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  1. Default SouthWest Trip, Starting and ending in CO Springs, mid-May to mid-July

    Hello!

    I'm posting because I did not find an existing thread with which I was able to determine a recommendation for a rental car in which to do a loop of the SouthWest of the US. I am intending to mostly spend my evenings at campgrounds, but I would like a vehicle in which I could sleep if (when?) my plans go awry.

    I'm trying to keep my costs low, as I'm going to grad school next fall, so most of my savings needs to go toward that.

    It'll mostly just be me on my own. I'd like to be able to flatten down backseats and be able to sleep there, if at all possible. I cannot determine the smallest car in which this would be sane, nor what it would translate to in rental car categories.

    I'll be starting and ending in Colorado Springs, and will have two months from mid-may to mid-july.

    Thank you kindly!

  2. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Midwest Michael View Post
    Welcome to the RTA forum!
    Thank you!

    Quote Originally Posted by Midwest Michael View Post
    If you go with a minivan or an SUV, you'd have a little more room, and that might work, although, if it were me, I'd take the extra money you'll spend for an larger car/suv/van and use it to just buy a motel room on the rare occation you can't find or don't feel like staying in a campground.
    Mmm! That makes sense, and I would really prefer to not drive something as large as a minivan or SUV anyway. Was thinking maybe a hatchback or something.

    However, what I do not know at this point is what size rental car is reasonably comfortable for a road trip when not trying to sleep in it.

  3. Default

    I'm not under 25, which is helpful.

    I have sufficient trouble sleeping, though, that I suspect that a Hostel would be a bad idea. I've considered it, repeatedly, but I would probably not sleep.

    You all have successfully convinced me that it makes way more sense to just use the extra money for hotel rooms if necessary, which makes the process of picking a rental car type much easier!

    The cruise control point is an interesting one. I generally do not use it on my own car, but I also do not tend to drive for multiple hours, either. For the moment, I shall plan to get an economy car, but continue to consider the cruise control question.

    As far as I could tell, all available rental vehicles have air conditioning, which means that won't need to be a factor in my decision.

    Thanks a bunch, all!

  4. Default Hostels

    Huh! OK, I apparently have perhaps an overly negative conception of hostels. I will, in fact, check out the reviews linked and see about trying to stay in one when at one of the cities on my trip.

  5. Default SouthWest Trip, Starting and ending in CO Springs, mid-May to mid-July

    Hello!

    My current plans are at http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?ie=UT...1f97d5dd21b783

    I'm posting for a few reasons. This is my first time going on a road trip alone, as well as my first time to the SouthWest. I will be camping at campgrounds a fair bit, but near my car and not backpacking. I'm trying to get a sense of such things as the kinds of weather conditions/temperatures to plan for, animal and human dangers to be aware of (I am female for what that information may be worth with respect to the human dangers), and really anything else that may be relevant (perhaps, places which are especially important to fill up on gas/food/water before going into?).

    I am also hoping to get additional suggestions for what to be looking for in terms of places to visit. I'm generally interested in outdoors locations (pretty, interesting, both), wildlife, hot springs, native american places (both ruins and functional, as well as places to purchase crafts). Other things, too, I'm sure. I'm less interested in city for city's sake, although I do still intend to visit places just to have been there and see what they are like.

    Thanks, all!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default Excellent!

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    Your itinerary is already far more detailed and suited to your tastes than anything we could offer. You've clearly done your research and should have a fantastic time. As for weather conditions to be prepared for, you'll have to be ready for everything from bitter cold and snow to arid desert heat. The fact is that May is still winter at the higher elevations of the Rockies (The North Rim of the Grand Canyon could still be closed, for example) and June is close to the hottest part of the year in the Sonoran and Chihuahuan Deserts. So be sure to have plenty of cold weather gear for the former and lots of water and sun protection when you venture out in the later. You should not encounter any special problems as a single woman, just exercise the same normal cautions you would anywhere.

    AZBuck

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    I'd like to make 2 suggestions if I may:

    1. Take the trip in a clockwise direction, so you are in the desert before the summer heat really hits, and back in the mountains after the thaw.

    2. Go ahead and use Google Maps to map out the exact route, but add 20% to the predicted drive times. The computerized drivetimes do not allow for any stops or construction/traffic delays.

  8. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by glc View Post
    I'd like to make 2 suggestions if I may:
    Thank you!

    Quote Originally Posted by glc View Post
    1. Take the trip in a clockwise direction, so you are in the desert before the summer heat really hits, and back in the mountains after the thaw.
    Mmm! Yes, I can see this. Only concern here might be that the North Rim could still be closed when I get there, if I go in that direction first. It will be the middle of May (arriving May 16, taking a couple days to get used to the altitude, then heading out), so perhaps not.

    Quote Originally Posted by glc View Post
    2. Go ahead and use Google Maps to map out the exact route, but add 20% to the predicted drive times. The computerized drivetimes do not allow for any stops or construction/traffic delays.
    Google maps was intended as an approximate route, so your estimate of what to add to the times it gives is very helpful indeed! I'm _hoping_ that with the estimate of 88 hours of driving (so... 106 hours? -ish?), two months should allow me to set a reasonably relaxed pace and stop to investigate things as I pass them, rather than having to stick to a schedule to an absurd degree. I also figure that I will have to adjust what I actually do based on how long things are taking.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Wispfox View Post
    Mmm! Yes, I can see this. Only concern here might be that the North Rim could still be closed when I get there, if I go in that direction first. It will be the middle of May (arriving May 16, taking a couple days to get used to the altitude, then heading out), so perhaps not.
    I wouldn't jump to conclusions just yet. I have visited the North Rim in both April and May, 2004 and 2007, and on both ocassions was told it had been open for some time. In fact one ranger told me that it usually opens late March, unless it is a very severe winter. (The first time I went I was not aware that it is not open all year round.)

    Make your plans and stay flexible. Much closer to the date you will get some inkling as to the conditions and likely opening times.

    And as a senior female and solo traveller, I can assure you that if you take normal precautions, you will be fine camping in National and State Parks as well as in commercial campgrounds. The staff are normally very helpful and will answer any concerns you have. (The biggest problem can be that when all goes well all the time, that you are tempted to let down your guard.)

    Lifey who by far prefers the North Rim

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,747

    Default National parks.

    As you are visiting a large number of National parks you will save money by purchasing an annual pass for $80 at the kiosk of the first park you visit. By the time you have visited 4 major parks you will be saving money. You can find lots of info on each park using the NP's interactive map.

    Although not included in the admission price the parks offer good value camping right in the heart of nature with Zion [Watchman campground] and Arches NP [Devils garden] being 2 of my favorites, although they all offer a great camping experience.

    You certainly have plenty to do and see but a few more spots to consider are Garden of the gods at Manitou springs and nearby Pikes peak and Cave of the winds. Royal gorge bridge, Canon city. [All in the Colorado springs area]

    North of Silverton to Montrose and East on US 50 is the Black canyon of the Gunnison and Currecanti national recreation area. Just off I 70 at Grand junction is the Colorado NM.

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