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Old 01-04-2009, 09:05 AM   #15
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North Fort Myers , Florida
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That is alot of information!!!! Thank you so much for taking the time to put that together. There are alot of great ideas that you all ahve given us!! Thank you so much!! Dave

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Old 01-04-2009, 09:15 AM   #16
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If you have time... stop by Lake Tahoe (in between your Yosemite and Sequoia stops). It is a beautiful place with tons of great camping and we may even have courtesy parking if Roman ever finishes the site next door

Come visit my Airstream Web-Log at:

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South Lake Tahoe, California
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Old 01-04-2009, 09:44 AM   #17
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And don't forget eubank's RV campground in Angel Fire.

There are scores and scores of shops and galleries in Santa Fe. Many of the most exclusive ones are just east of the plaza—I think it's Canyon Rd. (eubank probably knows the right name—we've been there so many times, I just drive around and recognize the streets). You can go into galleries where older Navajo rugs can be bought for tens of thousands of dollars. My favorite, if just because the people there are nice, and they are honest, is River Trading Post. For starters, just walk around the plaza area. Bring lots of quarters because you'll need them for parking and street parking is sometimes very difficult. Go to a museum or two—you'll come back another time for more. Then go to Canyon Rd. (it's on the south side of the Santa Fe River) or whatever it's named and walk a mile or so to see what you can't afford, and maybe find a bargain. Down by the old railroad station is another area to look around. There are a couple of good places to eat there—one's a cafe with much art deco inside (my wife remembers all the names of these things) and closer to the RR station is a very popular Mexican food place (Tomaso?). You could spend all your time in Santa Fe, take a trip to Taos (campground just south of town on right is the best one), go up to Ojo Caliente for the hot springs, drive through the mountains and see eubank.

So far as campgrounds, we use Woodall's and AAA campground books. It depends what you want. WiFi is important to me, but paying extra for it isn't. Narrow spaces, not good. Some places are so small my wife has run into awning supports and slide outs. High prices, bad. Cable TV with news channels, good. We just compare the ratings, amenities and hope for the best. You've probably done all this. When it feels like we may have trouble getting a space—we make reservations, though a surprising number of RV places do not answer their phones. In Santa Fe we stayed at a very old campground that was attractive (lots of piņon trees), but in the dark we had trouble finding our space, one of those trees left a scratch running down the side of the trailer and the sewer was so high it was hard to get stuff to flow into it. Next time we'll go to the new place just south of I-25. The next time will always be better.

In Arizona, there's also Petrified Forest NP—some great colors, interesting petrified wood (not wood anymore, mineral deposits replaced the wood fiber over millions of years) There's a classic old Santa Fe railroad hotel, La Posada, in Winslow designed by the first woman architect, Mary Colter. Worth looking at and has the best restaurant in town. Flagstaff has an interesting old town with some good restaurants (not a place to tow a trailer around). Note—stay away from RV camgrounds right next to the railroad in Flagstaff and Gallup and probably elsewhere along the I 40 corridor—it's very busy and noisy). Kingman has a Route 66 museum. Take the old 66 through Arizona and see what it used to be like. I-40 is very busy and you'll need a relief from it. Oatman is a very strange old mining town in western Arizona along 66 and don't hit a donkey.

I haven't even started on Colorado.

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Old 01-04-2009, 10:29 AM   #18
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Los Lunas , New Mexico
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Man, just reading this stuff gives me a major stomachache! We're soooo in need of a break, and here we are, snowbound in Angel Fire!

WBCCI 21043
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Old 01-04-2009, 12:04 PM   #19
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Evergreen , Colorado
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Lynn is giving you good advise, he and his wife know this part of the west very well.
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Old 01-04-2009, 12:30 PM   #20
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Lynn, did you ever get everything plowed out? Do we need to send search and rescue? The weather map looked like more was at your door.

