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  1. Default Room for Yellowstone?

    Hi,

    I am currently planning our next road trip touring the west coast. We concentrated on the South West last time so are venturing north with some favourite stops to be revisited.

    Time of travel DEC 16/JAN 17

    The itinerary so far is

    LA - SF (3nights) - Redding - Coos Bay - Portland (3 nights) - Pendleton - Boise - Salt Lake City (6 nights) - Monument Valley (2 nights) - Las Vegas (3 nights) - Bakersfield - Grants Grove (2 nights) - LA

    My husband has always had his heart set on visiting Yellowstone which is the reason for my question. While I understand that we can only enter from the North/NorthEast would it be realistic to add this stopover on our way to SLC?

    We don't need to spend 6 nights in SLC and could potentially lose 1 or 2 nights for the detour if you think this would be an option.

    Please keep in mind that while we have tried to limit out hours driving in a day we are used to travelling these distances.

    Thank you for your advice
    Jodie

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

    Default Possible but Neither Realistic Nor Worthwhile

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    Yes, it would be possible to add Yellowstone as a waypoint between Boise and Salt lake City, but at a heavy price and fro not much payback. You'd have to add 600 or so miles to your driving, or more than a full day. and then, when you got to the Gardiner entrance, all you could do is drive in along a single road, find a spot to turn around and drive back out. The single road that is 'open' takes you nowhere near Old Faithful, Fountain Paint Pot, indeed any of the thermal features of Yellowstone, Yellowstone Lake or even within the rather expansive confines of the Yellowstone Caldera. So for all that extra driving, you'd see none of the features that you husband probably associates with the park and thus are the basis for his desire to see it. You'd be far better off waiting until a more opportune time of year. My favorite time is late September to early October, after the tourists have mostly left but before the rods start to close due to snow.

    AZBuck

  3. Default

    Thank you for your quick reply.

    I thought as much and will probably leave it off this trip. As for the rest of my itinerary do you see any major concerns?

    Jodie

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
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    9,358

    Default No Particular Concerns...

    There's nothing specific about your itinerary that jumps out at me or sets off alarms, but I do have some questions and thoughts. First of all, what do you mean by Grants Grove? Is that the visitor area within Kings Canyon National Park? If so, be aware that parts of that park are subject to winter closure as well, so check now with them, and again before driving in, to avoid disappointment. Also be aware that Monument Valley is a Navajo Tribal Park rather than a national park and so services, especially guides (and their high-clearance, 4WD vehicles), are not as dependably available as you might like. Remember that this part of the Colorado Plateau is nearly a mile in elevation and so, again, subject to snow and ice in January. In fact you will have to build at least one day's delay, as well as some flexibility in your scheduling, into your itinerary as you can almost certainly count on one day in your time frame where it's simply not safe to be on the roads.

    Were you also looking for additional recommendations, and if so, what sorts of venues would you be interested in?

    AZBuck

  5. Default

    Thank you,

    Yes sorry for the confusion, Grants Grove is part of the Kings Canyon NP and there is a lodge there that we are hoping to book into for a couple of nights during winter.

    Thank you for the advice regarding Monument Valley, I guess for us it is about seeing the monuments and rock formations, are there places outside of the Navajo Tribal Park that we are better on visiting?

    We are more than happy to do tours it is just that we are a family of 6 so this can be challenging in its own right due to size limitations as well as cost which is why we try to do as much planning as possible.

    I do have a couple of questions which I hope you don't mind helping us with.

    Firstly - Salt Lake City, as mentioned i have planned 6 nights here. What are your thoughts about this? As a family we are not overly interested in skiing/snowboarding but the reason that I chose SLC was because we are looking for the white christmas experience and all that goes with it such as selecting a real christmas tree, etc. It seemed like SLC could guarantee snow (as much as guarantee's go) in the area. Does this seem too long in one spot?

    Secondly - and I am sure that this question has been answered elsewhere so i appreciate if you could maybe direct me to a similar thread - car rental, we are looking to rent a SUV Suburban in/out of LA. Any recommendations on a supplier who might allow for winter/snow driving?

