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  1. #1

    Default Cross Country and Back, North and South

    I am trying to plan a full Cross Country trip for next Summer (2008). Sometime probably in August. I have been all over the US before, CA, TX, FL, and just about everywhere up and down the east coast. Now I feel it is time to hit the big National Parks I have always wanted to. Going will be my girlfriend, my dog (a medium sized husky/shepherd mix without all that heavy husky fur) and myself. We are looking at renting a small SUV to do all the driving. Me and my girl have already completed a 2800 mile round trip road trip last year. So road trips are nothing new to us.

    Here is a link to a preliminary map of our trip:
    Cross Country Trip

    Most of the trip we will be doing some decent camping.

    We are looking for any advice from anyone who has done some similar road trips as to what to expect, what to bring that you usually wouldn't think you need, etc...


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Long Time Left to Plan

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    I did a quite similar trip many years ago, the classic 'once around the block'. The main suggestions I have are to allow at least 3 weeks for this trip, more if you possibly can; be ready to follow your noses or whims on occasion; and as often as possible, eschew the Interstate exit ramp fast food joints for the in-town diners. What those all come down to is: Don't rush this, relax and enjoy it.

    Other than that we offer page after page of planning advice and an entire thread on what people pack (and how they pack it).

    Last edited by AZBuck; 04-02-2007 at 10:30 AM.

  3. #3


    Thanks for the quick response. We are looking at around 18-19 days for the total trip right now. Both of us are no stranger to driving A LOT. I personally average 35-45k miles per year of driving. I bought a new car in July last year and I already have 22k on it lol.

    We are trying to see if there are any places along our route we might want to detour from for various reasons from something good to see or some place to stay away from.

    The car we are looking to rent is a Trailblazer (or something similar). I've heard from 2 people where I work that own them to expect between 18-22 mpg depending on driving.

    As of right now we will only be spending one night at a hotel. We are still a little iffy about just one night. We both love to camp, and we are planning a few small camping trips with our dog this year to make sure he is good with it also. He absolutely loves long car rides which is great.

    I heard there is an annual pass for the parks you can get, so I think that will help with some money stuff.

    Thanks again

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula

    Default Parks Pass & Dogs

    Get it here. It is a great value and will save you bucks.

    About the dog. I love my dog. She's a great roadtripper and camper. But I seldom take her on long roadtrips out of state, especially if I'm going someplace hot in the summer, because I want to be able to see/do without having to worry about her.

    If you are planning on stopping at a lot of national parks, you need to take into consideration your dog. Of course, he can walk around outside on a leash but only in parking lots and similar places. Dogs are usually not allowed on trails, even if on a leash, in the national parks. And if you want to do anything inside, he will have to stay in the car and it will likely be too hot for that. Many, if not most, of the places you're planning on traveling through will be too hot in August for you to even enjoy a sit-down meal inside because it will be too hot for the dog in the car.

    I'm not saying that you shouldn't take the dog. But I am saying that you will need to make a lot of choices in favor of your dog's health and safety that will limit what you could do without a dog along. If you're prepared to do that, go for it.

  5. #5


    Thanks. It looks like it changed this year and is now $80 annually.

    We have been trying to make a lot of changes to allow our dog to come with us for the long road trip. Nothing is set in stone yet, but we have been reading all the restrictions on where dogs can and cannot go in the national parks.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula

    Default Glad to hear it.

    On a couple of occasions, I've identified cars to staff at locations where the dog is clearly in distress in a hot car. It just makes me so sad. I'm glad you're taking steps to make sure "Fido" is happy! :-)

    Even at $80 (has it really gone up that much?), it's a value if you're planing on stopping at several parks. At busy parks, it also has the advantage of getting you through the gates quicker. That's worth a few bits, imho. When I got my last one two years ago, I saved $5 getting it through AAA. If you're a member of any travel clubs, you might check to see if they have any savings on the pass.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    The Olympic peninsula of WA State

    Default more on dogs and the park pass

    Judy raises some very valid points about traveling with a dog.

    Until two years ago I had a little Cocker Spaniel that went everywhere with me. This dog lived for the car ride. She traveled all over the western states and had been coast to coast and back four times.

    Summer travel with the dog was limited in many of the ways Judy points out. Even sunny days in the spring and fall would make a parked car to hot for a dog to stay in. It really limited my ability to visit many places, particularly National Parks.

    Looking at your route plan, hereís one suggestion if you have the dog along:

    On your visit to the Grand Canyon think about finding a kennel in Flagstaff and leave the pooch there for a few days while you visit the park. (He may well appreciate the break form the car.) If you donít you may not be able to leave the rim of the canyon.

    Also, if you do want to camp down in the canyon, Make your reservations as early as possible. Even though it will lock you into a date you will have to be there by, the limited number of campsites in the canyon fill up fast, fast, fast.

    Park Pass

    Iím kind of ambivalent towards the park pass. Iíve had a few over the years and in my case theyíve never really paid for themselves, but I donít mind since the Park Service needs all the help it can get. Looking at your plan youíll save $5.00 on entrance fees if you buy a pass but keep in mind it wonít cover campground fees, parking at Mt Rushmore or backcountry permits in the Grand Canyon.


  8. #8


    Thanks for the heads up on AAA. I will definitely check with them on the park pass.

    I don't think I would really feel comfortable leaving my dog in the car at all. I have found a couple good websites that even list places to eat that let you bring your dog to the table with you. He is very well behaved when he is with us. Only when we leave him alone does he make some noise even. But we are working on that.

    Some of those same websites list all of the places you can bring your dog in each park. Sometimes if you want to do some hiking its better to go to a national forest next door to the park. Even though it will be in the peak of the summer, the whole northern leg of the trip shouldn't be that hot. Only when we get to the south would I get a little worried. Thats what a lot of AC is for lol.

    We are perfectly comfortable knowing that we can only do the South Rim at the Grand Canyon.

  9. #9


    Does anyone have any preferences as to what campgrounds are best in Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon?

    We were looking at "Canyon Campground" in Yellowstone possibly and "Mather Campground" at the Grand Canyon.

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