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Old 02-22-2021, 02:47 PM   #21
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Early May all the snow will be gone, at least from the roads. Make reservations at all National and State Parks. Private parks can usually squeeze you in. Avoid I-70 heading west out of Denver.
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Old 02-22-2021, 02:48 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by dahagen View Post
Early May all the snow will be gone, at least from the roads. Make reservations at all National and State Parks. Private parks can usually squeeze you in. Avoid I-70 heading west out of Denver.
Not in the Sierra passes, sometimes after July.
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Old 02-22-2021, 02:53 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by aircommuter View Post
Not in the Sierra passes, sometimes after July.
He did not mention California.
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Old 02-22-2021, 02:58 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by dalford View Post
I agree with OldGal3. Try You need to get something on paper to speak so you can start modifying your trip. Try the RVTW free 7 day trial. Start a route by entering your home starting point and then enter where you want to go letís say in Albuquerque. It will give you a route and tell you miles. Enter your next planned destination stop. You need to decide if your general route out and back so you can enter stops in some order to begin with.

We did a 3 month trip from Florida as far as Glacier NP and home. We went out on the southern route thru Houston all the way to Tombstone AZ. From there north to Grand Canyon, all the big Nation Parks in Utah ( a must see) on north to Grand Tetons, Yellowstone Glacier then headed east to Devils Tower, Mt. Rushmore, Badlands, etc.

We did this all with rvtripwizard and Had all the info, routes, reservations, notes all in one spot.

We drive about 300 miles a day. So obviously we had to fill in a lot of nights along the way. RVTW makes this easy. Give it a look.

Plan early and make reservations. All the national parks are very busy and book early. You didnít mention your age but I think at 62 you can get a senior pass for about $80 that will get you and 3 passengers into all the NPís free for the rest of your life. Enjoy..
Yes, by all means get the Golden Eagle Pass. We got ours when they were still $20 and are so very glad we did! If you are planning on camping, get the Golden Access Pass as this will get you a 50% discount for camping fees, etc., that are not covered by the Golden Eagle Pass. Also, if you go to Mount Rushmore, you still have to pay an entrance/parking fee as it is run by a private concession company. The Golden Access Pass might get you a 50% discount but I would call ahead and ask. The entrance fee is very modest so it was no big deal for us. Safe travels!
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Old 02-22-2021, 03:05 PM   #25
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FYI. Last fall 4 corners was closed
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Old 02-22-2021, 03:36 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by dahagen View Post
Early May all the snow will be gone, at least from the roads. Make reservations at all National and State Parks. Private parks can usually squeeze you in. Avoid I-70 heading west out of Denver.
Going to the Sun Road in Glacier typically opens in late June or early July. Beartooth pass often opens near Memorial Day (end of May).

The highways and the majority of the trough roads will be fine, the high elevation passes have the potential to not be so good. Keep an eye on the local forecasts when driving in the mountains at that time of year
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Old 02-22-2021, 03:51 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by dahagen View Post
He did not mention California.
All state and National parks covers it.
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Old 02-22-2021, 03:52 PM   #28
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I rode my motorcycle over Beartooth Pass on July 5 one year. The road had been open about 5 days. In places the snow on the side of the road was over my head.
There is a website where you can check current conditions over the pass.
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Old 02-22-2021, 03:58 PM   #29
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I think you are smart for taking a more southern route in May then working your way north from Arizona. You're gonna have a great trip but we can sometimes try to pack too much in to a trip and miss some things along the way. FWIW... If you are going to be in the Northern USA probably want to start heading a bit more south around labor day. Snow can come early in high country. One thing you will HAVE to make reservations NOW for all the RV parks at your KEY destinations. You cannot just show up or call a day ahead in the summer at the major park destinations OR the private campgrounds that serve them. Suggest further that you spend at least 3-4 days at your major destinations and longer for special ones! You'll get lots of specific advice from the gang here so I'm just gonna list my "hot list" by state in the order youd drive to hit all the states you mentioned. The planning is half the fun and EACH state has a tourist board and will send you lots of free stuff in the mail so you can see where the stuff you'd like to do is located...we always just order them right on line and soon we have a nice stack of brochures! So... starting with ...

Arizona... take I40 & a stop at Petrified Forest and Painted can drive it all and then spend the night close by or keep going west. Get off Flagstaff and head north to the Grand Canyon. We rode the park buses to the different sights and it was stunning but only took a day. If you wanna do burro rides or bottom of the canyon hites etcl then you need more time.

UTAH...head up 89 to Southern Utah National Parks at ZION and BRYCE. Give them EACH a couple of full days... more if you want to explore off the main roads. Then keep heading north on I15 into ...

Idaho & Wyoming... and towards the entrance to Yellowstone. I'd say Yellowstone is worth 4-5 days itself...but you can also take a side trip out of the South entrance to Jackson Hole and Grand Teton National park which is also spectacular and worth several days...then it is back up the road and out the West side again to 15 north pointing your way to....

