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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Bonny Hills , Australia
    Posts
    302

    Default 2013 Lap around the USA

    Well its only 16 months before we head off on our next trip to the USA.We were planning on a 3 month trip but concerned it may be a bit long to be away from home.So planning now will give us a better Idea on how long we need. We have visited a lot of the west so we will be able to bypass a lot of the National Parks we have already done.

    Our plan is to Arrive at San Francisco and spend a few days before heading north to Redwood NP and up to Crater Lake NP and then to maybe Mt Rainer NP and then Olympic NP.From Port Angeles catch a car ferry to Vancouver and have a look around Japer NP and Banff before heading to the 2013 Calgary Stampede. From here we would like to head down to Glacier NP and across to South Dakota.From here head to Buffalo and see Niagra falls from both USA and Canada. Not sure of most scenic route from Sth Dakota to Buffalo yet.

    From here to New York for a day or so.

    Now this is where it gets interesting.I will have to put the big map on the wall for this one.We would like to see some of Kentucky,Ohio and West Virginia,Tennessee and some of Mississippi and Louisianna.Thought of Florida but that may be stretching it too much.
    Back over through Texas and over to Arizona for a while then Las Vegas.From Vegas we will go to Death Valley and then over to Yosemite again and then from there over to the Coast and back down to LA and home.

    A lot of ifs and Mayby's but its a plan.Now I need to work out what we want to see in each place.I might even get to take a few photos along the way.I havent even put pen to paper to plan and its all from looking at maps so far.Time might be the killer but we managed 8000 mile in 5weeks last trip.

    Any suggestions would be appreciated and I will start a book on ideas and locations.

    John & Sandra Waters
    Roadtrippers from OZ.
    Last edited by john.waters; 01-29-2012 at 08:59 PM. Reason: added some white space for easier reading

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

    Default Where to Start?

    Trying to comment on a plan of this scale from someone with some serious RoadTripping chops is always a problem. There won't be much that I can add that you haven't already thought of and (as with all good plans) it is likely to change considerably between now and its implementation. So let me just throw out the odd recommendation here and there that you might want to consider adding to your plan (if they're not already in there.) Let's start with a drive up the Historic Columbia River Highway, gorgeous in its own right, there are several incredible waterfalls on its south (Oregon) shore within easy walking distance of the road. While on Vancouver Island, besides the obvious stuff like Butchart Gardens and Pacific Rim National Park, there is a great First Nations center in Duncan, a few dozen miles north of Victoria on the Strait of Georgia. And I'd also take the time, on your ferry ride from Swartz Bay to Tsawwassen to take in one or more of the islands in the Strait. I found Saltspring Island to be quite relaxing and 'quaint', but there are others.

    When you go to leave Banff for Calgary, stop in Canmore and ask about the 'back way' down through the Kananaskis Valley. This is pretty much all graded dirt and as such doesn't show up on many maps, but it is spectacular and your chances of wildlife encounters are exponentially greater than on the Trans-Canada. .Similarly, between Glacier National Park and 'South Dakota', consider using MT-200 for as much as you can. This is almost as desolate a highway as the "World's Loneliest Highway" in Nevada, but traverses a hauntingly beautiful terrain.

    As you head down to NYC from Niagara/Buffalo a couple of easy to miss scenic wonders are Watkins Glen and the Delaware Water Gap. Try not to (miss them, that is.) Another great RoadTrip Road in the central Appalachians is the Tail of the Dragon. Just keep one eye on your rearview mirror for motorcyclists.

    In the south a few years ago, I had pretty good times at these locations which usually don't make the Top Ten lists: Old Cahawba outside Selma AL, the Mississippi Petrified Forest, and the site of Bonnie and Clyde's ambush in Gibsland LA. All low key, all unique. For cultural and scenic purposes, I would suggest that you bend your route south a bit through Texas and take in the music scene in Austin, the Alamo in San Antonio, and Big Bend National Park.

    I call the Tucson area home and just a few of the local attractions include Chiricahua National Monument, Fort Bowie, Tombstone, Kartchner Caverns, Saguaro National Park, Pima Air and Space Museum (and the nearby 'boneyard' at Davis-Monthan AFB), and the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum.

    Well. I think that's enough for now.

    AZBuck

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Bonny Hills , Australia
    Posts
    302

    Default

    Thanks Azbuck, that has put a few more locations on my to do list.Id like to see a bit more of Oregon so finding a new route there from Redwood NP instead of going to Cresent City and Grants Pass. Mabe coming in from Redding or Klamath Falls and the staying on the Country roads away from the coast to Mt Rainier NP then to Olympic National Park.
    I think the big challenge will be to fit everything in once we leave New York.So much to see on the way back to Arizona and on to Yosemite before heading home.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default 2013 Calgary Stampede

    We have family who live near Calgary and each work as volunteers at the Stampede. Perhaps I can "introduce" you to them during that time. One thing that is very cool, and little known, is that during Stampede week, just about every neighborhood in the city has a pancake breakfast on Saturday. It's free and all are welcome -- Visitors and Locals.

    Mark

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default To add to the list.

    May as well add some of my favourites to the list. You'll find most of these in your atlas (if you brought one home),

    There is Route 6 through PA. As the brochure states, 'not so much a route as a destination in itself'. Two hilights (and there are many) which come to mind are The Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania and the Kinzua Bridge, or should I say, the remnants of it. I saw this magnificent tressle bridge in 2001, and on my next visit saw it lying on the valley floor, far below, destroyed by a tornado. Still a great historic site - still worth visiting.

