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Old 11-09-2015, 09:07 PM   #51
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Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: Connecticut
Posts: 46
Epic trip plan

I read through the detailed plan for the epic trip and the many responses. My husband and I completed a 4 month trip this summer beginning mid June from CT, returning mid October. .12,000 miles. We only planned to focus on the upper third of the US, getting all the way to the farthest west (Neah BAY, Washington, and hike to Flattery Point).


For us that was the way to go. We sketched out a general route, staying 7 to 10 days in each state, beginning in Minnesota, once we had explored the northern shore of Lake Superior. We only planned one state at a time with any "plan."

Life happens throughout travels. We had not realized how affected our route would be by the FIRES. Because we do not watch TV, and radio reception was inadequate, we relied on the internet. But that was not timely enough. We started finding the Forest Service offices and checking our route. One day the Stickpin Fire changed direction and the State Police closed the road, just as we were coming through Tonasket. We had to flee back into Canada. We lived through a cyclone on Makah Bay, but had to go to a RV dealer to get some repair done. The third "life" event was a crown on a molar breaking away. Fortunately a dentist in Boise Idaho had us back on the road in 3 days.

On "driving" days we do not exceed 200 miles. Sometimes that is too much. The mountain passes require slow speed and conservative driving. We try to stop every two hours and both get out to stretch.

I made many soups and meals ahead. Finally got into a rhythm. When we stayed a few days, I made soup and a meal. I brought the vacuum sealer and bagged meals for the freezer. Every day I heated a soup (while washing breakfast dishes, and put the soup into preheated thermos. That way our lunch stop was 30 minutes.

We loved our trip. It was so interesting to learn and explore.

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Old 11-09-2015, 09:16 PM   #52
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The wife and I are teachers and have been doing the 4 to 6 weeks summer road trips for years. We also live in FL and typically log around 5000 miles on our forays. I humbly offer a few tips from our experiences;
*Resist the impulse to see "everywhere" in one trip. Over the years we have found it much better to pick a few major areas and spend more time at each. For example, your plans to spend 2 nights in Zion (IMHO) needs a week added and that will still not be enough to see even a part of it. After all, there are dozens and dozens of trails, streams, etc. We have spent 6 weeks in one state (Utah) and still had a long list of wanna-doos when we had to come home.
*Making and managing reservations for a site for every 2-3 days will be miserable, especially when the unexpected (but inevitable) glitches occur. Also, add 15% to the travel time shown on mapping software.
*Buy these books: Products Archive - Mountain Directory . There are many patches of road we barely (unwittingly) towed our popup that would have been impossible towing our TT. These books list almost all sections of road that even semi trucks fear to tread.
*Install apps on your smart phone for major fuel stations (Flying J, TransAmerica, etc.), Walmart store locator, Waze, and a variety of campground apps because we have not found one that lists everything (RV Parky, Oh Ranger, Campground Finder, Etc.).

We enjoy our extended trips more than anything we have ever done and I hope you and yours have great times like we have. PM me if you would like to hook up by phone, there is just too much to put in a post.

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Old 11-09-2015, 09:28 PM   #53
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I'm the odd one out there. I believe only you and your family are the best gauge as to how fast/slow you conduct your trip. Heck - cruise lines do the same thing; stopping at hot spots giving you only sample of the TOURIST stuff. Only difference is that someone else is driving and you are fed.

Last year we made a similar trip with similar "stop and go" overnights. We left Baton Rouge for a 17 day 4100 mile trip that took us to Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, California, Utah then back down. Some days were just a day or two and some were literally just an overnight stop. Each place has it's special memory for us such as the quiet town of Santa Rosa, New Mexico. Arrived there after driving all day from Bowie, Texas. Arrived right after a storm. The place looked closed but we got our pull-through site. Hooked up the RV, headed to the campground restaurant, had dinner, hit the bed and arose again at 7am the next morning to head to Sedonna. But somehow that brief stay in Santa Rosa just added to the memories we brought back which included stops at Disneyland, Yosemite, Bryce Canyon, Canyon de Chelly and much, much more! There was other "stuff" to do in Santa Rosa and I wish we could have but we skipped them since we had a tight time schedule.
I did my trip to run (hopefully) no more than 600 miles in any one leg. I used Good Sam Travel Planner which really help with routing, campgrounds and attractions to see on route. I recommend joining Good Sam just to have this feature plus the campground and fuel discounts that also come along (I know I sound like a commercial - but it is worth it).

I also used Trevelpod to journal our travel and share with friends and family. When I got back home I had the journal printed into a book and presented it to the family this past Christmas. It was a hit!

Overall, I did all the driving however I do have a class C motorhome and pulled my wife's car along the entire trip. The motorhome helped a lot. Barely any stopping except for fuel and short stretch for the driver. The wife, kids, dog and traveled comfortably and watched either the scenery or movies on the television. No cries from the back. I could have done it with a truck and trailer but I believe it would have cut into my travel time significantly.

