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  1. Default From Vancouver to Grand Canyon and Back

    Hi in July me and 3 friends are planing a trip to Grand Canyon and back we are all in our mid 20s, we are traveling with a Camper so motel and hotel are out of the questions, however the key to this trip being a success is the ROUTE.
    I am from Europe and never have done a road trip in USA however i have been in the major towns along the route.

    We would pick up the camper in Vancouver then have 9 days to complete our journey.
    We were planing to do most of the sight seeing on the way down and take our time to get to vegas if we leave Monday we would like to be be in vegas by Friday or Saturday giving us up to 6 days to get to vegas and then 3 days to get back to Vancouver.

    We have a rough idea on the route we want to take but i rather take advice from people who have traveled on these routes.

    We are open to both the 101 and 5 to get down to LA

    Day 1 Seattle to Olympic NP
    Day2- Olymic NP to Portland.
    Day 3 - Portland - Columbia River Gorge- The Dalles and across to Crater Lake NP
    Day 4 - Crater Lake to Cresent City. - Redwood - Avenue of the Giants - Fort Braggs and onto San Francisco.
    Day 5- San francisco and drive in the afternoon to vegas

    This is just rough rough outline i saw on this forum would you guys think this good route for us ?
    Day 5 will be spend in the city of sin
    Day 6 we would go to Grand Canyon and then have 3 days to drive back to vancouver however i have never been that deep into in america so i have no idea what we should see when we go from Grand Canyon to Vancouver

    Thank you all for your help ! looking forwards to using your input to plan our trip

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


    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    The first couple of day look very good, and then you start pushing too hard as you get into the middle.

    Crater Lake to San Francisco can't really be done in a day, at least not while traveling via the coast. You'd be looking at about 600 miles of driving, on slow going, 2-lane roads. Maybe you could go over to Crescent City and then down US-101, but even that would be pushing it. You'd have a good 12 hours of driving, and that's before stopping to see any of the redwoods.

    Similarly, SF to Las Vegas can be done in one long day, but it's not something you can do in an afternoon. You're looking at a good 9-10 hours, and that's optimistic considering you'll be in a camper, where your speeds will be significantly lower.

    Also, it looks as if you are double dipping in your day 5 planning. First you say you'll start in SF and drive to Vegas, but then you say that Day 5 would be spent in Vegas. When it comes right down to it, you've got 3 days of stuff packed into day 5 (1 day for SF, 1 day for LV, and 1 day for the drive.)

    It's a half day of driving from LV to GC, so doing that on "day 6" would work, for a very quick visit to the Grand Canyon. However, from there, it's a hard 3 days on the road back to Vancouver, so you won't really have time to see anything, except what you'll see right along the highway.

    So I think you need to make some adjustments, based on what your personal priorities are. Keep in mind, in a camper, you're going to be driving a large vehicle, that is more difficult to move around, and will take more time than if you were just in a car.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    Welcome to RTA!

    I'm going to completely agree with Michael, to say that you are probably planning to do more than you can possibly do in the 9 days. If you can get an extra day or three, it might work.

    If you're in a "camper", you are still going to need to find a place for the night, and it does take time to park it so that you can sleep comfortably. That means a relatively level place. If you want to use a place that has hookups for the camper (electricity, water, sewer), it takes time to set those up as well.

    Something to bear in mind: in a camper, you can average about 55 mph on the interstate highways, 50 mph on the 2-lane highways, and less than that if you get on state 2-lane highways. So take the mileage you figure out and divide by those numbers, that will give you the hours it will take to drive it, including fuel and eating stops. (Scenic stops will add extra time above that.)


  4. Default

    hey guys thanks so much for the reply i might have missed used the word camper its a van converted into a camper that sleeps five with a tent on-top, first time using the service of wickedcampers so we are exited to see what we get. we going to sit down with my friends and redo the route and i will post it here and see what you guys think.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.


    Are you relocating the camped on a special deal ? Even if it was possible to pick it up in one country and drop it in another, I would have thought the fees would be extremely high otherwise. As said, you are packing in a lot in a few days and that would be amplified with 4 people travelling in a small van and having to set up camp every night.
    Last edited by Southwest Dave; 06-23-2015 at 02:04 AM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Great vans with little room.

