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Thread: Headed West!

  1. Default Headed West!

    We will be leaving Wheelersburg, Oh Aug 14th, 2015 for a 40 day trip out west. I have included the places we would like to see and would appreciate any suggestions/ corrections that will help our trip be successful. We will be traveling with our 33 foot travel trailer. We have made no reservations and plan to spend some nights at Walmart, Cracker Barrel, etc. We hope to get into some National Parks early mornings. Any suggestions on RV parks along the way would be helpful, also.We do not plan to drive more than 6-7 hours /day with a couple of days driving 600 miles/ 10 hours, if needed. We are not interested in long hikes as my husband has spinal stenosis. The most we will hike at any given time would be 3 miles. That is pushing it. The only places we truly don't want to miss are Glacier, Sequoia, Durango train ride,Mesa Verde and Zion. I do plan to hike part of the Narrows! Here is our list:

    Departing from Wheelersburg, OH
    1. Badlands, SD
    2. Mt Rushmore, SD, along with Crazy Horse
    3. Theodore Roosevelt NP, ND
    4. Rt 2 to Glacier National Park, MT
    5. Yellowstone NP, WY
    6. Grand Tetons NP, WY
    7. Salt Lake City, UT and leave camper
    8. Side trip to Elko , NV to see family
    9. Back to Salt Lake City, UT
    10. Zion NP, Utah
    11. Bryce Canyon, UT
    12. Las Vegas, NV ( leave camper somewhere outside Las Vegas)
    13. Sequoia NP, CA
    14. Back to Las Vegas, NV
    15. Hoover Dam, NV
    16. Grand Canyon, AZ
    17. Would like to see Sedonia, AZ, not in plans at this time
    18. Petrified Forest, AZ
    19. Monument Valley, AZ
    20. Natural Bridges National Mon. , UT
    21. Arches NP, Utah
    22. Canyons of the Ancients, CO
    23. Cortez, CO
    24. Mesa Verde NP, CO
    25. Durango, CO for a train ride
    26. Great Sand Dunes NP, CO
    27. Home to Wheelersburg, OH

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default Worth booking in NPs.

    Hi and Welcome to the Great American Roadtrip Forum.

    When it comes to the major national parks, such as Grand Canyon and Yellowstone, it will pay you to have your sites booked. Sites are limited and are much sought after. If they are all booked up, be sure to keep checking back, as cancellations do happen, and space becomes available.

    Lifey

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,546

    Default

    We have made no reservations and plan to spend some nights at Walmart, Cracker Barrel, etc. We hope to get into some National Parks early mornings. Any suggestions on RV parks along the way would be helpful, also.We do not plan to drive more than 6-7 hours /day with a couple of days driving 600 miles/ 10 hours, if needed.
    Sounds like quite a trip you have planned there! I'm a former-RV'er (gave it up when storage rates went sky-high in our neck of the woods), so I'm drooling a bit!

    If you've had success with staying overnight in a parking lot recently, great. However, out here in the west these days, I've noticed a lot more "no overnight parking" signs in Wal-Mart, Target, and the like. Perhaps the local communities are starting to crack down on it, for many different reasons. Anyway, keep that in mind. You will probably have a lot more luck staying in truck stops/travel centers, though they are very noisy with big diesel trucks going in and out at all hours of the day and night.

    Getting into Yellowstone and Grand Canyon campgrounds by showing up early in the morning *might* work. You might want to have a back-up plan.

    Las Vegas has ONE RV park on The Strip, and that's Circusland RV Park, now being run or affiliated with KOA (with the resulting jump in prices). There's also the Oasis RV Park, south of Las Vegas off of I-15, exit 33. Friends have spoken highly of it. Bear in mind one thing about Las Vegas if your tow vehicle is a pick-up truck: Lots of parking garages on The Strip.

    Finally, driving 600 miles in one day, when towing a vehicle of that size, is a bear of a day. Oh, it can be done, but I'm thinking more along the lines of 12-14 hours if you have to go over mountain passes and the like. When my husband and I were towing, we'd stick to 450-500 miles per day. It was just more comfortable, though we easily do 600 miles in a day while in our car or pickup without a trailer tagging along behind.


