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  1. #11


    I was going to echo was AZBuck said. You are biting off a lot in a short period. The driving in the mountains will tire you especially after constantly checking in and out of hotels. Going from SW Colorado then to the Dunes then CO springs then RMNP then Denver in a few days? If you have the energy to pull all of this off, good luck. I always think I can do it until I hit the wall. In 2019 I did a trip to Nebraska Sand Hills, Colorado (5 days), drove to the Black Hills area (5 more days), up to North Dakota for Teddy Roosevelt NP and after 14 days I was really tired so I decided to drive back home. Your trip is jam packed for sure.

    I love the Royal Gorge Scenic Railroad trip (3 hours). If you do it, do the Vista Dome car. The Royal Gorge park up at the top of the Gorge is not bad for the views but not essential. I like the Mollie Katherine Gold Mine tour (did it twice) in Cripple Creek. Pikes Peak is great. I do agree with you to avoid the longer drives and bite off smaller pieces. Unfortunately you have to change hotels to do that.

  2. #12


    Red Bull. Red Bull is your friend in these situations.

    That said... I have spoken with the family and suggested we could spend a little more time near the coast and an extra night at the place we stayed at in San Simeon last year (they loved it there!) and, strangely, their resistance to driving non-stop from coast to DV went away.

    On that same point it looks like I can rejig a little around the Grand Canyon - Monument Valley - Mesa Verde section too if the longer drives are no longer seen as such an evil. Will give us a full day available at Mesa Verde then to suit whatever tour we can (hopefully) secure during the day. Is there any experience on the different tours within MV here I wonder?

    I am interested on whether anyone has previously been to Telluride when one of the festivals has been on? Interested to hear whether it is makes it impossible to visit the town or just a little bit busier than usual?

    Thank you for the tip on the Mollie Katherine Gold Mine tour. I will check it out!

    Will amend the itinerary and post that up soon.

    Thank you for all the info and input so far!!

  3. #13


    Just for information - this is a trip that was done by a group from NY State (Scouts and adults, so youth 12-17.999, sometimes a few 18-21 year olds, and 4+ adults who were late 30's-60's) 4 times between 2000 & 2015 (every 0 or 5 ending year).

    In all cases, the first (Day 0 into 1) and last (Day 14 into 15) nights were spent in lodging (anywhere from a church to the airport floor one time when the flight got in quite late), the other nights were all camping in the various mentioned parks (2 Nights Sand Dunes, 2 Nights Black Canyon, 2 Nights Mesa Verde, 3 Nights Arches, 1 Night Colorado Monument, 3 Nights Rocky Mountain).

    Not to say that you are interested in any of that, just to show that these trips/distances can be done (by a large group, no less) and with the added difficulty of camping vs. hotel stays.

    The specific activities come from the 2015 trip (save the Day 1 Pikes Drive, it wasn't open that time as they went around 7/4 and there is a race around that time), those did vary from time to time.

    Start Denver (or nearby, such as Aurora) having flown in on Day 0.
    Day 1 – Drive to Great Sand Dunes NP (270mi), sometimes with drive up Pikes Peak when available (may change distance).
    Day 2 – Hikes in Dunes and Visitor Center
    Day 3 – Drive to Black Canyon NP (200mi), visitor Center and tour stops
    Day 4 – Hike Black Canyon
    Day 5 – Drive to Mesa Verde NP via Ouray and Silverton(120 mi), gold mine tour
    Day 6 – Hike to Cliff Dwellings, Visitor Center
    Day 7 – Laundry/Showers, Drive to Arches NP (160 Mi)– Visitor Center & Tour Stops
    Day 8 – Hiking Fiery Furnace, Landscape, Dark Angel
    Day 9 – AM Rafting on Colorado River, PM Drive to Dead Horse Point/Mineral Collecting/Dino tracks
    Day 10 – Hike to Delicate Arch (AM), Drive to Colorado National Monument (60 Mi)
    Day 11 – Drive to Rocky Mountain NP (270 Mi)
    Day 12 – Hike Flattop Mtn. with option for other hikes
    Day 13 – Drive Old Road, tour stops, Visitor Center
    Day 14 – Hike Long’s Peak (or try to – often still enough ice that you can’t go all the way to the top without ice climber gear). Drive back to Aurora (70 Mi).
    Day 15 – Drive to Denver, fly home.

