My wife and I are planning on spending 11 weeks this summer traveling from Massachusetts to California and back. We are planning on car camping, and hope to spend some time in various national parks and forests across the country. Some of the ones we definitely want to stop at are Yosemite, Yellowstone, Arches, Zion and Shenandoah. We'll hopefully spend anywhere from 3 days to a week at each of these places.
So far it's looking like we'll start our journey off by heading south to Shenandoah, then from there we're meeting some friends in South Carolina, and then from there we'll head out west towards most of the national parks we want to stop at. We'll most likely not spend too much time hanging out in middle America to save time for some leisurely stays at the national parks out west.
I'm looking for some advise on planning this trip out so we can make the most of our time. One important thing I've found is that reservations need to be made well ahead of time at many of these national parks.
For camping, we currently have two potential tents we can use, depending on campsite size and distance from our vehicle. Our first option, if the site is big enough and close enough to the car, is a large 10x14 Kodiak canvas tent - but this thing weighs 80 pounds. Our second option is a much smaller backpacking tent that we could potentially carry several miles if necessary. For those of you who have camped in national parks and forests - is it likely that we'll be close enough and have enough space so that we can use our big, heavy, comfortable tent?
Other than that, is there anything else I should be considering? Does 11 weeks sound like a reasonable amount of time for this trip? I'd ideally like to spend at least a few weeks not really traveling but just staying in place at a few of the national parks on our list.
Thanks for any advice!
EDIT: One other thing I forgot to ask... due to my job, I'll need a reliable internet connection almost everywhere we go. I'm planning on getting a cellular data card for my laptop, which should have me covered during most of our drive. For those of you who have spent times in these national parks - is there generally reasonable cellphone reception in these areas? Maybe not in the remote areas of the parks, but at least by the main roads and campsites? Thanks!