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  1. Default Two week trip from NJ to Grand Canyon

    Hello All,

    The wife and I just purchased our retirement vehicle (2019 Ram 1500 Big Horn Crew Cab) and want to take a trip to the Grand Canyon next spring, with her parents. I will not be retired until next year but was wondering if two weeks will be enough time to get the Grand Canyon and back, and still leave a little time to look around. We currently reside in NJ, so we will be leaving from here and driving to West Virginia to pick up her parents, then heading West from there. I know it is a little early to be asking but I really want to plan as much as possible. The wife and I will also be driving to Alaska, but that discussion is for another day.

    Thanks in advance,

    JJ and TJ from NJ (for now)

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,796

    Default

    Welcome to RTA!

    You didn't say where in NJ, or in WV, so I took Paterson and Charleston, respectively, to do some rough calculations. You're talking about a 2500 mile trip. If you took 500 mile days, it would take you five days driving each direction, which leaves you 4 to 6 days to look around at the GC, stop and sightsee along the way.

    As for Alaska (another trip, I know), my best advice would be to wait until spring of the year you want to go, and get the latest MILEPOST book. It is the best set of information you can get, regarding the Alaska Highway ("Al-Can"), and the highways that connect to it, and how to plan for it. And if you don't already have passports, you can get those applications underway, as you need them now to get from Canada back into the US.


    Donna

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    7,043

    Default Travelling with elderly parents.

    A red flag which jumped out at me is, if you are retired, what age are your parents? That vehicle is not the most comfortable to sit in all day, five days in a row, not like a sedan, and at an advanced age, this can become very uncomfortable and tiring. 500 miles on any given day would equate to 9 - 10 hours sitting in a truck, for five days in a row, and then back again.

    As an upper septuagenarian I find it sometimes difficult to sit in my van for 400 miles per day, and have for my current trip limited myself to less than 300 miles per day. In actual effect it has worked out to less than 200m miles most days.

    With the older folk in mind, I suggest you plan to take longer than five days each way.

    As mentioned above, for Alaska you can't do better than get The Milepost, the new issue of which will be available in March - you can pre-order. Meanwhile there is a lot of information in the Roadtrip Field Reports Forum written by those who have been there, done that! Three of my four trips are recorded there, among others.

    Lifey

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,495

    Default To Go Along with Lifey's Comment

    My wife and I are also septuagenarians (although 'just') and though it may sound counter-intuitive, we older folks need more out-of-car time than you might think. The general notion that the elderly are happy to just sit for hours on end is simply wrong. We need to get up and move around a bit fairly frequently to keep from getting stiff and fairly immobile. We also tend (especially men) to need to use restroom facilities more often.

    As Lifey noted, even a crew cab truck is not the most comfortable of accommodations and there is very little opportunity to even change one's sitting position let alone move around. And bathroom breaks that at home need nothing more than a few steps, when driving require getting off the road, finding a parking place, climbing back into the car and getting back on the road.

    Speaking of which, are your parents spry enough to climb up into the back cab of your new truck? Even though it's not a monster, it's not a sedan either. Also, where do you plan to store everyone's luggage? With four people in the cab, sure there will be lots of room in the cargo bed, but unless you've got a weather-tight, lock-down cover, you're going to be doing an awful lot of luggage handling. You can't just leave it all out in the wide open every time you stop for food, fuel or a toilet.

    Those are the kinds of things you have to think about as you and your parents age. As I said, my wife and I are also starting to get up there and while I used to do 550± miles a day with ease, and still base recommendations on that scale, we are much more comfortable today covering no more than about 400 and taking time to 'smell the roses' en route. In the end, this all comes down to a single, simple recommendation: Yes, you can get to the Grand Canyon and back in two weeks, especially if that means 16 full days, but a more realistic approach would call for a slower pace, more stops along the way, and including a few longer stopovers where you do NO driving on a given day and just relax in a pleasant location. All of that argues for maybe three weeks instead of two.

    AZBuck

  5. Default

    Thank you for all of the advice. First, let me say I will be lucky enough to retire in my 50's and I am very thankful for that. I will be getting a part time job though.
    Her parents are in their 70's and still spry enough to get into the truck with sidesteps. I do have a cover on the back so covering the luggage and everything else will not be a problem.
    I would probably have to agree that 3 weeks sounds like it would enable us to have a more enjoyable time.
    I have already purchased the Milepost and have begun to prepare somewhat for our Alaska trip, however, that trip is a little farther away than the Grand Canyon one.

    Thanks again for all of the input and "smelling the roses" is one aspect of the trip we would like to have.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,796

    Default

    I'm glad it's a crew cab pickup. The backseats of SuperCab pickups are not very comfortable, or at least that's true of Fords. Couldn't say about Dodge.

    Donna

  7. Default

    Taking 3 weeks does sound better. Make as many stops as possible, you don't want to miss anything.

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