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Old 10-28-2009, 11:51 AM   #1
Ike T's Avatar
1976 Argosy 24
-- , Georgia
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 559
Plan my trip -- Atlanta, GA to Monterey, CA

Just like the title says, I want you to plan my trip.

Actually, I'm looking for good suggestions for things to see/do along the way and advice on the best plan to minimize weather impacts.

Here are the particulars:
  • Travelling solo -- No family or animals
  • Between 10 and 15 days
  • Taking only what I can pack in our Jetta (tool/emergency kit, service manual, clothes, road bike w/rack, tent and cot, laptop, cooler, and maybe a camp stove)
  • Travel between January 15 and February 1
  • Avoid interstates if possible

Things that interest me:
  • Natural attractions
  • Military History
  • Free activities
  • Road biking
  • Hiking/Running

I thought I would make this trip in the summer or fall of this year, and I planned this general route (overnights in parks/forests or on federal installations):
  • US-78 to Birmingham, AL
  • US-82 to Texarkana, AR
  • TX State Roads to Greenville, TX
  • US-380 to Roswell, NM
  • US-70 to White Sands, NM
  • US-180 to Show Low, AZ
  • US and AZ State Highways to Klingman, AZ
  • US-93 to the Extraterrestrial Highway, NV
  • ET Highway to US-95
  • US-95 to Death Valley, CA
  • US-395 to Mono Lake, CA
  • CA-120 to Yosemite, CA
  • Yosemite, CA to Monterey, CA via Merced

I now think most (if not all) of my route should be planned further south to reduce the risk of weather-related delays. Unfortunately, my "Biking below the sea" ride through Death Valley and "The Aliens stole my sneakers" run along the ET Highway may not pan out.

I'll be referencing what I can find via search in the "Free or Cheap" threads for stopping points, but please post good info you might have anyway about places to camp.

I appreciate the help.



1976 24' Argosy
1973 International Harvester Travelette 1210 4x4 'Bernard' 164" WB
1997 Georgie Boy 30' SuperDuty v10
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Old 10-28-2009, 01:14 PM   #2
Rivet Master
2005 19' Safari
Phoenix , Arizona
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 2,359
Here's a couple of stops/detours you might want to consider:

* Carlsbad Caverns, NM
* Very Large Array, NM (SETI dish antennas in Contact and other movies)
* Karchner Caverns, AZ
* Indian Cliff Dwellings near Cortez, CO (can't remember name of NP)
* Monument Valley and many Indian sites nearby
* Meteor Crater & Petrified Forest (on I-40)
* Grand Canyon
* Zion NP (Bryce will probably be in snow)
* Joshua Tree National Forest (if you come across AZ & CA on I-10)
* Sequoia & Kings Canyon NPs (near Yosemite)
* Monterey Bay Aquarium & 17-mile drive (we like to stay in cottages in Pacific Grove, a suburb of Monterey, and the Monarch Butterfly Inn has butterflies part of the winter)

Note: Death Valley is remote and really not a through route. Very beautiful and good for hiking in the winter (dang hot in the summer, 115-120+). You may want to save this for a separate vacation, as one or two days isn't enough to see everything.

There's more to see near White Sands than you'd think. Don't miss the Missile & Space Museum and I-Max in Alamagordo. There's a missile display at the entrance to White Sands Air Force base. And, while you can't camp at White Sands National Monument, you'll want to stay more than an hour or two. The gypsum crystal sand is really pretty, and the area will draw you in, especially if you like hiking.

Lots nice places to see, but you are covering a lot of ground. You might want to pick a couple of key areas to spend more time at, and not drive every day.

By the way, you may want to stay south; because if you don't stay on Interstates, some of the roads are pretty remote and could be rough driving in bad weather, especially snow.

Hope you have a good trip...

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Old 10-28-2009, 02:03 PM   #3
Rivet Master
2005 19' Safari
Phoenix , Arizona
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 2,359
The National Park near Cortez Colorado is Mesa Verde.
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Old 10-28-2009, 02:23 PM   #4
3 Rivet Member
2007 25' International CCD FB
Holladay , Utah
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 196
Originally Posted by Ike T View Post
  • CA-120 to Yosemite, CA
  • Yosemite, CA to Monterey, CA via Merced

You might want to check if CA-120 is open in the winter. I don't think you can get to Yosemite from US 395 without going through Donner Pass, or perhaps I-50 in Carson City. Its been a few years since I tried, however, and California's big budget deficit may be caused by plowing CA-120 in the winter.
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