Results 1 to 10 of 10
  1. Default 4 Generation Road Trip out West

    Hi there! I am a new poster, and would love some advice on the following trip I'm planning this summer for my mom's 60th birthday. I am travling with my mom (age 60), grandmom (85) and daughter (4) in a mini van across the west for 2 weeks (yes, I'm crazy!!!). We leave June 19th.

    Here's the plan:
    S: early departure from Denver to Moab, camp in Arches (reserved); visit Arches/Canyonlands
    M: early departure; up to I70, down to Goblin Valley, through Capitol Reef NP, Bryce Canyon NP, arrive in Zion NP (hotel reserved; Best Western)
    T: explore Zion, depart to Death Valley. No reservations yet--stay in Furnace Creek??
    W: Yosemite. No reservations yet!!
    TH: Yosemite
    F: San Francisco
    S: San Francisco
    S: Big Sur (camping, reserved at Kirk Creek)
    M-TH: Open to suggestion. Would like to visit Vegas (2 nights?), possibly the Grand Canyon, and maybe Santa Fe. Or could possibly spend time in southern California?? We have until Thursday evening or early Friday to return to Denver.

    Are we realistic with week one of our plan? Any suggestions or must-sees for week two?

    Thanks so much!!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    I'm sorry, but I think you are trying to do way way way way too much, and have some very unrealistic expectations of how much you could do even in ideal conditions.

    Simply put, you've got a pace that would be exhausting for someone in their 20s, throw in someone who is 85 and someone else who is 60 and you're going to get someone hurt!

    Without breaking down every leg, simply put trying to visit multiple national parks on a day where you are also driving a couple hundred miles just doesn't work. By day 3 of your plan, you wouldn't have really seen anything, and you're all going to be extremely frustrated (at best).

    You really need to back up and slow down, and with the group you've got, you really need to plan to take your time, seeing fewer things, but actually having time to actually see the places you will be stopping without trying to push senior citizens to their limits!

    I do have to ask aside from the pace, are you sure you want to be camping at all with an 85 year old along? My grandmother is a bit older, and is still remarkably active for her age, but I just could imagine her enjoying or even really being able to physically camp at that point of her life.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,748

    Default Too much

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    I think 'Week 1' is at a busier pace than you might enjoy, or at least grandmom and child will. You have a minimum of a 6 hour drive to Arches NP entrance and will have to set up camp and get everyone settled in. If you are camping at 'Devils Garden campground,' [wonderful place] it is at the far end of the park, that means you will get a brief look at spots on the way in, but it will quickly turn into an 8 or 9 hour day before you start thinking about your evening meal and Canyonlands just won't be possible. The following day is going to be another 8 hour driving day before you take a look at Goblin State park, Capitol Reef and Bryce canyon and arrive in Zion. Your next couple of days are a little better, but having to keep going at the pace you have set will start to tell on you all, both 6 hour driving days while trying to explore Zion and Death valley. You have a nice amount of time in Yosemite and San Fran but I think you need to slow down getting there. The problem with that of course is that you only have 4 days to get from Big Sur to Denver as it is, and you want time in Vegas and at the Grand canyon. From Zion to Death valley you will be going through Vegas so that would be a suitable time to stop there and head from the coast towards the Grand canyon.

    It's not that your trip isn't 'doable', I just think you are underestimating the time to travel and how big the NP's are and the pace you are setting would test anyone, never mind a small child and senior. It's quite possible that you are already too late to book Yosemite and as lovely as it is, I think you would be wise to take more time to Zion and head to Vegas as a 'turn around' point back towards the Grand canyon etc.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default Travel between 8 am and 4pm

    I would have to agree with the above. It is very, very tyring to sit in a car for a long time, once you have clocked up three score or more in years. Just as it is boring and tedious when you have not yet reached your first decade.

    For the benefit of all of you, but especially your grandmother and your daughter, make sure you factor in at least a 15 min. stop, every two hours. Let the little one run around, have a swing, and spend all that pent up energy. Let your grandmother have a gentle walk, to keep the limbs moving and the blood flowing And as we learned long ago, when travelling with children, travel only between the hours of 8am and 4pm.

    It will probably restrict you to doing less than 400 miles per day. But you have the choice. Cover huge distances with worn out and bored passengers, or stick to a realistic distance and time frame, with a car full of excited and happy passengers.

