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Old 04-14-2016, 06:25 AM   #15
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Did this twice so far and had a great time every time. NJ to Cal. GO FOR IT!!! Your going to get a lot opinions and ya know what they say about opinions. I never made any reservations more then a day in advance, reason?? How about ya want to stay in one spot longer or some sort of a breakdown what do you do about all your reservations?? Fuel?? It's a lot cheaper then when I did it. If there worried about gas/diesel price don't/why go. Pass Port America was great. Wallie world camp ground too. National Park pass a must. The second trip I took my grand kids and there teacher parents. The youngest grand kid was 3 then 6 and 8 they still talk about it and want to know when were going again. So off ya go and I'am jealous.
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Old 04-14-2016, 07:21 AM   #16
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Didn't see mention as to which Class A you've bought, size makes a big difference. Smaller ones are a snap to get into BLM's, National Parks, State Parks, etc. Big DP's take a bit more planning. You have a number of excellent suggestions, I'd second Mesa Verde, the Durango area and take a car up to Ouray, the Million Dollar Highway (550) is gorgeous, and if you get to the Utah NP's (Moab is a popular destination to launch from for Arches and Canyonlands NP's) and from Zion it's easy to get to the CG North Rim. You're probably going to run out of time but squeeze in Glacier NP if you can get to Yellowstone, it's our favorite park. You might want to plan a future trip for the northern parks and then you can work in the gorgeous Pacific Northwest.
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Old 04-14-2016, 07:39 AM   #17
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Didn't see mention as to which Class A you've bought, size makes a big difference. Smaller ones are a snap to get into BLM's, National Parks, State Parks, etc. Big DP's take a bit more planning. You have a number of excellent suggestions, I'd second Mesa Verde, the Durango area and take a car up to Ouray, the Million Dollar Highway (550) is gorgeous, and if you get to the Utah NP's (Moab is a popular destination to launch from for Arches and Canyonlands NP's) and from Zion it's easy to get to the CG North Rim. You're probably going to run out of time but squeeze in Glacier NP if you can get to Yellowstone, it's our favorite park. You might want to plan a future trip for the northern parks and then you can work in the gorgeous Pacific Northwest.
Yes that is something I am concerned about too! We have a Holiday Rambler, class A, 37'. BIG. And I know that we will be restricted from some campgrounds.

But thanks for the info - I will make a note of all of this!! I actually wanted to get to the Pacific coast on this trip, but we realized it wasn't doable. If this works out - maybe next year!
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Old 04-14-2016, 07:43 AM   #18
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Did this twice so far and had a great time every time. NJ to Cal. GO FOR IT!!! Your going to get a lot opinions and ya know what they say about opinions. I never made any reservations more then a day in advance, reason?? How about ya want to stay in one spot longer or some sort of a breakdown what do you do about all your reservations?? Fuel?? It's a lot cheaper then when I did it. If there worried about gas/diesel price don't/why go. Pass Port America was great. Wallie world camp ground too. National Park pass a must. The second trip I took my grand kids and there teacher parents. The youngest grand kid was 3 then 6 and 8 they still talk about it and want to know when were going again. So off ya go and I'am jealous.
That is exactly why we hesitate to plan TOO much or make reservations. We have no idea what we may love and want to spend more time at - and what we will decide we don't like so much and just want to keep on going.

My thoughts are - we have never done anything like this it is a huge learned experience, and I feel like it is impossible to plan that much right now. But next time? It would probably be a whole new ball game.

I almost feel like we should be planning now....and do the trip NEXT year. But the whole point was to seize the moment! My husband is a teacher and has this summer off. But will anything happen and suddenly he needs to get a job in the summer? Or will something happen to one of us? Or our kids? We keep hearing these horrible stories when friends get a cancer diagnosis at age 38. Or a husband suddenly dies at 45. You just never know and if we wait and plan too much, it may never happen.
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Old 04-14-2016, 08:12 AM   #19
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You will be in a hurry. If you can do this several years in a row, like others, I suggest you concentrate on one area at a time.

