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Old 09-26-2017, 10:14 AM   #1
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Conclusions Drawn On A Western Trip

Walmart Parking: Not many places allow it, seems to only be Walmart's that are in a poor location (or of course towns in which the city fathers prohibit it because RV parks complain about it) such as next to busy railroad tracks or Interstate Highways where if you stay there you are sorry the next day due to lack of restful sleep.

However, I was also surprised by the people walking around on a parking lots late at night who are sort of scary looking, and there are also overnight van and cars parking there. Some of these folks no doubt need to be able to do exactly what I chose to do, spend the night for free, but some of those folks are a bit scary looking as well. In Glenwood, CO, a shop lifter was arrested right in front of me. A couple of cops checked us out in Grand Junction. My point....don't expect to sleep confidently at these places.

National Parks: Hikers and Bikers, Tent Campers have free rein. Motor homes, travel trailers, especially MH's pulling a car, are not received with open arms in our parks. The Maroon Belles are not a Nat'l Park, but at the Maroon Belles near Aspen, CO, I couldn't even drive into there, and I have only a 24' Solera MH, 21' being the limit to enter. OK, I could go after 5PM, but the Maroon Belles are not nearly as spectacular without full sun beaming down on them. Also at our Glacier NP they were taking 40' buses over the top, but I couldn't take my 24' Solera there. Rumor was that other parks are going in that direction, that is, touring vehicles will soon be the only way to visit them.

I realize the reason this is being done, but I still resent it. I for one, will not go back to those places again. Will I be missed, I doubt it, but another curtain is being drawn inside America. I am a bit of an introvert, I expect, but I ain't getting on no damn bus with 40 other people to go see a beautiful place that I have driven a thousand miles already to see.

Every year when there has been a lot of rain in the west during winter, there will be many summer-time fires. That is the way it was this year. Some of the fires were just fires that burn bleached winter or spring grasses and worthless brushes, and some were forest fires. Yes, current philosophy is to let 'em burn and try to protect structures, but heck folks, the amount of CO2 emissions occurring this summer out west from these fires have to be colossal in quantity, approaching a volcano in impact. And us humans are punishing ourselves with all sorts of do not's with our little CO2 emission vector. Something wrong with that picture.
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Old 09-26-2017, 09:19 PM   #2
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On the topic of shuttle buses, we were out to Zion NP last year. The shuttle bus is really the only way you're able to deal with the limited space within the main canyon of the park. If folks were allowed to drive in it would be one big mess.

If done well it's a better option that driving around and around looking for a place to park. Hop off the bus, see what you want and hop back on to go to the next stop.
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Old 09-27-2017, 10:36 AM   #3
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Maroon Bells is one of my favorite places in CO, but it's also one of the busiest recreational spots in in the state. Over the years, the parking lots became so crowded in the summer that the USFS decided to restrict vehicles into the area.

From June through Sept., from 8-5 each day, virtually all visitors are required to take a shuttle bus from Aspen Highlands - regardless the size of their vehicle. There are some personal vehicles allowed, but they're mostly limited to those with handicap permits or backpackers who need to transport their gear. It wasn't feasible to have the backpackers ride the shuttle buses with the day hikers. I know all of that is inconvenient, but the restrictions aren't there to discriminate against RVers. They were necessary to protect the Maroon Bells Wilderness.

I'm guessing Glacier Park has also experienced the problem of being too popular for it's roads and parking lots to handle.
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Old 09-27-2017, 12:31 PM   #4
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I do understand why it's being done, and I know they are not trying to discriminate against me.

