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  1. Default New Orleans to Vancouver and back

    My wife and I are going on a "trip of a lifetime" this summer. She is from Vancouver and hasn't been "home" in 7 years, so we are going to go visit her family (I haven't met most of them). We were going to fly there, but a co-worker convinced me that we should drive. I am a teacher and have June and July off. My co-worker is 65, my wife and I are in our early 40's, he wishes he were young enough to take such a trip, so before I let life pass me by I want to take this trip.
    We have sat down and planned our trip to a certain degree, but there are many questions and concerns that we have. Here is what we have so far:
    From New Orleans we plan on driving to Oklahoma City. It's a rather long drive, but I'm thinking the adrenaline will be flowing and why not knock this chunk out early. Nothing in Oklahoma City but rest. We then head to Wichita and a side trip to Dodge City. We are interested in the "Old West" and both cities appear to have that type of attraction. From Dodge City to Aurora, Colorado. We were expecting that to just be a rest stop, but there are many things to do and see in and around the Aurora area, and that's not even taking Denver into consideration. The towns of Black Hawk and Central City look awesome! From Aurora, a short trip to Cheyenne, Wyoming with a side trip to Laramie. From Cheyenne to Silver City, South Dakota. I must see Mount Rushmore. Question: Are the Black Hills and the Badlands worth the time considering the remainder of the trip?The next stop will be Yellowstone. Question: How many days should we take for Yellowstone? From Yellowstone we will go to Glacier National Park. Question: How many days to spend in Glacier? Next stop is Banff in Alberta Canada. Question: Will I need a passport? My wife has one, but I don't. How long does it take to get a passport?
    Now at this point, from Alberta to Vancouver, my wife becomes the tour guide. We will probably spend 5 days in Vancouver visiting her family and she wants to show off her beautiful hometown to me.
    Once we leave Vancouver we begin the part of our trip that is still kind of "up in the air". I want to see San Fransisco, Las Vegas, The Grand Canyon, and Carlsbad Caverns. I know there are many things along that route; Redwood National Park, Yosemite, not to mention the states of Washington and Oregon. So any advice that can be given along this route would be appreciated.
    What kind of budget should I be expecting? We have a tent and will be travelling in a Chevrolet HHR. I'm sure we will stay some nights in hotels. The whole while we are in Vancouver we will stay in a hotel. Are there any good tent camping sites that are complete with water and electricity? We don't own a cell phone, would you say that it's a must to get one before the trip?
    It's a daunting task, but we are both getting more excited the closer it gets.
    Any suggestions are welcomed and appreciated.
    If I did anything wrong, I apologize, this is my first post and my first time to the site. I was reading the JimiHendrix thread and decided to post.
    Thanks so much,
    Badduke

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default The trip of lifetime!

    Quote Originally Posted by Badduke
    My wife and I are going on a "trip of a lifetime" this summer. She is from Vancouver and hasn't been "home" in 7 years, so we are going to go visit her family (I haven't met most of them). We were going to fly there, but a co-worker convinced me that we should drive. I am a teacher and have June and July off. My co-worker is 65, my wife and I are in our early 40's, he wishes he were young enough to take such a trip, so before I let life pass me by I want to take this trip.
    Welcome to the Great American RoadTrip and to the start of a trip of a lifetime!
    We have sat down and planned our trip to a certain degree, but there are many questions and concerns that we have. Here is what we have so far: From New Orleans we plan on driving to Oklahoma City. It's a rather long drive, but I'm thinking the adrenaline will be flowing and why not knock this chunk out early. Nothing in Oklahoma City but rest.
    Good thing, since this first leg is 700 miles and it will require about twelve hours of travel.
    From Cheyenne to Silver City, South Dakota. I must see Mount Rushmore. Question: Are the Black Hills and the Badlands worth the time considering the remainder of the trip?
    I have always found the Badlands to be far more interesting than Mt. Rushmore -- here is an excellent field report from the area written by Peter Thody. While in the badlands, turn on the local native american radio stations -- very interesting language patterns.
    The next stop will be Yellowstone. Question: How many days should we take for Yellowstone?
    I would spend a week if you could. There are two resources that I think will give you a great insight into Yellowstone. The first is an audiobook read by the author -- Tim Cahill and the second is this book.
    Question: How many days to spend in Glacier?
    I was only able to spend most of one day there last July -- it was pretty awesome. Take the time to do the side-trip the Bison Preserve -- you will never forget it!
    Question: Will I need a passport?[/U] My wife has one, but I don't.
    Technically, USA citizens won't need one, but given all that is going on, I wouldn't chance it. Here are some great links to current info on this touchy subject. Moderator Judy found these!
    If I did anything wrong, I apologize, this is my first post and my first time to the site. I was reading the JimiHendrix thread and decided to post.
    Thanks so much,
    Lurkers are always welcome -- but we love the posters!

