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  1. Default West Coast National Park Swing

    Ok, so I am new to planning extensive road trips and have been busting my tail to make sure that I cover all of my bases. Just hoping I could get some feedback to calm my anxious nerves:) Me and a friend have a 1999 honda civic coupe, 12 days and $1600. Here's the plan:

    Day 1: Leave from GA on day 1 and make a steady run to South Fork, CO. I believe we can make it in 28 hours or so.
    Day 2: Plan on spending day two in South Fork where we have a cozy cabin already book ($70 w/ discount).
    Day 3: Take Wolf Creek Pass through Pagosa Springs, CO and stop to spend part of the day at Mesa Verde National Park. Then on to Moab,UT to camp (campground or dispersed in manti la sal)
    Day 4:Spend day hiking/driving in Moab seeing Arches and Canyonlands then camp for night
    Day 5:Open: Either stay in UT or Head towards Grand Canyon NP
    Day 6:Drive to Grand Canyon via Monument Valley with possible road trip to glen canyon damn and antelope canyon (wondering how long it would take) Camping in either Ten X campground or dispersed camping in Kaibab National Forest
    Day 7: Spend day at/in Grand Canyon - Uber excited about this one so any primo locations would be greatly appreciated. Then camp for night
    Day 8: Drive through Petrified Forest National Park and camp in National Forest in Datil,AZ
    Day 9: Drive to Guadalupe Mountains National Park with side trip to White Sands National Monument. Camping in Guadalupe Mountains National Park.
    Day 10: Drive to Carlsbad where we have a hotel room booked ($60 w/ discount) See Carlsbad Caverns National Park.
    Day 11: Drive to Dallas Texas where we have the nicest hotel room for the trip booked (80 w/ discount)
    Day 12: The long haul back to GA

    I left a day open to figure out when we get out there (Gotta have some wiggle room). We have spent $125 on 32 MRE meals and three dozen heaters. We also plan on spending $80 for the national parks annual pass (believe its called America The Beautiful Annual Pass) Calculated about $750 for gas (4300 route miles) which i feel is more than adequate. That leaves us about $400 + extra for the occasional eating out and misc. Also plan to do some geocaching along the way! What am I missing? Does this seem like it would be feasible? Any places where I should allow more time? Are gas cards good idea? It takes me longer to get to sleep at night wondering if im missing anything so if you lovely folks don't mind calming my heart I would greatly appreciate it. Thanks in Advance!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Missing 'safety first'.

    Hi and welcome to the forums !

    The day you have left 'open' will be needed to split between the journey out and the journey back. To drive out there with 2 'back to back' 15 hour driving days will just leave you exhausted and no way to enjoy day 3, which is also pretty packed with Mesa Verde in the equation. Trying to drive almost a 1000 miles back home in a day is also a recipe for disaster and both the trip out and back are beyond safe limits and way beyond the hours professional drivers are permitted to do by law. Even with an extra half day each way, you are still pushing the limits of your mind and body and you really need an extra day to make it safe and enjoyable. A lot of people tend to think they are 'super human' and they are not effected by fatigue, unfortunately the statistics for fatal and non fatal accidents directly linked to driver fatigue prove otherwise !

    Keep safe and have a great trip !

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default worth losing sleep over

    Quote Originally Posted by abchilds View Post
    Day 1: Leave from GA on day 1 and make a steady run to South Fork, CO. I believe we can make it in 28 hours or so.
    If you think you can do that, and you want us to "calm your heart," you've come to the wrong place. That's a trip that is about 1500 miles, and is practically 3 full days on the road. You could probably shave it down to 2.5 days if you don't stop for anything except the basics, but doing this without at least 2 overnight stops is extremely reckless, and trying to do in one day is homicidal.

    I do also agree with Dave that "day 3" is also overstuffed and is worth some rethinking.

    And the trip home too, you didn't say where in "Georgia" you are starting/ending, but there is no point in the state where it is a safe driving distance at the end of a long trip like this. If you were just doing a one day sprint, where you could rest for a couple days before and after, you could probably do Dallas to Atlanta, but it's not an option on the final day of a very fast paced trip like this. Carlsbad to Atlanta can be done in 2 days, but that's the very maximum, with no stopping for anything enjoyable along the way, and you need to plan for your overnight stop to be in Shreveport.

    Timing wise, also don't forget that setting up camp takes some time, and that's especially true when you are talking about dispersed camping. It's great that it is free, and there are a lot of other great advantages to it, but it is also much more time consuming as you have to find a suitable site that is within the forest rules which is a lot more difficult that just pulling up to a designated campsite.

    From a simple enjoyment standard, are you really going to want to eat MRE's every meal, every day? Its one thing to have something quick and easy for eating from time to time, its another to plan a trip around rations. There's nothing wrong with it, specifically, I just wonder how much enjoyment you by living off of chemical compounds in a bag instead of fresh food.

    You are in a position where you can have a good trip and do much of what you've planned out, but you do need to dial back a few things, and readjust some of your on paper dreams with on the road reality.
    Last edited by Midwest Michael; 04-16-2011 at 11:58 AM.

  4. Default

    I understand the concern of driving 1500 miles in a straight shot. However we feel that if we start out early, consistently change drivers and get rest between shifts(Plan on making the passenger seat extremely comfortable) we can make it in 29 hours max. Yes, we are ok eating MRE's. We don't plan on eating them the whole time just while we are on the road and in situations where it is convenient. Plus with the heaters we will still get the "hot" meal. Mike, I agree with you that Shreveport might be a better option for the midway point and is something we are considering changing. Thanks for your replies

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default Again the word is HOMICIDAL

    I'm sorry, but you are showing a degree of foolishness that actually extends into the area of criminal recklessness.

    Let me put this as plain and simple as I can: Trying to drive 1500 miles in one shot, without stopping multiple times for a full night of sleep is more dangerous than driving drunk.

    This can not safely be done with 2 drivers, as having one person asleep in the passenger seat will be an invitation for the driver to fall asleep, and there is no possible way that either of you will be getting enough rest to safely operate a 2 ton machine at 70 mph.

    Please reconsider the safety of yourself and the thousands of people with whom you will be sharing the road. You can not safely do what you propose, period. we can not and will not assist you in your plan that endangers the lives of every single person who would have the bad luck of getting in your way.

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