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Thread: Meta road-trip

  1. Default Meta road-trip

    Hello everyone, to preface my questions, I just wanted to say I appreciate this site for the wealth of info, advice, visuals, and stories. Many issues have been clarified so far.

    Some friends and I are taking a road trip across the states, mostly for camping, hiking, surmounting high points; most of the time we want to spend in the western half of the United States. I've read quite a bit so far but I still have some questions about provisions and advice.

    A general overview of the trip is such:

    June 14th 2007, a friend will drive from Montana to Michigan to pick me up and head to Boston. From there we will visit friends/relatives and swing down to Lancaster, PA for more visitations. The trip doesn't really start until after this.

    Then, we will zoom west to definitely hit (not in order) southern Utah, New Mexico, Arizona, Grand Canyon, Yosemite, Las Vegas, Great Basin, ghost towns(thanks to, California (SF perhaps and the Pac Ocean), Portland, and eventually back to Montana by July 1st. Most of the lodging will be on campgrounds or state national parks.

    Now, here are some questions:

    1.) Going to Boston from Detroit, what is the more practical/efficient/faster route, through Canada or the States?
    2.) Given this is my first time hiking, I need a decent backpack. I am looking for one that is simplistic but will be enough room to carry provisions for 1-3 days out in whatever biome. What brands are recommended and cc's of space?
    3.) For the speed run from Lancaster, PA --> West. Any non-interstate roads are recommended for faster travel + amazing sightseeing?
    4.) I have a regular "40-degree" sleeping bag, will this suffice for the areas I want to stay at, or should I upgrade to a zero-degree?

    That's it for now, I apologize if it is vague, and there will definitely be more to come, we are still deciding on which places to *definitely* visit. Any general advice is welcome too!

    Thanks in advance,

    Last edited by yyzcygnus; 05-20-2007 at 09:37 PM. Reason: updated

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default Quick Response

    Welcome to the RTA forum!

    I'm not sure if I understand exactly what you are planning. Are you planning to drive from Montana to Boston and then back out to the Southwest and California, before returning to Montana all in the span of 2 weeks? If that's your plan, I'm not sure how you will achieve it, and I certainly don't know how you are going to have time to fit in hiking under that timeframe.

    Regardless, in answer to your questions.

    1- Its shorter and usually faster to go through Canada. Just remember to bring a passport or other proof of citizenship, like a birth certificate, for your border crossing.

    2- I don't do much backpacking, and even if I did, I don't think we have enough information to help you here. Its going to depend upon your budget and how much stuff you really plan to bring. You'd probably be best off going to an outdoors store and just see what's available.

    3- On a speed run, Interstates are pretty much always going to be the fastest route. They can also provide some great views.

    4- I've got a 40 degree bag that I use for most of my summer camping, and it should be fine unless you are planning to spend a lot of time at high elevation. Keep in mind, there really is no standard definition for what it means to be an "x degree" sleeping bag, so one brands 40 degree bag could be much warmer than another brands. In other words, its a guideline, but I usually try to have a bag that's rated at least 10 degrees warmer than what I'll expect to be sleeping in.

  3. Default

    I'll be going on this road trip as well, I'm the one that lives in Montana.

    Apart from various meetings with old friends and relatives, it's not unreasonable to plan to be in southeastern Oklahoma, where my family lives, ready to leave to points west on the 21st of June. That's when the real road trip starts (an admittedly brief one, unfortunately). That gives us about a week to meander back up to Montana. We are, in general, less interested in cities and more interested in nature; the plan so far includes the Grand Canyon and Great Basin National Park. California looks like a long shot, but Utah, Arizona and Nevada are the states that really catch my interest.

    Any obscure natural scenery to check out? None of us have ever been to the southwest, and national parks are the only things listed on maps.

    I'm reminded of the chapter in On the Road when Kerouac drives from Denver to Boston inside of 24 hours....