    Mark
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 02-13-2006 at 06:37 PM. Reason: Added the missing link to Judy's post

  3. Default

    Thanks for the "heads-up" on the Bison Preserve, that's on the list now. I read the field report about the badlands, it didn't do much for me, but Deadwood, SD seems like a place we'd enjoy. Thanks so much for your time and insights. I'm thinking I should probably get a passport to be on the safe side as you suggested.
    Badduke

  4. Default Leaving in 6 days...final questions.

    We're heading out on our 15 state, 2 province road trip on June 8. We will have up to 50 days if we need them, so it will be a nice relaxing trip. The longest stay will be in Vancouver visiting family, probably 7 days. This should leave us plenty time to see whatever strikes our fancy and spend a few days at the major points of intrest without having to drive too many miles in a day.
    I have just a few questions before we head out.

    1) Is anyone familiar with KOA Campgrounds, and is it worth the extra money for the tent sites with wireless internet access and electricity? I will be travelling with my laptop and e-mailing family and friends to keep them informed of our progress is important. Also, electricity would be great to re-charge batteries for the cameras, laptop, cell phone, etc. (not really "roughing-it" are we!) haha

    2) Am I making a mistake by deleting San Fransisco from our trip and adding the Reno/Tahoe area? (Leaving Vegas we will go to Tonopah, spend a night, then head to Yosemite, a day or two, then to Reno/Tahoe instead of Frisco.)

    3) Any "MUST HAVE" items for a trip this extensive that will include lots of tent camping? Honestly, I've never camped in a tent before. My wife has, and she's been very helpful in getting things together, but it's been many years since she's done it, so any help is appreciated.

    4) Birth Certificate, Driver's license, Social Security card...these items should be enough to cross the Canadian border right? Also, my wife still does not have permanent residence status, but she does have conditional status and she has her "green card", a Louisiana Driver's license, a social security card, and a passport, this should be good for her to cross the border? (She is Canadian, we met on the internet 8 years ago...is that cool or what!?)

    Just a final thank you to everyone on this site. I tell you what, venturing out on a road trip knowing that there are such generous and caring people out on the road with us is very comforting.

    Buckle-up and stay safe.

  5. #5

    Default Koa

    Being a bit of a net freak..I would think being connected is valuable.

    Having said that, electricity can always come handy. We camped last year during a very hot summer and just as we finished packing up the 4x4, i threw in a fan (and swallowed the digs).

    Believe me it was the best thing I could have done !

  6. #6

    Default

    Sorry I guess I was too fast at hitteing the send button so here it goes

    Quote Originally Posted by Badduke
    We're heading out on our 15 state, 2 province road trip on June 8. We will have up to 50 days if we need them, so it will be a nice relaxing trip. The longest stay will be in Vancouver visiting family, probably 7 days. This should leave us plenty time to see whatever strikes our fancy and spend a few days at the major points of intrest without having to drive too many miles in a day.
    I have just a few questions before we head out.

    1) Is anyone familiar with KOA Campgrounds, and is it worth the extra money for the tent sites with wireless internet access and electricity? I will be travelling with my laptop and e-mailing family and friends to keep them informed of our progress is important. Also, electricity would be great to re-charge batteries for the cameras, laptop, cell phone, etc. (not really "roughing-it" are we!) haha
    See msg below

    2) Am I making a mistake by deleting San Fransisco from our trip and adding the Reno/Tahoe area? (Leaving Vegas we will go to Tonopah, spend a night, then head to Yosemite, a day or two, then to Reno/Tahoe instead of Frisco.)

    3) Any "MUST HAVE" items for a trip this extensive that will include lots of tent camping? Honestly, I've never camped in a tent before. My wife has, and she's been very helpful in getting things together, but it's been many years since she's done it, so any help is appreciated.
    My best advice - do not bathe in anything perfumed / wear perfumed stuff as you'll get bitten my insects - buy non scented soap Jergens etc.
    Heres a good link
    http://www.lovetheoutdoors.com/camping/Checklists.htm
    http://www.lovetheoutdoors.com/campi...and_Advice.htm

    4) Birth Certificate, Driver's license, Social Security card...these items should be enough to cross the Canadian border right? Also, my wife still does not have permanent residence status, but she does have conditional status and she has her "green card", a Louisiana Driver's license, a social security card, and a passport, this should be good for her to cross the border? (She is Canadian, we met on the internet 8 years ago...is that cool or what!?)
    This shld be adequate

    Just a final thank you to everyone on this site. I tell you what, venturing out on a road trip knowing that there are such generous and caring people out on the road with us is very comforting.

    Buckle-up and stay safe.

  7. Default

    Thanks for the links, I've just spent about a half hour looking through all the info and printing lists and adding information to our "camping guide".

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default Tioga Pass is still a question!

