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  1. Default Insane roadtrip by two adventure-hungry Scots

    Hi to everyone on the forum - only just discovered this site and it would have been fantastic for our last two western-US roadtrips. But alas ...

    Still, here goes ... I know it seems like we're packing it in really tight and we are .. but we have limited time and a flight from Glasgow, Scotland to Vancouver to contend with and only three weeks in between.

    Day 1:We fly into Vancouver August 2012, arrive 10.30am and travel north east via Kamloops to stay overnight at either Clearwater or Blue River, BC.
    Day 2: We continue north east to Jasper and travel the Icefields Parkway to Banff or close by (overnight).
    Day 3-5: We travel southeast to Kalispell, MT via Glacier NP (east to west) - we have border-crossing at Carway (I think). Staying at Artemis Acres Horse Ranch for three nights.
    Day 6: Kalispell to Livingston, MT (via 83 and 141 to Helena; then via 12 and 89 to Livingston)
    Day 7: Continue east and head to Yellowstone NP via Red Lodge and Cooke City (Beartooth Pass). Staying close to Yellowstone.
    Day 8: ??? We need to travel southwards...
    Day 9: Blanding/Monticello overnight so that we can head through Arches NP etc. onward to Monument Valley and then northwest through Zion Canyon etc. to end up in Las Vegas.
    Day 10: From Las Vegas through Death Valley to LA (staying with friends for 5 nights).
    Day 11-15: LA
    Day 16-22: Heading back north to Vancouver, via Yosemite and Sequoia NP (that's all we've set at the moment - last couple of trips we've seen SF, Mt Rainer NP, Lassen, Mount Shasta, Crater Lake etc.)

    We are determined to stay away from the interstates - for obvious reasons, we don't mind travelling all day - as long as the scenery is there and it usually is in that part of the world. Wish we had lots and lots of additional time, but we don't!

    Has anyone been on a route like this or part there of?

    Hope there are suggestions, but not the obvious one like, 'are we mad!'.

    Regards
    Lynne

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

    Default Not much time for adventure

    Hi and Welcome to the RTA Forums.

    For adventure-hungry travellers, you are not leaving yourself much time for adventure.

    I'll just comment on the Canadian part of your trip, as I have been there more, than the rest. I am assuming you are renting a vehicle in Vancouver.

    You come off a long haul flight, with all the associated time changes and jetlag. Then you plan to drive to Clearwater. I would have thought it may be a little less insane, to have a rest for that first day or take a less ambitious drive.

    You state that you are 'determined' to stay off the interstates. The road to Kamloops is a multi lane highway (partly toll road). Just wondering if there is any special reason why you would not drive via Squamish, Whistler and Lilooet over the Sea to Sky highway (99)? A really great aroad. The Cariboo Highway (97) to 100 Mile House and 24 over to Little Fort Chu Chua would then take you to the Yellowhead Highway South and onto Jasper via the route you would have followed. I cannot think of a more scenic and adventure laden route for adventure-hungry Scots.

    I would leave extra time and not, on day two (you may be still weary from day one and the flight), drive all the way to Banff (via Lake Louis?). The Icefield Parkway may not be a great distance, but there are many side trips to waterfalls and overlooks and view points. If you are the adventurous type, you will want to do some of the short hikes around there. You could easily... and I mean easily... spend a whole day, just driving the Icefield Parkway. And of course, you will want to stop off at the Glacier Centre. On your current plan, you will be just whizzing past most of it, with little time to enjoy much of it.

    And you will want to stop in Lake Louise.... you just gotta see that.

    Do you have a detailed map of western Canada? one which shows all the attractions in Jasper NP, Banff NP and the surrounding wilderness areas? It is an area so rich in scenery, wildlife and adventure opportunities. It would be insane to just drive past most of it.

    And Carway is a great spot to cross the border... never busy.

