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  1. #1

    Default 16 day road trip from florida

    Hi Everyone! My wife and I are planning to take a road trip some time after mid to late february. We will have roughly 16 days to travel round trip from Tampa, fl. We are looking for some cool ideas and concepts for a road trip of this length. We definitly are big fans of the outdoors and we love the mountains. In my opinion the scenery west of the mississippi is by far superior to that of the eastern half of our great country. Any thoughts and ideas are welcome and thanks for your input!

    chuck

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default Ten Parks (or Fewer) in Nine Days

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    If you don't mind spending 7 of your 16 days getting to the 'west' and back, then by all means head that way. From Albuquerque, you can do a great loop through some of the nation's most scenic parks including the Painted Desert, Grand Canyon, Monument Valley, Grand Staircase-Escalante, Zion, Bryce Canyon, Canyonlands, Arches, Black Canyon of the Gunnison, and Rocky Mountain. You might even be surprised by what's between you and your destination.

    AZBuck

  3. #3

    Default

    Thanks buck! I did fail to mention that we have been out west several times, which is why we love it so much. We've been to the grand canyon, zion, monument valley, and rocky mountain. We've never been out there this early in the year though. What are the roads like through the high country during this time of year? I know trail ridge road and some of the other high mountain passes will be closed, any others that should concern me? thanks so much

    chuck

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default Southwestern Roads in Winter

    The major roads (US and state highways) will all be open except during major snow storms with a few notable exceptions. The passes over the Sierra Nevada in California will be snowbound for the winter season (late fall to late spring) between US-50 and CA-58. These can be checked at the Caltrans site. Many park roads, including nearly all of those in Yellowstone and the road into the North Rim of the Grand Canyon will be closed. As you note, Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park will be closed. Checking these roads requires a visit to each individual park's website and clicking on the 'Operating Hours and Seasons' or 'Road Construction Delays and Seasonal Closures' as appropriate. Even here in southern Arizona, the road to the top of Mt. Lemon, the southernmost ski lift in the US), is closed on occasion or requires AWD/4WD with chains. So, while you'll be able to get nearly everywhere, the key is to be flexible when you find a few roads closed to you.

    AZBuck

  5. #5

    Default

    Tampa seems like an odd place to start a road trip to the mountains, especially western ones. Logistically it'd make much more sense to head up to the Southern Appalachians.

    In my opinion the scenery west of the mississippi is by far superior to that of the eastern half of our great country.
    Why do you say that? I find it surprising. Mountains out there are certainly bigger, but that's hardly the only factor involved. If of course you've already done some travel in the east then it's your choice, but if you haven't, I do recommend giving the Southern Apps a chance.

  6. #6

    Default

    Well Cuzco, I'm starting from Tampa b/c that's where I live so I can't do much about that. I don't feel the freedom of a road trip if I have to fly half the distance to my destination. I've visited the mountains of tennessee, virginia and the carolina's several times before. As I said, in my opinion, the scenery out west is unrivaled by any other place in the eastern half of the country. The wildlife is much more diverse(especially in winter) and there are more options in close proximity as in Buck's neck of the woods in AZ. The scenery is there in the appalachians but on a much smaller scale. Thanks for your thoughts.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    The Netherlands
    Posts
    219

    Default

    Well, it's lot of driving from Tampa but in februari it may be a good idea to stay south and drive to Big Bend NP, one of the least visited in the USA. From there to Davis Mountains, Guadalupe Mountains NP (not a drive thru park, great for hiking though) to Carlsbad Caverns and via Cloudcroft to Alamogordo and White Sands NM. Cloudcroft is at 9000 ft and in a relatively unknown mountain area. On your way to Silver City is the nice City of Rocks SP and from Silver City you can drive to the Catwalk near Glenwood. From Silver City also is a great mountain drive into Az to Safford and down south is Chiricahua NM. Not far from there's Tucson with countless places to visit. Saguaro NP is one of our favorites and Arizona Sonaro Desert Museum should not be missed. Needles to say you may encounter snowy roads on this trip so come prepared.
    Yeehaw

  8. #8

    Default

    wow those are some great ideas, can't say I thought of some of those. We've never been to New mexico, just every state surrounding it. I've heard that it is just beautiful though. Is organ pipe nearby any of these places you suggested in arizona? Thanks again for the input!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,067

    Default fairly close

    Organ Pipe isn't too far from Tucson, its sort of west of Tucson and south of Phoenix. If you're going that far, you might also look at making a run across the border to the mini-tourist hub of Puerto Penasco (Rocky Point), on the north edge of the Gulf of California.

    You should be aware however, that Organ Pipe's location directly on the Mexican border and its rather remote location make it a hub for drug and human smugglers. Its not something that should keep you from visiting the park, but it does mean you need to keep things in mind that you wouldn't normally thing about during a trip to a national park.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    The Netherlands
    Posts
    219

    Default

    Yes. Organ Pipe Cactus NM prob will be too far and remote. App. 2.5 hours west of Tucson. You can sleep in hamlets like Why and Ajo (we picked the last one...). You will be checked by border patrol. Not a problem. Organ Pipe is one of the few places on earth you can see Saguaro's and Organ Pipes at the same place. The loop is on a good gravelroad and close to a mountain range but the loop is flat. It's a fascinating NM though. But a long drive from Tucson. On your way is Kitt Peak observatory http://www.noao.edu/kpno/ You'll have to go up in the mountains for that but you can see some telescopes from the highway.
    Yeehaw

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