    Thank you again AZBuck

    Jodie

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
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    Tucson, AZ
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    Default This and That

    There really is no better place to see Monument Valley than the Tribal Park that contains it. I would recommend that you hire a guide and his vehicle as the roads back into the best viewing areas are not well maintained and, indeed, may not qualify under your vehicle rental agreement's description of 'regularly maintained'. To avoid any dismay on arriving and finding no guides available that day, be sure to make a reservation.

    You'll have a fair chance of seeing a white Christmas in Salt Lake City, but it's by no means guaranteed. If not then chances would improve greatly with a short drive to Park City. That's an easy day trip from SLC and so you wouldn't need separate reservations. There is also a fair amount to do in the SLC area, both from an historic and scenic perspective, but to be honest, yes six days may be a bit much for my taste. Check with your fellow travelers to see if there are other places they'd rather spend the time.

    A Suburban should meet all your needs, both for something that can comfortably carry six people and all their gear as well as something that can handle a fair bit of snow. I know of no rental contracts that limit the type of weather or road conditions that you can drive in. I would be sure to check on mileage and particularly geographical restrictions before I commit to one rental car company over another. would not, under any circumstances, head into weather I am uncomfortable with, especially with all my loved ones on board and in a vehicle whose slippery road handling characteristics I am unfamiliar with. Remember that one of the reasons the rental firm doesn't put weather restriction on you is that you are ultimately responsible for any damage that you cause to the car. The fact that any of that damage is 'weather related' is also your fault for driving into that weather. All of this is why I said in my initial response that you'll have to maintain some flexibility in your scheduling and not feel that you have 'no choice' but to continue on in worsening weather just to get to that night's motel.

    AZBuck

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
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    South of England.
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    Default Redwoods ?

    I was just wondering whether or not you have been to the Redwoods State and National parks in Northern California ? If not, and there is no particular reason for heading to Redding except for an overnight stop, I would consider leaving SF over the Golden Gate bridge and taking Hwy101 up to Coos Bay with an overnight in the Redwoods area, or if possible use an extra night along the coast and have more time to enjoy the sights.

  8. Default

    Thank you Southwest Dave,

    You are right Redding seemed to be the obvious overnight stop but we love everything about the Redwoods, we haven't done the northern parks.

    We have done the Sequoia's and Yosemite and had planned to do a day trip to Muir Woods but would love to see more. Can you suggest another possible overnight stop between SF and Coos Bay on your route?

    Cheers
    Jodie

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    If you have 2 days, I wouldn't take I-5. I'd take US-101 which goes through Humboldt Redwoods State Park where you can drive the Avenue of the Giants. Redwoods NP is farther north off US-101. Eureka is the largest city on US-101 and would be a very suitable overnight.

    You may have time to take CA-1 up the coast, it ends at Leggett on US-101.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
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    Default Might be worth an extra night.

    As above, Eureka does make a nice mid-way point although staying nearer Humboltd Redwoods SP would be nice so you don't have to rush through there. There is a good chance the lodgings will be more expensive though. The reason I mentioned using another night along this stretch was not the mileage but rather the opportunity to see places along the way. Examples would be the Marin headlands just over the GG Bridge which offers amazing views of the bridge, the city and Alcatraz. You could then take CA1 through Point Reyes National seashore area and enjoy coastal views up through Fort Bragg to Leggett, maybe stop the night there or in Garberville. Then you would have a day to enjoy the Redwoods in Humboltd and take a walk through the lovely Ladybird Johnson Grove in Redwoods NP before driving through Prairie creek on the Newton B Drury scenic parkway before spending your second night in Klamath or Crescent city. That would give you a nice drive to Coos bay where you can stop along the way, Jedediah smith Redwoods and coastal viewpoints such as Arch rock, Natural bridges, the Devils backbone, Sisters rock and Haystack rock on Bandon beach plus much more easily accessable from the road.

    I certainly think you have the time with a little adjustment, but it depends on your priorities for your trip.

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