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  1. Default Is this itinerary too insane?

    Hi everyone,

    I'm planning my 6 week road trip and I think I have things all organized. I'm curious for those of you who have done it, the following is a reasonable itinerary for six weeks. I'm also wondering about the availability of campgrounds in the national parks I'm visiting. If I don't have reservations already, am I out of luck? Can I count on first come/first served spots or should I do my best to secure a camping area for a tent somewhere? Also, do I have the right national parks? Should I substitute another spot in the same area?

    The goal of my trip is photography. I'm going it alone, but I hope to be out on the trail to photograph sunrise and sunset and then I'd like to use the middle of the day for driving/museums/attractions/napping/etc.

    Any suggestions you have to change/alter/revise (redundant much?) the following itinerary would be MUCH appreciated:

    July 1: Lake Louise, AB
    July 2: Kamloops, BC
    July 3: Whistler, BC
    July 4: Vancouver, BC
    July 5: Vancouver, BC
    July 6: Olympic National Park, Washington
    July 7: Olympic National Park, Washington
    July 8: Mount Rainier National Park, Washington
    July 9: Mount Rainier National Park, Washington
    July 10: Hells Canyon National Recreation Area, Oregon
    July 11: Boise, Idaho
    July 12: Craters of the Moon National Monument, Idaho
    July 13: Salt Lake City Utah
    July 14: Salt Lake City, Utah
    July 15: Moab, Utah (Arches National Park)
    July 16: Moab, Utah (Canyonlands National Park)
    July 17: Santa Fe, New Mexico
    July 18: Santa Fe, New Mexico
    July 19: Roswell, New Mexico
    July 20: Odessa, TX
    July 21: Austin, TX
    July 22: Austin, TX
    July 23: El Paso, TX
    July 24: El Paso, TX/Extra day in case I get behind somewhere
    July 25-August 3: Tucson, Arizona (non-negotiable, I'm on a monsoon chasing tour)
    August 4: Phoenix, AZ
    August 5: Grand Canyon, AZ
    August 6: Grand Canyon, AZ
    August 7: Grand Junction, CO
    August 8: Aspen, CO
    August 9: Denver, CO (non-negotiable to be in Denver by the evening of the 9th as a travelling partner has a flight the morning of the 10th out of Denver)
    August 10: Casper, Wyoming
    August 11: Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming
    August 12: Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
    August 13: Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
    August 14: Missoula, Montana
    August 15: Glacier National Park, Montana
    August 16: Glacier National Park, Montana
    August 17: Edmonton, AB (non-negotiable end date)


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tustin, California, United States

    Default Looks OK to me

    This seems like a decent pace for your itinerary, but then again I'm a speed-run kinda guy so to me it might be a walk in the park, while for others it would be murder, especially as a solo roadtrip with no one to take over driving. Lucky you to have 6 weeks available. Plus it seems you have a week's worth of rest(?) in the Tucson, AZ area, where you have room to adjust your schedule if necessary.

    The only thing I would suggest is reservations ahead of time for the popular spots, especially during the summer. Unfortunately that is sometimes hard to plan since the trip schedule as a whole can turn tentative very quickly depending on conditions and situations out of your control.

    My 3 spots of concern for accommodations would be Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, and Moab, Utah. Granted, you are staying at each of those spots during the week, but it is possible that you can get shut out, as these areas fill up fast. If you can designate these spots as "non-negotiable" you should call ahead for lodging.

    ::looks at watch:: Like, today.

    I don't know your balance on lodging/camping, whatever one you choose for which park. Some places are first-come/first-serve, others are reservations. You'll have to research and see which parks have what, or some of the other forum members can tell you.

    I'd say you have picked excellent destinations for photography. We'd like to see what you come back with. Be sure to post some shots in your album on this site.

