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  1. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Phoenix, Arizona

    Default Consider the North Rim


    Since you're interested in Zion, the Grand Canyon, and Antelope Canyon, I'll make a suggestion. In our new guidebook, RoadTrip America: Arizona and New Mexico: 25 Scenic Side Trips, I describe a route, Scenic Side Trip #13, that might be perfect for the beginning of your trip. It starts at an exit off I-15 in St. George, Utah (a couple of hours northeast of Las Vegas), goes through Zion National Park, then takes in the NORTH rim of the Grand Canyon, before passing through Page, and ending in Flagstaff at Interstate 40. From there, you'd have an easy drive west into California. Many people who are "in the know," (including myself) prefer the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, because it only gets 10% of the crowds you'll see at the South Rim. Here's a link to an RTA Interactive Map that wil show you what Scenic Side Trip 13 looks like. You can find more information about the book here, and you should check this post in my blog, Antelope Canyon: Part 1 for the inside story on that truly fabulous geological marvel.

    Good luck with your planning! You're going to have an amazing RoadTrip, regardless of which route you choose.

    Last edited by Rick Quinn; 10-17-2018 at 08:55 AM.

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.


    The main reason for going the southern route was to visit Sequoia but looking at the link from glc it looks like that's a bad idea. I thought I'd read most things about vehicle restrictions but I think i thought it was only during the roadworks, which should be complete by the time we go, but on a second read, that's not the case.

    I would probably choose going to Zion and over Tioga Pass into Yosemite over Sequoia even though Sequoia is a fantastic place. However it's right I point out that although there are length restrictions on the Generals Highway, outside of construction times it is an advisory notice not a prohibition. I have driven it in a 30ft RV and can confirm it is twisty and narrow in places and quite a challenge, even more so in the height of summer season with a lot more traffic around. (We went in October)

    22 July - Drive to Page - Should only be 2.5 - 3 hours. Get there by lunch time and do something in the afternoon.
    You could also consider detouring to Monument valley before arriving in Page. Cameron trading post is quite a nice stop if you fancy a little shopping, or just browsing around the stores.

    Drive to Tonopah, about 6-7 hours for an overnight stop
    Just west of Tonopah is a rest area where you can park up for the night free, although there won't be much to do there, it could work if you plan to arrive late and get some sleep. Search for 'Millers Rest NV'.

    26 July - Away early for the drive to Yosemite, about 3.5 - 4 hours. Arrive with enough time to get set up and do something in the afternoon.
    I would plan to arrive later and take time to stop over the Tioga Pass take in the views around Tuolumne meadows and Tenya lake etc. You could stop at Mono Lake or at least take in the view from Vista point at the start of CA120 up past the fuel station. You can also get a decent brunch in the café there called Woah Nellie Deli.

    Having extra gloves is certainly worthwhile but they usually supply a pair for dumping waste and we don't find it to be a big deal. You basically connect a hose with a bayonet fitting and pull a lever to empty. Always empty black waste first and then the grey waste which acts as a flush through for the pipe.
    Last edited by Southwest Dave; 10-17-2018 at 10:10 AM.

  3. Default

    Thanks Rick, I'll have a good look but our first rote plan (way before I came on here) started in Phoenix and went through Flagstaff but having to fly on to Vegas instead took that off our agenda. We do want to do Yosemite so I'll probably stick with what I have but there's plenty of time now to consider each of these options.

  4. Default

    Tioga Pass sounds interesting, I saw it as a road from A to B but I can see it’s a lot more than that. I’ll plan that in.

    We’d rejected Monument Valley when we changed the route but we are looking at it again. We went there last time and it is beautiful but of course the boys haven’t seen it. If we do that we would need to drop one of our planned activities in Page, but given what we now have in Zion, that’s a possibility.

    I’ll look up Millers rest although I think my wife is looking forward to a night without any of us cooking!

    Glad to hear the dumping is not too bad!

  5. Default

    So I think we are now settled on our route! The final change was to stay in Zion for an extra night rather than Yosemite. We are just now finalising the minor details of things en route and where to stay.

    Thank you all for the excellent advice and any more tips, tricks, articles or checklists would be very welcome especially on how to do things in the parks to avoid the most crowded areas as well as recommendations for campgrounds or where to stay in a campground.

    Oh, and apparently we are going to watch RV tonight, do it suppose I’ll learn much from that 😂😂



  6. #16
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default This and that.

    The 'Watchman' campground in Zion is the place to stay, it's convenient for the lovely town of Springdale and you use the nearby free shuttle bus system to get around the park. We booked a riverside site which was very nice. I think I mentioned previously, the 'Pines' campgrounds in Yosemite are centrally located in a wooded area, really nice. Go to the site and se when the booking window opens and be prepared to book all NP lodgings straight away it does. I can't emphasis this enough, there are limited RV spaces and they are hugely popular !! It doesn't take to much to get away from big crowds in the park but you can expect a lot of people during the height of the season. I would suggest you buy supplies before heading into the parks and 'eat at home'. The eateries often have long queues, are overpriced and pretty average, besides you can't beat some good grub around the campfire with a couple of beers. The one exception is you may enjoy an evening out in Springdale, an easy walk from the campground.

