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  1. #1

    Default Another southwest roadtrip advice request

    Thank you to everyone that has provided all the free information on this website. I'm looking to go on my first long roadtrip, and I want to know if I need to be concerned about the weather for parts of it, since I'm an east coast guy (age: 31). I'm planning this trip for March 2011. I hate to ask a previously answered question, but most of the topics I have seen are about either September or December. I know Death Valley, Vegas, and SoCal should be fine in March, but I would like to do some skiing in Telluride and Taos, and want to know if there is any chance the roads get bad enough that I need to bring out some tire chains. I also see the South Rim weather ranges from the 30's to the 50's, but is it with terrible winds, or am I fine with just jeans and sweatshirts? I just like to be prepared (Eagle Scout afterall), since I plan to do most of this by myself. I adapt well, and I like cold weather, but I'm not looking to get stuck somewhere. My planned itinerary is below, please offer any advice on where you think my trouble spots may be. Also, is it possible to ship some basic camping gear in advance so I can just pick it up, rather than tyring to fly with it?

    Day 1 - Fly into LAX, pick up rental SUV (and hopefully pre-shipped camping supplies)
    Day 2 - Drive to Vegas via Death Valley (maybe camp one night in Valley prior to Vegas)
    Days 3/4 - Days in Vegas
    Day 5 - Drive to Grand Canyon Village (via Hoover dam, but not touring dam)
    Day 6 - continue GC sightseeing, early evening drive to Monument Valley
    Day 7 - Tour MV, afternoon drive to Moab
    Day 8 - Visit parks near Moab
    Day 9 - Drive to Telluride via Unaweep-Tabeguache Byway
    Day 10 - Skiing in Telluride
    Day 11 - Drive to Taos Ski Valley
    Day 12 - Skiing in Taos
    Day 13 - Driving old 66, Maybe hit Petrified Forest, Stay near Holbrook/Winslow
    Day 14 - Driving, maybe stay in Havasu
    Day 15 - Drive back to LAX to meet friend, tour through Joshua Tree on way
    Day 16 - Drive to Santa Barbara, spend day there
    Day 17 - Drive along coast to San Diego, stop at San Juan Capistrano on way
    Day 18 - Day in San Diego, drive back to LAX to drop off SUV and catch red-eye flight home

    If I spend extra time at the GC or elsewhere, I am open to cutting out Taos. I'm trying to split my time between campsites and resort types. I'd love to hear any thoughts.


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    Yes, you should have tire chains. If conditions get bad enough, you will not be allowed on the roads without them. You can buy a set of cables at Walmarts in SoCal pretty cheap. I picked up a set last winter for 225-60-16 tires at the Walmart in Santee CA for 28 bucks plus tax. What you COULD do is ask the rental agency if they have any available for the vehicle.

    It may be easier to buy basic camping gear then donate it to charity when you leave. Again, Walmart......

    Jeans and sweatshirts will probably suffice, but I'd have long johns and a ski jacket just in case, along with gloves and a hat.

  3. #3


    Thank you for the advice, GLC. Are the only typically treacherous areas the ones around Telluride and Taos? I may just cut those and spend more time in California, and do a separate ski trip another time. Will the roads in and out of the Grand Canyon Village and Moab pose any major hazards in March? Thank you once again.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    There is always the possibility of a March snowstorm anywhere out there. Play it by ear and keep abreast of conditions. I have yet to have to use chains anywhere out there, even in December and January. All the states out there have DOT websites with current conditions, and is very useful for forecasts. Bring a laptop with wifi or a smartphone with a data plan.

  5. Default

    "Day 8 - Visit parks near Moab"
    Visiting 'parks' plural in the Moab area will require some high speed sightseeing and no stops. You may do better sticking with one. Arches NP is closer to Moab and smaller with plenty to keep you occupied for the day. Canyonlands NP Island in the Sky district is quite a ways off the road and will take longer to get to. Both are spectacular. The Canyonlands NP Needles District is considerably farther out of Moab and is not doable the same day as the other two. As I said before I'd stick with one park, especially considering the relatively short day in March.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    Needles can be done on the way to Moab from MV.

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