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  1. Default Wash DC to Jackson WY to glacier to Colorado Springs CO and back in a 95 Bronco

    First post looking for advice

    I have wanted to see some major parks out west (glacier, yellowstone, grand tetons) and I have come across an opportunity to do it. My family is planning to spend a week in jackson hole WY. I was originally going to fly to jackson with my family and start my Natl Park trip from there in a jeep wrangler, it turns out it might be three of us and we intend to do a whole lot of camping. If any of you are familiar with two door wranglers they are a bit cramped especially with three people and camping gear. So I thought I could make the drive out there in my bronco(its stretched so there is plenty of room). I would meet my family in jackson and make the drive to jackson with my brother. then after spending a week we would set off. Jackson to GT to YS then glacier then back to Colorado springs to drop off my cousin. I have taken a few trips around 1000 miles but never something like this (5500 miles in total on google maps).

    QUESTIONS
    -The total age of the three of us are around 60 so any advice would be great.
    -How long would it take with 2 drivers switching(drive, sleep, drive) to get from wash dc to jackson WY?
    -How much time would we need to see the three parks and get back to CO springs From jackson?
    -Am I crazy for trying this in a 21 year old truck(has proven itself on multiple trips), I do have a good bit of experience working on this thing, so I could fix about anything that would come up, I have been through this truck making it reliable as possible, bearings, balljoints, steering, replaced trannsmission and engine, tips to prep for a trip like this?
    -Lemme know what you all think and any advice would be appreciated

    SUMMARY: this trip would be a drive from DC to Jackson, stay a week, then set off from jackson to GT,YS,Glacier, CO Springs then finally back to DC.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    7,169

    Default No way, not possible.

    Hi and Welcome to the Great American Roadtrip Forum.

    The best thing I can say is that you would do well to follow the good example of your parents, and fly to Jackson WY.

    Quote Originally Posted by dodge3809 View Post
    -The total age of the three of us are around 60 so any advice would be great.
    Your inexperience both as a driver and as a long distance driver screams out from your post. What you are proposing to do is extremely dangerous, with a high probability of never seeing your family again.

    5500 miles is a good 10 days on the road, no matter how many drivers you have. Sitting up in a moving car is as tiring as driving. You might like to read this recent study, and this thread. These are not figments of anyone's imagination, these are actual facts and real accidents and deaths.

    Camping would only mean it would take you longer.

    The only advice I can give you is join the family for your own safety and that of every other road user.

    Have a great holiday.

    Lifey
    Last edited by Lifemagician; 02-10-2017 at 02:31 AM. Reason: clarification

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    11,658

    Default A break down.

    How long would it take with 2 drivers switching(drive, sleep, drive) to get from wash dc to jackson WY?
    This would require 3 overnight stops.

    -How much time would we need to see the three parks and get back to CO springs From jackson?
    This would require around 8 days minimum to actually have some time enjoying the parks imo. You could do 'drive thrus' but whats the point. If you haven't time they may as well wait until you have.

    CO Springs then finally back to DC.
    That's another 2 overnight stops.

    So you will need about 15 days plus any time you plan on spending in Jackson.

    If your truck is proven to be reliable and leaves in good shape then there is no reason not to think it will make it. If you are not a member of AAA or the like, joining might give you some peace of mind.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,722

    Default

    Realistically, the only way you can do what you've proposed is if you have at least a full month available.

    As others have indicated, it's a minimum of 4 days to Jackson from DC and 3 days back to DC from CO Springs - that's full days on the road, stop for the night for real rest (not napping in the car), and back on the road in the morning. That is non-negotiable - the bare minimum time you need to safely cover that number of miles, no matter how many drivers you have, no matter how much you think you can do more, etc. If you want to camp along the way to save money, that will mean even a little more time.

    That's one week gone, you want to spend a full week in Jackson, so that's 2 weeks. Dave mentioned 8 days to see Tetons, Yellowstone, Glacier and drive back to CO Springs - even that would be the bare minimum. Just to cover the miles, you're looking at close to 4 days on the road to cover that loop (noting the much slower speeds to drive through the parks), and that's not time to see anything. So just bare minimum, you're at 3 and a half weeks, and that's really not factoring time for camping and to explore anything outside your truck. That's why a month really is the minimum.

    Driving a vehicle that's 20+ years old does have some extra complications. If it's been well maintained, you might complete the trip with no problems. However, at that age, there are just a lot of things that can wear out and fail simply due to age - and even a pre-trip inspection by a mechanic (which is extra important in this case) may not be able to find them in advance. The biggest thing is that you need to factor in extra time and money because of that. AAA or some other roadside assistance that includes long distance towing would be extremely important (or you could easily be looking at a tow bill of hundreds upon hundreds of dollars if you break down in a remote area.) If you do have a break down, that's going to be time lost. If you broke down on a Saturday, you might not be back on the road again until Tuesday or Wednesday. It's good to be mechanically inclined and know how to make basic repairs, but you're not going to be at home, with easy access to your own tools, garage, and easy access to whatever parts you might need to make the repair. While parts for an old Ford shouldn't be too hard to find, if you break down in a remote part of Wyoming or Montana, it may take 2 days just for a part to arrive. I'm speaking from experience - as I routinely get 250,000-300,000 miles out of a vehicle before I retire it, but that has meant unscheduled visits to repair shops and other unplanned changes to my trips.

    So having said all of that, if you've got the time, and the willingness to deal with the potential complications of traveling in an old vehicle, then you should certainly move forward with this trip. Just don't underestimate the size, scope, and challenges of what you've proposed.

    Having said all of that, if you've got a month of time, and are willing to deal with the potential costs

  5. #5

    Default

    dodge3809, it seems like you have a few time constraints to work with and as mentioned above a ton of ground to cover that really cuts down realistic chances of having an enjoyable and refreshing vacation.

    During the past 18 months I have been on two road trips west from the Mid-Atlantic's DelMarVa region. One trip was to the west coast and back and the other trip was to the Wyoming Rockies and south to canyon country and back. Speaking from experience, driving from the Colorado Springs region to D.C. is a bare minimum 3 days/2 nights, not allowing for traffic slow downs. And that is really pushing it -- I would highly recommend 4 days/3 nights.

    The drive from Yellowstone NP to Glacier NP is another long haul in one day (and even moreso from Glacier NP to the Colorado Springs area, two days). And why spend all that time in a vibrating vehicle and not enjoying what the Grand Tetons, YNP and GNP have to offer?

    All things considered, I would recommend what my family used to do when limited to 14-day summer vacations: fly to the destination with camping gear, rent a large car or minivan, and enjoy the sights. You will still end up doing a lot of driving. The Grand Tetons and Yellowstone alone merit at least 5 days in-the-park (excluding transit days). And traffic to and inside YNP can rival D.C. traffic at certain times during the summer months! Denver and Salt Lake City are both viable airport gateway cities.

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