  4. #14
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default a logistical triumph!

    Quote Originally Posted by BillyGr View Post
    Not to say that you are interested in any of that, just to show that these trips/distances can be done (by a large group, no less) and with the added difficulty of camping vs. hotel stays.
    Whoa! That looks like a logistical triumph! I bet all of adults slept REALLY, REALLY, well each night.

    Thanks for sharing!


  5. #15
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default Nothing flying anymore in Star Wars Canyon

    Quote Originally Posted by UKCraig View Post

    Friday 2nd August – Day 6:
    Continue drive to Death Valley NP via 395 north to 190
    Father Crowleys Overlook – watch for planes on Rainbow Canyon
    Overnight accommodation booked: Furnace Creek Ranch Cabin
    Craig, I think you are referring to "Star Wars Canyon?" You won't see any naval aircraft or anything else (except for the daily helicopter safety bird) flying near Father Crowley's Point after the crash in 2019--A jet fighter crashed -- killing the pilot and injured several visitors who were filming the flyovers. Since that unfortunate event, all such flights have been banned.


  6. #16
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default 8-10 hours is not out of the question

    Quote Originally Posted by UKCraig View Post
    What, would you say, is a realistic timeframe from the Fishermans Wharf area of San Francisco to somewhere in the San Luis Obispo are via the PCH? We'd want to stop at a couple of state parks along the way plus the obligatory pull offs for photos. I am not sure that is a comfortable drive in a single day? If it is then perhaps a change is on the cards there.

    I would echo some of Buck's thoughts about the busyness of the planned trip. Cutting out sections of the trip and saving them for another time seems prudent to me. These days, Megan and I rarely drive more than four hours on a road trip when we can pull that off. Sometimes, we have to push that to 6-8 hours when we "absolutely" must get someplace.

    I recently drove San Francisco down PCH -- it is a slow-going. As a rule of thumb -- you should allow an average speed of 35 mph. Perhaps even slower when you factor in the pull-outs for photos. (This is assuming that you drive at the just the beyond the posted speed limits when you are able to maintain any speed.)

    So, a trip from San Francisco to San Luis Obispo could easily take 8-10 hours if you stayed on PCH.


  7. #17


    You're welcome : )

    I'm sure they did (or at least tried to, we all know how well sleeping doesn't always work in a tent).

    Though you do have to also remember that, as part of the program, the youth are doing a fair amount of the work (aside from driving, obviously).

    So, the adults would be doing the activities, but once back to a camp setting, they are primarily setting up their own stuff, while the youth are doing the cooking/cleaning and setting up needed group stuff.

    It also helps that the group in question did trips frequently, hiking many times with many of those using full backpacks, and offered those going on these trips special meetings to build up with exercises and such (even doing laps of a track while only breathing through a drinking straw to help simulate the lower oxygen of higher elevations).

    Plus, that one of the adults (who could qualify the group for entry under one of those senior passes for the parks by the final trip) who would, when the group did summer camp about a 45-minute drive from home, often ride there (and home) on his bike one day just for fun ;).

  8. #18
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default Alternative imagining of this road trip adventure

    Quote Originally Posted by UKCraig View Post
    So a couple of weeks ago I was looking at flights and inadvertently managed to press the wrong button.
    Craig, been thinking ab out this trip a bit more.

    Bookings made aside, it seems that you might wish to think a bit more about quality of time spent on the trip and less about wracking up the miles.

    With 24 days at your disposal -- perhaps a loop trip beginning and ending in Denver makes more sense. Allowing you and your family more time at some of the attractions in Arizona and Colorado. Since you have booked airfare to San Francisco--maybe one or two days there and then fly to your next road trip area?

    Some realities of the timing of this trip:

    90% chance of heavy fog all along PCH this time of year.
    In the summer months, the central valleys of California exceed 100 degrees F and when that hot air hits the ocean -- heavy fog is the result. It usually clears off by 2pm most days.

