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  1. #1

    Default CO to CA and a few stops on the way

    Hey All!

    Great Site I really am I finding it useful! It is a great forum which has awoken my passion for roadtripping!

    So My Australian friend has never been to the states and I thought a roadtrip through the SW would be a good idea. Rough plan so far..

    We'll leave from Vail from where I have friends.

    Head through Leadville towards Durango - sleep inbetween somewhere.

    From Four Corners Head towards the Grand Canyon (which I haven't seen, whoo!). Sleep somwhere in-between.

    From GC to Vegaaaas. ( no idea where to sleep in-between, if at all)

    Vegas to Death Valley.

    Death Valley to LAX for flight on the 20th of February.

    Going to play it mostly by ear, as to how long we will stay in each place.. I was thinking about 10-12 days for the whole trip... There will be a major budget. Cereal , sandwiches , cook chx/stk/brgrs. Plan to sleep in and out of car. Shower at flying J's etc...
    Is it illegal to sleep overnight behind a general store or at a trail head, etc... I heard walmart parking lots are a good place to car camp. Also wondering if you think it'll be too cold to car camp either in the car or in the tent? We'll have gear and each other to help stay warm.
    Planning on staying off the highways for the most part - except in between GC and LV.
    My longtime friend suggest we go through Moab and see the arches before heading to the GC. But I thought it might be too out of the way / cold / rushed. Is SW Colorado really that overrated?
    What I am most unsure about is finding places to shower and where to sleep in between stops.
    Also what atlas would you recommend.. that covers all of America?

    Really looking forward to this adventure. Thanks for the help.

    RC

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default

    Looks like a great trip. See if you can include Mesa Verda. That place is incredible, so full of the early history of the North American continent.

    Quote Originally Posted by ColoradoDreamin View Post
    Plan to sleep in and out of car. Shower at flying J's etc...
    Is it illegal to sleep overnight behind a general store or at a trail head, etc... I heard walmart parking lots are a good place to car camp. Also wondering if you think it'll be too cold to car camp either in the car or in the tent? We'll have gear and each other to help stay warm.
    RC
    Firstly sleeping in an average car is not going to give you a good night's sleep.... ever! However, if you have an SUV or similar, with seats removed, a mattress, good - cold weather - sleeping bags, one can be very comfortable. (On my recent trip I also carried a tent, but never pitched it.)

    Secondly, parking behind a store, or on a wayside stop is definitely not the safest way to go and in many cases would be illegal. Very few Walmarts allow parking on their turf, and then mostly for those who have their own bathroom facilities, e.g. RVs. If you have a vehicle in which you can get a good night's sleep, then the option of parking, showering and eating at truckstops is a great option. However, the emphasis here is on having somewhere to be able to have a good night's sleep. Expect to be frowned upon if you were to pull out your campstove and start cooking a meal in the parking lot. If you want to do that, do it at an interstate rest area.

    Camping in many parks with basic facilities (toilets and running water) is inexpensive. Google 'freecamping USA' for sites to camp for free.

    It is possible to roadtrip on a tight budget, but simply sleeping in a car is not the way.

    Lifey who travels on a shoestring

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

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    Planning on staying off the highways for the most part
    You may have issues with that in February - it's quite possible some of the roads you want to take will be snowy and icy and you may need tire chains. Don't forget - February is winter in this part of the world.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,747

    Default Good advice.

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    All good advise above, you will need to think things over carefully as a bad diet combined with sleep deprivation and winter driving conditions could end badly.

    You can get winter camping gear/sleeping bags and you will need them ! If you do this properly you will have a great time and see so much and make it memorable for all the right reasons.

    I think you are right regarding Moab/Arches in that it will be too much to do as well as everything else planned, especially keeping in mind possible weather disruption and short daylight hours.

    Have a look in the RTA store for Atlas's.

  5. #5

    Default grrr lost my post to ( re- ) log in

    Soo thanks for the help!

    Lifey, I really appreciate the link for the truckstop books, because safety is a concern when living on the road. I was wondering if it's a good idea or not to sleep in a motel parking lot?

    I have an SUV with mattress room, so long as we fit all our belongings up front. The idea of sleeping in the car is more of a in-between destinations plan, also I think we may take up the occasional cheap motel.
    We have sleeping bags, sleeping pads , et al. Do you think it will be too uncomfortable to camp this time of year? Grand Canyon, mesa verde, death valley in the winter?

    I have heard that the weather in SW CO may provide for fret filled times and may unnecessarily lengthening the voyage. Possibly, instead of going via highway 550 or 145 just take I70 to Moab/arches and then south to the GC. Conversely, I heard SW CO's roads make for spectacular viewing and the byways can be amazing ( possibly emphasized in the winter ). We will have a 4.7L v8 with snow tires.

    Length may also be an issue. Would it be too much to attempt this in 10 days? Or would it be more reasonable to take out Death Valley and head straight to LA? Oh, and I don't really want to drive more than 4-6 hours a day.. exception being maybe from Vegas/DV to LA..

    I have been researching food on-the-road and it seems besides snacks and sandwiches that tin foil, veggies and meat over a flame can be pretty tasty. I am thinking that a 10,000 btu single burner propane stove would suffice..
    Last edited by ColoradoDreamin; 12-17-2009 at 09:49 PM. Reason: minor details

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

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by ColoradoDreamin View Post
    Lifey, I really appreciate the link for the truckstop books, because safety is a concern when living on the road. I was wondering if it's a good idea or not to sleep in a motel parking lot?
    Definitely not!! Hotels and Motels usually take the registration number of the vehicles of their lodgers. If they find a vehicle with a registration number not on their books, you are likely to get a knock on the window in the middle of the night..... or worse.

    You may like to note that both the Truckers friend and the RVers friend are the same book with different covers. I found it a great investment. It saved me many times the initial layout.

    Quote Originally Posted by ColoradoDreamin View Post
    I have an SUV with mattress room, so long as we fit all our belongings up front. The idea of sleeping in the car is more of a in-between destinations plan, also I think we may take up the occasional cheap motel.
    That is exactly what I did, alternated between different accommodations. Keep your eyes open for the free hotel / motel discount coupon booklets which can be found at most truckstops, rest areas, welcome centres, etc. These can also be found on the internet. They always have good deals for walk-ups. Ask to check out the room for cleanliness before committing to it.

    Try travelling light. Several times I met folk along the way, who had their mattress on top of crates or a frame, and stored their luggage underneath. Be innovative!

    Quote Originally Posted by ColoradoDreamin View Post
    We have sleeping bags, sleeping pads , et al. Do you think it will be too uncomfortable to camp this time of year? Grand Canyon, mesa verde, death valley in the winter?
    There is only one way to find out!! Don't plan everything to the last detail. You do have to make some discoveries along the way, this may be one of them. Years ago, when we did quite a bit of winter camping (with our five children), we always carried extra thermals to wear at night, just in case they were needed.
    Last edited by Lifemagician; 12-18-2009 at 03:25 AM. Reason: Added info

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