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Burtim 03-01-2014 10:47 PM

First long trip... Utah help?
New to us Casita 17SD with a (don't have yet) 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee. Planning to drive from Omaha to Las Vegas and back. Only time I can do it is last half of June. I have to be in Vegas for business for a few days. Will use I-80, I-70 and I-15 to and from. I'm looking at trying to camp a couple of nights on the way to Vegas. Will be making that trip quickly. My wife will meet up with me in Vegas for the slower return to Omaha. About a week to get back. Would like to stop at Zion and Arches on the way back. Looks like Zion Watchman campground is already booked up. Arches Devils Garden may have a few sites left. Any suggestions on campgrounds/things to see without going too far out of the way. Since this is big trip #1, kinda want to be around facilities where we can. Not feeling too adventurous/secure about it yet.

Raz 03-02-2014 04:49 AM

Hello Tim and welcome to the forum. Utah is one of the most interesting places we've been to but we didnt go that time of year. We'd melt :). Route 12 between Bryce Canyon and Capital Reef is well worth the drive. On route 128, which starts between Arches and Moab, you will find numerous BLM campgrounds, all along the Colorado river. The canyon walls provide some shade and the scenery is amazing. Be aware, there is no water. There are a number of private campgrounds with power in Moab. I would imagine a reservation would be a good idea. Have a safe and enjoyable trip. Raz

Pam Garlow 03-02-2014 09:02 AM

I've learned that you have the most enjoyable trips by not over-scheduling and trying to fit too much into a short time. You can wind up stressed out by trying to 'stay on the schedule'. (remember that old adage 'take time to smell the roses' )

:steer The trip can also be used to find places for future camping vacations. Keep track of points of interest that you might not have time for, and then plan another trip out at a later date.

And please post photos of your new Casita!!

..........we love to see :E:E photos of the new family members

Jack L 03-02-2014 09:14 AM

A week to get back from Vegas to Omaha with stops in Zion and Arches ? If that is your plan, you will not have very much time at any one place. Zion, Arches, and Brice Canyon National Parks are in my opinion the "crown jewels" of our national parks. Several days at each one would be about right in my opinion.

If you make reservations at Arches Devils Garden look carefully at the camp sight description. Some of them were great and some would not work at all for anything but a tent. Also check back with the reservation center for cancellations.I made reservations at Watchman and Devils Garden about 5 months in advance and even then, selection was limited with both places about 3/4 full.

I saw lots of nice campgrounds around Moab and after 3 nights at Devils Garden and two nights at Canyonlands Campground in downtown Moab. I'm going back to Moab in May for the rally and have lots on my to do list that I missed the first trip.

Be prepared for hot weather too:).

Bob Miller 03-02-2014 09:29 AM

Ya, But....

Trying to maintain a schedule can be stressful, but it's not near as stressful for a Newbie, with a limited time frame to boot, as not knowing where you will be parked at that night.

Many a newly purchased RV has made only one trip with a new owner when stressful days were followed by the stress of looking for someplace to spend the night when the sun is about to set. This often results in seeing RV's in Motel parking lots and then being For Sale when it gets back home.

It's no surprise that Watchman is filled for June, that's about peak season, and it's not all that big a place anyway. There are a number of private parks within 30 or so miles, but they can get full and are expensive in season.

After a few trips you will be comfortable with your new FGRV and will be better able to deal with surprises like full campgrounds. For now it will be a lot more enjoyable if you eliminate as many variables as possible.

I'd get on-line today and start tracking down and reserving public or private sites along your route. This time let your stops govern your travels and you will have less to worry about at the end of what can be long days.

BTW: Trying to catch-as-catch-can in those areas in June can be a real death march.

Carol H 03-02-2014 09:51 AM

I am with the others in so far as I would stay at least a few days in each spot if possible, having to pack up and move one each day is not a lot of fun and you will not see much. I personally like to stay at National Parks for as many days as possible as most are pretty difficult to see if only there for a couple of days. You might consider doing those on trips when you have more time to stay.

Valley of the Fire State Park not far from Vegas is a nice spot - if you are able to get one of the spots where you camp between the large rocks that may help a lot in regards to shade at that time of year .... just don't recall if those spots have power for AC which you will most probable need in June though. Lake Mead Recreational area is another nice spot to consider.

mszabo 03-02-2014 09:51 AM | Find RV Parks, RV Park Reviews

Try the above site, hope you have AC, enjoy!

Wallo 03-02-2014 10:19 AM

There are private RV parks in Springdale, UT right outside of Zion. Not sure of the prices, but you will only be staying for 1 night or so. Since time is curtailed, I would get off I-15 at Cedar City, UT and take Rt. 89 north up to I-70. Beautiful drive, but the road does get windey and it will be going up and down mountains. There are also many public RV parks in Moab to check out Arches NP and surrounding area. The end of June usually starts to get quite warm here in S. UT, but, up in Zion it is about 10-15 degrees cooler.

Jack L 03-02-2014 10:28 AM

The less time I spend on the Interstate Highways the more I get to see. The better views of Utah are from the secondary roads.

DaMScampers 03-02-2014 07:22 PM

Utah State Parks! Check out dead Horse Point State Park. It puts you in the vicinity of Canyonlands (island in the sky is 5 min away) and Arches (30 minutes). Also check out Goblin valley state park. Both take reservations 16 weeks out but won't be as crowded as the national park campgrounds.

