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  1. Default Forward Planning

    I'm glad I found this site, it's full of really useful advice and tips. I'm based in England, and like many people my wife and I are planning to come over for the Eclipse in 2017, that's the primary aim, but while we're in the US we thought we'd make a thing of it and do a tour. Things grow and we've decided to spend a month touring. Currently we're thinking that renting an RV would give us some flexibility and allow us to stay in the national parks. So route planning has started, and as always happens it's a case of couldn't we just go a little but further and see...

    So if you don't mind I'd like to share our current plan and perhaps someone could give us a reality check, bearing in mind that we've never done any RV'ing at all. We're thinking that a class C, about 21 feet would be ok for the 2 of us, and we could share the driving. I'm assuming that I could average about 40 MPH.

    The plan is to fly into Las Vegas as flights there are more readily available than, for instance, Denver or Salt lake City. So the proposed itinerary is this:


    Day 1 Aug 4th
    Fly Into Las Vegas
    Stay in Hotel overnight

    Day 2 Aug 5th
    Morning in Las Vegas
    Collect RV early afternoon
    Purchase supplies, food etc.
    Stay overnight in Las Vegas

    Day 3 Aug 6th 125 Miles
    Driver to Red Rock Canyon National conservation area – 32 Miles
    Scenic Drive through Red Rock Canyon – 13 Mile loop
    Drive to Shoshone arrive mid-afternoon - 80 Miles
    Stay Overnight in Shoshone


    Day 4 – Aug 7th 210 Miles
    Drive through Death Valley
    Stopping at:
    Zabriskie Point 54 Miles
    Furnace Creek 5 Miles
    Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes 22 Miles
    Panamint valley 30 Miles
    Drive up Owens valley to Big Pine 90 Miles
    Stay overnight in Big Pine

    Day 5 – Aug 8th 100 Miles
    Visit Bristlecone Pine forest
    Schumann Grove in White Mountains
    Return to Big Pine, or maybe a little further north, depending on time

    Day 6 – Aug 9th 200 Miles
    Drive North through Owens valley,
    Follow the June Lake Scenic loop
    Scenic Drive through Tioga Pass
    Drive into Yosemite valley
    Stay overnight at North Pines in Yosemite Valley

    Day 7 Aug 10th
    Day in Yosemite Valley – use shuttle buses

    Day 8 – Aug 11th 200 Miles
    Head out of Yosemite Valley
    East through Tioga pass
    Heading towards Tonopah on Hwy 95
    Stay overnight at Millers Rest area on Hwy 95
    Should be dark skies for good viewing of Pleiades meteor shower

    Day 9 – Aug 12th 305 Miles
    Head north to Bonneville Salt flats
    Arrive Wendover late afternoon
    Overnight Stay in Wendover

    Day 10 – Aug 13th 270 Miles
    Continue heading north
    Arrive Craters of the moon mid-afternoon
    Stay overnight at Craters of the moon

    Day 11 Aug 14th 180 Miles
    Spend a few hours exploring craters of the moon
    Head east
    Arrive Jackson Hole mid afternoon
    Stay overnight in Jackson

    Day 12 Aug 15th 50 Miles
    Drive into Grand Teton
    Full Day in Grand Teton

    Day 13 Aug 16th 70 Miles
    Drive into Yellowstone
    Full Day in Yellowstone

    Day 14 Aug 17th
    Full Day in Yellowstone
    Use shuttle buses

    Day 15 Aug 18th
    Full Day in Yellowstone
    Use shuttle buses

    Day 16 Aug 19th 200 Miles
    Scenic drive out of Yellowstone via the Beartooth highway
    Head south from Red Lodge to Cody
    Arrive Cody early evening
    Stay overnight in Cody

    Day 17 Aug 20th 300 Miles
    Drive to Glendo State park
    Anywhere Along hwy 26 is well within the eclipse zone, so potentially Casper of Douglas instead of Glendo depending on local weather information.
    Arrive later afternoon
    Stay night in Glendo State Park

    Day 18 Aug 21st
    ECLIPSE DAY

    Day 19 Aug 22nd 210 Miles
    Drive to Devils Tower Arrive early afternoon
    Stay overnight at Devils Tower

    Day 20 Aug 23rd 165 Miles
    Drive to Sundance
    Short stop in Sundance
    Drive to Deadwood
    Short stop in Deadwood
    Drive to Mount Rushmore
    Short stop at Mount Rushmore
    Driver to Custer Memorial
    Short stop at Custer Memorial
    Drive to Custer
    Arrive Custer early evening
    Spend night in Custer