I should have titled my post using the word "Observations" instead of "Conclusions". My statements are more a lament for the way things were. I can remember going to Maroon Belles and seeing only a handfull of people. I remember when there was no spruce beetle kill...when the upper end of Lake Vallecito had a blue spruce grove that would knock your socks off and when the campgrounds above Vallecito and on the Florida River would do likewise. I certainly remember trips into the Western United States without pictures that were impacted by smoke the whole damn way, as happened with this year's trip in which smoke was present from Wyoming to Montana, to Alberta, to British Columbia, to western Washington and Oregon, to Coastal Redwood highway, to Sequoia, Kings Canyon, Yosemite (couldn't even exit over Tioga Pass)...finally running out of smoke on return trip somewhere in Western Nevada. Is this proper management?

I am a fifties kid. I bought into the prescription that there are too many people in the world, so a couple ought to have only a couple of kids. I didn't know hardly anybody else would buy into it. I certainly didn't know our borders would become porous to 20 million people.

I guess I have lived too long.
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Old 09-28-2017, 06:30 AM   #5
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40' bus up Glacier seem big ?? On the web site it says biggest shuttle is 21 passenger? I ve taken my 40' coach in some tight spots but I don't see any way I could get it up the to the top of Glacier ??

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Old 09-28-2017, 07:17 AM   #6
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At our Glacier Park (Canada has one too) they have shuttle-type cars, vehicles, whatever they call them, they are not large, open top. That's the 100-buck alternative. They also have the 40-foot bus option, and I believe those are free, which is fine if you want to mingle with others.

Look, this is not a big deal, just not my cup of tea, and I will never go back, simply because I care naught for making a party out of visiting a Nat'l Park. I have the same aversion to an ocean cruise; I am not going to place myself in a situation in which I can't have time to myself.

The direction things are headed in all busy NP's will result in excluding about half the population, the quiet, meditive type. In Sequoia NP, or even in my dear Arkansas, Is it the same experience to stand under a giant Sequoia or a great oak tree, just you and your family as it is with 20, 30 people?

My choice will be to avoid the visit to whereever...
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Old 09-28-2017, 07:27 AM   #7
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Old 09-28-2017, 07:29 AM   #8
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We traveled to several of the large, popular parks out west last year and experienced the same thing. This may not be right of me, but I was frustrated that many of the visitors in the crowd were foreign tourists. Our national parks have almost become inaccessible to the average American due to cost and other factors. Also, the park service is under tremendous strain right now. They are severely underfunded in many cases and try to make the money up with visitors. They don't have funds for capital projects and maintenance and are subject to a never-ending hiring freeze due to the new administration (almost all agencies are). All this adds up to bad news for our parks.
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Old 09-28-2017, 07:37 AM   #9
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40' bus up Glacier seem big ?? On the web site it says biggest shuttle is 21 passenger? I ve taken my 40' coach in some tight spots but I don't see any way I could get it up the to the top of Glacier ??

Russell
The road going up to Logan Pass is called Going to the Sun Rd. The maximum total vehicle length allowed is only 21' with a max width of 8' and a max height of 10'.
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Old 09-28-2017, 08:06 AM   #10
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I bet there is Only 1 chair at your Table! Youroo!!
It's funny sometimes the reaction you get from some people who maybe can't conceive that I might not want to sit with them or ride with them, whatever...let me assure you, my friend, there are far more of us than you think...what this country needs is equal rights for introverts...