Burtim 03-05-2014 08:58 PM

I found a nice little place called Quail Creek State Park west of Zion that I booked a couple of nights into. Only problem is... no power there. My Casita is a 2007 SD17. I've been looking at a generator to get AC in the boonies to break the heat. Will the Honda 2000i keep up for a few hours late in the day? We won't be at the camp in the heat of the day since we'll be in Zion poking around so we should only need it to cool it off and get to rest before it gets cooler at night. There are shuttles in Zion that I can't seem to find out much about. Does anyone know? Can you just show up and ride them to see an overview of the park. We are just looking for a quick view this time, we can always go back if we see that we want to. We camped last fall in Nebraska when it was unseasonably warm at 100 degrees and used the AC. I'm supposing in the "dry heat" it won't be as bad. We could have lived with the fan only if it wasn't for the humidity in Nebraska that makes it much worse. I'm looking at Dead Horse Point for our visit to Arches, but I'm tempted to go into Moab for two nights so we get power and water. The Jeep will be new. Anyone know if there's any problem towing with low miles on an engine. Sorry I'm asking so many questions. That's what newbies do! Thanks for the comments and help. I'm listening.

Bob Miller 03-05-2014 09:18 PM

A Honda 2000 generator will start most a/c's, but when they cycle it will usually get overloaded on whats called "Locked Rotor Current" If you have a smaller a/c like a Polar Cub Jr. you may be OK. Maybe you can rent one to test before buying.

The roads up into Zion Canyon is closed at Watchman Campground some time in the spring, I don't know the exact date. When the shuttles run they run up and down the valley and into Springgdale. it's hop on/Hop Off. We were there in April several years ago and it wasn't hot enough to need a/c, which we didn't have anyway.

Bob Miller 03-05-2014 09:22 PM

Zion Shuttle Update
The Shuttle starts on April 1st. Until then you can drive up the canyon in your car. Here's a link: Shuttle System - Zion National Park (U.S. National Park Service)

Burtim 03-05-2014 10:13 PM

My AC unit is a RV Products 9201D876. When I look at the tech. doc's. on the RVP website, they say it is a "Polar Cub". I might try to buy a Honda with a return policy so I can take it back if I don't get what I need for power.

I went ahead and booked at Dead Horse Point. They have power so the only place I don't is over by Zion which I think should be cooler anyway?

Thanks folks. Now I can concentrate on picking out that Jeep.

Carol H 03-05-2014 10:49 PM


Originally Posted by Burtim (Post 445110)
The Jeep will be new. Anyone know if there's any problem towing with low miles on an engine. .

Read your manual, I know some state the vehicle should not be used for towing for the first x so many miles.

Jack L 03-06-2014 12:08 AM

Zion also has some tours that are free and guided by a park ranger. You sign up at the visitors center for the next day. The guided one we took was very interesting. The regular shuttles run about every 15 minutes if my memory is correct. I found the shuttles to be convenient. If you have the time I would suggest you go thru the MtCarmel tunnel. We came into the park from the East and the tunnel was a real treat.

Wallo 03-06-2014 08:03 AM

About 4 miles past Quail Creek is Sand Hollow State Park. Personally, I think it is prettier and there may be some campsites with hookups. Most people go to Quail Creek to fish. Sand Hollow has alot of boaters at ATV's. You can camp on the beach also, but be careful the road down is all sand and if you are too heavy you could get stuck.

Gilda 03-07-2014 10:52 PM

3 Attachment(s)
Do take as long as you can in Utah. We spent 3 weeks in the fall of 2013 and visited 5 fabulous and distinctive National Parks; Zion, Bryce, Canyonlands, Capital Reef and Arches. If you are 62 or older and a US citizen you can buy a lifetime pass for $10, unbelievable! A year-long pass is usually $80 (still worth it). Our favorite campgrounds turned out to be BLM lands outside of Canyonlands (pit toilets, picnic tables, fire pits and water) and Capital Reef (no amenities). I also suggest that you use the "Search" button at the top of this page, scroll down to the Google Search and enter "Utah". You will find a TON of previous posts. Have a great time!
Note: Top and bottom photos are Zion and middle photo is Capital Reef.

peterh 03-08-2014 02:57 AM

I can second Valley of Fire, just east of Las Vegas, but you'll want to arrive early so you can snag a spot as someone else leaves. There are no reservations.

Beyond that, pic a place and stay for a while. Moab has some nice pay parks, is close to both Arches and Canyonlands National Parks, so it's kind of a two-for-one. Camp in-town and you'll find nice places for breakfast, dinner, ice cream and beer. Very low-stress for a first trip for a newbie.

If you can find a pay place near Zion, that might be another good option. Zion is probably booked solid by now, but is one of the nicest parks we've been to. We plan to go back.

Jack Allen 03-08-2014 06:57 AM

First long trip
We start early each day and try to do 300 miles if traveling far and then stop about 3p.m. to have a better chance at camp spaces and a longer happy hour.
You'll enjoy the Utah area, some of the most scenic in the country.
The Jeep Grand Cherokee, we've had ours for over three years and 60,000 miles and would buy it again. We have the V8 which uses very little more fuel than the V6 but it does a great job of towing and any Dodge dealer is familiar with the Dodge engine. Half of the mileage we have on the jeep is towing nearly 4000# and if you ever want to upgrade to a heavier trailer, you will already have your tow vehicle. Enjoy your trip.
Jack of Tucson

blodn1 03-08-2014 07:57 AM

Little off topic, but this radius map gives a good idea about travel distances. Put in starting point, number of miles you want to travel, and it will give you a radius. Adding points gives a rule-of-thumb guide to length of journey. Bear in mind that it doesn't take into account roads or conditions, just radii.
Radius Around a Point on a Map

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