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  1. #1

    Default New Orleans, SW, NW, Canada...!

    Hello everyone!
    I have been a fan of this website and forum for a while, but this is the first time I have posted a thread.
    My boyfriend and I have been planning a trip, leaving within the next few weeks; I am hoping to get some more detailed suggestions or maybe some insight/advice - whether positive or negative - regarding our tentative route.

    We will be driving our F350 and we have rigged it with a few cool navigational tools, as well as a topper for added safety (at least that's what I'm telling myself!). Our trip is flexible - we want to do a few things that will require reservations and/or advance planning, but also allow spontaneous day-trips or just half-hour stops that were never thought of until we drove by a sign for "World's Largest..." It will be just the two of us.

    We are starting in good ole' St. Pete, FL (hometown), and here is our route:
    *Note* We have about 7 weeks and can probably push it to 8 if necessary. Time is not really a huge liability.

    Start: St. Pete, FL to Cape San Blas, FL - Stay Overnight

    Cape San Blas to New Orleans - Stay overnight in N.O.

    New Orleans to Gainesville, Texas, to visit his family - stay a couple nights, no more than 3.

    Gainesville to Taos, NM - Day Trip/Overnight Still Undecided

    Taos to Gunnison/Black Canyon of the Gunnison NP and Crested Butte - Will Camp

    Gunnison/CB to Salt Lake City (still unsure of this - my boyfriend wants to see SLC; I am not as keen on it)

    SLC to Grand Tetons (coming in through Wyoming) - camping in Tetons
    Definitely a visit to Jackson Hole
    Up to Yellowstone - we will do the main events, geysers/hotsprings and probably a couple days of back-country camping.

    Yellowstone to Seattle - this takes us through Montana and Idaho but we have not yet planned any stops in either state.

    Seattle - A few nights here - Space Needle, Pike's Market, Will spend a day kayaking around Puget Sound, Maybe hit up a winery, then on to....

    Vancouver, BC - Here I am not sure at all - we have never been to this part of Canada. Will spend another 2-3 nights, maybe 4, in and around Vancouver.

    We will then head back to the USA again, along the western coast of Washington and Oregon and into California. We would like to stay along backroads as much as possible to get the most out of the gorgeous Pacific scenery; I know Oregon is stunning but haven't planned any specific stops there; but we would have room to pull the truck over and explore or maybe even camp out one night.

    San Francisco - A couple nights here
    Then Napa - Wineries! And scenery/food.

    From Napa - we are heading to Lake Tahoe; our friends own a ranch south of the Lake - we will stop there for a couple days to relax and recharge!

    Next stop: King's Canyon & Sequoia NP for some hiking, walking, probably one night of camping.
    Then Vegas for a couple nights at the Bellagio.....I figured we would want to shed the camping/outdoorsy clothing once throughout our adventure :-) We have never been to Vegas and are staying 2 nights.

    Vegas to the Hoover Dam
    Hoover Dam to Zion NP
    Zion to the Grand Canyon
    Grand Canyon to Sedona, AZ
    Sedona to Carlsbad Caverns
    Then on to our last stop in Austin TX, to visit some family for a few more days, and that completes our trip! Then driving back to St. Pete of course.

    This is a very general outline! We have a few more detailed plans as far as activities in different places/parks.

    I would like feedback how practical this route is; don't want to be going one way when there is another way that is much more sensible.
    Also, as far as our stops are concerned, are any of these places terribly overrated? I don't think so, but again, it never hurts to get the opinions of other seasoned travelers.

    We just kind of want to "explore" and meander through our trip, we do not have a need to see EVERYTHING and are not on a military-style schedule. Some mornings might sleep in, others up before sunset.

    A few questions:
    -Suggestions for stops along the Oregon Pacific Coast?
    -Suggestions for Pacific California stops? Either brief, half-day, whole day, etc.
    -We really enjoy wineries, wine, food, scenery, so if anyone knows of a great winery or little wine bar please respond or private message me!

    Thank You Very Much for any insight!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Random Suggestions

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    Well, you've certainly got the time, resources and itinerary to be both flexible and thorough in your trip around the country, so let me just offer a few thoughts on bits and pieces here and there.

    I'm not sure that New Orleans is really worth spending the night in. Even when I visited there many years before Katrina, I stayed in a campground on the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain. The other thing to keep in mind is that it's more than a day's drive from New Orleans to Gainesville, so again you might do better to spend a few hours in the afternoon in New Orleans and then push on one or two hundred miles down the road before spending the night around Lafayette, LA (for example).