    Donna

  4. Default

    Donna,
    Thanks for your advice. Truck stops will be fine. Also looking into State Parks, Corps of Engineers, etc. We hope to find a place to leave trailer outside of Las Vegas while traveling to Sequoia. Upon returning from there, Las Vegas will just be a drive thru on way to Hoover Dam. We will not be hanging out in Las Vegas. My husband said to tell you he is a bear! We are hoping there will only be a couple of very long haul days. Thanks!

  5. Default

    Thanks, Lifey. We will phone before arriving but do not want to commit to specific dates. Just now getting our route planned out so we are behind already!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,546

    Default

    Going on to another area of your trip: Petrified Forest National Park is one of the few national parks left that still has no campground inside the park. That's about to change, I'm told, but not in time for your upcoming trip. You'll probably want to park your trailer in an RV park in Holbrook -- there are at least two, both privately owned and run -- and make the tour through in your tow vehicle. Freecampsites.net lists a campground at the south end of the park, but I have no knowledge of it otherwise.

    As for a place to park your trailer outside of Las Vegas ... hmmm, that's a question we've never been asked here in the 4 years I've been on these forums. Off-hand, I think I'd check with an RV park such as Oasis and see if they have any "dry storage" available, or know someone that does. Are you planning to drive over to Sequoia one day, see the park the next day, and then drive back on the 3rd day?


    Donna

  7. Default

    Hi bihlm,

    That is an amazing trip you have planned. I'm going to mostly comment on the camping since we've been long time RV'ers. Some of my information might be out dated and I'll mention when we haven't been to a location in a while.

    1. Badlands, SD: It's been a while but if you get there early enough in the day you should get a spot in the park.

    2. Mt Rushmore, SD, along with Crazy Horse: You might consider staying in Badlands and making a day trip to these two places.

    3. Theodore Roosevelt NP, ND: It's been a while since we've been. We camped in the park near Medora.

    4. Rt 2 to Glacier National Park, MT: I would keep checking the Glacier Campground status website as you got closer and knew what days you would be camping here so if it looks like campgrounds are filling up you could make a reservation. http://home.nps.gov/applications/gla...s/cgstatus.cfm

    5. Yellowstone NP, WY: It might already be to late to make a reservation at one of the campgrounds in Yellowstone that takes reservations. I would still keep checking for a cancellation. Also since your combined vehicles are over 40" you will have to call to make reservations. For some unknown reason you can't do that vehicle length online....I know because our motorhome is 30' and we tow a Jeep. The campgrounds that are first come, first serve might be hard to find a spot you will fit in and they do fill up early in the day. http://www.nps.gov/yell/planyourvisit/campgrounds.htm If you camp outside the park, the try West Yellowstone. The private places will be expensive but there is national forest nearby. Sorry we always camp in the park so can't recommend any place outside.

    6. Grand Tetons NP, WY: Probably won't be an issue getting a site.

    7. Salt Lake City, UT and leave camper
    8. Side trip to Elko , NV to see family
    9. Back to Salt Lake City, UT

    10. Zion NP, Utah: If you want to stay in Zion you pretty much need a reservation at Watchman or have to be there before noon to get a first come, first serve spot at South Campground. If you are coming on a Friday or Saturday....might even have to be there earlier. There is some BLM despersed camping not far from Springdale but not sure how to tell you to get there because we've never stayed. You have to walk the 2 mile round trip on the Riverside Walk to reach the gateway to the narrows. It's an easy walk with plenty of benches to stop and rest on the way. You need to wear shoes when walking in the river which you have to do once you reach the gateway. The rocks are very slipper in the river. Check the visitor center before heading out for the Narrows to get updated advisories. It can be sunny with no clouds but up river there could be a thunderstorm that sends a wall of water and depree down the Virgin River to the Narrows and there's no escaping.

    11. Bryce Canyon, UT: It's been a while since we camped here so won't venture to guess. We usually stay at Ruby's Inn and Campground just outside the park. The sites in the park were hard to get level. There is national forest campgrounds not far in Red Canyon.

    12. Las Vegas, NV ( leave camper somewhere outside Las Vegas): The Hitching Post on the North side of Las Vegas and not to far from town. I'm not recommending it...just letting you know it's there. I don't know of any campgrounds between Las Vegas and Yermo (Near Barstow) and if anyone would know...I would. We travel this way once or twice a year!

    13. Sequoia NP, CA: I see you plan to make this a day trip. That's probably wise since there are road restrictions for some oversized vehicles.

