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Old 02-01-2016, 10:03 PM   #1
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Cross Country National Park Trip

Need tips for a cross country tour we are trying to hit lots of National Parks. Planning on leaving New Jersey in late August and returning in November. We want to head west and hit lots of parks and see some nice sites before returning back to New Jersey. I'm looking for any tips from anyone who has done this before. My concerns are what to take with me like extra wheel bearings for the camper extra DEF for my 2011 F-350 Diesel and anything else that has already been thought of and taken. Another thought is a 12v air compressor that is able to fill 80lbs of pressure in my truck tires. Another thought is, I already have AAA and was wondering if Good Sam road assistance is better.

Any help is appreciated on this grand adventure.
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Old 02-02-2016, 07:40 AM   #2
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I always carry extra DEF fluid and I have a Garmin GPS. The most important thing is a TPMS for the truck and camper that you trust. I like TST 507


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Old 02-02-2016, 08:05 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by NJLOAD View Post
Need tips for a cross country tour we are trying to hit lots of National Parks. Planning on leaving New Jersey in late August and returning in November. We want to head west and hit lots of parks and see some nice sites before returning back to New Jersey. I'm looking for any tips from anyone who has done this before. My concerns are what to take with me like extra wheel bearings for the camper extra DEF for my 2011 F-350 Diesel and anything else that has already been thought of and taken. Another thought is a 12v air compressor that is able to fill 80lbs of pressure in my truck tires. Another thought is, I already have AAA and was wondering if Good Sam road assistance is better.

Any help is appreciated on this grand adventure.
Fist thing is Buy a National Park Pass,If you are 62 its Only 10.00$ Lifetime! Plus Big Discount! If not 62 still Buy a NPP Passport, it Lists the NP by Region,and has a Location to place the NP Stamps! Youroo!!
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Old 02-02-2016, 09:13 AM   #4
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Thanks for the replies folks, I searched up the TST 507 and after looking at the price of the extra sensors was wondering what the chance of someone stealing them would be? I like the thoughts of the whole system but wonder about that. Extra DEF will definitely be going along and I need to find a good 12v air compressor as my rear truck tires require 80lbs of pressure.

I do have a NP passport book but just shy of 62 for the entrance fees.

Any thing else recommended would be appreciated.
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Old 02-02-2016, 09:33 AM   #5
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My wife and I made that trip last summer, we had a blast . We visited 14 national parks ! (I got the NP pins) my only suggestions would be do not try to cram too much into too little time, make sure to schedule a day off every few days to just relax. Don't forget if the National Parks are booked up the National Forest Service has campgrounds as well !
Have fun ! Which way ya going Southern or Northern ?
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Old 02-02-2016, 09:49 AM   #6
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Also, check your schedule as to where you are going to be and when. Depending on snowfall, most of Yellowstone could be shut down towards the latter end of your trip. I know they plow from the north entrance to Cooke City, MT, but that's a dead end once you get there. Beartooth usually closes first of November, but has closed as early as mid Oct.
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Old 02-02-2016, 01:22 PM   #7
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Talking Weather

Good on ya for making a "big trip."

Wife and I visited 50 national parks from late April to end of November in 2010. Drove 35,000+ miles in an Airstream Interstate (Class B MH)

Not sure what your goal is, other than to see some "nice sites." But based on our whirlwind tour (from the Florida Keys to Alaska, Maine to southern California) we would urge you to slow down a bit, see less but see more. Visit fewer park but go deeper. Don't be a drive-by tourist. Average visit in national parks is somewhere between 90 minutes and half a day. Each and every park is unique and has much to offer. Recommend you sign up for at least one Ranger led walk/hike in each park you visit. You'll actually learn some things that will surprise you.

How close are you to 62? Any chance you'll turn 62 before you leave, or during your trip? Every park sells the seniors pass.

