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  1. Default MA to Grand Canyon

    HI All
    im planning a bucket list road trip for my mother and myself. we have about 3 weeks and are renting an RV. Want to go anytime in October leaving from Cape Cod MA to major destination of Grand Canyon. Was doing some research and heard about the Grand Canyon loop (think thats what it is called). I have driven to and from Florida more times than i can count but never out west. So any route advice, was thinking about northern route on way and more southern route back. and if the loop (i think its like 1500 miles) is realistic.
    also any recommendations on RV company. Looking at cruise america and El Monte

    thanks.
    Lyn

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default Some First Considerations

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    You are probably going to find this a bit hard to believe, but three weeks is just about the minimum amount of time you'll need to make this trip. You're looking at at least six days each way due to the slower speed of an RV, especially up hills, and the extra time you'll need to find your campsite each evening, get set up, and to get going again in the morning. I'd highly recommend that you spend another couple of days each way so that you have time to see something of all the country you'll be passing through. Certainly a different route each way is in order, say roughly I-80/I-76/I-70/US-191/US-160 one way and I-40/I-81/I-84 the other. That would still leave you 5-7 days in the Grand Canyon area.

    I'm not at all familiar with anything called a 'Grand Canyon loop' that comprises 1500 miles, but you should try to include a number of the great western parks on your itinerary. With the rough routes I've listed above, it would be easy to include Rocky Mountain National Park (NP), Colorado National Monument (NM), Arches NP, Canyonlands NP, Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park, Sunset Crater NM, Wupatki NM, Walnut Canyon NM, Petrified Forest NP, and Petroglyph NM. More than enough to fill 5-7 days.

    Cruise America and El Monte are two of the largest RV rental companies out there, among a very few with a national presence. Either one should serve you just fine. Be sure to get a thorough briefing on all the intricacies of the vehicle you decide to rent, especially what to do with any liquids in the tanks in the event of freezing weather. You are quite likely to see temperatures below 32ºF in October in the Rockies and on the Colorado Plateau. Note that the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, though flat, is at 8,000 feet above sea level.

    AZBuck

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default Designing your own route.

    As well as all the advice mentioned above, here is a paragraph which may help you.

    Quote Originally Posted by AZBuck
    Start with maps. Not GPS, not software, not Google, but real honest-to-god paper maps that show you your entire route, that you can mark up (and erase), that you can stick pins in, and that show something about the land you'll be driving through. Those are your essential tool in any RoadTrip planning process. Start by marking all the places you know you want to visit. Then connect the dots. Then look for more places of interest and scenic routes along the lines connecting the dots. Repeat until you've got as many sites and roads as you think you want.
    If you are a member of AAA get your maps there - free to members. You can also buy them there for a few dollars. On the other hand, as you are planning a north and south route, you may be better off with a road atlas such as the Rand McNally. Both those sources are the best maps you can get, with all the detail you may want to see which attractions interest you and your mother, as well as which routes to take - everything from scenic routes to high speed interstates. It even shows which State Parks and Forests have low cost campgrounds.

    As for the Grand Canyon loop, I'd include Death Valley (if the RV company allows it) and Yosemite as well as the ones mentioned above, if you possibly can.

    Have a great trip.

    Lifey

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,748

    Default Considered flying west ?

    I think the Canyon's loop you refer to is 'designed' as a loop from Vegas, but no matter as you can create your own unique trip. I agree with Buck that your time is slightly limited already so I wouldn't personally look at extending it more to include Death valley and Yosemite, unless you looked at the 'numbers' and consider flying out west. Depending on the size of RV you will not see much more than 10-12 mpg return, so you are looking at burning 500 gallons of fuel getting out to the GC and back, probably looking at close to $2000. Now if you flew into Denver or Las Vegas and halved that mileage you have a $1000 for your flights and will have a much more relaxed time to see the sites of the west. The RV rental company can also charge you around 35 cents for each mile you travel, [some include 100 miles per day] so again if you done half the miles you would save significant funds.