The reason you don't hear from people like us is most introverts are in fact introverted...I just happen to be one of those who happen to be an extrovert with my wriiting...
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Old 09-28-2017, 08:09 AM   #11
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The ONLY way for a Person to "Take it All in/Enjoy" the "Road To the Sun" is NOT Be DRIVING, they have several ways to do this,FREE Shuttles or Red Bus! You either "Drive or Gawk" but Please don't try to do Both! We were on a Shuttle while doing/observing a "High Speed Chase" that involved a "30+ foot MH pulling a Car going up the RTS highway"! The Park Service Finely got them Stopped at Logans Pass! They Park Service treated him like he should have been treated,"Like a Idiot"! He entered from the West end "Somehow" so that might have some basis for his actions! We later in the week had reservations for the "RED Bus" this is the Best way to See Glacier RTS! Youroo!!
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Old 09-28-2017, 08:15 AM   #12
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The road going up to Logan Pass is called Going to the Sun Rd. The maximum total vehicle length allowed is only 21' with a max width of 8' and a max height of 10'.
I don't care what it's called. I was just tbere and there were 40 ft buses going from just a few miles above the beautiful lake that everybody visits there at Glacier to the east portal of Glacier, and I couldn't go. I could only go around the south route at the bottom of Glacier seeing scenic bs that almost any part of the mountains of Colorado beat all hollow.
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Old 09-28-2017, 08:23 AM   #13
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I don't care what it's called.
Well, alright then.
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Old 09-28-2017, 08:34 AM   #14
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Old 09-28-2017, 09:10 AM   #15
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I don't care what it's called. I was just tbere and there were 40 ft buses going from just a few miles above the beautiful lake that everybody visits there at Glacier to the east portal of Glacier, and I couldn't go. I could only go around the south route at the bottom of Glacier seeing scenic bs that almost any part of the mountains of Colorado beat all hollow.


Be very glad you couldn't go with your rig. Had you gone half of your top probably be ripped off by the outcrops!!

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Old 09-28-2017, 09:16 AM   #16
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ishwashgus

Sorry to hear about your experiences in Colorado. Colorado used to be a quiet and conservative straight with incredible access to the outdoors. Unfortunately, the legalization of marijuana has brought a lot of undesirables into our state. I was told by a police officer that many of his encounters are with folks from out of state who moved to Colorado because here they can collect welfare and legally smoke pot. Crime has also increased because we seem to have a large drifter population due to the lax pot laws. No where is really safe anymore. There are scary people everywhere, not just at Walmart parking lots. We had a mountain biker shot and killed 2 weeks ago at Mt. Herman-a spot where I hike, bike and run my dogs off leash for the past 18 years. There was also reports of a person harassing hikers there with a hatchet during the same period (perhaps same guy?)


The access and use restrictions regarding public lands in Colorado is getting worse each year.

I'm an avid boondocker and each season I got depressed when I see areas shut down. A disturbing trend is the closure of dispersed camping areas for "environmental" reasons and the opening of fee campgrounds to replace those areas. Backside of Pikes Peak is a perfect example of this occuring.

Another example is that Forestry Service took advantage of the closure of Cottonwood Pass which leads to the ATV/Camping Mecca called Taylor Park. During the pass closure, the Forestry Service decided to close many dispersed camping areas between Tin Cup and Taylor Park Trading Post. It was done for "environmental" reasons but the real reason was that TinCup property owners despise ATV traffic. I've been camping at Tincup for years and the only thing that has changed is that I see a lot more California license plates parked in front of the homes there.

For hiking, there is talk about limiting access to Hanging Lake near Glenwood Springs and Conundrum Hot Sprign (steep 8.5 mile hike each way to a natural hotspring on a mountain)

Each year I see more ATV trails closed. Seems like Forest Service workers only job is to stake trail closure signs into the ground. Mootorized OHV enthusiasts are not as well organized as the environmentalists. The thing that disgusts me is that environmental groups outside of Colorado are given legal standing inside of Colorado for lawsuits. The Sierra Club's lawsuit is the reason Pikes Peak is now paved all the way to the mountain top.

We are slowly losing the West and Colorado is a great example of this. What hikers, mountain bikers, and horseback riders don't understand is that the goal of many of these groups is to ban all human access to our public lands. Mountain bikers, hikes, and horseback riders will be next after power sport access is banned.

