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  1. Default First Solo Road trip to westbound from Boston

    New here! What a nice and helpful forum.

    I just graduated and are done with school for good, so this is probably the last long vacation I can get once I start working. I am an international student and I can legally stay here until mid July. I have nothing much to do during this period so a long road trip sounds interesting to me as I can have a good last look of USA and think of my future when I am on the road alone.

    My campanion will be a 98 VW GTI VR6. My traveling profile is:
    Sightseeing, attractions, nature, major cities (not priority though), wildlife, buying magnets, sports (not too extremme though).
    Have not tried camping but don't mind trying, motel, nice special must see hotel, car...
    I guess rising at 5am and rest around 8~9pm.

    I am looking to spend 2-3 weeks on the road alone, but may visit friends if I have the chance. I am not sure where to go but Yellowstone will be a must. Probably a circle like going to westbound thorugh the south and getting back through the north. I am still doing research in this forum and will post my tenative plan in here during this week. Please gimme feedback and recommendation during the process. I hope this will be a great and memorable trip!

  2. Default

    I'd suggest a loop that includes: Colorado Rockies, Tetons (Jackson, WY), Yellowstone, Bryce and Zion (UT), Grand Canyon - DO NOT SKIP THIS, it is the single most spectacular place in the US of A. Might want to see Chicago on the way - nice art museum and pretty lake front. Maybe Philadelphia, NYC or DC on your way home.

    Better get started. Alot of traveling to get done before July.

  3. Default

    I have been to Grand Canyon before, so I am not gonna go there again.

    Day 1: Depart at 5:30am, Boston to Indiana (836.3 m)
    Day 2: Depart at 5:30am, Indiana to Kearney, NE (1705.0 m) Maybe make this into 3 days
    Day 3: Arrive Rocky Mountain NP at noon (2032.7 m)
    Day 4: Depart at 5:30am and arrive Great Sand Dunes NP at noon (2344.4 m)
    Day 5: Depart at 5:30am and arrive Million $ hwy around 11am, chill there for a while and have lunch (not sure yet what to do). Leave around 2pm and get to Arches NP around 6 (2689.8 m)
    Day 6: Depart around 1:30pm, arrive to Bryce Canyon NP at 8pm. (2968.6 m)
    Day 7: Depart around 1:30pm, arrive Zion NP around 4pm. (3065.7 m)
    Day 8: Depart around 6am, arrive Grand Teton NP around 7pm (3709.9 m)
    Day 9: Depart around 4pm, arrive YSNP around 6pm (3794.7)
    Day 10: YSNP
    Day 11: YSNP
    Day 12: Depart at 5:30am, arrive at the Mount Rushmore around 4pm (4297.7 m)
    Day 13: Depart at 2:30pm, using I90 to head back toward east, stop driving around 8, call it a day at a motel. (4635.9 m)
    Day 14: Depart at sunrise, drive and cruise toward east to get to Michigan. (5481.3 m)
    Day 15: Depart at 5:30am, arrive Toronto around noon!! (5820.8 m)
    Day 16: Depart at 1:30pm, get to Niagara Falls (5905.3 m) at 3ish, chill there for few hours, get back to US and drive towards home untill tired.
    Day 17: drive home.

    That's my rough plan... let me know what you think.
    I see there are many NPs, especially in Colorado. I wonder are there be big differences bewteen Zion, Arches and Bryce?
    I am kinda flexible, and actually have 21 days to go around. Which places I should go or stay longer?
    I still have not figured out what to do in each places. I think figure it out tomorrow. Suggestions are welcome!


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Québec, Montreal, Arizona, California, France

    Default National Parks, etc.

    Day 5: Depart at 5:30am and arrive Million $ hwy around 11am, chill there for a while and have lunch (not sure yet what to do).
    How about a little train adventure? Mesa Verde seems like a great place to visit. If you plan on sleeping in that area, you could spend the night at The Kokopelli's Cave B&B.