    Day 21 Aug 24 200 Miles
    Drive to Bandlands national park
    Stop at Prairie dog park
    Stop at Minuteman monument
    Arrive Badlands campsite early evening

    Day 22 Aug 25rd 140 Miles
    Drive to Wind cave national park
    Arrive wind cave early afternoon
    Stay in wind cave national park

    Day23 Aug 26th 280 Miles
    Drive to Alliance
    Short stop at Carhenge
    Drive to Scotts Bluff
    Stop at Scotts Bluff
    Drive to Cheyenne
    Arrive Cheyenne early evening
    Stay overnight in Cheyenne

    Day 24 Aug 27th 110 Miles
    Drive to Rocky Mountains national park
    Arrive late morning
    Day in Rocky Mountains national park

    Day 25 Aug 28th 120 Miles
    Scenic Drive out of Rocky Mountains national park via trail ridge road
    Past Grand lake to Granby, continue following hwy 40 Through Berthoud pass to Georgetown
    Arrive Georgetown mid-afternoon

    Day 26 Aug 29th 321 Miles
    Drive directly to Arches National Park
    Several Photo stops in Arches
    Arrive Devils Garden campground late evening

    Day 27 Aug 30th 150 Miles
    Drive to Mesa Verde Arrive about lunchtime
    Afternoon at Mesa Verde

    Day 28 Aug 31st 350 Miles
    Drive to Four States national monument
    Brief stop at four states
    Drive through Monument valley
    Stop at monument valley visitor’s centre
    Continue on to Grand Canyon South Rim
    Stay overnight at south rim

    Day 29 Sep 1st
    Full day at Grand Canyon

    Day 30 Sep 2nd 250 Miles
    Drive to Grand Canyon Sky walk – Don’t know how close it’s possible to get in an RV.
    Arrive early afternoon
    Visit Sky walk
    Stay overnight

    Day 31 Sep 3rd 150 Miles
    Drive to Hoover Dam
    Stop at Hoover Dam
    Drive on to Las Vegas
    Stay overnight in Las Vegas

    Day 32 Sep 4th
    Return RV
    Fly Home


    Is this even feasible? Alternative suggestions would be much appreciated.

    Thanks in advance

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default Days 1 to 8

    Quote Originally Posted by sbonnett View Post
    I'm glad I found this site, it's full of really useful advice and tips. I'm based in England, and like many people my wife and I are planning to come over for the Eclipse in 2017,
    Welcome to the Trip Advice forums! Superb amount of planning has gone into your trip thus far. Job well done.

    Just a couple of thoughts on your epic trip:

    Day 3 Aug 6th 125 Miles
    Driver to Red Rock Canyon National conservation area – 32 Miles
    Scenic Drive through Red Rock Canyon – 13 Mile loop
    Drive to Shoshone arrive mid-afternoon - 80 Miles
    Stay Overnight in Shoshone
    Shoshone's campground is very primitive. I'd recommend instead that you drive into Death Valley instead and stay at Furnace Creek. They are redoing the parking area at Zabriskie Point and as of now, you couldn't stop there with a RV anyway. But the the bigger issue, is that most rental RV companies forbid travel to Death Valley in the summer months. There is no statue that would prevent you from ignoring that rental clause -- but they know where you drive and they could implement a penalty that would not be pleasant.

    Day 4 – Aug 7th 210 Miles
    Drive through Death Valley
    Stopping at:
    Zabriskie Point 54 Miles
    Furnace Creek 5 Miles
    Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes
    Again, driving in Death Valley could be VERY expensive for you.

    Drive up Owens valley to Big Pine 90 Miles
    Stay overnight in Big Pine
    Lone Pine is very beautiful and if you are equipped for boondocking in your RV -- I recommend staying overnight in the Alabama Hills.

    Day 5 – Aug 8th 100 Miles
    Visit Bristlecone Pine forest
    Schumann Grove in White Mountains
    Return to Big Pine, or maybe a little further north, depending on time
    That is a gorgeous drive -- very steep and tricky road in a RV. What size RV are you thinking about?

    Day 6 – Aug 9th 200 Miles
    Drive North through Owens valley,
    Follow the June Lake Scenic loop
    Scenic Drive through Tioga Pass
    Drive into Yosemite valley
    Stay overnight at North Pines in Yosemite Valley
    Lovely day.