    On the way to Zion there are a couple of stops along the Mt Carmel highway, Checkaboard mesa and the canyon overlook trail but both have limited parking. You will have to pay $15 to go through the tunnel and will have to wait for a little while for them to halt traffic coming the other way which is normal for larger vehicles. It's a fantastic drive but make sure you are at the tunnel before 8pm or you won't be allowed through until 8am the following morning.

    Between Zion and Tonopah you will drive the 'ET highway' (NV375) where you will pass the The Little A'le'Inn which is worth a quick stop for a refreshment and to look at the 'other worldly' photos all over the walls. Where NV375 meets US6 you will see some derelict buildings immediately you turn left, which is known as Warm Springs. It's quite a cool place to stretch the legs for 20 mins or so and have a look around. You can see the old stage post coral, an old generator room, old car wrecks and a man made hot tub/pool. If you walk up the hill following the sulphur trail a little way you will come to a natural hot spring bubbling out from the mountain that feeds the pool below. If you see some dust being kicked up in the distance it will likely be the Area 51 guards patrolling the area.

    As for the RV, driving is quite straight forward, just give yourself time to adjust to the extra weight and size. You will soon adapt and be much more sensitive with steering and braking input etc. The back is wider then the front with a slightly wider wheel base so you have to park alongside a large kerb carefully and you need to remember you have an overhang at the back. So when pulling away from fuel pumps, parked cars by your side etc, steer out cautiously to avoid the back swinging out and catching something. While on single lane roads, especially slow twisty ones keep an eye on the traffic behind. If you are holding up traffic try and find a pull out and let them by rather than hold them up, you will be rewarded with a friendly toot of the horn and a wave and it takes the pressure off.

    Oh yeah, nearly forget. At the first park you visit purchase an annual pass for $80 at the kiosk, visiting GC, Zion and Yosemite individually will cost $100 and it saves the trouble of digging around for money at each entry point.

  7. Default

    Good list Dave! I have contacted Watchman and will be going for Pines in Yosemite as you suggested. The stops en route and ET highway sound great so we’ll look into that, I need to stop for breaks so it’s great to have some good options.

    I’m sorted on the America the Beautiful Pass, I’ll order it online just before I go, just in case I go again within the year.

    As for the RV driving, I’m not thinking about it too much at the moment but I might try to find a way to get some practice in a big vehicle here before I go.

    We did watch RV last night and laughed a lot, I hope we don’t have the same experience although it all worked out in the end....ah!

    I have to ask, are you in the Southwest of England or is the name because that’s where you like to tour when in the States?

  8. #18
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    Purchase the pass at the first park you come to, no need to order it online and pay the shipping and handling fee.

    If you are traveling from Zion to Tonopah via the E.T, take I-15 south to NV-168 to US-93 north to NV-375. Alamo is the last fuel stop available until you get to Tonopah. The Little A'le'Inn has RV spots with water and electric for $20 if you want to stay there. No dump facilities.

  9. #19
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.


    I have to ask, are you in the Southwest of England or is the name because that’s where you like to tour when in the States?
    I am on the south coast in Sussex and love to tour the Southwest of both countries, although the US version covers a rather larger area and is responsible for my board name ! ;-)

  10. Default

    Hi everyone, So Christmas is out of the way and we are back to focussing on our trip and a few more questions have come up:

    - We are spending our first night in Vegas and then picking up the RV and heading to Trailer Village on the South Rim which will be at least a 5 hour drive and as it's my first day in an RV it could be slower. I've read a lot about the collection process and how detailed and slow it is and we also need to go to a supermarket after we have collected the RV. So unless we are on the road by between 1:00 and 2:00 (which looks very unlikely) I am concerned about driving to Trailer Village. So I am considering stopping somewhere like Willow Beach Campground for the first night and then getting up early on the next day and heading to the Rim. Does that sound sensible or should I just head all the way there on the first day?

    - We head on to Page Lake Powell Campground and should get there before lunch so we have the opportunity to do something that afternoon and the following morning before we move on to Zion. We have looked at the walking tour of Horseshoe Bend Slot Canyon and the kayak tour through the flooded portion of Antelope Canyon. We can't choose between them and might do both but I'm interested in whether anyone has experience of these or other tours.

    - After Zion we are stopping overnight in Tonopah Station en route to Yosemite. I spoke to them recently and they don't reserve RV pitches, it's on a first come first served basis. Being the summer, it could be busy and she said it will most likely bye full if we arrive after 2. So we will aim to be there by lunchtime but what options would we have if it's full? Can we just park up somewhere or is that illegal?

    - Presumably, in any site that has electric, we can run AC or fans at all times? In the non electric sites (Only Yosemite I think) we would be dependant on the generator but you can't use that during quiet periods. Does that make the RV unbearably warm overnight?

    Thanks so much for all the help so far!


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