    I have some shots of where you're going in my roadtrip album. Roadtrips #2 (Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Tetons) and #3 (Arches, Canyonlands) will provide some of what you'll be seeing. I'll be picking up a full-frame SLR before my next roadtrip in the Fall. Everyone tells me I shouldn't be using point-and-shoot for the kind of pictures I take.
    Last edited by Kinless; 06-14-2008 at 10:51 AM. Reason: Oh yeah, I have an album now.

  3. Default

    Thanks for the info, Kinless!

    I'm also a speed kind of person - one or two hikes and I'm ready to move on.

    Now, I'm not sold on Hells Canyon in Oregon or Craters of the Moon in Idaho so if anyone has any suggestions in northern/central/western Oregon and Idaho that are better than where I'd planned, I'd love to hear about it!

    I've books campsites at Mount Rainier NP, Moab Utah, and Yellowstone NP. I'm still looking for a nice, high quality hotel/bed and breakfast in and around the Grand Canyon.

    Now - I'm wondering about various hikes. Does anyone have any favourites that I should look at for morning and sunset hikes?

    Also, is Monument Valley worth driving through? When is the best time of the day to take that drive?

    Thanks everyone!

  4. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Kinless View Post
    I have some shots of where you're going in my roadtrip album. Roadtrips #2 (Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Tetons) and #3 (Arches, Canyonlands) will provide some of what you'll be seeing. I'll be picking up a full-frame SLR before my next roadtrip in the Fall. Everyone tells me I shouldn't be using point-and-shoot for the kind of pictures I take.
    Comments from a photography teacher: Your pictures are great -- you're strong on composition (framing the shot, taking in the right amount of "stuff" for each photograph). Your lighting and color saturation could be better, and that's where an SLR will make a world of difference -- it's simply capable of more than a point-and-shoot. You'll also get greater speed, though that doesn't seem to be an important factor for your style of photograph.

    Hints for buying: Buy a fairly standard body, but go with a "one step up" lens -- it's worth the difference in price. I like Cannon products myself (and the Cannon Rebel is a perfect first SLR -- don't be tempted to go with the EOS; it's a little "too much" for a first time SLR owner, and it can be intimidating -- plus it weighs a ton), but other brands also have strong followings.

    While you're at the camera store, go ahead and buy a polarizing filter -- put it on and keep it on all the time. It's kind of like "sunglasses" for your camera; it makes things more vivid, more crisp. It also protects your expensive lens from damage. Twice over the years students have dropped my $800 zoom lens, and twice only the $10 polarizing filter was broken.

    Consider taking a class. I thought I was a pretty good photographer -- 'til I took a class! Wow, did I improve!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula

    Default Looks good to me!

    The only places I would worry about lodging are Yellowstone and Grand Canyon. I think even Mt. Rainier in the mid-week should be OK to find a campsite. But, since you have reservations there, keep 'em just in case.

    I encourage you to consider adding Mt. St. Helen's to your trip. Awesome! There is no place on the entire planet just like it that I know of. The destruction from the 1980 blast is still apparent but so is the return of plant life as Mother Nature heals herself. Simply incredible.

    This is a good route to take from Rainier to MSH then east to get toward Hell's Canyon. This will also take you on US-12 over White Pass. The North Cascades Highway is considered one of the most beautiful drives in the US (but it's too far north for you). However, White Pass is just as scenic, in my opinion. It should yield some great photos.

    Hell's Canyon is amazing but you will not be able to see much without getting onto the river itself via boat trip. If you can squeeze that in, it's worth doing. If not, you might consider this route.

    Enjoy a stop at Palouse Falls. The Nez Perce reservation land is awesome and there are some interesting historical stops. 95 from the Nez Perce land to McCall, ID, is a beautiful drive through forests with the river flowing alongside. From McCall, take 55 to Banks, 21 to Stanley, and 75 through Ketchum/Sun Valley, and then 20 to the Craters of the Moon.

    This drive should take you through some very diverse scenery and offer lots of photo opps.

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