Escaping from BC to New Mexico & Back - Fiberglass RV


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Old 07-12-2008, 03:06 PM   #1
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Hello Everyone,

Reace and I are planning a 3 week holiday in December from BC down to California, Arizona, and hopefully New Mexico and back with our two daughters aged 9 & 11. A surprise for them!

This will be my first trip south (No, I have never been to Disneyland! And yes I am over 35 but not quite 40! hmmm! Did I mention Reace has been to Disneyland 3 times....) and the planning has been left up to me. I am hoping that with the wealth of knowledge available here, everyone can pitch in and help me out with some 'You have to see this!' stops.

We plan on camping all the way down and back with the first two days spent driving straight through to California. Our plans include taking in Disneyland, Sixflags, Alcatraz etc. However, we are also interested in Tombstone, and 'old west' history. Advice on campsites, tourist info, points of interest are all welcome and greatly appreciated.

for helping me out with this.

Tammy
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Old 07-12-2008, 03:14 PM   #2
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Chaco Canyon, in North West, NM a very interesting ancient settlement.

Canyon De Chelle, AZ

Ron
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Old 07-12-2008, 09:41 PM   #3
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I can't help with campgrounds because we've never camped the areas your asking about, however I highly recommend seeing Hoover Dam, the Grand Canyon, and Mesa Verde canyon ruins.
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Old 07-13-2008, 09:59 PM   #4
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Quote:
However, we are also interested in [b]Tombstone, and 'old west' history.
If you are planning on going to Tombstone, and you have any interest in Travel Trailers, then you must continue only a few miles south to Bisbee, AZ to see The Shady Dell.

I look forward to meeting you at Bandon. I want to send you my copy of "Going Back To Bisbee". Very valuable read before visiting Southeast Arizona. It answered a lot of curiosities and imponderables of the region I had after visiting there myself. I hope to "Go Back To Bisbee" myself.
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Old 07-14-2008, 12:17 AM   #5
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Reace and I are planning a 3 week holiday in December from BC down to California, Arizona, and hopefully New Mexico and back with our two daughters aged 9 & 11. A surprise for them!
Tammy

I'm a Central California native with lots of input for you. Here's just a few.

As you pass through Portland, I strongly suggest a several-hour stop at Oregon Museum of Science & Industry (OMSI). Well worth a visit.

Which route do you plan to take through Cali? Are you considering Highway 1? Or would you go for the speedy route (I-5). Here are some highlights that my kids, 5 & 8, enjoy:

Paul Bunyan at Trees of Mystery (Highway 1) - I'd skip the tree tour, but the statue makes for a nice funky rest stop

Stinson Beach - Highway 1 north of San Francisco. also Point Reyes (and lighthouse), Bolinas (funky town), Muir Woods (storied redwoods), Nice little beach town. Friendly people. Ice cream shop. Long stretch of sand. If you plan ahead, you could stay at Steep Ravine in the cabins (reservations required) or there are several campgrounds in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, just across the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco.

Jelly Belly Factory, Fairfield, CA - surely a hit.

Yosemite - Beautiful, all year round. There's skating in the winter, that's novel for us (no snow where we live) but may not be for your kids.

In San Francisco - bike town (bike The Bridge), Alcatraz, Musee Mecanique at Fisherman's Wharf.

South on Highway 1 - Hearst Castle (the tour guides are usually very good), San Simeon State Beach (camp at San Simeon), San Luis Obispo (I wrote a book about this county, so you may not want to get me started here), camp at Pismo Beach (multiple campgrounds near and even ON the beach).

If you take 101, stop in Gilroy at Gilroy Gardens (if it's still open...may be closed for season). This newer, smaller amusement park is designed for families.

Los Angeles area - Getty Museum (well worth the stop, free museum, very family friendly, and great view of the LA Basin), Venice Beach (beach, plus funky people - home of Muscle Beach...lots of characters around here), eat at Killer Shrimp in Marina del Rey...mmmmm! Chinese Theater on Hollywood Boulevard, Hollywood Boulevard, countless museums, even the LA City Central Library is impressive!

Las Vegas - the lights are great, and these days there's lots for kids. It's a great big amusement park complete with rides. Cirque du Soleil is fantastic, too.

Camp overnight in the Mojave Desert - Goffs Schoolhouse and environs is great. Nothing like the quiet of the desert.

Hoover Dam (pit stop, but impressive height...plus it was the dam used in "Transformers")

Grand Canyon - especially sunset. And if you want to make it memorable for them (rather than just a really big ditch), take the mule ride down and up (or at least back up).