    There are the many magnificent historic railway viaducts across eastern PA, one of which can be seen as you drive into NJ on I-80. Just north of Portland PA (south of the Delaware Water Gap) there is a spot where you can get a great picture of it. Another is the railway viaduct at the junction of highway 11 and 92 in Nicholson PA. I can imagine you taking great pictures of these.

    The many historic covered bridges of Bedford County PA.

    And the lovely hamlet of Jim Thorpe tucked away in the mountains of eastern Pennsylvania. And nearby Hickory Park with the Boulder Field, among other attractions.

    There is so much to see in PA, you could spend a month there, and still not see it all. Very different from the great NPs in the west, but just as interesting.

    Lifey

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Bonny Hills , Australia
    Posts
    302

    Default Looking Good So Far.

    Things are looking good here and a lot of good suggestions so far thankyou. Because it is going to be a big trip I have decided to break the planning up into five stages and that way I will get a better idea on how long each stage will take before combining it into one trip.

    I can see it being just as much fun planning as it will be doing the actual trip. With google I can see all photos of the area we will be going and be prepared.

    The five stages will be.

    Stage 1- San Francisco - Redwood NP - Klamath Falls - Crater Lake NP - Bend - Columbia River Highway - Portland -Mount Rainer - Olympic NP -(Ferry to Canada) Vancouver - Jasper NP -Banff -Calgary Stampede - Glacier NP Montana.


    Stage 2 - Glacier NP - South Dakota - Buffalo - Niagara Falls ( a lot of planning to do here)


    Stage 3 - Niagara Falls - New York City - Pennsyvania - West Virgina Area - Tennessee - Kentucky - Mississippi -New Orleans. Lots and lots of planning here).


    Stage 4 New Orleans - Texas - New Mexico - Arizona


    Stage 5 -Arizona -Nevada - Las Vegas - Death Valley - Yosemite NP and back to LA.


    What do you think so far. If someone has some better ideas Id like to hear. But for now Im looking at getting stage one sorted and finding the best route sorted.

    So what I am liiking for is suggestions from Redwod NP to Klamath Falls and on to Crater Lake. I have been up through Cresent City and Grants Pass so thought Klamath Falls would be nice.

    Thanks again

    John & Sandra Waters.

    John

    PS. Lifey I have The Ultimate HEMA United States Road Atlas which I got this time last year to plan our last trip. Its a great book.I didnt bring anymore back as we were overloaded at checkin at LAX.
    Last edited by john.waters; 01-31-2012 at 12:12 AM. Reason: Add text.

  7. #7

    Default

    If your route takes you that way, I'd highly recommend the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Tenn/North Carolina. The Gatlinburg & Pigeon Forge area is over the top touristy and trafficky, but the National Park is just beautiful.

    In Kentucky, I'd recommend the Red River Gorge/Natural Bridge State Parks area in Eastern Ky. Beautiful scenery & good hiking if you like to hike. Central Kentucky (Lexington area) is a great driving area. Think rolling green hills dotted with horse farms, but you have to get off the interstate to really see the area. There's the Kentucky Horse Park near Lexington, which is a fun place to visit. There are also tons of bourbon distilleries in this area (Maker's Mark, Jim Beam, Woodford Reserve, Four Roses, etc.). Bardstown is a great old small town to visit (eat at the Old Talbott Tavern if you get there). Louisville is good for the big city feel - lots of museums (including Louisville Slugger and the Derby Museum), historic homes, big parks, neat little shops. Mammoth Cave NP is also neat to see. It's the longest cave system in the world. That's my plug for my home state. :)

    If you like history, you can create an entire route south from NY just visiting Civil War battlefields.
    Last edited by morgail; 02-01-2012 at 07:47 AM.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Bonny Hills , Australia
    Posts
    302

    Default

    Thanks Morgail.

    Looks like I might need a bit more time in this area.All good planning information,thankyou. As for getting off the interstates,that is main focus on planning this trip.

    We like to enjoy the journey and not just the destination.I love the back roads and the country towns.

    Thanks
    John

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Bonny Hills , Australia
    Posts
    302

    Default

    Thanks everyone for the help so far.
    I need a litle help with the map making and getting the distances right so I can calculate my stops each day.

    The last trip we don I used maps on us to measure the distances and draw my route.It has since gone.Im not real confident with the mapping on here so maybe Im doing something wrong. I might be asking too much too do the whole trip in 4 routes so maybe have to break it down a bit.Anyone got any ideas on whats the best mapping to use on this RTA Site.

    John
    Last edited by john.waters; 02-03-2012 at 01:59 AM.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Bonny Hills , Australia
    Posts
    302

    Default

    Back again. I had to stop and take a step back and see what I was planning.
    We started planning our first trip in January 2011 and spent 5 months planning.

    Then six weeks in the USA and 8500 photos.Got home and spent most of my spare time editing photos and video etc.
    Finished of field trip report and posted photos recently.

    Then straight away into planning this trip around the USA. I havent givn myself any time to sit back and have a breather.

    I want the next trip to be even better than the last. Im not going to start planning anymore for a few months and catch up on a lot of other things I need to do.

    Ill get back into it in a few months time.Thanks for everyone who has helped with our previous planning and this trip so far.

    Its too easy to get wrapped up in things we enjoy the most. Once I catch up on my other stuff Ill be back in full swing

    Thanks
    John

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