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Old 01-10-2008, 12:00 PM   #1
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Major summer trip!!

OK here goes. A few months ago I posted that we were thinking of going from RI to the Grand Canyon and you were all very helpful and encouraging. Well now the trip may be expanding. Here's what we're trying to accomplish, see the Grand Canyon, national parks in Utah like Bryce,Zion and Arches, anything else you all suggest while there and we have to loop past Nashville either on the way or on the way back to visit a college for our son. We have 30 days to do the trip and we don't want to rush. And to make it a little more challenging Donna would like to visit Sedona. Something about Oprah saying it was amazing. Well if Oprah says... Anyway we're looking for suggested routes, campgrounds etc. I'm also a little iffy on how much time is comfortably needed in each park. We like to hike and explore, drive park loops and I have to get some time on my bike out there{road pedal bike}. Well I think that's it. Please let us know what you think. We think it's one of those trip of a lifetime opportunities if we plan it right.
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Old 01-10-2008, 12:09 PM   #2
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IMO Oprah isn't a recomendation...but in this case she's right. We do like the Sedona area. It can be very busy during the summer with traffic on the 2 lane roads. You can get out of town a bit and explore, either off-road or on bike. Oak creek canyon is nearby and very pretty.
It's not too far south of Flagstaff, nice drive.
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Old 01-10-2008, 01:32 PM   #3
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hi ri'

30 days sadly isn't much time...

IF you really wanna enjoy a spot or 2 during the trip.

now if your idea of 'seeing places' is to just take a glance, that's different....

1. i'd suggest going to nashville first.

one day to get there, one day to visit schools and then start the great american vacation!

if you delay this bit, you'll be thinking about it the entire trip, and it will impact every other travel decision...

so just get it over with and travel.

2. then i'd haularse to your northern or southern most western point depending on seasons.

3. for example go to sedona/cottonwood and camp, ride and explore, take 5-6 days for the region.

4. then work your way around the canyon with 4-5 days at 2-3 locations max....

5. now it will be time to wander east taking a more northern route...

6. black hills, beaver country, the lakes and home...

the "20 sites in 30 days" trips aren't as fun IF you wanna be active, ride, hike or explore much on the trip.

just some ideas,

and have a great time planning!

cheers
2air'
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Old 01-10-2008, 04:16 PM   #4
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I'd say that in order to enjoy Sedona, you have to see it before the great parks such as Zion, Bryce, Capitol Reef, etc. Sedona is nice, but the scenery pales in comparison. Now if you have a large wallet and are not afraid of very expensive artsy-craftsy shops, then Sedona is your place.

As 2Airs suggests, be sure to pace yourself and don't tie yourself down too tightly.

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Old 01-10-2008, 04:40 PM   #5
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We do not want to spend the whole time running around. I guess I'm trying to figure out how much time is "fair" in each spot we want to visit to maximize our time but still enough time to get to the other spots. Make sense?? I mean is 2 days visiting Bryce enough, 2-3 days in Zion etc. We'd rather get the most out of less stops but what do you miss??? This is going to be more difficult than we thought......
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Old 01-11-2008, 11:05 AM   #6
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B&D,

I sense that you are trying to organize the whole trip ahead of time. I hope you don't. As an Eastern camper, I worry a little more about planning here because there are just so many more people everywhere. However, out West there is just more room and fewer travelers and I rarely make any reservations more than a day or two out, if at all. You may need to expand that for high traffic areas, such as Grand Canyon - but a week should work in any case.

You may want to stay flexible due to weather ahead. For example, Zion gets as hot as hades in the summer, and your idea of a good time might not include staying in your air conditioned trailer all day rather than hiking. So it would be good to be able to bail to Bryce, for example, because it is so high and always cooler.

If you can stand to be unstructured, I think you'll be rewarded.

Pat
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Old 01-11-2008, 11:26 AM   #7
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Pat makes some good points.

