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  1. Default Trip to see the Giant Sequoias in January from NC with 5 kids - bad idea?

    I'm a farmer in eastern NC and am planning a trip out west the winter with my wife and 5 daughters. I'm searching for suggestions on where to go and what to see and the best route on the way there. Thanks.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    There is basically only one place in the world to see the Sequoias, and that's on the western slope of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. The largest (both in number and in size) are in Sequoia National Park, but there are also some found in the Sequoia National Monument and Yosemite. All of these are in mountain areas, and while they will be open, you will be required to carry chains to access any of those areas.

    As far as getting there from North Carolina, you're looking at a minimum of 5-6 days on the road each way, with the most direct route following I-40. Of course, its January, which means there is a pretty good likelyhood of seeing some winter conditions as you travel across country - which will be true no matter which route you go.

    That's the basics, now pretty much everything else is up to you. There is no one sized fits all plan for a trip like this, and your next step really is to simply look at what you've got available for time, and grab a map to start looking for things across the country that would fit your specific interest.

    Once you've got some ideas laid out, we can certainly help you put it all together.

  3. Default

    My main concern would be the snow. Would there be lots of it at the elevation the trees are?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    Quote Originally Posted by NCFARMER View Post
    My main concern would be the snow. Would there be lots of it at the elevation the trees are?
    There can be. You just can't predict conditions in advance.

  5. Default With 5 girls?!

    All I have are 3 words for you... National Lampoon's Vacation.


    Just kidding, have fun!

  6. #6

    Default Howdy Neighbor

    And I suppose you're a fellow Wolfpacker. At the very least I hope you're faring better in this week's monsoon than I am here in Raleigh. I'm trying to stretch 25 years out of a 20 year roof, and it turns out that's a bad idea.

    Anyway, I started my RoadTripAmerica "career" with researching a cross country (xc) trip with my Navy Seabee son after he returned from overseas deployment. We took I-40 across from Raleigh to the Ventura/Oxnard area, northwest of LA. With side trips through the South Rim of the Grand Canyon and to Hoover Dam, it was around 2,800 miles of hard running in a Chevy shortbed 4WD pickup. It was, however, an entirely memorable run and it re-ignited my interest in RoadTripping. Just 8 weeks ago I completed an out-and-back run to southwest Montana, and I'm driving the F350 to Park City, UT in January.

    In January, you've got potential for snow or ice literally every step of the way at least to the AZ-CA border area and once you get into the elevations where the trees are in the National Parks, more there. Western OK and the TX Panhandle are infamous for ice storms and hold elevations of nearly 5,000', and several portions of I-40 in NM are over 7,000', including the Continental Divide at 7,700'. Flagstaff, AZ is at 7,000', as is the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. Out there, it's elevation which brings weather, not latitude.

    But what the heck, you made it through Hurricane Floyd, right?, so what's a little snowy or icy weather which is likely to last only a day or so going to do to you? Seriously, with a properly-equipped vehicle and some accessories, I'd do it in a New York Minute.

    In a perfect world you'd be running a 4WD Suburban or Expedition or similar. If not, hopefully a front-wheel drive minivan with GOOD and fairly new tires. If no 4WD, you'll want to go ahead and get a pair of cable chains and get very familiar with putting them on right there in the comfort of your garage or barn. A laptop computer with a wireless cellphone card or an iPhone or other smart phone for real-time weather radar is a must, as is advanced knowledge of the various state's "511"- type road condition recordings (although they can be a bit behind in their updating--that's why you need the real-time radar). A snow shovel, good ice scraper, some anti-icing windshield fluid, gloves, boots, a CB radio, and some good blankets for the family (in the event of getting briefly stranded), and you're all set. And you know how that works--you prepare for the worst and it'll never happen.

    Just have good, long look at weather patterns all the way across the country in the days before departure, and do the same early in the morning and at mid-day each day, and the chances of getting into a jam are minimal. You should, however, be quick to hold back and let the teeth of an ice storm pass on by instead of getting caught out in it, and with the proper equipment, you're in position to do just that.

    As was noted previously, it's a long, several day drive out and then again back, and you should allow a day, day and a half each way for weather contingencies. But it's entirely do-able, and there's really no such thing as a "bad idea" when it comes to RoadTripping with the family, in my humble opinion. Take those girls on the adventure of a lifetime!

    Have fun planning and taking your RoadTrip!

    Foy in Raleigh

  7. Default Thanks for the info

    Thanks so much for the info from Raleigh. All of it is very helpful. I'm right on the coast so I'm a Pirate, not a part of the Pack unless they're playing Carolina. It's been raining here since Monday. I've got a thousand acres of soybeans in the field with almost 15" of rain on them - not good. I've had plenty of time here in the office to plan an adventure for the girls. Thanks again.

  8. #8

    Default Best of luck to you


    I sure hope your beans survive and you can get them in when it's time for that.

    Jump back in should additional questions come up.


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