Our First Trip Out West! - Fiberglass RV


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Old 03-27-2018, 01:32 PM   #1
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Our First Trip Out West!

We are looking forward to 6 weeks out west-our first experience in that section of the country. Leaving ~May 2 and have reservations in Yellowstone National Park from 5/31 to 6/6. Then we will head back to Pennsylvania, checking out Mt. Rushmore, the Badlands, and Indianna Dunes State Park (on Lake Michigan, I think) on the way home. We will leave from Florida on Rt 10 and head west. We've been putting pins on a map with destinations that our more well-traveled friends have told us are "must see."
Those pins label:
Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Taos in New Mexico
Sedona, Grand Canyon, Canyon De Chelly National Monument in Arizona
Zion, Bryce, Arches National Parks and a little place called Mexican Hat in Utah
Mesa Verde and Dinosaur National Monument in Colorado
Jackson Hole and Yellowstone in Wyoming
They all sound wonderful but it's probably too much for the time frame and I bet we could spend 6 years seeing the sights in those five states, not just 6 weeks!
Would you share your best advice about what to see, where to camp (we're happy with BLM land sometimes) and how to maximize our time and gas?
Oh, and what kind of temps can we expect so we pack appropriate clothing??
Thanks for your good advice!
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Old 03-27-2018, 02:19 PM   #2
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In PA, check out my favorite state park - Some photos & information: Ricketts Glen

Also, photos & information about some of the other state & national parks I've visited (many in the west) here.
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Old 03-27-2018, 02:30 PM   #3
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...you have most places to see already mapped out...my last time out west we came up thru Monument valley, and stopped at a little roadside restaurant in Mexican Hat(don't remember name) and had the most delicious Navajo Tacos ever...
...as to clothes, remember, it can get below freezing in mountains anytime of year and the high desert can be quite chilly at night, I would say to pack a sweatshirt/sweater along with a good windbreaker/rain jacket and you should be covered for most weather(along with your summer clothes)
HAVE FUN!!!!!!!!
madjack

p.s. if you are going to be travelling I10 across TX(998mi), you should add San Antonio to your trip, the Zoo and River Walk are excellent stops...the Alamo will probably be disappointing but the museum there is not bad...as you continue West, Davis Mt SP is a must stop with Ft Davis and the Mcdonnald(sp?) Observatory to take in...it is also a good place to check out Marfa and Alpine Tx(google 'em)..................mj
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Old 03-27-2018, 03:20 PM   #4
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Theis could be a long thread .

We travel with our dog which limits the experience when it comes to most national parks. If you are travelling with a pet, be aware there are lots of restrictions.

The one place we return to is Grand Teton. The mountains will humble you. Colter Bay is a large first come first served campground that seldom fills. In June freezing temps are common. We spent Labor day weekend there last year. It filled only on Saturday. Safe travels, Raz
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Old 03-27-2018, 07:03 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Jon Vermilye View Post
In PA, check out my favorite state park - Some photos & information: Ricketts Glen

Also, photos & information about some of the other state & national parks I've visited (many in the west) here.
Jon, your photos and travel journals are a wealth of information! Thanks so much for those links. I am busy reading and taking notes. Had to chuckle at your reference to Rickett's Glen. We summer in PA and raised our kids there. Spent a week at Rickett's each summer for many years and it remains one of our all time favorite places. Have hiked that beautiful Falls trail many times. Our trip will end in Pennsylvania - until the cold weather hits and we hightail it back to Florida.
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Old 03-27-2018, 07:09 PM   #6
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Jack, we've added San Antonio to the list. Have heard so much about it. Those other towns are temping too. Thanks for the suggestions! Will have to do some more figuring to see which ones make the cut. We are already thinking we have to divide this up into "this year's trip and next year's trip" spots.
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Old 03-27-2018, 07:15 PM   #7
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Ok Raz, Colter Bay is on the list! Thanks for that tip. The pictures of it that we could find online look breathtaking. We don't travel with pets. They aged out of the family house gradually, just like the kids. Just us and the camper. Easy peasy.
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Old 03-27-2018, 07:20 PM   #8
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We went out west last May. It was 25F in Yellowstone (early May) and 105F in St George, UT (outside Zion in late May). We go out west a couple of times a year, and Zion once a year.