    14. Back to Las Vegas, NV
    15. Hoover Dam, NV

    16. Grand Canyon, AZ: Mather campground at the S. Rim now requires reservations during the season and August & September are in season. http://www.recreation.gov/camping/ma...O&parkId=70971 You are to long for Desert View campground in the park. There is a National Forest campground called Ten-X south of the grand canyon village but I'm sure it fills up early in the day.

    17. Would like to see Sedonia, AZ, not in plans at this time

    18. Petrified Forest, AZ: As Donna mentioned there are no campgrounds in Petrified Forest/Painted Desert but a beautiful place to visit. Holbrook will be the closest campground. Donna, Great to know they are planning on a campground at the Petrified Forest!

    19. Monument Valley, AZ: I haven't been since they changed the campground in Monument Valley Tribal Park but I've read there is a section to just park where you can with no amenities. There is the Gouldings KOA which is nice nearby.

    20. Natural Bridges National Mon. , UT: It's been a long time since we camped here but it's remote enough that you shouldn't have an issue getting a camping site. BEWARE: You DO NOT want to drive Hwy 261 to get to Natural Bridges from Monument Valley while towing your trailer. http://www.dangerousroads.org/north-...ugway-usa.html Stay on Hwy 163 to Hwy 191 and take Hwy 95 into Natural Bridges.

    21. Arches NP, Utah: You will not be able to get a site at Arches without a reservation. There are plenty of campgrounds in the town of Moab but they do fill up on weekends. There is a lot of BLM campsites along the Colorado River on the Potash Road Hwy 279 and Hwy 128.

    22. Canyons of the Ancients, CO: We've spent a little time in this area. The park is fairly new and it's pretty spread out. No camping. Hovenweep National Monument has camping and is nearby and it's awsome! https://www.cnha.org/destinations.cf...D46E09AB6320E1

    23. Cortez, CO: We always camp either in Mesa Verde or at the private campgrounds just outside the entrance to Mesa Verde and make the trip to Cortez.

    24. Mesa Verde NP, CO: Plenty of campsites in the park

    25. Durango, CO for a train ride: We did this last year for the first time and it was so much fun! We stayed near Mesa Verde and just did a day trip to Durango for the train ride.

    26. Great Sand Dunes NP, CO: There is camping in the park but it's been WAY to long to even remember it.

    I'm not sure where you will be over Labor Day weekend, but more than likely things will be booked up so please make sure you have reservations in advance for that weekend. If you plan on being in Arches at that time, be aware that the Highway Patrol had to close Arches National Park entrance because the back up of traffic trying to get into the park was making it dangerous in Hwy 191. Yes....it was that crowded!

    Our local Wal-Mart doesn't allow overnight camping because of our city ordinances. Here's a list of those who don't. Walmart also told us they recommend you check with the store manager to make sure their store allows it.
    http://www.walmartatlas.com/no-park-walmarts/

    End of book!

    Utahtea

  8. Default

    You are heading to some of the locations that we saw on our road trip a few summers ago - check out the full itinerary for our trip below - you should go to slide rock state park in ! Sedona!
    Last edited by AZBuck; 07-12-2015 at 07:29 PM. Reason: New members may not link to offsite blogs

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default Just outside the Sand Dunes national park.

    Quote Originally Posted by Utahtea View Post
    26. Great Sand Dunes NP, CO: There is camping in the park but it's been WAY to long to even remember it.
    Some years ago when I arrived at Sand Dunes NP all camping was taken. I pitched my tent in a campground just outside the entrance. There were lots of RVs and also many cabins, higher up the hill. It was a great stay.

    Lifey

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,749

    Default

    Unless there is an underlying reason I would head to Bryce canyon before Zion to save going back and forth.

    13. Sequoia NP, CA: I see you plan to make this a day trip. That's probably wise since there are road restrictions for some oversized vehicles.
    I am not sure this is the case, but there is no way you can do a day trip to Sequoia NP from Vegas. I would actually consider pulling your rig to Lake Isabella and spend a couple of nights there. If you have no real desire to stay in Vegas and you set out from Zion NP instead of Bryce you could make it to Lake Isabella in a day. There is an RV park in Three rivers close to the southern entrance as well.

    Allow 3 days to explore Yellowstone, it's huge and the going is slow but is worth every moment !

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