    You want to make sure that your family remembers this trip for all the right reasons.

    Lifey

  5. Default sigh

    Thanks all. I know it sounds crazy and over-ambitious...but I really do have some pretty tough family members. several years ago grandma & I toured Ireland in a rental car for 10 days and really covered some serious mileage--she really does enjoy the ride/scenery. She also wants to try camping once in her life (which is why we are just doing it for 2 nights on this trip). I'll make it comfy for her :-). My child is a pretty darn good road tripper herself; she made the Denver/New Jersey trip with no problem and generally does fine with longer car rides. And me, well driving long distances is my superpower!

    That said...6 hrs a day is a ton, even if we get up & at 'em early in the am. I'm not concerned about the Utah leg--I think driving through those parks is wonderful and they will serve as pit stops rather than destinations. It's more like taking the scenic route instead of continuing on I70.

    But, I want the trip to be great for everyone and lots of fun.

    If we want to make it to California (mom's request) AND do Yosemite (grandma's) AND Vegas (grandma's) AND Utah (mine); I'd love any suggested itineraries or ideas. I don't care much about the Grand Canyon, although it would be nice.

    I don't care about Death Valley. I have this lovely reserved campsite in Big Sur but I suppose I could give it up. It's just so hard to pick & choose the very best route!

    You are the experts...what would you do?!
    Last edited by njinco; 03-25-2011 at 10:06 PM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,748

    Default Ireland V USA.

    It's not so much about the 6 hour drive [if broken up with regular stops] but more about all the places you want to visit and the lack of time between 'the driving' to relax and enjoy these great places. You say you are not worried about the Utah leg, but a 'quick' drive through your list without getting out the car will easily add another 6 hours to your 8 hour journey.

    To help put things in perspective, your first 2 days on your above itinerary is close to the same mileage as going from, Belfast > Dublin > Cork > Dingle > Galway > Londonderry NI and back to Belfast on a tour of Ireland. [>Repeat mode ON<] 2 DAYS !

    If we want to make it to California (mom's request) AND do Yosemite (grandma's) AND Vegas (grandma's) AND Utah (mine); I'd love any suggested itineraries or ideas. I don't care much about the Grand Canyon, although it would be nice
    OK, heres what I would do.

    Sun; Denver to Arches.
    Mon; Arches.
    Tues; Drive to Bryce canyon via Capitol Reef.
    Weds; Explore Bryce, head for Zion.
    Thurs; Zion NP
    Fri; Vegas [?]
    Sat; Across Death valley stay in Bishop area.
    Sun; Yosemite via Tioga pass ***
    Mon; Yosemite to Big Sur
    Tues; Big Sur to Bakersfield
    Weds; Bakersfield to Grand canyon South rim.
    Thurs; Grand canyon through Monument valley to Grand junction CO.
    Fri; To Denver.

    As I was typing I very nearly gave up on the itineary as it's still pretty busy all the way through and involves a lot of driving in the second half of the trip to include Big Sur, with very little 'downtime'.
    Perhaps if you gave up Big Sur and headed towards Bakersfield/Lake Isabella from Yosemite it would ease the pace back to Denver and free up a full day that won't be spent in the car and could be put to good use enjoying the splendour of the Grand Canyon.

    ***Tioga pass has a good chance of being open when you travel, but is by no means guaranteed, especially with the high amount of snowfall this year. That would mean having to head around the mountains to get to Yosemite.

    I must also warn you that this itenarary is very packed and I still think could become tiring for you all.

    What would I recommend ? In no particular order, 1] Cut back. 2] Make it a one way trip and fly into Denver and out of San Fran [extra costs inviolved] 3] Fly in and out Vegas or SF and do a loop from there. [Number 3 would be my favoured option, but I am not sure if you are based in Denver, have already booked your flights, [both would make option 2 a 'No No' as well ] or flying in and renting a vehicle.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default contradiction

    Quote Originally Posted by njinco View Post
    That said...6 hrs a day is a ton, even if we get up & at 'em early in the am. I'm not concerned about the Utah leg--I think driving through those parks is wonderful and they will serve as pit stops rather than destinations.
    I really don't think you've got an appreciation for how big these "pit stops" are. While you aren't concerned about Utah, even as you describe them, they would make for a rough (if not impossible) day for even the most youthful "pit stop only" travelers.

