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Old 09-11-2019, 04:10 PM   #1
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2020 East to West Road Trip

My wife and I have a goal to pull our camper to all National Parks in the Lower 48 during the next 5/6 years. Summer of 2020 will be the beginning of this adventure. We plan to leave south Mississippi and head to Los Angeles via Big Bend, Guadalupe Mts, Carlsbad Caverns, Saguaro, Joshua Tree, Channel Islands, then Petrified Forest on the way back to south Mississippi. We have a 2018 Flagstaff Super Lite 26RSWS TT pulled by a 2018 Dodge Ram 2500 6.7 turbo diesel. Although I know it isn't the ultimate timing, we will be making this trip in late June/early July due to work restraints. Any helpful tips/suggestions?? Thanks!!!
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Old 09-11-2019, 04:16 PM   #2
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Consider quality over quantity.
Some people seem to collect pictures of themselves at the entrance signs to NPs.
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Old 09-11-2019, 04:23 PM   #3
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Consider quality over quantity.
Some people seem to collect pictures of themselves at the entrance signs to NPs.
We plan to stay a few days at each. Obviously we can't do EVERYTHING each park offers, but I've been researching each and think we will hit most of the "high points" of each park. But we will take pics at entrance signs!
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Old 09-11-2019, 04:30 PM   #4
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Looks like a fun trip. Tiring, but fun! Cousin of mine went from Richmond to CA, up the coast, and then back east by way of Chicago. He posted and got the same response: "you'll hate it, you'll be exhausted all the time". He and his girlfriend did it with their 2 dogs. They loved it. Said they were tired, but it didn't put a damper on the trip.



Plan for rest days between travel days as much as possible. Give yourself as much time as possible at each stop.
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Old 09-11-2019, 04:35 PM   #5
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Just be aware of the temps in the southerly parks in July. Joshua Tree NP's lower half will be between 110ļ - 120ļ.
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Old 09-11-2019, 05:00 PM   #6
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I agree with ppine… Consider quality over quantity. Pick 1 or 2 parks at a time and plan for a longer stay at each. Much more relaxing and enjoyable.
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Old 09-11-2019, 06:05 PM   #7
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Just be aware of the temps in the southerly parks in July. Joshua Tree NP's lower half will be between 110ļ - 120ļ.
Yea, know. Like I said, I know itís not the best time, but work dictates timing. Being from south Mississippi, hopefully weíll not be bothered by the dry heat.
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Old 09-11-2019, 06:07 PM   #8
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I agree with ppineÖ Consider quality over quantity. Pick 1 or 2 parks at a time and plan for a longer stay at each. Much more relaxing and enjoyable.
Our problem with that, is we are so dang far from most parks. UGH
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Old 09-11-2019, 06:11 PM   #9
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You're going to be traveling in some very popular parks, in peak season, which will require you making reservations at least 6 months in advance. Especially in California.
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Old 09-11-2019, 06:13 PM   #10
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You're going to be traveling in some very popular parks, in peak season, which will require you making reservations at least 6 months in advance. Especially in California.
Plan to start making reservations within the next few weeks.
Would much rather travel in the fall, but have to wait til retirement for that.
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Old 09-11-2019, 09:57 PM   #11
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Purchase a National Parks pass. It will pay for itself quickly.
Consider a National Parks passport book. I have the collectors edition and love it.
Donít disregard the National Monuments. Most are beautiful Parks. Have fun and enjoy your journey.
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Old 09-12-2019, 12:53 PM   #12
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GCTraveler, I hope you realize that there almost 60 National Parks in the lower 48, and some 400 other "national" sites. And in the west, it is not just a one-day drive between them. And some National Parks, such a Yellowstone or Mesa Verde take almost a week to see the best parts of the park.
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Old 09-12-2019, 01:41 PM   #13
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We did a "grand tour" of nearly every National Park west of Denver last summer over a period of about 2-1/2 months. Some of the spots you plan to visit will be completely full during the peak season you are considering. We began making reservations for some of the more popular sites nearly a year and a half before departing. It paid off big time. Another tip, we rarely traveled more than 300 miles in one day between stops. Sometimes that meant missing a major park or attraction, but it was worth it to avoid stressful 10-12 hour days towing.