Jen
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Old 07-14-2008, 01:45 AM   #6
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If you like ghost towns you might want to check out this website: http://www.ghosttowngallery.com/ They have pictures of nearly all of the ghost towns in the West. You might find that there are plenty of ghost towns that deserve your attention and then consider taking a more northernly route through Arizona, in lieu of seeing Tombstone, so you won't miss some of the other truly amazing sights. There are also lots of Anasazi ruins that are really cool to see. December is a great month to tour the Southwest since many of more popular camping destinations are nearly desolate at this time. One Thanksgiving (November) I drove with a friend to Canyon de Chelly in Northern Arizona to see the Anasazi cliff dwellings. Aside from two other campsites, we had the campground virtually to ourselves.

But do your research first before you set out. In spite of popular myths, it does snow in parts of the Southwest and some campgrounds may be seasonal.
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Old 07-14-2008, 05:08 PM   #7
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You Guys are awesome.

I am loving all of the information, hints, etc. I think the girls are going to love the Jelly Belly's and Reace will love the factory tour. I like Paul B. and the Ghost Town map. We will have a wide variety of tourist attractions to do.

We have already planned on the Hoover Dam as Reace watches all of those 'How's it Made' and 'Megafactories' shows. He wouldn't pass up anything like that.

I am getting so excited reading the posts. By the time we get ready to go I should have a great tour planned.

please keep the information coming....

Tammy
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Old 07-14-2008, 10:35 PM   #8
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You Guys are awesome.

I am loving all of the information, hints, etc. I think the girls are going to love the Jelly Belly's and Reace will love the factory tour. I like Paul B. and the Ghost Town map. We will have a wide variety of tourist attractions to do.

We have already planned on the Hoover Dam as Reace watches all of those 'How's it Made' and 'Megafactories' shows. He wouldn't pass up anything like that.

I am getting so excited reading the posts. By the time we get ready to go I should have a great tour planned.

please keep the information coming....

Tammy
Then your going to have to take the "Whole Dam Tour", otherwise known as the hardhat tour.

We managed to take the our last tour right before 9/11. There were installing metal detectors at that time. I hope for everyone's sake that the tours are still happening. This was one of the most impressive tour/side trips I've ever taken. I too enjoy all of the How it's Made shows and such, but just the size of the Dam is enough to impress even the least interested.

Have a good trip.
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Old 07-25-2008, 12:19 PM   #9
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If you get to New Mexico, I'll list some nice places to camp and see:
City of Rocks State Park http://www.emnrd.state.nm.us/prd/cityrocks.htm

Oliver Lee State Park http://www.emnrd.state.nm.us/prd/oliverlee.htm

Other State Parks http://www.emnrd.state.nm.us/prd/ParkTours.htm


Valley of Fires Recreation Area & BLM Campground http://www.blm.gov/nm/st/en/prog/recreatio...y_of_fires.html
http://www.freecampgrounds.com/detail.aspx?id=2800
http://www.fiberglassrv.com/board/in...howtopic=30824

The Three Rivers Petroglyph Site & BLM Campground http://www.blm.gov/nm/st/en/prog/recreatio...ree_rivers.html

Datil Wells BLM Campground http://www.freecampgrounds.com/detail.aspx?id=1727

Hope you can make it,
DesertHawk

I had listed only sites in the southern part of the state. Here are some for up north:
Blue Water Lake State Park http://www.emnrd.state.nm.us/prd/Bluewater.htm

We used to stay at Red Rocks State Park near Gallup, but it seems not to be a State Park now. I have not been to it in years, some bad reviews in http://www.rvparkreviews.com/regions...co/Gallup.html ??

El Morro National Monument is neat to see & has a small campground (no showers or water in Dec but free then); there is a private campgound near by
http://www.nps.gov/elmo/
http://www.nps.gov/elmo/planyourvisit/campgrounds.htm

Bandelier National Monument would be a nice place to visit near Los Alamos and not far from Santa Fe
http://www.nps.gov/band/
http://www.nps.gov/band/planyourvisit/juni...-campground.htm

In Arizona, Canyon de Chelly National Monument http://www.nps.gov/cach/
http://www.freecampgrounds.com/detail.aspx?id=1439

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Old 07-27-2008, 04:49 PM   #10
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In addition to Arian's good list, I recommend seeing the Gila Cliff Dwellings Nat Monument inside the Gila Natl Forest. Great dwellings and there's a nearby NF campground (no hookups). Also, just a bit south on Gila River is the Gila Hot Springs CG with hot springs. This is all a bit north of Silver City in the SW part of New Mexico.