    Whereas those campers are well fitted out with plenty of gear for a good holiday. The one thing they seem to lack is space. From the ones I have seen on the road and in campgrounds, I would find it difficult to imagine how four adults would travel and sleep comfortably in one. I sure hope none of you are over 5'5". Not to mention space for luggage. That all has to fit on the two front seats during the night, and at the feet of those travelling in the back during the day.

    If I were you I would go check them out before you sign on the dotted line.


  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    Quote Originally Posted by Southwest Dave View Post
    Even if it was possible to pick it up in one country and drop it in another, I would have thought the fees would be extremely high otherwise.
    Dave, it appears the plan is to do a round trip to/from Vancouver.

    But I will agree with Lifey and Dave that the campervan with tent on top is a configuration I'd be a bit concerned about. Despite the companies claims that they can sleep 5, I think you may find it difficult to get enough room for 4 adults to comfortably sleep in such a situation. I'd even strongly consider just getting a regular tent, rather than the roof top option. I'd bet you'll find it a lot easier to deal with, and will give you far more space.

    Even if you stick with your plan, the van is still going to be significantly slower to get around, and you'll have to factor extra time to set things up at the end of the day.

  8. Default

    Hey after reading your comments you got me thinking that getting the camper might not be the best idea, and that we will be limited by space, however i don't see an alternative renting an suv would be cheaper but then we would need to plan our sleeping arrangements well and ahead of time. Does anyone have any recommendations regarding rentals should we go with an suv or bigger car ? here is the route we were thinking of taking now.

    Day1: Vancouver → Seattle -->Portland --> Redwood National Park (
    Night 1: Redwood National Park
    Day 2: Redwood National Park --> San Francisco --> Big Sur
    Night 2: Big Sur Campgrounds
    Day 3: Big Sur --> Los Angeles to Las Vegas
    Night 3: Las Vegas
    Day 4: Las Vegas → Grand Canyon → Salt Lake City
    NIght 4: Salt Lake City
    Day 5: Salt Lake City → Yellow Stone National Park
    NIght 5: Yellow Stone National Park
    Day 6: Yellow Stone
    Night 6: Yellowstone
    Day 7: Yellowstone → Banff
    Night 8: Banff
    Day 8: Banff → Jasper
    Night 8: Jasper to Vancouver

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default are you serious?

    Are you actually serious with your new proposed itinerary?

    You took a trip that we said was already going to be tough to achieve and just added about another thousand miles to it.

    Yes, with a car or suv you could travel a little faster than in a camper, but you'd have to rent a time traveling device to even come close to making your new itinerary work.

    Sorry to sound harsh, but your plan really is that absurd, and it appears you've completely disregarded anything we've suggested so far.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default There are many ways to skin a cat - think outside the box.

    Taking Michael's comments seriously, and assuming you will amend the distance, there is nothing wrong with camping. It is only in places of the most popular national parks that you would need to 'plan your sleeping arrangements ahead of time'. And even then you can find camping spots not all that far away outside of the parks.

    If I were you I'd go to Canadian Tire and pick up a couple of cheap three or four man tents. These will make comfortable sleeping for two. Modern tents are easy to pitch, and pack up. Sleeping bags in July do not have to be top of the line, and some sleeping mats. For the most part you should be able to find State Parks or Forest camping grounds at around $20. Even if you can't, there are always the commercial camp grounds, though for me they would be a choice of last resort.

    When I needed a sleeping bag and mat at short noticed in 2004, I checked Craig's list and picked up excellent ones - though I had to drive a little way to pick them up. A four season down sleeping bag for $40 and a Thermarest sleeping mat for $1. I already had a cheap tent bought at Canadian Tire for $39. These items saw me through all the way to Alaska and back - then I sold the tent on Craig's list in LA, before my trip home. I still have, and use the rest.

    All that, and the rental of an SUV, should not cost anymore than the camper would have.


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