    I wonder are there be big differences bewteen Zion, Arches and Bryce?
    Yep, they're pretty close from each other but they have huge differences. Bryce is my favourite (highly sharpened pink needles and pine trees), closely followed by Arches (red rock formations) and finally Zion (golden rock and trees). If you go to Arches NP, be sure to hike to Delicate Arch. It is fairly easy (3 mi) and the view is breathtaking.

    Have a great trip!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default Each one is unique and special

    Quote Originally Posted by welllam
    I see there are many NPs, especially in Colorado. I wonder are there be big differences bewteen Zion, Arches and Bryce?
    I can only think of one NP in Colorado -- Rocky Mountains NP near Estes, Coloroado. The others you mentioned are in Utah. Here is a short field report about the area around Bryce.


  6. Default

    Oh yea.. they are in Utah. Does the duration per stay sound reasonable? Is there any places I should stay longer or shouldnt go?

    I just went to AAA to pick up the vacation guide. I got like 6-7 and they each worth at least $10 for free!
    Last edited by welllam; 05-31-2006 at 05:43 PM.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Bay Area, CA

    Default Million $ highway

    Ouray(aka switzerland of America) is a little over-rated(it does have cool waterfalls: Box canyon & Chasm- check with the locals for directions). But if you are stopping at Telluride, I would recommend taking the free Gondola to the top. The view is amazing! The walk from the parking lot to the Gondola start point along the river is too good.
    There are a lot of waterfalls along the highway. Just pullover where you see cars and you may not miss anything. The San Juans are gorgeous. They are everywhere.
    Visit the four corners National monument(UT, CO, NM, AZ) while you are in that area...I mean, if you visit Mesa Verde(good too), you are not far away.

    If you visit Bryce, don't miss the sunrise.
    Arches is a personal favourite too!

    You have an amazing trip planned.
    Good luck!

    cheers :)
    Last edited by cool; 06-01-2006 at 08:43 AM.

  8. Default

    Thanks for all the input. I have question about camping. Is it hard to camp in the national parkswithout a prior booking? I dont really know the exact day that I wanna camp until I am in the region. Is early june in the peak season already?

    Also, i have heard about grizzle bear killing people for food. Does it really happen? If yes, what should I do to kill the bear?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default Avoiding Bears

    First, early June is generally before peak and you shouldn't have too much trouble getting campsites. However, having reservations for weekend dates - particularly at the more popular parks isn't a bad idea.

    As far as bears, You're not going to kill one without a high powered rifle, so the best bet is to avoid them in the first place. Seriously, If you put your food away when you are done with it and don't leave leftovers lying around your campsite, it is extremely unlikely you will have any problems with animals. To put it another way, the number of people who camp each year in Bear country is in the millions, but there are only a handful of bear attacks during a year - and most of them involve people who failed to use some of that precious common sense.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula

    Default Bears

    Believe me, if you are in an area, especially in a national park, where bears are an issue, there will be plenty of signs and instructions on what to do.

    However, I believe that the more educated you are on something, the more comfortable you are going to be in the off-chance it does become an issue. I suggest reading this article that will give you tips on camping and hiking in bear country. It will also tell you what to do if you do encounter a bear.

    I have camped in many dozens, if not hundreds, of campgrounds in my life. I have logged a lot of miles hiking. My husband has spent much more time in the woods than I have because he is also a hunter. And neither one of us have ever encountered a bear. Oh, my husband has seen evidene of bears (scat, footprints) and he has seen them way off in the distance (little specks even when using binoculars or scope) but never up-close. And we have camped/hiked in known bear country.

    Since you are going to Yellowstone, and that is probably the place you would be most likely to encounter a bear (but still rare even there), you might want to read their tips on bear safety here. (Scroll about half-way down the page.) And then you might want to follow their suggested link to safety on the trails.

    But, like Michael says, the chances of you encountering a bear are so rare that your chances of being struck by a meteor are probably higher.

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