Also, there is a sort of loop of Natl Parks, Monuments and Forests in Southern Utah that are all well worth a visit.
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Old 07-27-2008, 08:02 PM   #11
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Lots of great suggestions here. Some my family have enjoyed over the years are: The Sonoran Desert Museum (Tuscon). Fort Huachuca is on the way to Tombstone and is an active military base but you can visit by checking in at the gate. It played a major role in the settlement of the southwest and has a great musuem with exibits from that era. Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico is one of our daughter's favorite memories. Consider staying at the Dog Canyon campground in Guadalupe Mountains National Park while in that area - very remote but a wonderful experience. Ranger Gary Carver will probably let your daughters help with feeding his two mules and he can offer a wealth of information on what to see and do there Also be sure to visit Sitting Bull Falls in Lincoln National Forest (its between the campground and the caverns). Lots of wildlife on the roads in early morning and evening so drive carefully.

Have fun - it sounds like a wonderful experience for your family.


Al & Cindy
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Old 08-08-2008, 10:15 AM   #12
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Tammy can I hide in the back of the truck !!! Would love to do this trip - I am sure the girls will love it! :-)

If it were me I would take the coast Highway from Vancouver, Washington down to California - rather than the I5. I have done the trip down the old coast highway a few times and there is an amazing amount to see. We love it so much we have even rented a cottage in Manzanta. There are a number of old Forts and Light Houses along the way. Stop and play in the Sand Dunns in the Southern half. Just make sure you take one of the main roads over to the coast and do not try and get over to much past Portland as I think that a couple of the smaller feeder type roads that go through the mountains are closed during the winter. I promise if you do the trip down the coast it will not be your last.

December is Storm Watch Season which in itself is something to see! If you go make sure you at least see Cape Foulweather and the Devil’s Punch Bowl - unreal in the summer and fall months so I suspect the winter would be even better. They are amzaing in the Summer. Some of the best views IMO are between Lincoln City and Newport - although the whole coast is special.

There are some great state parks all along the coast and you will get your pick of prime sites at that time.

Some web sites to help you decide what to explore along the way:

Oregon Coast Trip Ideas

Visit the Oregon Coast


Carol



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Old 08-08-2008, 01:33 PM   #13
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Coming back through Utah would be awesome!! Zion National Park and Bryce Canyon National Park are not to be missed - they are just absolutely unbelievable sights. Then there's Escalante, Arches and a number of other spectacular parks too. But Zion and Bryce are just other-worldly. Kanab Utah is smack dab in the middle of a lot of old western movie sites so there's some interesting exploring around there too. Moab Utah (near the Needles Park area - also awesome) is a huge mountain-biking area and lot's of rafting trips either start or end there. In addition to a lot of State/National Parks, there is a lot of BLM land for dry-dock free camping.

I've been going back to Utah every 2-3 years for the last 25 years - it never gets old - the scenery is absolutely beautiful. If you're lucky, you might see some snow on the red rocks - the rock in Utah varies from almost white, to pink, to various shades of red, orange, burnt orange - really pretty with a thin coating of snow and offset by the evergreen trees.

Here's a link to Bryce Canyon - my all-time favorite http://www.nps.gov/brca/

Good luck planning your trip!!
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Old 08-08-2008, 03:43 PM   #14
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Hi Tammy & Reace! As already mentioned, these suggestions are terrific. We'll add a few ...

Outside of Las Vegas, near Lake Mead, is Valley of Fire SP - lots of red rock scenery and small campgrounds. Might be a bit chilly in Dec tho'.

If you don't want to tug your trailer on your Tombstone/Bisbee visit, there are several nice RV parks in Benson, AZ right on I-10 (also a WalMart for supplies!).

If you have the time and are interested in special desert areas, Organ Pipe Cactis Nat'l Monument (very) near the Mexican border is worth a look.

If you travel the interstate from Las Cruces to Albuquerque, NM:
* Truth or Consequences - check out the quirky history and the wonderful mineral baths. Some of the facilities appear a bit run-down, but don't be put off by that - the hot soak is awesome & worth it.
* Just north of town is Elephant Butter SP - as with most of NM's SP's, this one is nice and has hookups & good restrooms.
* If you are interested in space exploration or SciFi, take the exit at Socorro to see the VLA site - Very Large Array of radio antennae (have you watched the movie "Contact?").

Wherever the road leads on your holiday, we wish you safe travels and many happy memories - L 'n D
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