out the highway, it laterally shifted the nearby railroad tracks. The site is best located now by looking for the aggressive flashing & speed-indicating signs the DOT put on approach to the turn because of this accident. Then look for the hillside with all the dead flattened trees.

    • 0 avatar

      I am jealous that both of you have that kind of scenery just everywhere. I was always in awe when commuting while living in Tucson. Mountain views never get old.

    • 0 avatar

      True dat, cat. Another beautiful area is the drive east from SLC, which takes you past Park City and through Heber Valley to Provo Canyon down to where you can take either SB 89 (preferably) or over to SB I-15, if you’re in a hurry.

  • avatar

    I LOVE Nevada’s 93. I almost always plan my trips out west to go through there so I can drive it one more time. I love driving on that road. I have some great memories that took place way out in the desert along that route.

    Ely, Nevada is a charming little town. I actually thought about living there once, lol. Its amazing what you can think up when doing a 3,000 mile road trip with no radio (and once in winter with no heater, but I had music that time).

  • avatar

    I highly recommend you check out Jenny Lake on your way to Jackson Hole. It’s really not out of the way at all and is a beautiful area.

  • avatar

    These are all fantastic recommendations guys! Keep ’em coming please!
    I will redesign my itinerary tonight.
    All the best,

    • 0 avatar

      There is an WWII-era (restored) air horn in Ely, Nevada on the site of an historical railroad museum. The horn was restored on the TV show American Restoration. From what I could see, the museum was worth a look if you have time.

  • avatar

    Utah is my favorite state scenery-wise, and I’ve been in all but about four states. (Alaska and 3 in the deep south). Canyondlands is a beautiful park, and after I got 1/10 mile from the parking lot, I saw only 6 people (one family of 3) in six hours of hiking.

  • avatar

    You’re going to pass through Tonopah, NV – the Mizpah Hotel there is a great spot to stay, or just stop to check out if you don’t need to overnight. It has quite a history and is allegedly quite haunted. We did a road trip vacation out that way last year and spent a night there. You will just miss Goldfield, which is directly south of Tonopah, just off your route. The famous Goldfield Hotel is another haunted spot, and it was where the scenes with DJ “Super Soul” were filmed for the original version of Vanishing Point, one of the all-time great gearhead movies. All in all, an awesome route, you’ll love every mile of it.

  • avatar

    A couple suggestions for Utah:

    * Alpine Scenic Loop:
    * Nebo Loop:

    These both have some fantastic scenery.

  • avatar
    Felix Hoenikker

    Hey Matt,

    I thought you were going to Anchorage and driving South from there. How did you get from northern Alaska to Wyoming? Inquiring minds want to know.
    Much to my wife’s dismay, I would like to travel the Pan American highway from Alaska to Patagonia except for the Darien gap when I retire in a few more years. I would appreciate a story of the best route from the most northern part of Alaska that you can drive to the lower 48 states.

    • 0 avatar

      That’s on my bucket list as well. We are light duty RVers (still prefer primitive camping over dragging the camper along) but absolutely plan on taking a summer and meandering aimlessly up through as much of Alaska as can be seen with a truck and camper. It would be the summer of a lifetime.

    • 0 avatar

      Hey Felix,

      Great to see there are inquiring minds wanting to know!

      The articles are published with delay (need to allow time to write as I am alone driving so can’t write while I drive). There are a few posts still to come from Alaska going south, then it’s a flight to Seattle when I picked up my Ram 2500. On from Seattle it’s driving.

      The Pan American highway was the ‘utopian’ version of this year’s trip however I wasn’t able to leave the US with the Ram, so it will have to be for another time.

      I was researching driving from Prudhoe Bay at the northern tip of the Dalton Highway in Alaska all the way towards the lower 48, however time and budget constraints have prevented this from happening. What I would suggest is to drive down from Prudhoe Bay to Anchorage then Whittier where you can take a ferry to Juneau. As you will see in the next updates, the ferry rides are well worth the trip. It’s a little expensive to put a car on the ferry (depending on how large is your car) and you have to plan well in advance as there are only two ferries a month in July and August that cross the Gulf of Alaska from Whittier to Yakutat. I missed these ferries as I did this trip in end-September. Then from Juneau it’s all easy down by ferry and you can link to either Vancouver or Bellingham 1 hour north of Seattle. There are no roads linking the various cities of southern Alaska so you have to take the ferry to do this part of the trip.

      The alternative is to drive from Anchorage inland into British Columbia all the way down to Vancouver but I do not recommend this option as you will miss the most beautiful part of Alaska: the southern panhandle.

      Hope this helps! The next Alaskan posts will give you more detail on the itinerary I took.

      All the best,

  • avatar

    I’d add taking 30 down to Montpelier, Idaho, then 89 along Bear Lake and through Logan Canyon into Utah…maybe I’m biased since I live at the mouth of the canyon, but it would make another awesome scenic addition to the route!

  • avatar

    Highway 50 is pretty cool. Based on the map, however, you’re going to miss the payoff of driving across Nevada (Lake Tahoe and California, at least until Sacramento).

  • avatar

    You might want to swing through Colorado where weed has recently been legalized.

  • avatar

    You really should take US 89 through southern Utah, which is one of the US’ most scenic drives. Stop in Zion, spend the night Springdale UT, then rejoin US 89 to get to Grand Canyon.

    Once you’ve reached Seligman AZ, take AZ 66 (the old Route 66) and leave an hour for Oatman along the way. This is one of the better sections of 66 that still remains.

  • avatar

    Nice job, skirting the borders of California but never entering to sample its famous $4+/gallon gas.

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