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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Centerville, Georgia, United States

    Default Georgia to New Mexico itenerary, is this possible?

    My friend and I are planning a trip from the 23rd of September to October 1st of this year.
    We will be leaving Warner Robins Geogia around 3-4 pm on Sunday September 23rd. We plan on driving to Hot Springs Arkansas straight through with a few small pit stops to venture around Tupelo MS and the Little Rock Arkansas area.

    We plan to arrive in Hot Springs around 4 am on the 24th of September, with the hour time difference around 3am. We plan on spending the day and night in Hot Springs, leaving early in the morning around 6-7 am on the 25th of September.

    We plan on driving straight through to Chaco Canyon Culture National Historic Park in Nageezi New Mexico. This is supposed to be a 18 hr drive and with a few pit stops in Oklahoma, Texas and New Mexico I am hoping we can make it in 19 hours. That would put us in Nageezi around 12am on the 26th of September. We will be spending the night of the 26th and 27th in New Mexico.

    Early Morning of the 28th we will be traveling to the Petrified Forest for a few hours and the Grand Canyon in Arizona. We will spend the 28th of September in the Grand Canyon area.

    We will start heading out on the 29th of September around noon, we want to try to visit the Painted Desert before we leave. We will spend the rest of the 29th heading out that evening.

    On our trip back to Georgia we plan on taking the I-40 E/US 84/I-20E route going through Albuquerque, Dallas, and Shreveport. According to all the maps this trip will take about 24 hours to make. If we leave the Painted Desert around 4pm that evening that would put us being close to home around 4 pm on the 30th.

    So we still have a whole day to waste and I was curious if anyone had any great stopping points along the I-40 E/I-20 E route where we could stop and see to make our trip more fun. The only thing I really had planned on the way back was to visit Vicksburg MS and have a picnic along the Mississippi River but with the river being dried up this year I don't know if that is even possible.

    So I guess my two questions are, does this trip sound possible?? Is it to much? and the other question is on our way back is there any suggestions on what to see and where to go. My friend is really into anything Native American and War Related and I am more of a Scenic Route/Wildlife person.

    Any comments orsuggestions would be great. Also we will be camping in tents, so no hotels and anyone who has had any experience with the koa campgrounds in the hot springs ar, nageezi nm and grand canyon area would be great to hear.
    Last edited by Midwest Michael; 08-23-2012 at 11:08 AM. Reason: added some white space

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default Not Even Close

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    I'm sorry to say, but your plans are not even close to realistic. Your entire trip is based around the very faulty premise that you can drive non-stop all the time, without stopping for rest, and that you'll be able to meet the unrealistic time estimates provided by online mapping programs, which assume you don't have to stop for anything including food or fuel.

    Drives of 18, 19, 24 hours are not safe, and they are certainly not fun. There's no way you'll be in any condition to be a safe driver, much less be in a position to enjoy yourself the next day.

    On top of that, they certainly don't work with your plans to camp. As a camper, you can not plan to arrive at campgrounds at midnight, 3am, etc because you will not be allowed to set up. Nearly every campground has quiet hours, where setting up camp after 10 or 11pm is prohibited. That doesn't even get into the whole element of it taking longer to set up and tear down camp, with hours you just don't have.

    Not including any of the detours you've mentioned, its a hard 3 days of driving each way from Georgia to the Grand Canyon (certainly not something you can do in a day and a half as you've currently planned for your return trip). That means you do have enough time to get there and back, and even make a couple stops along the way, but not nearly the time for the stops and detours you're currently hoping for.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    If you want to see everything you are planning on, you need to make this a fly/drive trip - fly to Las Vegas, rent a car, go see the places in the area, return to Las Vegas, and fly home.

    KOA's are primarily set up for RV's, not tent camping, and are almost as expensive as cheap motel rooms. The best places for tent camping are in national/state parks and federal forest lands, not private/commercial campgrounds.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Albuquerque, New Mexico


    Hi, Zabrina.

    As Michael pointed out, you have some huge time vs. distance problems in you original plan.

    Quote Originally Posted by Zabrina Krepps
    We plan on driving straight through to Chaco Canyon Culture National Historic Park in Nageezi New Mexico. This is supposed to be a 18 hr drive and with a few pit stops in Oklahoma, Texas and New Mexico I am hoping we can make it in 19 hours. That would put us in Nageezi around 12am on the 26th of September.

    And looking at this, I think there are a few things you need to know:

    First of all, Chaco Canyon isnít actually in Nageezi. You turn off of US Hwy. 550 about three miles before Nageezi, then itís another 21 miles out to Chaco Canyon. The first eight miles are paved, then itís a dirt road the rest of the way.

    So, after driving 950+ miles from Arkansas, youíd be driving around out here in the middle of the night.

    Chaco Canyon is a great place to visit, but itís in a fairly remote location and the campground is not real big. If the campground is full, the ďnearestĒ alternatives are not very close by. It would be better if you could rearrange your timetable so you could make the drive from the main highway to Chaco Canyon during the day, making sure to call ahead to check on the road conditions and the availability of campsites. I would urge to you look carefully at the directions given on the Chaco Canyon website. These are the only directions that you should rely on (not a GPS).

    Also, you didnít say what kind of vehicle you would be driving, or how you were planning to proceed from Chaco Canyon to the Petrified Forest. If you were planning on taking the road heading south out of Chaco Canyon (NM Hwy. 57), you should be aware that this road can be pretty rough, or even impassable. Iíve tried to drive on that road in a passenger car several times, but itís always been too rough and deeply rutted when Iíve been there. I never made it very far, maybe a mile or two at the most.

    Like Michael said, you have enough time to make it out to the Grand Canyon and back, but you would need to revise your plans to eliminate the extremely long drives, and maybe pare things down a little bit. A fly/drive trip isnít a bad idea either.

    Hope you can make this trip work!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    If you do a fly/drive, you won't be allowed to take a rental car off the maintained roads, even if it's 4wd.

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