Montana...and Missoula and roads north into the WEST side of Glacier National Park. My Favorite. Simply Awesome. Take a few days to explore the Western side of the Park and "Going to the Sun" Road... then pack up and drive the main road through to the East Side of the Park & St Mary's for a couple of days more on the less popular but equally spectacular side. You will continue East then South on I15 to Great Falls...and then continue on 89 to I90 heading EAST to your final listed state...

South Dakota ... but before you cross the border...take a side tour to the Spectacular Devils Tower up route 14 in far eastern Wyoming before Sundance, The northwest part of South Dakota is well worth exploring with the towns of Sturgis and Deadwood and of course Rushmore near Rapid City. The don't miss place however for me is Custer State park, As good as most national parks! Then get back on 90 east and make the Obligatory stop at Wall Drugs...before starting the long journey back east.

Hope this provides you with some ideas for the is gonna be awesome!
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Old 02-22-2021, 04:13 PM   #30
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New/good tires, have an RV dealer repack inner and outer wheel bearings. Mid-70s here in western AZ. Come on down!!
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Old 02-22-2021, 04:23 PM   #31
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Originally Posted by NH Traveler View Post
I loved our three month trip Out West but wished I had known then that one can buy oxygen bottles if the higher elevations are a problem! We are both very healthy and in good shape but I sincerely thought I was going to die when we got over 7000 feet elevation. We live in what we consider The Mountains of New Hampshire. What a joke when you see the REAL mountains! I could not sleep lying down at night and was just panicked trying to catch my breath. As we went higher and higher I felt worse and worse. I really wanted to see Donner Pass but we just couldn't. We later were told that bottles of oxygen, available without prescription, would have been the answer to my problem. It was a really scary situation. My sister travelled to Chile and she had elevation sickness terribly. A maid in her hotel gave her some pills out of her apron pocket and my sister (a registered nurse!) took them, she was that sick. No idea what they were but they solved the problem for her. A physician friend of mine told me later that it was probably a cocaine derivative, widely used in that area due to the very high elevations. We laugh about it now but it really is not funny when you feel that awful. I at least just had the terrible shortness of breath but I know next time we Go West I'm going with oxygen and maybe a prescription of something.
You were actually experiencing altitude sickness and that can lead to pulmonary edema. Shortness of breath is common above a mile up but not especially dangerous. If you have an big headache at higher elevation, you are experiencing cerebral hypoxia and need to get to a lower elevation as soon as possible. We camp at 8200 feet in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains in Northern New Mexico but since we both lived and worked in the Rocky Mountains most of our lives, it doesn't bother us. If you can stop for a couple of days at 5000 to 5500 feet to let your body adjust, you will feel much better. I worked on a ranch east of San Luis CO that catered to elk hunters. The ranch HQ was at 9200 feet. All hunters were required to spend 1 full day in Denver before coming to the ranch. Even then, some struggled with the altitude and were required to spend several days at HQ to acclimate to the elevation before going out with their guides. Bottled Oxygen is probably a wise choice if you don't want to work your way up to higher elevations slowly. Also, CPAPs don't work above 8500 feet, so if you're using one of those, check with your doctor.
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Old 02-22-2021, 04:41 PM   #32
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Impossible question! We've completed 35 months traveling the 11 Western States (five months per year over seven years) and still have a lot left on our bucket list. That said, it depends on what you like; mountain vistas, old west towns, ghost towns, etc. I'd suggest considerable research to narrow it down since you don't want to spend 5 hours per day driving for 90 days which could easily happen if you don't have a good plan. This might help........
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Old 02-22-2021, 05:24 PM   #33
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Originally Posted by dahagen View Post
He did not mention California.
Snow is not gone until late May in Colorado at the higher altitudes - and even then you can get surprised any time during the summer. The road through Rocky Mountain NP is closed until Memorial Day weekend. Most Forest Service campgrounds in Colorado don't open until the weekend before Memorial Day.

Snow in the West goes mainly by altitude and secondly, by sun exposure. Latitude has little to do with the melt-off dates.

Flexibility for weather is a necessity at the higher elevations in Colorado.

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Old 02-22-2021, 06:28 PM   #34
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Most of the suggestions so far provide great info so I won't repeat.
Not sure where you are from but the distances and space can be someone overwhelming if coming from the crowded east.

Can be very windy in those wide open spaces. I have traveled through most of the states you list and you will have an adventure!

The advise on reservations and National parks is right on! I have just finished booking a 30 day circle route through Colorado from MM Day through June. I booked Rocky Mountain NP in December and barely got the dates I wanted. The rest were a mix of state, NP and private locations.
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Old 02-22-2021, 11:14 PM   #35
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We've done two trips out west in the past two years for about 150 days total. Others here have given you a good list of places to see. I won't try to add to them. I will offer a travel suggestion. Start with the assumption that you're going to be back, and more than once. Do not attempt to do 120 sites in 90 days. Spend a couple of days or more at some of the major sites. Yellowstone, Grand Teton and Jackson Hole are all contiguous and together are worth at least a week, maybe two. Spend a couple of days in the Badlands and at least a night or two boondocking on The Wall just outside the west entrance to Badlands, then drive west an hour or two and hit some of the NFS campgrounds in the Black Hills. Nothing wrong with driving 300 miles in a day, but we've found we'd rather enjoy the places we visit and get to really see them, even if it means coming back to someplace next time.
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Old 02-22-2021, 11:27 PM   #36
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One more thought for you. If you're talking about this May, you're already on the back side of the power curve for reservations, especially at the National Parks.
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Old 02-22-2021, 11:47 PM   #37
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A lot of great information already.