We rely on the Good Sam Club RV Park Planner for recommendations at RV parks.
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Old 09-12-2019, 02:11 PM   #14
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Go go go!

All great replies, but donít get discouraged with reality check posts-get out there and do it,! It wonít be perfect but you wonít regret it.

My two cents is - pick your must see destination and make that reservation first. Once you have that anchoring your trip, the organization becomes easier.
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Old 09-12-2019, 06:50 PM   #15
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GCTraveler, I hope you realize that there almost 60 National Parks in the lower 48, and some 400 other "national" sites. And in the west, it is not just a one-day drive between them. And some National Parks, such a Yellowstone or Mesa Verde take almost a week to see the best parts of the park.
Yes, I realize that. Working on a good itinerary. May not go as planned, but itís a start. I guess my mindset is 1 day in a gorgeous National Park is better than never seeing it. Once I retire, game on! But until then, Iíll take what I can get.
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Old 09-12-2019, 06:51 PM   #16
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We did a "grand tour" of nearly every National Park west of Denver last summer over a period of about 2-1/2 months. Some of the spots you plan to visit will be completely full during the peak season you are considering. We began making reservations for some of the more popular sites nearly a year and a half before departing. It paid off big time. Another tip, we rarely traveled more than 300 miles in one day between stops. Sometimes that meant missing a major park or attraction, but it was worth it to avoid stressful 10-12 hour days towing.

We rely on the Good Sam Club RV Park Planner for recommendations at RV parks.
Plan to do no more than 400 miles a day. And yes, I plan on making reservations SOON!
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Old 09-12-2019, 06:52 PM   #17
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all great replies, but donít get discouraged with reality check posts-get out there and do it,! It wonít be perfect but you wonít regret it.

My two cents is - pick your must see destination and make that reservation first. Once you have that anchoring your trip, the organization becomes easier.
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Old 09-12-2019, 07:23 PM   #18
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As of now, we have Castle Rock tires on camper. Upgrading to Goodyear Endurance in 2 weeks. Plan to take 2 spares and 1 extra hub/bearing assembly on trip. Any more hints/suggestions for pulling TT that far?
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Old 09-12-2019, 08:53 PM   #19
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Though I would give some insight into your trip. We did a portion of your trip the first two weeks of August. Palo Dura Canyon is about 25 miles south of Amarillo Tx (The Grand Canyon Texas) They have a two hour stage show under the stars called "TEXAS"
every night through the summer. Worth a stop. We then drove to Carlsbad NM and camped for a couple of days. Carlsbad Caverns is about 16 miles south of Carlsbad NM with the Guadalupe Mountains another 30 miles south of the Caverns. There is plenty of RV parking (no camping) at the caverns and if you travel with dogs you can rent a kennel for $10.00 a day while going into the caverns Just tent camping and hiking at Guadalupe mountains, we stayed there about an hour looking around. Our third stop was Davis Mountains State Park (about 100miles north of Big Bend). There is a recreation of the old Fort Davis and McDonalds Observatory is 15 mile from the state park with several programs. Balmorhea state park is just off I-10. Half way between there and San Antonio is a town called Junction with a nice RV park called Pecan Valley. Lots of Deer walking around. All of these you can look up on the internet for more info. Have a great trip.
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Old 09-13-2019, 09:16 AM   #20
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We've done the east coast to west coast trip 6 times...tried several routes. We prefer the northern (I-80) route in the summer. Badlands, Roosevelt, Mt. Rushmore, Yosemite, Redwoods, etc. But even in the summer there we've experienced 100 deg temps. I agree with those comments about quality over quantity. No matter how much time we've allowed at the parks we always wished we could have stayed longer. Take your time and enjoy this spectacular country.
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