The greatest concentration of parks is Colorado/Utah. We spent three days at Mesa Verde and that was about right. Great Sand Dunes is worth a solid day, the visitor center there is pretty good, and traipsing around is a blast and will wear you out. Fantastic phenomenon. Rocky Mountain National Park could keep you busy for a couple of weeks, easy. Are you a hiker? Take photos? Enjoy history? Hard to give you guidance without knowing.

Black Canyon of the Gunnison, also in CO, is a good day's visit. You'll take that long to drive around the perimeter and stop at each overlook. It is an astonishing place and quite capable of giving you a case of vertigo. I think there is only one road down to the river and it was out of commission when we were there. Would love to go back and see if we could get down there and look UP>

On to Utah and you have Bryce, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, Arches, and Zion. All within an easy days drive of each other. Bryce is magical and worthy of a hike down into the hoodoos. You can even horseback ride through there. Canyon lands, Capitol Reef, Arches and Zion each warrant a few days, at least. Best time to take the drive through at Arches is during sunset and sunrise. No crowds, fantastic light and the rocks sing with color. Zion - oh, my, Zion - likely you'll go through the main entrance and miss the northwest corner of the park. Nothing wrong with that, you are just missing some fantastic scenery and a great hiking trail or two or three. Make Zion your last stop and you are a hop, skip and a jump from the north rim of the Grand Canyon. Would not make that the last stop, as they close up the lodge and campgrounds up there kind of early. Easy to check the normal closing.

If you did all of the above in your time frame you'll be doing a lot. Allow some down time just to relax, maybe a day between each park. After all, you are on a vacation, not practicing a lifestyle.

Not sure why DEF is such a concern, it is readily available across the country. Maybe one container to tide you over just in case?

If you could share a bit more about what you like to do in national parks I could throw some more ideas at you. We did our marathon trip because it was sponsored - we only had to pay for our food. Otherwise, we would have taken two years to do what we did in seven months. I had just turned 63 back then so we did not have to pay any park entrance fees.

Oh, forgot to mention weather, other than the north rim thing. It would be a shame to go that distance and not see the north rim. So, plan it so you go there no later than October 1 and spend 4 - 5 days there, then swing up and go see Zion as your "last stop" before heading home. That means possibly great fall colors in Zion, too. BTW, if you finish up in Zion and then head east, plan your route to take you to two cool spots: Monument Valley and Valley of the Gods in southeastern corner of Utah.

Whatever, have fun, and like I said, rather than cramming in more parks, visit fewer parks and see more.
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Old 02-02-2016, 01:34 PM   #8
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You may be a little late for NPS campgrounds out west. Many close in Sept and Oct. Check out the closing dates; the info may help in planning your itinerary. Take a flexible funnel for pouring water from a container into your water inlet in remote locations where it's sometimes inconvenient to fill using a hose. So many parks, so many opportunities -- have a great trip.
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Old 02-02-2016, 02:15 PM   #9
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Thanks for the replies folks, I searched up the TST 507 and after looking at the price of the extra sensors was wondering what the chance of someone stealing them would be? I like the thoughts of the whole system but wonder about that. Extra DEF will definitely be going along and I need to find a good 12v air compressor as my rear truck tires require 80lbs of pressure.

I do have a NP passport book but just shy of 62 for the entrance fees.

Any thing else recommended would be appreciated.

I have had the 507 now for five years and never had a sensor stolen, they come with locks on them, you have a tool to take them off and on. I don't have the flow-thu so I don't use the locks. We are retired now and this year we plan on driving 1 day and camping 3 days. I have a air compressor, my tires on camper is 110lbs. I also carry 2 Honda's, 2000l. Plus I have a 100gl fuel tank, not to save money but to stay out of gas stations.


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Old 02-02-2016, 02:35 PM   #10
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Don't understand the DEF issue - you can get it everywhere - any auto parts store, any diesel fuel stop, most minimarts .... It's easier to get than a headlight!
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