    Day 7 Aug 10th
    Day in Yosemite Valley – use shuttle buses

    Day 8 – Aug 11th 200 Miles
    Head out of Yosemite Valley
    East through Tioga pass
    Heading towards Tonopah on Hwy 95
    Stay overnight at Millers Rest area on Hwy 95
    Should be dark skies for good viewing of Pleiades meteor shower
    Not positive you can stay at Millers Rest -- I will check that.

    Back in a few...

    Mark

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,269

    Default

    Welcome to RTA!

    Doing a quick lookover, that looks very doable. Only 1 thing stands out - the Skywalk. If you have seen the South Rim, the West Rim will be somewhat disappointing. It's quite expensive, and no photography is permitted on the Skywalk. I believe the road to Grand Canyon West is now fully paved, but the closest RV park is 60 miles away. You may want to consider the North Rim instead.

    Yes, you may stay at Millers Rest but there is an 18 hour limit.

  4. Default

    I hadn't realized there would be restrictions on crossing death valley, that would make quite a difference to the plan, I'll have to look into that, thanks for the info

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,747

    Default An RV in National parks limits flexibility.

    It is unlikely an RV company will permit you to go through Death valley in August and it will be extremely hot !! I have stayed the night at Millers rest in an RV and it's a nice little rest area. Be careful walking on the green in the morning, you may get an early [and unexpected] shower from the automated sprinkler system.

    An RV can be a wonderful Lifestyle choice if it's your 'thing' [as it ours] but it will cost more than a car and Motels would. You mention it would be more flexible and allow you to stay in the National parks. The truth is that you can stay in lodgings in National parks as well, but to do so either way, you will have to book long in advance to guarantee a site or room. RV sites in particular have high demand and limited numbers so you just can't have flexibility and stay in the parks and they are the place to be !

    You have clearly done a lot of research and have a great trip to look forward to, but what we tend to do is set our dates for arrival and departures into the National parks and although we research everything in between, we remain flexible and don't worry too much about trying to see everything on the list. No point in cutting time from a place you are enjoying and watching the clock all the time, to move onto the next that you might not enjoy so much. I guess what I am saying is enjoy the moments and if you don't get to see averything then so be it. Lots of great surprises will crop up that you couldn't plan for along the way, enjoy them !

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,545

    Default

    As far as the Bristlecone pine forest is concerned, the road up there is paved. You won't want to go past the Schulman Grove because it's not paved and there is a 14% grade. You may or may not be allowed to do that in an RV or a rental car, because the road isn't paved. As mentioned above with Death Valley, there are usually hidden GPS's inside rental cars and RV's these days, and they will know where you've gone.


    Donna

  7. Default

    I've checked up on the RV companies. and you're all absolutely right, death valley is off limits for all of them except cruiseamerica, so all things considered I shall delete this from the itinerary and head north from Vegas and enter Owens valley from the east. Which buys me an extra day which I could spend in Yosemite or in Owens valley itself.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,747

    Default

    Of course it is up to you, but I would reconsider visiting the Skywalk area of the Grand canyon. It is time consuming, expensive and almost pales into insignificance compared to the National park. [The west rim is not part of the NP] You are not even permitted to take photos on the Skywalk. You could spend a little more time at Arches, perhaps visit it's neighbour while there, Canyonlands.

  9. Default

    This is all good advice, and precisely the kind of feedback I was hoping for, I'll look into the canyonlands option, thanks for the input

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

    Default Less people, more scenery

    Quote Originally Posted by sbonnett View Post
    ... head north from Vegas and enter Owens valley from the east. Which buys me an extra day which I could spend in Yosemite or in Owens valley itself.
    Here is one such route from Las Vegas -- one that I've driven dozens of times over the years.

    Another route (in the greater Owens Valley area) that I really recommend is to proceed north from Bishop on US-Hwy 6 -- Grand Highway of the Republic) into the Hammil Valley and then turn east at Benton on CA-120 and drive into Benton Hot Springs. There is a B&B there -- I've not stayed there yet -- but friends have -- and I think there is a space for RV parking too. I love hot springs, but the real treat is the scenic drive as you proceed east towards Mono Lake through Adobe Valley and down to the southern side of Mono Lake. This a side trip -- a few miles out of the way from your current plan -- but well worth it.

    Actually, if you look at the photo gallery -- you can see photos of RVs parked right next to the hot tubs!

    Mark

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