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  1. Default Huge Western Loop - Feedback Please

    My wife and I are planning a road trip next year. We would like to fly into Denver from Portland ME, and start a loop thoughout the western states. We understand this is a lot of driving, and we're OK with that. We're looking at this as a exploratory trip and want to see as much as possible so we know where we want to come back to. The milages I posted include the distace travelled within each location we want to see each day. I know ideally we would spend days in each spot but unfortunatly its not possible. We have never been out west and we're both comfortable knowing most of our time will be spent driving. My question is, are we biting off too much? Here is what we'd like to cover:

    Start: See: End:
    Day 1 Denver, CO Rocky Mountain NP Rock Spring, WY (491 mi)
    Day 2 Rock Spring, WY Yellowstone NP W. Yellowstone, WY (344)
    Day 3 W Yellowstone, WY Shelby, MT (398 mi)
    Day 4 Shelby, MT Glacier NP Spokane, WA (412 mi)
    Day 5 Spokane, WA Mt Ranier NP Olympia, WA (375 mi)
    Day 6 Olympia, WA Eugene, OR (355 mi)
    Day 7 Eugene, OR Redwood NP Arcata, CA (297 mi)
    Day 8 Arcata, CA Humbolt Redwoods Santa Cruz, CA (377 mi)
    Day 9 Santa Cruz, CA Yosemite NP Fresno, CA (344 mi)
    Day 10 Fresno, CA Sequoia, NP Atascadero, CA (255 mi)
    Day 11 Atascadero, CA Death Valley Las Vegas, NV (499 mi)
    Day 12 Las Vegas, NV Joshua Tree NP Bullhead City, NV (386 mi)
    Day 13 Bullhead City, NV N. Rim Grand Canyon Grand Canyon, AZ (363 mi)
    Day 14 Grand Canyon, AZ Zion and Bryce NP Panguitch, UT (212 mi)
    Day 15 Panguitch, UT Bryce/Capitol Reef NP Green River UT (325 mi)
    Day 16 Green River UT Arches NP Grand Junction, CO (245)
    Day 17 Grand Junction, CO Denver, CO (244 mi)

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    Looks doable - but some of those days are going to be very long, and you won't have much time to stop and really explore any attractions. Plan on being on the road close to the crack of dawn so you won't run out of daylight before you get to the night's destination.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default go go go

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    A trip outline like this sounds pretty exhausting to me. There really is no single day where you are doing too much, although a few of them will be very long days, especially since you look to be taking some slower going road. However, the bigger concern to me is that you're looking at driving at least 4 hours on every single day for two and a half weeks. You don't have to stop and spend a full day at each and every place, but a "day off" here and there will likely make for a much more enjoyable trip.

    Also, just doing a quick look through your destinations, I'm really puzzled about day 10-11. Why are you going all the way west to Atascadero between Sequoia and Death Valley? That one just doesn't seem to make any sense and its really going to limit your ability to spend any significant time in Death Valley.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,748

    Default Two trips ?

    Hi there,

    My wife and I are planning a road trip next year. We would like to fly into Denver from Portland ME, and start a loop thoughout the western states. We understand this is a lot of driving, and we're OK with that. We're looking at this as a exploratory trip and want to see as much as possible so we know where we want to come back to.
    Whereas I can understand what you mean you are going to be passing through all these wonderful places at such a pace you will want to see them all again because you will miss so much.

    As this implies you will have the opportunity to re-visit at some point, I would consider splitting it into two trips, one more Northerly and the other covering the more Southerly destinations. In my opinion this would give you a far more rewarding trip with time to investigate these places for future visits.

  5. Default

    Thanks for the info everyone - I changed Atescadero to a town somewhere between Yosemite and Death Valley to give us a little more time in each place. I'm glad no one has come back with "impossible!" or "you're crazy!" yet. When we first started thinking about this, our first thought wasn't "let go see as many national parks as possible", it was "lets plan a crazy road trip", so even though we may be missing alot (I'm sure you could spend months on the same loop) and we might be "driving at least 4 hours a day" - thats ok with us as long as its doable. When its all said and done, as long as we're able to look at each other and say "that was awesome" - even if we're tired and our asses hurt (from driving please!) then I think we'll be OK with this plan.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default Is tired awesome?

    The biggest thing I would recommend with an outline like this is that you keep things flexable enough that you can make changes if you discover that being exhausted doesn't make for a very enjoyable trip.

    There's no right or wrong for this sort of thing, but I will say that the biggest danger of building a plan as ambitious as this is that you can very much become a slave to your schedule, and getting to your next destination on time becomes more important than having fun.

  7. Default

    Thats a good point, and one we've considered. If we find we're getting worn down or its too much for us, we are comfortable changing plans. Between maps, GPS and having internet access on the road, we will be prepared to adapt if necessary. I do think having some sort of contingency plan for each quarter of the trip is a good idea and something I'll put together.

    To get back to your question, is tired awesome? Obviously exhaustion is not, but we're still young and I think being tired is part of the road trip experience to some degree. Don't forget, we live in Maine, so a trip to the mall and back is a 4 hour drive! We're not in this for a relaxing vacation. Our day to day lives are pretty relaxed and laid back. We want it to be a little challenging and crazy.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,748

    Default 4 hours ?

    Hi,

    A four hour driving day is a piece of cake to be honest but the only day you could possibly cover in that time you also want to visit Zion and Bryce canyon from the Grand canyon so imagine that as a 10 hours plus day just to take a tour through the parks. Depending on when you go the crowds could be out in force and you could spend a lot longer. You want to start out going from Denver to Rock springs via Rocky NP, [and a full day isn't enough to see it] that will most likely be a ten hour plus day. From Rock springs to Yellowstone is near 6 hours travelling plus the park and so it goes on.

    If you want to go for it, great ! but there are not going to be any four hour days, more like 12 hours each and every day.
    The mileages are not the problem it's the time it takes to drive through these parks and experience some of the places you are driving too.

  9. Default Question about Crater Lake - 2nd Week of June

    We're debating whether or not we should visit CL while in the area, it will be around the 11th or 12th of June. Everything I've read states that rim drive doesn't open until late june/early july - would it still be worth the drive for us or is enough of rim drive closed that we'd be better off spending our time at a different location? I understand the lodge will be open but its a pretty significant drive just to see the lodge and its surroundings.

    Anyone been there around this time of year? I'd like to hear your feedback/experience.

    Thanks
    Last edited by Midwest Michael; 02-02-2010 at 07:00 PM. Reason: merged - please do not create multiple threads about the same trip

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default Forecasts.....

    No matter how many people have been there at that time, be it last year, the year before or twenty years ago, there is absolutely no guarantee that the conditions will be likewise this year. You will get a good idea in May, and probably know for certain the 1st week in June. Leave your trip flexible enough to be able to make last minute adjustments.

    Till then, pray that you will be able to do the trip you want to do.

    Lifey
    Last edited by Lifemagician; 02-02-2010 at 07:06 PM. Reason: typo

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