I would also say that you WILL NOT be able to see everything you want to see. I have travelled the western states several times and still have places that I would like to see.
In trying to see too much, I'm afraid that you'll reduce your overall enjoyment. My suggestion would be to focus a bit more closely on highly recommended areas.
You're right - it's not easy.
Dave
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Old 01-11-2008, 02:21 PM   #8
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Thanks Pat and Dave. Good points and I think that's exactly what I'm trying to do. I want to see all that I can at a pace that makes sense. Everythung we miss we'll have to go back. We don't need total structure but we don't want to just show up and then try to figure out where and when to go and wind up running around like we're lost. So somewhere between totally structured and totally lost is where we usually end up.
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Old 01-11-2008, 03:55 PM   #9
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You'll enjoy your trip very much just don't spread yourself to thin. Don't try to accomplish to many things. Leave plenty of time to relax and enjoy what you will be seeing.
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Old 01-11-2008, 06:06 PM   #10
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Yes, if you see too much, there won't be anything left for the next trip.

Joking aside, just choose a small area of the west and concentrate on it. There's WAAAAY too much to see and do out here.


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Old 01-11-2008, 08:32 PM   #11
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RI to the Grand Canyon

If you want to travel fast to save time for your destinations, then Interstate 70 might be of use.

Things start to get interesting just west of Denver. Arches & Moab are an easy side trip. There is a scenic (but no hookups) campground in Arches that I believe is first come first served. Check at the entrance gate for vacancies. If not, there are lots of campgrounds in and near Moab. Dead Horse Point State Park is my favorite but it is a long way from town. Arches takes a full day or two. It has terrific scenery many times better than Sedona in my opinion. Moab could take 3 days, one for a day or half day raft trip on the Colorado and one for 4WD exporation on the jeep trails & one for a mtn. bike ride. Moab is the mtn. biking capital of the country.

If you continue west on I-70 & I-15, you can pick up Bryce and Zion. Zion may be your most western point. On the way back, be sure to hit the Grand Canyon. I prefer the North Rim over the South. It is higher elevation, more vegetation and way fewer tourists. The only campground inside the park on the North Rim does need reservations far in advance. Be sure to make dinner reservations far in advance at the great Lodge right on the rim. The GC could take 2-3 days depending on how much hiking/biking you want to do. Don't forget to include a couple of talks by the park rangers.

Turning back east you have choices of Lees Ferry, Lake Powell and Antelope Canyon (a very narrow and often photographed slot canyon). The slot canyon would take a day. Lake Powell could take several days if you have deep pockets to rent a houseboat. Page, AZ has campgrounds. Then on to Mesa Verde which would take a day or two to see the ruins. There is a campground with hookups just inside Mesa Verde. In Durango, you could ride the narrow gage railroad into the mountains toward Silverton. This would be another full day. Continuing east, you could hit the public hot springs in Pagosa Springs. The last point of interest in "the West" might be Great Sand Dunes NP.

Have fun!
Jerry


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Originally Posted by RIstream'n
OK here goes. A few months ago I posted that we were thinking of going from RI to the Grand Canyon and you were all very helpful and encouraging. Well now the trip may be expanding. Here's what we're trying to accomplish, see the Grand Canyon, national parks in Utah like Bryce,Zion and Arches, anything else you all suggest while there and we have to loop past Nashville either on the way or on the way back to visit a college for our son. We have 30 days to do the trip and we don't want to rush. And to make it a little more challenging Donna would like to visit Sedona. Something about Oprah saying it was amazing. Well if Oprah says... Anyway we're looking for suggested routes, campgrounds etc. I'm also a little iffy on how much time is comfortably needed in each park. We like to hike and explore, drive park loops and I have to get some time on my bike out there{road pedal bike}. Well I think that's it. Please let us know what you think. We think it's one of those trip of a lifetime opportunities if we plan it right.
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Old 01-12-2008, 08:01 AM   #12
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Nice intinerary Jerry....Thanks for the suggestions
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