Enjoy the "West" while you can. The huge spike in Colorado's population growth is making it difficult to access some of the popular scenic areas due to traffic.
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Old 09-28-2017, 09:19 AM   #17
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I am roaming about the west right now. Glacier NP has larger buses going from St. Mary's entry point to Logan's pass, and from the Apgar visitor's center to Avalanche Creek, but only vans (21 passenger?) from Avalanche to Logan's. I don't see how a trailer can be towed up there (not legal anyway) or how a tour bus could make it, if it is to stay on its side of the road between Avalanche and Logan's. Until I saw how narrow it is and how many approaching drivers can't drive on their side, I was happy they didn't allow me to drive up. Oh, I have a truck camper, but am no wider than a dually. Now I think restricting length at 22' is kind of odd since it could, in then case of a short van or truck, really an issue of width and height. I suppose they irrationally decided if shorter than 22' it is a van or pickup or car. I heard that one of the hosts there wanting to drive up had to remove the ball from his receiver since his super crew 8' bed was 3 inches over with the ball mounted (now that is ridiculous).

Yosemite has been ravaged by fires, so be aware that many CGs are closed for that reason or earlier for no apparent reason. Also, be aware that there is a 10'2" height restriction coming in from 41.

Sequoia NP has road construction that restricts to 22' length ... so to see General Sherman and you are larger, you will have to come in from the north. I took my 22'6" truck camper in from the south and it was very very very tight between barriers and rocks. Not about length, but about width and height... clearing outcroppings by 6 inches is a white-knuckle experience for me.

What I am seeing is some parks, many that have reservation only sites, some will not let you have one even if no one stays that night... reserved or not. Many are run by concessionaires who may or may not know what they are doing. Some parks will let you have an unreserved "reserved only" site after say 2PM or 4PM. I get this, but to let sites which are in short supply not be used and are turning folks away is poor management.
It is the end of the season, so this is partly the issue.

Another issue is they are closing campgrounds before the posted closing dates, probably because of the lack or manpower to host or maintain; not because the first freeze or snow fall. You have to call to be sure a CG is open and usually will get an answering machine and no call back. So, this is frustrating. Happened to me last night.

What i don't understand is why when park visits are at an all time high they don't have money to keep them open... and the other is, why don't they add sites to the very popular parks. I think both NFs and NPs could be operated better.

It is well known that the best parks have few if any sites that can accommodate towables say, over say 30'... but some no towables. They are geared towards tents and vans and maybe truck campers, because many were developed in the 30s when that was how people camped.
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Old 09-28-2017, 09:30 AM   #18
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Yes maybe we need to bring back the "CCC Camps" to build/expand our State and Federal Parks! Youroo!!
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Old 09-28-2017, 09:33 AM   #19
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Don't disagree with your observations. While it's great to have your RV with all its comforts with you in the National Parks, it's always a tight fit.

Case in point - the road width in Yellowstone NP. I've RV'ed through it a few times, and the roads are very narrow. In the mountain passes I've got no chance to eyeball anything except the road and the traffic since the width of the roads are 19-22 feet with no shoulders. The roads were designed in the 1930's.
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Old 09-28-2017, 10:16 AM   #20
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Finally a spirited discussion!

The Nat'l Park people are doing the best they can with what they have. I just wanted to say they shouldn't rest on their laurels because they are leaving me out and a whole bunch of people I know....mainly middle Americans...as far, as Glacier per se. Ok, I shouldn't take my rig (no tow vehicle, btw, I traveled the whole way w/o one...24' Forest River Solera) over Logan. Why couldn't I go to entrance of Logan Pass and turn around, and come back, might even have seen a moose or grizzley.

I did wait to go until all the yard apes were back in school...teehee

A cool thing resulted from not being able to exit Yosemite over Tioga Pass: Of course I had to backtrack to exit Yosemite. Then I chose to go north thinking I would go over Donner into Reno. I noticed a pass that would take me over the Sierras quicker...we were headed for Bishop...Sonora Pass...well, I couldn't get my nav system to recognize it but went anyway....I guess the reason the nav shstem wouldn't show it is because it has a 15 percent gradient on the west side and a 25 percent gradient on the east side...never experienced such gradients...anyway it was wild and peaceful and beautiful...the high point of our long trip.
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