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Old 01-04-2009, 01:09 PM   #21
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Only sort of. We've got the roads plowed to about 30 yards into the park and have two sites at the front free, one of which is used for the truck and tractor. Maria's little car is just stuck out there, along with the Airstream. I don't figure we'll be able to dig out to the house; it's just going to have to melt, probably some time in March, if we're lucky.

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Old 01-04-2009, 03:25 PM   #22
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Grand Island , Nebraska
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Very interesting responses. As one who has lived his entire lifetime in the west (Colorado native, school in Wyoming, 30 years in Nebraska, 19 years in Idaho--boy, I must be older than I thought) I will tell you that many easterners and/or visitors from abroad don't fathom how vast are our states. Even leaving Texas out of the mix, most of our states have counties that are as big or bigger than some eastern states. While you can chart the distances on a map, the map doesn't give a true picture of how crooked a mountain road is, how steep are the inclines, etc. In the case of California travel, traffic congestion needs to be factored in as well. I echo those who advise a smaller chunk of territory, selected carefully, and enjoyed to its limit.

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Old 02-27-2009, 10:11 PM   #23
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Brandon , Florida
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I live in Florida and go out West every summer. To be very blunt, your planned trip via I-10 to Sad Diego then up to San Fran and back is way too ambitious. You will never see anything but the highway. I would recommend going to Santa Fe, NM as a starting point, up to Taos, then Pagosa Springs, then Durango, stop at Mesa Verde, then on to Southern Utah for the North Rim and the Utah State parks, north to Salt Lake City, hit Moab, and back through Colorado; Black Canyon of the Gunnison, Ouray, and pick a route and head back home. This is an incredible route with great sites and not nearly as ambitious.
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Old 02-28-2009, 12:54 AM   #24
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Yreka , California
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As a life long Californian... much of the advice here is very accurate. You will be exhausted once you get to the west coast! Be prepared for California fuel prices... Yosemite is doable in the summer, but you might make reservations at one of the camping areas outside of the park ~ they are anywhere from 1 hour to 1 1/2 hour drive away and day visit. It is very crowded in the summer. San Francisco is delightful, but not RV friendly. Nearest RV parks are about 45 min drive into town. Don't even think of driving your trailer in SF proper... hills are steep and some roads all stop signs are at the top of the hill... absolutely no parking even for a motorcycle much less a trailer and tow vehicle. We have driven thru SF, but we are familiar with the roads and how to get in and out of the city without disaster.

Things to think about... the summer and the southern route are very hot... Driving in California from San Diego to SF and to Yosemite.... you will only be able to travel on the most horrid roads. If you want to travel the coast highway, it will take days just to get from San Diego to SF... Consider going from say Las Vegas area up Hwy 395 to Yosemite (the back route in Yosemite over Tioga Pass is very steep, however at least 7% grade or better) 395 is a nice road with areas to camp.

As far as camping places... what kind of accommodations are you looking for? Cheapie? Full hook ups? National Forest Type campgrounds? The west has wonderful National Forest Campgrounds but usually no hookups and sometimes no water, and dump stations are iffy... Let us know what you like and we can post some of our favorites.

Sounds like a fun trip, hope this post didn't sound icky... just a long way to go in a short time.

Mrs. NorCal Bambi traveling in S Tardis ~ from the Great State of Jefferson
My blogs: Yreka History
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Old 02-28-2009, 08:11 AM   #25
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I second CaddyGrn's comments.

Coastal Highway 1 is beautiful, but it's like mountain driving with narrow, winding roads. It's a long, slow drive, especially towing a trailer; and in the summer, it'll be crowded. In fact, most of the National Parks (like Yosemite) will be packed; and it may be too late for reservations. We usually do road trips in California in the spring and fall, when the kids are in school, to avoid the crowds.

Most of the southwest (New Mexico, Arizona, southern California, Nevada, southern Utah) is desert, so it'll be hot. Here in Arizona, expect daytime temperatures to be 105-110+, with nights in the 90-100 range; so you may want to plan on staying in campgrounds with electrical hookups for the A/C. (By the way we love Beaudry RV Resort in Tucson, right off of I-10).

