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  1. #1

    Default Spring RoadTrip Key West - Boston - Denver - Las Vegas

    We are an Aussie couple doing our second road trip to the US. Our interests are national parks, wildlife viewing and seeing as much as we can of your country. Our planned itinerary is-

    13 March 2013 to 11 April 2013 Fort Lauderdale - Boston by car.
    Fly into Fort Lauderdale and pick up a hire car. We then intend to drive to Key West then up the East Coast to Halifax and then return to Boston.

    11 - 12 April 2013 Boston - Denver by train.
    Amtrak from Boston to Denver via Chicago.

    15 April 2013 to 11 May 2013 Denver - Las Vegas by RV.
    Pickup RV and make our way to Las Vegas seeing as many National parks as possible. Hopefully Mesa Verde, Arches NP, Monument Valley NP, Canyonlands NP, Capitol Reef NP, Bryce Canyon NP, Zion NP, North Rim Grand Canyon, Grand Canyon NP and Death Valley.

    We would be grateful for any local suggestions or information.

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

    Default Starting at the end.

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums, that's quite some adventure !

    I will start with the end of your trip, as that's the part I am familiar with. From Denver the first and most natural stop would be Rocky mountain NP, it's a wonderful place and a relatively short journey from Denver giving you the time and opportunity to pick up and familiarise yourself with the RV and it's operations. It's unlikely the Trail Ridge road across the park will be open but you can visit the Bear Lake area and the nearby town of Estes Park. There is Morraine park campground in the NP which is a lovely place to stop. With the TRR being closed you will have to head south to I70 via Nederland and the Peak to Peak Highway which is a lovely drive !

    Next up you have the option of heading along I70 through Glenwood Springs and Grand junction [Colorado National Monument] to Moab and Arches/Canyonlands NP's. Alternatively [and what I would do with the time available you have] you could head south through Leadville and take US50 over Monarch Pass, through Currecanti National Recreation area to the Black canyon of the Gunnison NP. As you reach Montrose head south on US550 and stop in the lovely mountain towns of Ouray and Silverton on the spectacular 'Million Dollar Highway. In Durango you would have the option of taking the mountain steam train to visit Silverton as a treat.

    From Durango you would head to Mesa Verde NP before heading up towards Dolores and the lovely mountain town of Telluride to Ridgway. You have now driven the 'San Juan Skyway'. Head north back through Montrose and north to Colorado National Monument and then to Moab. Alternatively you could take 491 from Cortez to 191 to Moab.

    Once you have visited Canyonlands and Arches it would be back to I70 for a short time until you turn of onto UT24 through Hanksville towards Torrey passing Capitol Reef. At Torrey take Utah scenic byway 12 to Bryce canyon and then onto Zion NP. Next up would be the Grand canyon North rim [which is part of the NP] but it's likely to be closed to traffic when you travel. On to Page AZ where you will find the likes of Antelope canyon, Lake Powell and Glen canyon nearby before heading to Monument Valley, [not a NP] the South rim of the Grand canyon NP and Vegas. A detour through Seligman to Kingman would have you travel a section of the 'Mother road', one of the few sections of origina route 66 that still exists, plus you could stop at Hoover Dam and then head into Death Valley before returning the RV in Vegas.

    Of course there are many more attractions and routes to choose from and you should continue to read around the forums and study a good map, but the above covers plenty of highlight attractions and wonderful drives in this wonderful and diverse area.

  3. #3


    Thanks for the info Dave, checking it out it looks a better route than we had planned.
    We have just been offered an RV pickup in Salt Lake City, Camping World RV Rentals, if anyone has heard of them could you let me know, thanks.
    Our thinking now is to stay on the train to Salt Lake City and that way we'll get to see the Rockies from the train and then carry on to Vegas.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default The bottom line.

    The problem being is that the train will not stop at any of those National parks or mountain towns. Sure you could back track somewhat into Colorado etc, but it's something you will have to weigh up with what you want to see and do. I have used Cruise America in Denver and was very pleased with the service. If you do look at their webpage be sure to click on the 'Hot Deals' link to see what specials there are.

    Camping World are quite a big outfit and have been used by many, but when price comparing make sure you get a bottom line quote. Often the top line looks good, but then by the time you have added mileage costs, prep fees, kitchen and bedroom kits, Insurance and a possible one way drop fee, things can look very different.

  5. #5


    Thanks Dave. Just been reading the small print on the RV and they talk about winterizing the RV if picked up in Denver or Salt Lake City.
    We are now wondering if it would be better to pick up the in Las Vegas and do a loop returning to Las Vegas instead of the one way trip. Apart from the North Rim would there be any locations that may be a problem due to weather? Your extreme cold conditions are something we do not experience here.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default You should be fine.

    It's possible the RV could be winterized at the time you collect it depending on weather. I would have thought that they would have started to de-winterize them by then, but if not you can have them de-winterized, but a charge might apply. As I understand it, if you take an RV into cold areas and the pipes were damaged due to freezing you would be held responsible, whether you picked it up in Vegas or not. It's not a huge problem as you can drain the water tanks overnight if there is the risk of freezing and top them back up in the morning, if you feel it is safe to do so. The risk is likely to be higher at elevation, such as at places like Bryce canyon and Estes park where you can see temps drop below freezing at night. The only thing certain about the weather, is it's uncertainty ! You can search for climate data to get an idea of what to expect, but the only thing that really matters is what it's doing at the exact time you are there.

    Make sure you pack layered clothing, as night time lows below freezing at elevation and day time temps in the 70's in the desert areas are quite possible. I would base your trip start and end point on the key areas you want to see rather than what might or might not be with the weather. We have camped in an RV with temps of around -11C at Bryce and we were OK, with the water mains disconnected that is. [Ground pipes can freeze quicker.] At -15C near Denver we had the drain valve freeze so we could not drain off the water, but luckily there was no damage. With an RV that's being 'lived in' I would have thought you are safe at temps of -6C or so and in April you have a good chance of being OK. Campground attendants are usually the best people to ask if you have concerns as you travel.
    [Don't take my word for it !] lol

  7. #7


    Thanks Dave, we certainly appreciate your imput. After researching we're going to go with Salt Lake pickup, at this stage.

    We're spending a week at Yellowknife, Canada on the way to Key West so hopefully the clothing will be sorted before we get there.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Back to the Beginning

    Since no one has yet commented on the first part of your trip, Fort Lauderdale to Boston via Key West and Halifax, let me. First of all, that's a lot of driving - more than 3500 miles assuming even a minimum of side trips. You can do it in a month, but you will have to keep an eye on the calendar. I'll start you off with a couple of compilations of previous discussions of routes and sites, beginning with this description of two possible routes up the east coast and this compilation of threads about one of my favorite sections of the country, New England. The major additions to those two would be the Everglades southwest of Miami, and Acadia National Park in Maine, the Bay of Fundy between New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, and the Cabot Trail around Cape Breton Highlands National Park in far northern Nova Scotia.


  9. #9


    Thanks AZBuck, some great information for the trip, I've passed it onto the navigator.
    Yes it is a lot of miles but we don't get over your way often so we want to see as much as we can. We are used to travelling long distances getting around our place.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Yellowknife, Canada.

    When are you planning to be in Yellowknife? and how are you planning to get there? You obviously have a special reason for going there, otherwise I could not imagine what you would do in a whole week. If you are planning to drive, check with rental companies. Not all rentals allow travel up that way. Particularly the last section, is very rough.

    Last year, in June, I can assure you, it was very hot there. The bridge over the MacKenzie River may be completed. That should make for a great river crossing.


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