    When pricing an RV make sure you check all the extra charges are included and you get the 'bottom line' and not the opening xxx dollar per day figure. You will then need to take the high fuel consumption and campground fees. An RV can be a great 'Lifestyle' choice, but it's not a budget friendly one if it's just the two of you travelling. On the Cruise A site check the 'Hot deals' link as they often have specials, especially when travelling out of peak season. We usually find Cruise America to offer the best deals of the big companies, but it's always worth checking your options.

  5. #5

    Default

    Hi Lyncrow, I was the 'creator' of the Grand Canyon Loop you mention, and three of the four parts are still on this website. The problem you will have with it is that my routes all end in towns with hotels and you will need other accommodations using a RV/camper.

    If you want to see the first three (or possibly four) days of the loop, they are in the Route Planner Section under 'Southwest' and the last day only has one major stop at Valley of Fire State Park near Las Vegas, so you don't really need to see it. If you can locate and book campgrounds for the RV near where the day trips end each day, it would be a good trip for you. It certainly encompasses most of what you should see in that area, but I hope your trip will be in early October, since weather can be pretty unpredictable in late fall.

  6. Default

    Hi Lyn,

    Are you planning on driving from MA to the Grand Canyon or are you flying out west and renting an RV once you get out here? Please let us know because it will make a big difference in helping you plan this trip.

    If you are driving, then I'm worried about the month of October. The early part won't be an issue but driving back to MA at the end of October could be a problem.

    Utahtea

  7. Default

    We will be renting the RV and driving the whole way. My mother has terminal cancer and has a month long break from chemo so we can leave beginning of October maybe last week September if u guys think that's better. The RV will give her someplace to rest during the whole trip so think that's better than flying.
    I didn't think it would take 6 days each way but that does make sense since driving will be slower. So maybe we will keep the trip focused on grand canyon and 1 or 2 spots in Utah. Bryce canyon and arches maybe?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default A common misconception.

    Quote Originally Posted by lyncrow View Post
    The RV will give her someplace to rest during the whole trip ...
    This is a common error made by those not familiar with RV travel. While the RV is in motion - i.e. travelling - all occupants need to be seated and restrained in a seatbelt. This is the law in every State. But even if it were not, would you risk your mother being thrown about and injured in case of a mishap, or even just a sudden stop. She will not be able to have a rest while you are driving. Other than the front seats, the seats in an RV are not the most comfortable for long distance travel. RVs are basically designed for short trips from one great natural attraction to another. Hence the low mileage included in the rental.

    If that is your only reason for not flying, I would highly recommend that you fly there and rent a car. That way she could rest a whole day, if/when it becomes too much, if she is comfortable in a hotel room. Or even rent a house for the whole holiday, in a more or less central location.

    Lifey

  9. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by lyncrow View Post
    We will be renting the RV and driving the whole way. My mother has terminal cancer and has a month long break from chemo so we can leave beginning of October maybe last week September if u guys think that's better. The RV will give her someplace to rest during the whole trip so think that's better than flying.
    I didn't think it would take 6 days each way but that does make sense since driving will be slower. So maybe we will keep the trip focused on grand canyon and 1 or 2 spots in Utah. Bryce canyon and arches maybe?
    Sorry to hear about your mother. I think the drive out even in an RV would be harder than just flying out. Flying out will give you more time to see more places and at a more relaxed pace. You can still rent an RV in Las Vegas, making the Grand Canyon loop and then fly home. I do think the seats in a class A motorhome are more comfortable than a car, but you might not want to rent a motorhome that large. With an RV you could make stops often and allow her a nice place to relax. She won't have to pack and unpack a suitcase at each motel. You have the choice of eating out or preparing something in the RV.

    Utahtea

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,748

    Default

    I didn't think it would take 6 days each way but that does make sense since driving will be slower.
    Given the circumstances this would be the absolute minimum you would require as it would be quite tiring for a person of good health. Travelling 400 to 500 miles in a day is one thing, doing it day after day for several days is quite another. As I mentioned earlier, if flying is an option I would re-consider your plans. The opportunity to rest in a place of natural beauty and take in the time to enjoy the surroundings is good for the soul. You have to go with your own instincts, but I really hope you both have an amazing trip.

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