Personally I’d break it into a couple of trips, one to the SW and one to the NW. for example, this year we are heading to CO in late May. Then we are going to Alaska in July. By breaking it up you can head to which ever area has more suitable weather. When it’s comfortable in Yellowstone it’s too hot in much of the SW for example.
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Old 03-27-2018, 08:09 PM   #9
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So many places to see. Get some guide books from the store, the Isight Guides are quite good, AAA state maps and Woodall's camping guides and grab the free state maps they hand out at the state Welcome Centers. We travel with only a rough plan and tweak it constantly, as we go. Often we discover beautiful places we probably would not if we made a detailed plan up front. Traveling with your own bed in tow, you have the flexibility. Even in full season you can stay a few miles away from the main attractions and then make day trips to see it all.
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Old 03-28-2018, 07:45 AM   #10
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welcome and good luck

good luck with your trip we have tented all 50 states plus 4 tenting trips to Europe take my word for it just get out there do the best you can.

GPS is your friend in Europe we would be lost without it very useful in the US also. Take my word for it will take years to see everything we have probably been to the Grand Canyon 4x every time there is something new that pops up.

Don't worry too much and have fun that is the important thing!

good luck

bob
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Old 03-28-2018, 08:33 AM   #11
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Pack a winterish jacket and hat. The weather changes quickly and you'll be at some high elevations at the Grand Canyon. The altitude--I'm thinking 7000ish feet or so on the rim can slow you down a bit too. Carry some kind of medication for a headache and be aware that alcohol has more of a kick at higher altitudes. You should adapt in a few days if staying. I've only been to the Grand Canyon but it is worth it to wander down into it. I have dayhiked down to Indian Gardens from the South Rim. There is a camping area for hikers and water there. It's a good turn back after having a rest place. Check to be sure on the water part. I've backpacked to the bottom of the canyon and back. Either one will make you sore afterwards, but it is worth it--we had some pretty fit people along and they were sore. The only folks who don't get sore seem to be the folks that work in the canyon. May will also be hot there during the day, but it'll be a dry heat.
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Old 03-28-2018, 08:42 AM   #12
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pat I am amazed b/backing to the bottom and back up is not easy! I knew a guy who did it he said one day down 2 days back up.


I did the hike down to mesa verde and up clingmans dome I couldn't do it now, those were the 2 extreme hikes I have done!


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Old 03-28-2018, 08:44 AM   #13
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climbing

oh I forgot I did the Douma in Italy a hard scarey climb at 73 but before the 2 extreme back surgeries but I did it shortly after heart surgery!

an 83 year old skinny lady did it in front of us

bob
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Old 03-28-2018, 09:31 AM   #14
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National Geographic Road Atlas Adventure Edition

Quote:
Originally Posted by Maryellen View Post
We are looking forward to 6 weeks out west-our first experience in that section of the country. Leaving ~May 2 and have reservations in Yellowstone National Park from 5/31 to 6/6. Then we will head back to Pennsylvania, checking out Mt. Rushmore, the Badlands, and Indianna Dunes State Park (on Lake Michigan, I think) on the way home. We will leave from Florida on Rt 10 and head west. We've been putting pins on a map with destinations that our more well-traveled friends have told us are "must see."
Those pins label:
Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Taos in New Mexico
Sedona, Grand Canyon, Canyon De Chelly National Monument in Arizona
Zion, Bryce, Arches National Parks and a little place called Mexican Hat in Utah
Mesa Verde and Dinosaur National Monument in Colorado
Jackson Hole and Yellowstone in Wyoming
They all sound wonderful but it's probably too much for the time frame and I bet we could spend 6 years seeing the sights in those five states, not just 6 weeks!
Would you share your best advice about what to see, where to camp (we're happy with BLM land sometimes) and how to maximize our time and gas?
Oh, and what kind of temps can we expect so we pack appropriate clothing??
Thanks for your good advice!
We found the National Geographic Atlas Adventure Edition to be VERY helpful as it features green spaces like Nat parks, and the National Forest campgrounds inside them. (get it at your local book store)
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Old 03-28-2018, 09:46 AM   #15
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90 branches off I-10 in San Antonio and rejoins it around Van Horn. A bit longer but much more scenic although I realize you're probably pressed for time. Camping is available along the way at Seminole Canyon State Park and Amistead NRA has dispersed camping and/or campgrounds.

