Hi! We are a couple of senior Aussies, with a huge adventure streak and we have hired a Motorhome (22ft) for 4 weeks from May 20 to go and see some of the beautiful American parks. We start at San Francisco and drive to Yosemite. Question 1: What is the most spectacular entry, Arch Rock from highway 140 or Big Oak Flat? (I first have to try for a 5 night RV site inside the valley-difficult as they are not released until January and then with our time difference it will be in the middle of our night....wish me luck with that one) Question 2: As Tioga pass may not be open yet, we will go back out and drive to Reno, for an overnight stay and then onto Salt Lake City which we will do in 1 or 2 days. From there to Grand Tetons/Jackson and I am looking for the shortest way there?
I have been told that it is also nessesary to book if we want to stay inside yellowstone park for 4 or 5 days. From there we plan to take our time to Rapid city/Deadwood city and look around the sights there. Then down to Denver. Is it worth the extra 68 miles to Colorado springs? We then will go across toward Moab and all the desert parks on our way to Las Vegas where we hand in the vehicle and check into a hotel. We have booked a 2 day bus tour to the Grand Canyon from Vegas. Then a LUXBUS trip to Anaheim after all we must spend some time in Disneyland etc. Our road trip is about 3500 miles. Is our itiniary feasable? within 4 weeks and can someone tell us your current cost of "GAS per Gallon?" Any advise would be most helpful and appreciated. OandM
1. If Tioga Pass is not open yet, you could go in via 140 and out via 120. If Tioga is open, then that's a tough call - I'll let someone else advise you there.
2. If Tioga is closed, take 120 out of the park to CA-49, then stay on 49 when 120 goes west towards Modesto. Go through Jamestown, and if you want to bypass Sonora, turn left on Rawhide Road. This will take you back to 49. Turn left and stay on 49 to Jackson. Turn right on CA-88 and take that over Carson Pass. Stay on 88 into NV, and it will end at US-395 which you can take to Reno. If Tioga is open, take that to 395.
You can drive from Reno to SLC in 1 day if you stay on I-80. It's a full day but quite doable.
Best way into Jackson from SLC: Take I-15 north to Idaho Falls, then US-26 east to Swan Valley. Take ID-31 to Victor, turn right on ID-33 which becomes WY-22 into Jackson. This is about a 6 hour drive.
From Denver to Moab, the fastest way is I-70, and this is about a 7 hour drive. If you want to go to COS and take multiple days, you can take US-24 out of COS to US-285 to US-50 to Grand Junction to rejoin I-70 (or stay on US-24 to I-70). Either way is very scenic.
The national average today for regular unleaded gasoline is $3.72 a US gallon. For planning purposes, I'd figure a RV will get about 10 miles per gallon, you may do better. However, there's no way to predict prices this far in advance, and prices in remote areas can be significantly higher. I would guess that the price in Yosemite, for example, is probably around $5 a gallon. Gasbuddy shows that it is in fact $5.19 in Bridgeport CA, on US-395.
A wonderful adventure !
Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !
The NP campgrounds are very popular with a limited number of RV sites so I would definitely recommend booking any NP sites asap after the window opens. One of the 'Pines' campgrounds in Yosemite valley are recommended. If Tioga is open I would highly recommend travelling it, it's a big part of the Yosemite experience. [As are Glacier point [which may not be open either] and Mariposa Grove.] I think all roads to Yosemite are pretty spectacular as you near the park. We came in over the Priests Grade on CA120 to the Big Oak Flat road and wasn't dissapointed with Portal View just through the tunnel.
If Reno is on your 'to do' list anyway you would head up 395, if not you could continue on CA120 to US6 through Tonopah. There is a rest area called 'Millers rest' just before Tonopah where you could spend the night free of charge at this little 'Oasis in the desert'. You could cut up US93 to Wendover and I80 or continue on US6 and perhaps stopover at Great Basin NP.
There is a lot to see and do around Colorado/Manitou Springs including the 'Garden of the Gods', 'Cave of the Winds' and Pikes Peak. I prefer that area to Denver, but have you taken time out for Rocky mountain NP ? Nearby is the town of Estes Park and RMNP has campgrounds, Morraine park being near to the wonderful 'Bear lake' corridor with short walks and great views abound ! The Trail Ridge road across the park may well be closed due to winter snow accumulation. If you went as far south as Colorado Springs you could take US50 towards Moab, which would take you over Monarch Pass, through Currecanti Nat Rec area to Black canyon of the Gunnison NP.