    You note that "6 hours is a ton" but both of those days you'd have 6 hours or more in the car before you start those pits stops. Throw in the stops you are talking about and you'll need to be on the road for 12 hours or more a day.

    Honestly, I think even Dave's suggestion is going to be too much to be enjoyable for your group because of the sprint back home. I'd say cutting another day or two out of Utah on the way out would really be needed so you aren't miserable for the 2nd half of your trip.

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

    Default Not so much a suggestion.

    Honestly, I think even Dave's suggestion is going to be too much to be enjoyable for your group because of the sprint back home.
    Just to be 100% clear, I agree that it is too much and my suggestions remain the same, cut back or change the start and/or finish point if possible. You could arrive in Vegas on the Thurs evening from Zion, but other than that I still can't see any other way of shortening the first part of the journey and keeping it fun. That along with removing Big Sur and SF from the itinerary would imo make it a manageable trip with time to take a breath and 'smell the roses', but only just !

    The itinerary was not a suggestion, more an answer to a question.

  9. Default sigh, again

    Thanks guys. Okay, so I've edited a tiny bit. I think the ride from Moab to Zion is about 7-8 hours via the scenic route, and that's all it'll be--we'll drive through the other parks but won't have time to explore (which is fine--the scenery alone is fantastic). I still think it might be a little much but I'm not sure what to eliminate. It's the San Fran/Yosemite that is killing me. This road trip was originally planned for San Diego, not SF, which made this much simpler. Now eveyone is hell-bent on Yosemite and seeing the Golden Gate Bridge. Both grandmas insist that they'd rather see more and are fine in the car. (They have selected this entire over idea over my original plan of a week in Hawaii!!). Should I leisurely make my way out there and then just haul across through Salt Lake to Denver, driving straight for a day or 2?? Flying anywhere isn't an option.

    Here's what I've got. Any edits/ideas/suggestions or non-suggestions would be appreciated!!!
    1. arches (6 hrs drive)
    2. zion (8)
    3. zion
    4. death valley (8)
    5. yosemite (4)
    6. yosemite
    7. san fran (4)
    8. san fran
    9. vegas (9)
    10. vegas
    11. grand canyon (5)
    12. durango (5)
    13. denver (6)

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

    Default Not much change.

    Should I leisurely make my way out there and then just haul across through Salt Lake to Denver, driving straight for a day or 2??
    Whatever you decide you should allow at least 2.5 days to get home. There is no way that you could drive 1250 miles in a day and even with 2 days you would be pushing the limits as a solo driver or a couple. With a Kiddie and Grandmom you really could do with 3 days minimum. I am still not convinced that you have got to grips with how huge the distances are or how big the parks are, "just driving through" will add another 5 or 6 hours to your 7/8 hour day in Utah making a 13/14 hour day.


    As I pointed out earlier, if you head into Death valley from Zion you will be on the Northern edge of Vegas, so I don't know why you would want to drive right by and then add miles to visit Vegas on the way back. It may not add many miles, but with your schedule every little helps. I would also consider spending a night in Bryce and 1 in Zion to shorten day 2.

    Whatever way you go about it you have a lot of ground to cover and as you may have gathered by now, a bit too much in our opinion given your circumstance. You seem determined to do what you set out to do and at the end of the day it is your decision to make. I wish you the very best with your trip and hope it all works out well.

Similar Threads

  1. West USA Road Trip
    By Katika in forum Spring RoadTrips
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 03-18-2010, 08:06 AM
  2. From Ill to Key West Road Trip
    By V6Pony in forum Planning Summer RoadTrips
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 02-28-2010, 01:12 PM
  3. South west and West coast road trip
    By Giji in forum Spring RoadTrips
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 02-25-2009, 01:11 PM
  4. 5 Week West Coast Trip - Rookie Road Trip Couple from UK
    By lauraandgraham in forum Spring RoadTrips
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 02-10-2009, 07:06 AM
  5. road trip out West
    By Meme in forum Planning Summer RoadTrips
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 06-07-2006, 07:14 PM

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
  • Find the Perfect Hotel
    Search RoadTrip Motels
    Enter city name

    Loading...



  • MORE STORIES