    Death Valley NP in August is fine for drive-through -- but attempting to visit all of those places in the heat of the day will not be ideal. Spending time in the pool makes more sense.

    Your kids hoped-for beach time, might be better served by flying to Orange County and just doing that for a couple of days.

    Most of the places you are talking about in Utah & Arizona are going to be hot too. You can certainly do them -- but you need to think about providing plenty of time to cool down at area motels in the pools --to avoid over-stressing your family.

    I would skip Death Valley and Las Vegas -- travel that distance by air if you are set on flying to San Francisco.

    I love road trips but the schedule you have laid out while possible --doesn't sound all that fun for your kids.

    But a loop trip around Utah, Arizona and Colorado seems much more like a memorable road trip full of promise and future memories.


  9. #19


    Thank you all very much for the input; lots to think about indeed!

    The problem I have with flying is that the kids want to see everything they missed out on last year (predominantly Death Valley & Grand Canyon) and this kinda got tacked on to the idea of the Colorado trip with the knowledge that this is likely to be the last time we take this sort of holiday due to a) the insane cost of flights and accommodation these days and b) they are getting to the age that they will want to do their own thing rather than going on holiday with us.

    Originally the idea was to fly to Vegas, spend a day or so with Kristina's family settling in and then drive to Death Valley before backtracking and proceeding on with the trip largely 'as is'. We allowed 3 weeks for this but, when it came down to booking flights, it was actually cheaper to extend the trip by another 3 days and fly out/back to/from differing airports. With this in mind - right or wrong - we extended the trip to what we have now.

    I will certainly look at things again and talk it through with everyone but I suspect that it will be hard to persuade them to drop their expectations of what they want to see so I expect to retain a relatively fast-paced trip of some sort coupled with a good percentage of stays being for multiple nights and, additionally, the option to skip certain destinations or re-route as necessary if and when people become tired and need to slow down.

    I understand about the climate however, sadly, without incurring the wrath of the local education authority, I am limited to those dates so I have to mitigate the situation as much as possible and I am under strict instruction to ensure that those stops have a pool wherever it is possible for them to do so. Obviously not always possible (eg Grand Canyon unless staying outside the park) but these things certainly make a difference in the summer months.

    As I say, definitely a lot to think about and we will talk it all through again for certain. I suspect that, if anything goes, it will be the places that I would like to visit rather than the places the kids want to see and that is as it should be as this is supposed to be for them whilst our reward comes watching them (hopefully) enjoy the new sights and experiences around them.

  10. #20
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default Missing you (again) in Las Vegas?

    A few more things to consider.

    Because of that valley heating issue -- you will need to be dressed for cooler weather in San Francisco. Daytime average temps are 14-C in August (foggy) with valley temps in the high 30's.

    If San Francisco is a must-go (air flights) you can still drive to southern California -- but I would take the fastest possible routes. Spend a couple of days at the beach. Venice Beach is pretty fun. I have lots of favorite places along the California coast between San Francisco and LA but I think you would still be wisest to use that driving time in Arizona, Utah and Colorado.

    From LA -- if you use I-15 -- stop for lunch at Peggy Sue's near Yermo -- and the Calico Ghost Town is also a fun stop.

    Bypassing Death Valley and Las Vegas -- you could drive the old US 66 and drive through Oatman.
    And don't forget we published an awesome book about road trip drives in Arizona & New Mexico.

    And then plan on spending two nights or so at the remaining overnight locations so you can have fun driving and still spending some time walking and exploring the areas you are driving through.

    I would be sorry to miss you (again) in Las Vegas -- but making the trip fun for everyone seems like a notable priority.

    I understand the stated preferences of your kids -- but they don't (probably) remember the reality of packing and unpacking every day.

    I did a 31 day trip from Las Vegas to Saskatchewan & back last June -- 7567 Km -- But I am used to extended drives and I like to drive -- being a passenger that long would be not as ideal.

    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 01-04-2024 at 05:40 AM. Reason: typo on the distance

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