    I think you'll enjoy Salt Lake City if you give it a chance. Yes, it's a bit different, but isn't that the point of traveling, to see different places, people and lifestyles? The lake itself is fascinating (to me at least, but then I'm a geologist!) From SLC, consider taking US-89 up to the Tetons and Yellowstone. There are then a few different ways to get from Yellowstone to Seattle, but from experience I would suggest that you take either some of the scenic byways through the Coeur d'Alene area of northern Idaho or the old Lewis and Clark route over Lolo Pass and through the Nez Perce reservation.

    I hope that 'in and around Vancouver' includes a ferry ride over to Victoria for at least a day. That city is so much more accessible than Vancouver and I heartily recommend both Bouchart Gardens north of town and the Natural History museum, Parliament buildings, and Oak Bay neighborhood in town. If you've already seen Seattle at this point, you could also take the ferry from Victoria to Port Angeles to set you up for the Olympic Peninsula without having to drive back through the SeaTac urban sprawl.

    As for the Pacific Northwest, I will be going to the Oregon coast myself this fall and have relied heavily on these suggestions by our resident expert.

    And in the end, there is no 'right' way, 'wrong' way, or even 'more sensible' way. There is only the way that works for you. Enjoy your trip as it unfolds and simply don't worry about what you're missing (a lot!) because you'll also be seeing a lot.

    Last edited by AZBuck; 07-26-2009 at 04:13 PM. Reason: Corrections

  3. #3

    Default Taos, Gunnison and Crested Butte

    Need some suggestions for visiting Taos! We will be arriving there after approx 10 hours worth of driving so will spend the night.
    Any recommendations on lodging and great local restaurants?
    From Taos headed to Black Canyon of the Gunnison. Again, we are undecided about specific attractions - the scenery and outdoor activities in the park seem to be the attractions here!
    Is Crested Butte worth a visit? As it is close to Gunnsion; does Crested Butte have its' own unique sights to see?
    No kids - just my fiance and I! Not hard-core camping enthusiasts but we enjoy a moderate hike/climb and water activities. Thanks Everyone!
    Last edited by AZBuck; 08-05-2009 at 09:37 AM. Reason: Please keep all questions about this trip in one thread.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default More random thoughts !

    Wow, that's some trip !

    Between Taos and Black canyon you have the Great sand dunes NP and the Curecanti national recreation area and although I have not been to Crested Butte it is somewhere I am trying to squeeze in on my next trip as it looks lovely, although there are many other places in this area to try and "squeeze in". Just West of Black canyon is Montrose and heading south is the 550 known as "the million dollar highway" that has great scenery and towns such as Ouray, Silverton and Durango famous for the train ride. [google is your friend]. If you headed south to Durango you are not far from Mesa verde NP and if you headed North on 191 after you would pass the town of Moab and Arches NP prior to I-70.
    You mention Tahoe to Seqouia but I hope you will include Yosemite in between, it's a fantastic park and well worth the visit.
    When you head to Zion you could visit the North rim of the Grand canyon and/or the South rim by going through Page [Lake powell and Antelope canyon are two attractions nearby]. A detour to Bryce canyon and/ or Monument valley would also be possible.

    For more info on the National parks click here. You can locate each and every park and get all the details you require and it's worth mentioning that if you are visiting several parks [4 or more main parks] then the annual pass will save you money at just an $80 fee for entrance to all for a year.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Albuquerque, New Mexico


    Quote Originally Posted by sparkle1262
    Need some suggestions for visiting Taos! Any recommendations on lodging and great local restaurants?
    Michael’s Kitchen is good (real good for breakfast). I always try to stop there when I go through Taos. I noticed they’ve changed their hours a little – open Monday through Thursday 7 am to 2:30 pm, and Friday through Sunday 7 am to 8:00 pm.

    Some other places that I’ve heard good things about but haven’t been to:
    Joseph’s Table
    Dragonfly Café

    It's been a long time since I've stayed overnight in Taos, so I can’t help much with recommendations for lodging, but this looks like a good website to see what’s available.

    Have a great trip!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default The Non-Obvious

    It's also been a while since I last stayed in Taos, but when I did I stayed at one of the nearby ski resorts which offer some very nice deals during the summer although (or because) they are a bit off the beaten path. So don't forget to check into such accommodations as well.


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