If you can make it 'fit' [and you are not tied into your bus trip] I would recommend camping at the South rim of the Grand canyon on route to Vegas. It is a wonderful experience that would work out cheaper than a bus and GC lodgings. From Moab you could head south on 191 and drive through the iconic 'Monument Valley' ON 163 towards the Grand canyon.
I'll second that.
My suggestion would be the same as Dave's, consider camping at the Grand Canyon on your way to Las Vegas. The drive through Monument Valley is spectacular, as is US-50 towards Moab. In Utah, this takes you onto I-70, which is among the most scenic interstates in the country.
I too would recommend all the sights around Colorado Springs over Denver, including the Royal Gorge Train along the Arkansas River... a 24 mile round trip which takes 2 hours.
Even if the Trail Ridge Road is closed it is a spectacular trip to go as far as you can go. When I did that, we had passed the '2 mile above sealevel' sign, and the views were breathtaking. When they close the road, it is always at a spot where there is ample room to turn around.
One recommendation: if you are a member of the RACV, NRMA or similar organisation, make sure you bring your membership with you. It will give you access to free maps and tourist information at the AAA. Even with a satnav, you are going to need good paper maps. On your arrival in SF, go see a AAA office, and get detailed maps of all the States and larger urban areas through which you are travelling. If you don't want to take them home, leave them in an RV park for others to use.
Last edited by Lifemagician; 08-25-2012 at 10:24 AM.
A million thanks to "glc" "Southwest Dave" and "Life magiscian" for your advise and your enthusiasm. We will take 140 into Yosemite and 120 out...and NO we do not really want to go to Reno specifically so "millers rest" seems to be ideal, Will look into Great Bason NP, also Rocky mountain national park if it is witin our scope. Our only tight schedules will be Yosemite(for 5 days) and I have since booked into "Fishing Bridge RV park in Yellowstone"- this cost a lot but is a guaranteed site from 1st June, leaving on 5th June. (We will only be there once after all)
Will most definately take your advise and go to Colorado springs and try to see as much as possible in and around that area. Have allowed 6 days to get across to Vegas. We are already locked into a 2 day bus tour to the Grand Canyon, mainly because we figured that after driving 3500 miles, we might be glad of someone else driving and with overnight accom. it really was not terribly expensive. Advice on any other cheap or free type campsites along our route would be appreciated. We will try to cut price here and pay the bit extra where we have to. Owen is a photographer..so we need to see as much as possible and have some special sunrises and sunsets for him. Will get maps and have GPS
Thank you all for your help. All advice greatefully acknowledged. Maria
The problem with your Grand Canyon bus trip plan is that you are giving up a whole lot of freedom and the ability to see what you want, when you want, and you really aren't gaining anything in return. In fact, you really aren't even saving yourself any driving, and you'll actually end up spending more time in a moving vehicle! Simply stopping at the Canyon on your way to Vegas from Colorado and Utah would save you quite a bit of time, and time on the road.
Miller's Rest is considerably out of your way if you don't take Tioga Pass.
If you need to save money and don't need hookups or the ability to run your generator, you can generally park overnight safely in a truck stop with permission.
How do I get permission to park in truck stops? Will not do this all the time but maybe half and half. Will do Tioga pass if open, but I think we may be a bit early in the season.
Tioga pass. Anyones guess.
You normally have no problem overnighting at a truck stop but it's polite to do a little business with them, whether it's to top up with fuel, buy something from the shop or have something to eat and tell them of your plans and check that you are parked in the right place. You should know that you can''t set up camp and get the BBQ out etc and that truck stops are more designed just to get some 'shut eye'. In all honesty I much prefer a campground where you can light the campfire and have a beer and relax under the stars, and only costing from $18-20 per night in State and National parks is worth every cent.
In the last 6 years you would have got over Tioga Pass 4 times at that time so even though that's no garuantee, I would say you have a reasonable chance. You can see previous dates here for the opening [and closing.] You can also keep an eye on updates and get info on the RTA Tioga pass Prognosticator. At the moment it is for the winter closure and afterwards it will move onto the Spring opening in another thread
Go into the building where you pay, and ask one of the clerks behind the counter. I always ask if there is any objection to parking overnight. They usually want to know what I drive. Then I ask where they prefer me to park. At most truck stops this is obvious. Stick to the bigger ones, Flying J, Pilot, TA, Loves, Petro, etc. I have never yet been knocked back. On one occasion FJ was having a lot of work done, and suggested I go to the TA, over the road.
Originally Posted by OandM
But remember, you are parking... not camping!
This publication has all the truck stops which welcome RVs.