    Lifey

  3. Default

    Hi and thank you for your response ... well noted. The route north sounds great and could be attemped on day two or three as you suggested. I don't a detailed map of Jasper NP, but it wouldn't be difficult to go online and get one from the website - I'll check it out.
    Thanks for your help.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,546

    Default

    I am going to really agree with Lifey. There are four of us here who have all been to Jasper, Banff, Lake Louise, and Icefields Parkway at least once, and three of us have been twice. Unless you are the type of traveler who passes through a place just to say you've been there, you will WANT to stop. We spent four days there about 10 years ago and wished we'd spent a week!


    Donna

  5. Default

    Hi Donna
    Thank you for your reply and comments. We have taken on board about the start of the vacation and the alternative route suggested by Lifey is great and we will be altering our plans somewhat. Whilst we would love to stay in Jasper etc., (not even mentioning anywhere else for that matter), we simply don't have the time for that .. and that's a real recognition of our situation. We don't travel just to say we've been there and done that ... but we have a very limited time given that we have to traverse the Atlantic and meet friends from previous trips. Our trip gives us the opportunity for a taste of things that we can do in future on maybe longer trips ...
    Folks from your side of the pond have better access to this than we do and believe me if I stayed in either Canada or the US, we'd be popping all over the place on weekends and vacations. I know that we miss loads and loads, but as it takes 14 hours to just get there from Scotland ... well, I think you might understand why we want to see a glimpse of your wonderful country.
    Thanks for your help.
    Regards
    Lynne

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,749

    Default Arches to Vegas.

    Day 7: Continue east and head to Yellowstone NP via Red Lodge and Cooke City (Beartooth Pass). Staying close to Yellowstone.
    Day 8: ??? We need to travel southwards...
    Day 9: Blanding/Monticello overnight so that we can head through Arches NP etc. onward to Monument Valley and then northwest through Zion Canyon etc. to end up in Las Vegas
    If you go all the way to Blanding/Monticello you would have gone right by Arches NP and would have to back track. You could get from Jackson WY to Moab the same day but it might be wise to use an extra night around Yellowstone. Livingstone to Jackson via the Beartooth isn't going to leave much time for other areas of the park. I would then try and 'pinch' another night from elsewhere and add it to the Arches, MV, Zion and Vegas section of the trip. That really is too rushed to enjoy any of these great parks. If you can't and only have 1 night, I would consider visiting Bryce and Zion NP and cutting back on the miles. Being from the UK, I understand where you are coming from about trying to see as much as possible, but it has to be balanced. Sometimes less is more if you see what I mean and it's always good to have something left on a 'to do' list. Any excuse to go back !

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,060

    Default Only four?

    Quote Originally Posted by DonnaR57 View Post
    There are four of us here who have all been to Jasper, Banff, Lake Louise, and Icefields Parkway at least once,
    I don't know where the "here" is you're referring to, but if you're referring to the RTA Forum membership, there are hundreds of us who've been to those places....

    Mark

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,546

    Default

    "Here" was at my parents' house in Tempe. :-) My parents and I traveled to the Canadian Rockies with an RV, back in 1976, and my brother too. Then about 10 years ago, my husband and I, and our 2 girls, returned. Therefore, "4 here" was just at the house in Tempe. (grin)


    Donna

  9. Default

    Hi SouthwestDave ... thanks for your reply.
    Almost all of what you have said is noted - thank you! I get it ... hadn't realised that I'd be bypassing Arches NP to get to Blanding (originally we were coming from Colorado and I hadn't updated my route and so I will re-route and an extra night at Yellowstone is no hardship to bear :)!
    I know that the Las Vegas section is rushed ... I will try and 'pinch' a day but the problem with this is it deducts from the days left to travel north to Vancouver and there will always be sacrifices from there too - argh .. so much to see, so little time - as you say, its a matter of balance. We have travelled Zion and Bryce before (horse-riding) and I think it might be worth losing Las Vegas but instead route to Zion/Bryce and then head to LA from there. Do you think it possible to travel from Zion/Bryce through Death Valley (we camped there on a previous trip ... OMG ... it was roasting hot, even at 2am!)?
    Thanks for all your help ... really.
    Regards
    Lynne

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,749

    Default

    You will be going right through Vegas anyway. From the West of Zion [Springdale is a great little town] you could go direct to LA, but going via DV would be a heck of a day with hardly anytime out of the car exploring.

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