In the summer, we usually head for the Rockies to escape the heat. There's lots to see, and it isn't as crowded as California in the peak tourist season. Also, for us Arizonans that are used to camping in the open spaces, many of California's National Park and state campgrounds are like parking in the Safeway parking lot on Saturday morning. No offense meant to Californian's, who have some of the most beautiful outdoor experiences in the US; but it's just too crowded for us in the peak season.

If you come out west on I-10, Carlsbad Caverns is very interesting, but it'll be hot in the summer (cool in the cave, though). Fortunately, there are some nice campgrounds with hookups within an hour or so of the Caverns (none on site), and Ruidoso and Cloudcroft are only a little bit further; and they are in the mountains.

If you want to send me a PM offline, I'll send you a PDF of our trip to Colorado last summer.

As others have stated, the southwest is big (even after you get across Texas); so you'll have more fun if you drive to a general area and then explore within a couple of hundred miles of that, instead spending your whole vacation behind the wheel. There's lots to see out here. Check out www.nps.gov for ideas.

By the way, there are warnings about travel in border cities near El Paso, Nogales, etc. Mexican drug wars are escalating, and I would recommend avoiding those areas for the next few months.
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Old 03-01-2009, 09:03 AM   #26
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Dillon , Colorado
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I have to agree that you may want to focus on a tighter loop for your trip. When I think back to our trips out west while living in the South we did stretch ourselves very thin. I'd push a lot more miles per day then I'd recommend just to get past Texas in 2 days on our way to Colorado, or Az.

If you've never checked the area out I think I'd recommend going first through Southern Utah while the temps are perfect in early May. You could swing up to Bryce, Arches, and then Mesa Verde following a loop to include Durango, Silverton, and Telluride on your way to Rocky Mountain national park before returning. However I doubt if Trail ridge road in RMNP is open until later in May. You might also see the S. Utah parks, then head to the Grand Canyon before returning. What I like about the first trip is that it gives some variety of Eco systems versus only seeing the desert climate parks. If you wanted to focus on just one great location Yellowstone is awesome but it's so large and far away that it's all you could get in for one trip. The parks are busy in the summer, but you'll find it easier in early May then you would in June since most schools aren't out for the summer yet. You're on such a tight schedule that I'd recommend reservations as soon as possible for many of the parks like Arches which has only 1 small campground. I booked my site in Arches for May several weeks ago.

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Old 03-01-2009, 11:20 AM   #27
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On the way back, don't forget to stop in Missouri to visit some of the 6,000 caves, some of which were used by Jesse James. It will be a nice respite from the heat.

Ha Ha Tonka is also one of my new favorite state parks. There is the skeleton of a huge mansion atop a sunken cave, (called a karsk) with a huge spring in the bottom that created a nice size lake. The view from up top is amazing.

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Old 03-01-2009, 11:56 AM   #28
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Similar Itinerary

We are leaving Florida on 9 May, heading West, but our trip will cover 30 days. I have spent the last six months planning this adventure.

Our route includes: Branson, Denver, Yellowstone, Bryce, Zion, Las Vegas, Williams, Carlsbad and San Antonio, and a leisurely drive home. Our longest leg of the trip is 455 miles (Carlsbad to San Antonio) and most driving days are in the 200-250 mile range. With the exception of Vegas, I did not include any driving day as part of our site-seeing plans.

About 70% of the reservations have been secured. I was concerned that we would be at Bryce Canyon on Memorial Day, so that reservation was the first one I made (two minutes after they were available online). I know the big MoHo guys are going to hate me for getting the large pull-thru site....but, you know what they say about "he who hesitates....."

I would think that a three-week trip to California, on I-10, is not going to be much fun or allow much time for enjoying the sites.

Whatever you decide.....it will be an adventure....try to relax and enjoy. Hope to see you on the road.


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