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  1. #1
    theallans Guest

    Default Spoilt for choice!

    Help! We're from the UK and starting to finalise a 3 month road trip from San Francisco to Orlando. I've pretty much mapped out the main route (allowing for the odd detour of whatever takes our fancy) but have got stuck when looking around Arizona, Utah and Colorado. We had planned to visit the Grand Canyon, Wupatki National Monument, the Hopi Mesas, Canyon De Chelly, cut back across to Monument Valley (John Wayne fan you see) and then from there up to Arches National Park before following the US50 across Colorado.

    Thing is, I've now also seen the website for the Mesa Verde National park and read some reviews of Hovenweep, not to mention the 4 corners.

    So, the big question now is what best to see - we can always return the States in the future so it's not vital to see everything in one trip, and I know I cannot fit all of these in - we'll hit this area right at the end of September and need to be in Orlando mid-November, so I was aiming to try to get into Kansas around the middle of October.

    I'd be grateful for any views on the not to miss stuff if you have any.

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Québec, Montreal, Arizona, California, France
    Posts
    761

    Default a few ideas

    If you're planning to go to the Grand Canyon , you should think about going to Zion NP and Bryce Canyon. They're not very far from the GC's north rim and very different from one another. Monument Valley is definitely one of the most magnificient place I've been in the south west you will not regret your choice. I've been to Canyon De Chelly, but didn't have enough time to really go down in the canyon to visit the Anasazi ruins:o((. Apparently, local Native Americans there offer guided tours that are pretty interesting. I've never been to Cork Screw Canyon (a few miles from Page, look for Antelope Slot Canyon), but I saw some pictures and boy, that place seems gorgeous! If you have a chance to come back to the US someday, the south east corner of Arizona is very scenic and not very touristy.

    Happy planning!

    Gen
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 08-17-2005 at 10:02 AM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Cornell University, Upstate NY
    Posts
    41

    Default

    If I were you, I would spend more time west of the rockies, where a lot of spectacular scenery can be found. Since you have 3 months to complete the trip, you will have plenty of time to stop and visit areas of interest along the way.

    You definitely do not want to miss out on Zion and Bryce Canyon, especially since they are so close to the other areas you mentioned. You could drive up from the south Rim of the Grand Canyon (or North Rim for that matter) and stop at Zion and Bryce Canyon enroute towards Arches, Monument Valley... etc, drive north along Highway 12, a very scenic drive, and cut across Capitol Reef towards Hanksville.. Then you could visit Arches and drive south to Monument Valley and then on to Mesa Verde and southern Colorado.

    Check out these photos of the areas I mentioned if you're interested..
    http://community.webshots.com/user/nhippenmeyer

    I'm not that familiar with the landscape east of Colorado, but I'm sure you'll have a lot more fun exploring the south-west than the great plains..

    Nicholas

  4. #4
    theallans Guest

    Default More choices

    Oh my, thanks for the replies - even more options now. I had considered Bryce Canyon and Zion and wasn't sure whether to just focus on the Grand canyon (I've booked 3 days there at the Mather campground to do some hiking) and then go on to the Navajo stuff which does really appeal.

    I know what you mean re the plains areas, there doesn't seem that much to see around the area but I wanted to try to head up to Jamesport to see some of the Amish community and also head over to St Louis. it would be nice to see the contrasts between the different states and to then plan a return trip to s specific area to focus on.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Québec, Montreal, Arizona, California, France
    Posts
    761

    Default

    I know what you mean re the plains areas, there doesn't seem that much to see around the area but I wanted to try to head up to Jamesport to see some of the Amish community and also head over to St Louis. it would be nice to see the contrasts between the different states and to then plan a return trip to s specific area to focus on.
    Above all the "Great Plains" States, I think my favourite ones are Missouri, Nebraska and Wyoming. I couldn't explain rationally why, but I always enjoy driving through these States even though most parts are flat (except for the western ends). I guess it's just because they're full of history , some unusual sceneries , amazing people, off the beaten path wonders, small towns and so many other things.

    I think my greatest trip tpo the plains so far have been when I followed the Oregon Trail through MO, NE and WY. There is a book called The Oregon Trail Revisited by Gregory Franzwa which tells you where to go to find the original trail and what to see on your way, noteworthy if you're a bit interested in American history.

    St. Louis is really great, if you go there be sure to visit the Arch and their underground museum, the park there is also very nice for picnics. I particularly like to walk along the Mississippi and watch the boats and people go by. You can park for free at the Old Cathedral just in front of the Arch, just pretend you want visit the church and then go to the park (shh..don't tell:-). As a matter a fact you should really go in there, the church is definitely worth a visit, especially if you enjoy art, there are some amazing paintings from the 18th century. Pope John XXIII or Pope Paul VI (I can't remember which one) came to St. Louis and granted the church a Basilic status in the 60's. Save some time for Soulard, the French quarter of St. Louis, there is so much to see there, I'm surprised there are so few tourists!

    For your concern about Zion and Bryce, I can guarantee it is worth it, even if you don't have enough time to hike or walk around, just drive through Zion and at least walk alongthe Amphitheatre at Bryce, you won't regret it, believe me!

    Happy planning!
    Gen:-)

  6. Default Moab and the Great Plains

    In Utah, and as a John Wayne fan (me too!), you might consider an overnight at the Apache Motel in Moab. It was the Duke's favorite motel in that area and they still have photos and personal stories about him that you'll find fascinating -- tell the manager I sent you (Bob, from RoadtripAmerica)! She loves to discuss the area and Wayne in particular -- and she'll tell you some personal things about him most people do not know! I really enjoyed my short stay there.

    If you are interested in American history, and how we got to be the people we are, seeing the Great Plains is indispensable. Viewed in the context of our development as a nation, and the westward migration of the 1800 and 1900's, you'll find the hugeness and seeming "desolation" of the Plains to be a very attractive thing. But appearances can be deceiving. Once reintroduced to the continental USA by Spanish explorations in the mid and late 1500's, the horse enabled the Indians on the Plains to exploit the large game populations available (primarily the American Bison, of course) and develop one of the most powerful and complex horse-cultures the world will ever see. And of course the Great Plains had the resources to foster and support this. So don't sell them short, they're one of my favorite places! You'll be visiting during the Moon of Falling Leaves (the descriptive Lakota name for the middle portion of Autumn) -- a beautiful time for a Great Plains road trip. Bob

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