We think the North Rim of the Grand Canyon is nicer than the South Rim but it doesn't open until mid May so not sure if that will work for you or not. Dispersed camping is available in Kaibab National Forest. The USFS also has a couple of developed campgrounds not too far outside the North Rim entrance. If that's the side you chose, be sure to make dinner reservations at the Lodge.

Dispersed camping is available along the 17 mile dirt road that runs between US 161 and US 263 in Valley of the Gods outside Mexican Hat.

Dixie National Forest has developed campgrounds and boondocking outside Bryce NP. Red Canyon is a USFS campground off Hwy 12 which is a really scenic road.

It would be a shame to skip Capitol Reef NP since you're in the area.

Horsethief is a BLM campground on HWY 313 between Canyonlands and Arches NPs. Its also near Dead Horse Point State Park.

Horse Thief Lake campground in Black Hills National Forest is fairly close to Mt Rushmore. Be sure to take the scenic drive through Custer State Park. If you overnight in or near Badlands NP, the Sage Creek campground within the Park is kind of neat. Its free and there are bison roaming right through the sites.

We'll also be in northern AZ / southern UT this Spring but a couple of weeks behind you. Definitely pack a jacket or two. And yeah, you should probably go ahead and start planning a second trip.
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Old 03-28-2018, 10:22 AM   #16
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Camping in South Dakota

If you are planning on camping in South Dakota during the late July to mid August time frame make sure you have reservations. The motorcycle rally in Sturgis fills every campground in Western South Dakota and Eastern Wyoming during that time frame.
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Old 03-28-2018, 12:40 PM   #17
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Our best wishes for you to enjoy a wonderful and safe trip.

Beware of rattlesnakes, rustlers, and crooked gamblers while you're out in the West! Beware of the bison in Yellowstone. Every year some hapless tourist gets killed by 'em. If they're on the roadway, let 'em be. They shoved a car off the road for nudging one of 'em. Don't bother them, and they probably won't bother you. Much. Don't back up to one for a selfie! They are capable of sending you flying through the air before you can snap your perfect shot.

You have lots to see and do, plenty of great advice, and will likely have a variety of weather from cool to warm. Likely no blistering days or solid freezes, but both are possible. I'd suggest a variety of clothing including hats and gloves, but no snow suits unless you plan to go to the tops of ski resort mountains and stay overnight.

You could spend six LIFETIMES seeing the "west," and most of your mentioned places are at least a day's driving apart. We're open and spacious out here, with whole swaths of countryside where "nothing" is going on...try Wyoming for ten billion miles uphill with nothing for years. In both directions. Except, of course, the occasional free range herbivore wandering onto the roadway and acting a little put out that you might want to stay on the pavement.

Should be a great trip!

BEST travels to you!

Kai
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Old 03-28-2018, 05:51 PM   #18
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Good advice, Bill. We'll stay to the south in early May and then not hit Yellowstone til June. It's clear that we have to plan another trip. Some careful map study and mileage checking has caused us to move the Grand Canyon, Brice and Zion to "next trip" status simply because of time. (sigh) There is more to the west and north of them that looks good too.
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Old 03-28-2018, 05:56 PM   #19
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So many places to see. Get some guide books from the store, the Isight Guides are quite good, AAA state maps and Woodall's camping guides and grab the free state maps they hand out at the state Welcome Centers. We travel with only a rough plan and tweak it constantly, as we go. Often we discover beautiful places we probably would not if we made a detailed plan up front. Traveling with your own bed in tow, you have the flexibility. Even in full season you can stay a few miles away from the main attractions and then make day trips to see it all.
Heading out to AAA for maps this week, Paul. Thanks - I forgot about that resource! We are traveling with my sister and brother-in-law who went to Alaska last year in their 13 ft Scamp. They drove from Florida! They said the same thing. Don't plan too much so that you have the flexibility to stay somewhere just a bit longer that is just too beautiful to leave. Or give yourself the time to appreciate the surprise around the corner that you didn't know was there. Just so excited about this...
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Old 03-28-2018, 05:57 PM   #20
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"You could spend six LIFETIMES seeing the "west," and most of your mentioned places are at least a day's driving apart. We're open and spacious out here, with whole swaths of countryside where "nothing" is going on...try Wyoming for ten billion miles uphill with nothing for years. In both directions. Except, of course, the occasional free range herbivore wandering onto the roadway and acting a little put out that you might want to stay on the pavement."

Oh geez, Kai, we should have started when we were younger!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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