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default There Are Limits

    OK - so far I know that you're going from southeastern Oklahoma to somewhere in Montana, and have about a week. Fairly broad brush, but here are some suggestions. The fact is that you won't have a lot of time to meander on this trip. The shortest possible route that includes the Grand Canyon and Great Basin National Park is already over 2000 miles which means a minimum of five 400 mile days and leaves an absolute minimum amount of time for hiking through the parks you're going to be spending so much time getting to. So forget California. I think I'd also forget Nevada as well.

    On your way west from Oklahoma, be sure to stop at Petroglyph National Monument and El Malpais National Monument, two national treasures that may not be on your map as well as Petrified Forest National Park and Walnut Canyon National Monument. From Flagstaff, head northwest on US-180 to enter Grand Canyon National Park from the south. That way you can drive along the rim road from west to east and exit on the northeast side of the park ready to head north on US-89 to Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. You can then use UT-9 to cross the southern part of Zion National Park and UT-17 to connect you to I-15 which will take you north to Bryce Canyon National Park and beyond into southeastern Idaho. For your last leg back into Montana, try US-89 for a great, scenic finish.

    Finally, I would remind you that "On the Road" is a work of fiction. Denver to Boston is about 2000 miles. To drive it in 24 hours means that you'd have to average 85 mph without stopping. Not legal, not smart, not possible


  5. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by AZBuck View Post
    Finally, I would remind you that "On the Road" is a work of fiction. Denver to Boston is about 2000 miles. To drive it in 24 hours means that you'd have to average 85 mph without stopping. Not legal, not smart, not possible.
    Yes, I'm aware. Looking over my copy of On the Road, it was actually 36 hours, but that's besides the point. I'm not that crazy.

    Are you familiar with US-93? That would be my preferred road to use when traveling back to Montana, as it goes right past Great Basin and into Missoula, Montana, which is where I live. I also note that Bryce Canyon couldn't be more than a six or seven hours' drive from Great Basin, so that seems doable. Thanks for your suggestions. There's a wealth of information there.

    EDIT: According to Google Maps, the drive from Bryce to Great Basin is actually only about 4 hours. Quite a bit less than I expected!
    Last edited by zarvoc; 05-21-2007 at 10:31 AM. Reason: added additional information

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default Unless you are a couple of Gb shy of....

    Quote Originally Posted by zarvoc View Post
    EDIT: According to Google Maps, the drive from Bryce to Great Basin is actually only about 4 hours. Quite a bit less than I expected!
    The thing to remember is that Google Maps has never driven anywhere.... and the estimates should be taken with a huge fudge factor.

    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 05-21-2007 at 12:19 PM. Reason: Estimated time was removed -- due to error -- see Arizona Bob's remarks below

  7. Default Are you sure?

    It is about 190.2 miles between the Visitor Center at Bryce and the Visitor Center at Great Basin. Are you saying that a driver couldn't average 50 mph between these two points? This certainly seems possible to me. I must be missing something here.

  8. Default Us93

    I've driven most of US93 between Nevada and Missoula and I like the road -- typical wide open Nevada beautiful and you can make good time on it. The main stretch I haven't driven is between Twin Falls and Challis where it deviates to the east. I have always used SR75 and it is a beautiful drive (shorter but slower going, follows the Salmon River a good part of the way). US93 may also be a spectacular route but I haven't seen it. Bob

  9. Default

    That sounds grand. For one, I've always wanted to see the Salmon River; additionally, SR75 goes right through Ketchum, Idaho, the site of the Sawtooth Botanical Garden, an alpine garden where the Dalai Lama visited in 2005. There's also a 400-lb Tibetan prayer wheel there, left from his visit, one of two in the United States. Awesome.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default OK, OK, (I yield)

    Quote Originally Posted by Arizona Bob View Post
    This certainly seems possible to me. I must be missing something here.
    OK, sorry about that. I was distracted when I made that post -- I was up to my neck with a spamster attack and didn't think it through.


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