    Quote Originally Posted by Badduke
    1) Is anyone familiar with KOA Campgrounds, and is it worth the extra money for the tent sites with wireless internet access and electricity? I will be travelling with my laptop and e-mailing family and friends to keep them informed of our progress is important. Also, electricity would be great to re-charge batteries for the cameras, laptop, cell phone, etc.
    I have stayed in dozens of KOA campgrounds -- they are very handy and in some locations are perfect places to stay. Just don't think of them as the "best" choice -- Since you are "tenting" and not using a RV, I would list them as the "choice of last resort" in most locations. Tenters, while welcome at KOAs are not the market of choice for that business model and you can often find better (more scenic) tent sites at the public parks. As far as Internet access goes -- for me (owner of RTA) such access is critical, but many, many sources of Internet access are out there. If you are not saavy about SMTP settings, you really should read Del's latest article about this.
    2) Am I making a mistake by deleting San Fransisco from our trip and adding the Reno/Tahoe area? (Leaving Vegas we will go to Tonopah, spend a night, then head to Yosemite, a day or two, then to Reno/Tahoe instead of Frisco.)
    I can't really remember the timing on this part of the trip (I merged some of the earlier thread to this one as an aid to other readers) but Tioga Pass into Yosemite is still closed. I used Sonora Pass last week and still encountered walls of snow about eight feet tall at the pass. My "cyrstal ball" is murky but I doubt Tioga Pass will open until mid-to-late June this year.
    3) Any "MUST HAVE" items for a trip this extensive that will include lots of tent camping? Honestly, I've never camped in a tent before. My wife has, and she's been very helpful in getting things together, but it's been many years since she's done it, so any help is appreciated.
    A good mattress pad, one of those one million candlepower lights, -- actually there is a camping site run by a friend that is quite good -- the advertising model drives me crazy but the content is guite good. Plus we maintain some tips about tent and car camping here.
    (She is Canadian, we met on the internet 8 years ago...is that cool or what!?)
    Very cool!
    Just a final thank you to everyone on this site. I tell you what, venturing out on a road trip knowing that there are such generous and caring people out on the road with us is very comforting.
    We look forward to reading your field reports!

    Mark

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula
    Posts
    3,318

    Default KISS Method

    Badduke, the links Einstein gave you have great camping information in them. However, the lists hit me as being more appropriate for long-term camping....like when you're going someplace fairly deep off the beaten path and camping for 4+ days and running to the store for something you forgot is not a good option.

    For roadtrip camping, I pack the following: tent, sleeping pad, sleeping bag, extra blanket, pillow, and flashlight that can also be used as a lantern. Quite often, that's it! Easy. (Then, of course my clothes, personal hygiene stuff, etc. but that's stuff you'd be packing anyway, right?) Oh, and I will usually bring a comfy, telescoping camping chair, too.

    I eat a lot out of my cooler while traveling but don't usually plan to take the time to cook. I eat lots of fruit, veggies, and more deli-style meats/cheeses/etc. However, if I think I might want to cook a hot meal or two, I will throw in a small duffle bag with a small camping stove (the type used by backpackers) and minimal kitchen equipment like a: large spoon/stirrer, spatula, turner, small plastic cutting board, and a knife. Add a few paper plates/bowls/cups and plastic utensils and any seasonings you like to use regularly and you should be covered. Oh, and a pot scrubber and some dish soap. The biodegradable stuff sold at camping stores is best (like Camp Suds). That's it. This all goes in quite a small bag and takes up little space but it's there if I need it. If you're not gonna cook every meal and try to be a bit more gourmet, this is all you need.

    About KOAs. I agree with Mark that they aren't geared toward tent campers so the best spots will often be for motorhomes. However, some KOAs are really quite nice for tenters and have created nice places for tents removed from the RV crowd. But some just shove you in a corner right next to the RVs. So it's hard to make a blanket statement. However, even the KOAs with the best tenting facilities don't do much to give your tentsite any privacy. It's usually an open field type set-up. Personally, I would hate to tent camp at a KOA if I was going to stay for several days to enjoy the camping experience and explore the area. But if you're just zipping in for the night and will be out again in the morning, they are usually just fine for that. And they usually have decent bathrooms, showers, and laundry facilities if you need them. And the condition of KOAs is usually relatively consistent (clean, well-cared-for, decent amenities, etc.).

    As for web access, I'm one that usually tries to limit my access to technology when traveling. I'm a bit of an internet junkie so it's good to break the addiction now and then. So I can't speak to this from personal experience. However, you don't necessarily have to have web access at your tent site to gain internet access at a KOA campground. Most of them have internet access in their guest area of the check-in/out desk, store, laundry, recreation building. Yeah, not as nice as sitting in a lawn chair in the open air to surf the web, but it's an option to consider so you don't feel you have to limit yourself to KOAs that offer web access right at the tent sites.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Bay Area, CA
    Posts
    234

    Default handy

    I came across this link
    http://upl.codeq.info/
    I've found it useful for my last trip.
    Depending on where you stay(hotel/tent/hostel), you will get your packing list.
    The best part is their " Things to do before you leave" section :-)
    Its a long trip you have ahead of you. And the weather is better(if not perfect)!

    have fun!

    cool

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