In 2019 we did a west trip and below are most of the major stops we made. We left PA on May 7th to head west so our primary route was I-70 to Denver and over the Eisenhower Pass, also known as Straight Creek Pass. We did the trip in our 36' Class A DP before I sold it.

We went through 18 states over 69 days, drove 7850 miles, visited 10 National Parks, 4 National Monuments and so much more. The 2006 Journey was flawless in it's operation, handling mountains (up and down) as high as 11,600 feet, temperatures ranged from 34 to 103, drove in the rain and the snow and managed to Average 7.8 mpg.

As others, we used RVTrip Wizard to plot the entire trip including fuel stops (a great trip RV planner)

*********** Major Trip Stops ****************
Abilene, KS - Dwight D. Eisenhower Library
Colorado Springs - Garden of the Gods and the Aviation Museum of WWII
Historic Georgetown, CO Denver area day trip)(Train Ride)
Denver, CO - Molly Browns, Hammonds Candies, Stayed at Chreey Creek State Park (FHU)
Grand Junction, CO - Colorado National Monument (stayed at James M. Robb - Colorado River State Park
Moab, UT - Arches NP and Canyonland NP (both south and East entrances)
Kanab, UT - Bryce NP, Zion NP, Grand Canyon North Rim NP
Colter Bay Village, WY - Grand Tetons NP (Coulter Bay Village Campground - inside the Grand Teton NP FHU)
West Yellowstone, MT - Yellowstone NP
Garrison, MT - Glacier NP (west)
St Marys, MT - East Glacier NP
Crow Agency, ND - Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument
Devils Tower, WY - Devils Tower National Park
Rapid City, South Dakota - Crazy Horse Monument, Mt. Rushmore National Monument, Train ride thru the Black Mountains
SD - Badlands NP (drove through with MH)

Enjoy your trip. So much to see. Safe travels
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Old 02-23-2021, 05:41 AM   #38
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After dozens of trips to the West ranging from a few days to 10 weeks, most via plane/car/motel but now in the last 5 years with an RV I've found it best to plan long trips with a dual focus. One is to stay for a longer time at a few places, and the second is to just survey some areas for potential future long stays.

So I start with a couple of key places for stays of a week or more, and then connect the dots. NPs are most often the focus of the longer stays. Usually there are no long stays within a few hundred miles from home since they can be visited on shorter trips. Since I travel by RV now I've visited a good number of places on the way to the West. Sorry Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Iowa, Kansas, and Nebraska, you guys are mostly drive through now. So actually I guess each trip has a third part; get 1000-1500 miles done and then look for new places to visit.

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Old 02-23-2021, 07:18 AM   #39
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You cant see everything in one trip. Every other year we head west. Get yourself set up to boondock. At least have a generator. There are tons and tons of places to camp for free out there.
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Old 02-23-2021, 09:00 AM   #40
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Originally Posted by jd-ford-hd View Post
Durango and Silverton Railroad. Ride it.! Royal Gorge Bridge. Walk across it.! Cripple Creek Colorado KOA. Stay there.! Four Corners monument. Spread your arms and legs there.! Pikes Peak. Drive up it.! Carlsbad Caverns. Go in it.! Dinosaur Colorado. Visit it.! Mountain grades.? Your truck has a gearshift selector. Use it.! Engine braking saves your brakes.! Enjoy.!
Agree with a of that with one tiny exception. We visited Pikes Peak last year and were in (at the time) a Class C Jayco, camped in a very nice park on the western edge of Colorado Springs. Also brought our 1300cc Yamaha along.

We are ever so thankful we decided to rent a car from Enterprise instead of trying to ride the bike, with a passenger on the back, up to 14K feet!

It is a stunning drive but the roads, even in August, had ice on many of the literally 180 degree hair pin turns, of which there must be 426 of them! No way I would drive an RV up there.

Once we got up there, the road around the visitor center was very limited and the rangers only let a few cars and trucks in at a time. Roads around it at the peak are solidly covered in ice and snow and have huge pot holes. It was an unbelievable visit, but after about 30 minutes we both started getting dizzy from the limited oxygen and had to head back down, which coincidentally was the amount of time the park rangers told us we had to limit ourselves to. So most assuredly, if you are passing buy there, go see it.

And as far as the rest, if you are that far west, you should consider Mesa Verde national park, near Cortez, not far from Durango. From there, you have so many choices of amazing national parks... hard to choose, but lots of them and they are really worth the visit. Arches, Zion, Capital Reef, and I guess if you had to, Grand Canyon!

Sounds like a great adventure.
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