I didn't help you much on recommending places. I just felt compelled to chime in and throw in some tips that helped us on our trip. I wish you well in your planning and fun on your adventure!

If you do want details of our stays drop me a PM and I would be happy to share.

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Old 11-09-2015, 09:32 PM   #54
Join Date: Feb 2012
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Originally Posted by EDABEUT View Post
In Colorado go to Loveland and stay at Riverbend RV Park. It is just out of town on the Big Thompson River. Leave the rig and take the drive up to Estes Park and the Rocky Mountain National Park. Take the day and do the scenic drive through the park. One of the most epic drives I have ever done.
I agree! Do not miss RMNP! There is a KOA in Estese Park. Also the Stanley Hotel is located here.
Also in Colorado I would visit Garden of the Gods near Colorado Springs and we really enjoyed taking the Cog Railway up to Pikes Peak.
Have fun!
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Old 11-09-2015, 10:23 PM   #55
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We stayed in Page, AZ in June for 2 wks. Check out the Colorado Caynon tour of Glen Canyon, full or half day floats lots of fun. And do not miss Antelope Canyon, we did the lower canyon I have never seen anyplace so beautiful a definite do not miss!

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Old 11-09-2015, 10:30 PM   #56
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Originally Posted by seigell View Post
Unless you have specific Dates that you need to hit at specific locations, I'd suggest that you REVERSE your Route.

1) Glacier NP usually doesn't clear of Snow until mid- to late-June, especially the spectacular Going-to-the-Sun Road. Some of the Boat Tours don't start until mid-June, either. Nor most of the High Country Hiking Trails (although your Whirlwind schedule doesn't leave you much time for ANY of that)...

2) Banff NP keeps the Main Highway OPEN throughout the Winter, but the Turnoffs and CGs are often still Snowbound until mid-June (or even Canada Day - July 1st).

3) I've been to Yellowstone in mid-June where all is Melted and Open, but I've also been there in June when ALL CGs were still Snowbound.

4) The Tioga Pass Road across the Yosemite Backcountry (also one of the most Scenic routes from Tahoe to Yosemite - via US-395) sometimes doesn't Open until mid-June.

5) You mentioned "Hoping A/C Works" for the Desert SW Leg of your Trip. That's assuming that you can find Full Hook-ups with 50A Service at your Destinations. NOT. At least Not in any of the Forest Service or National Park or BLM CGs. Very Few have ANY Hook-ups - and those are Squatted-On like Gold by the Savviest of RVers. You are looking at the HOTTEST Weeks of the Year - Late June/Early July - with Temps in the 110-120*F Range around Vegas. And still over 100*F in the High Country. Some years, there are Complete Fire Bans, while a few years have gone past Stage 2 and the National Forests have been CLOSED To Visitors. (Yup, from Late-of-June until Monsoon Moisture arrives, it's Wildfire Season.)

Much of the Potential Frustrations and Re-routings due to Lingering Snow and High Temps and Wildfire Season can be minimized if you were to hit the Desert SW in Early June, and the Rockies of WY and MT and AB after the 4th July Weekend.
Banff was clear of snow early last year and the tunnel mountain 2 campground is open year round. Book early though.
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Old 11-10-2015, 07:23 AM   #57
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Glacier NP

If you have a tow, I recommend staying at west glacier KOA. A little pricey but close to west entrance. We did not have a tow and took the Red Bus tours thru park. They will pick you up at KOA. Have Fun
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Old 11-10-2015, 07:47 AM   #58
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just got back from a trip to north carolina, 6400 miles, we just drove and when I was about done driving for the day checked the map (IPAD) for good sam or a KOA and called ahead and reserved a spot, some of the major places you want to see you can estimate your arrival and book a few days before, most have a overflow, we worried about it and then just took advice and played it by ear, took the stress out of where to stay,
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Old 11-10-2015, 08:42 AM   #59
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Thanks for all the great suggestions.
I will see if I can split up some of the longer drives into more days, but we'd rather get to the areas that we really want to see a bit quicker and then spend more time exploring around those areas.
Generally when we camp anywhere we spend relatively little time in the area immediately around the campground and instead go out exploring in the truck. (The 8000 miles is just the distance on the posted route, not including all the extra miles we'll do when exploring).
I will be sure to add a half-day somewhere along the route for an oil-change. I'll get new higher-rated tires right before the trip, and get an oil change done fairly soon before also, but since I expect to put 10K on the truck, I'll want an oil-change en-route too.
I also like the idea of reversing the route just to be sure that the northern parts of our trip are clear of road-closures etc, and to avoid the worst of the heat in the SW too.
I'll work on a revised itinerary over the next few days, and will post an update soon.
In the meantime, thanks again for all your suggestions, and keep the suggestions coming.
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Old 11-10-2015, 08:43 AM   #60
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Our plan next year is to have no plan and stay off the Interstate, stay in each campground at least 3 days and then drive to next campground. DW will be retired then, February 29, it won't be long.

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