If this is a once in a lifetime shot, like we did last year, here is our itinerary:

We had plenty of time to bike ride, hike and see many sights. We visited at least one visitor center of every NP listed here:

I have inserted some notes in red. We pretty much stuck to our plan, didn't miss any reservations and juggled our trip around a little bit.

I. Day 1 (Friday, June 19)
A. Depart home after work
1. 5 hours driving
2. Overnight spots mapped near OH/IN state line
II. Day 2 (Saturday, June 20)
A. Travel to near Salina, KS (10.5 hours)
1. Most campgrounds near Salina
2. If making good time, fewer campgrounds near Russell, KS
III. Day 3 (Sunday, June 21)
A. Travel to Colorado/Utah (11 to Moab)
1. Overnight stops mapped around Denver (Made it to Frisco and stayed at NF CG at the lake there.)
2. Colorado Welcome Center (East West access dump station)
3. If good progress, may be able to make it to Utah/Moab
a) Call ahead for early arrival at Portal
b) Also Goose Island CG along river near town
IV. Day 4 (Monday, June 22)
A. Travel to Moab or 1st day (depending upon progress) 1. PortalRVResort(Reserved)
B. Activities
1. MoabVisitorsCenter
2. Chill around town
3. Negro Bill Canyon short hike close with Rainbow Arch
4. Arches NP is close enough to make short trip there
5. Possible Mountain Bike trip (Easy ratings)
a) Rusty Spur Trail (1.5miles)
b) Chuck Wagon Trail (.4 miles)
c) Lazy/EZTrails(1.5/1.25Miles)
V. Day 5 (Tuesday, June 23)
A. Arches NP all day 1. Best morning spots
2.
a) Devil’sGarden
b) Landscape Arch (best at sunrise)
c) Primitive loop to Double O Arch
(1) 7.5 miles to complete entire loop
(2) can explore fins and smaller arches part of the way
Midday stuff
a. Close enough to town could go back for break
b. Or 4.5 hours to drive every road and stop at all viewpoints
VI. Day 6 (Wednesday, June 24)
A. Long Canyon Road Trip (map lists 3:10 driving time) 1. Part highway and partial 4x4 off-road drive (“Easy”)
a) Bull Canyon to below Gemini Bridges (double arch)
b) Gemini Bridges Road and Arch
c) CanyonlandsNationalPark
d) Island in the Sky Visitor Center
e) Dead Horse Point State Park
f) Long Canyon Trail
g) Jug Handle Arch
h) dinosaur tracks and petroglyphs
VII. Day 7 (Thursday, June 25)
A. Morning
1. Moab
2. Arches or
3. somewhere close or on the way to Bryce
B. Travel to Bryce Canyon
1. 4.5 hours by interstate
2. 5.5 by scenic but good highway Took the scenic route -thru Capital Reef
3. Campground reserved Ruby’s Inn RV Park & Campground****
a) Dinner at cowboy theatre show at Ruby’s InnDidn't do.
b) Evening hike
c) SunsetviewatBryce
VIII. Day 8 (Friday, June 26)
1. Bryce Canyon hike the Hoodoos
2. Horseback tour possible thru Ruby’s Inn Did this Saturday before travel, left RV in shuttle bus lot
a) Minnie’S favorite -1.5 hour @ $65 b) Half Day (3 hours) @ $85
IX. Day 9 (Saturday, June 27)
X.
A. Morning in Bryce area
B. Travel to Zion (2 hours to park little over 1 to CG)
C. Campground: Bauers Canyon Ranch RV Park reserved
1. Zion Afternoon/Evening (51 min. CG to Visitor Center)
2. Canyon Rim Overlook Trail closer
Day 10 (Sunday, June 28)
A. The Narrows Hike (water level permitting)If your kids can handle this, go for it really cool. starts at:
1. Zion Visitors Center
2. Parking
3. Shuttle to Zion Valley
4. Hidden Canyon on way back if anything left
Day 11 (Monday, June 29)
A. To near Page, AZ
1. Antelope Canyon (slot canyon)(best mid day!)
2. HorseshoeBend
3. Visitors Center Glen Canyon Dam
4. Travel to Monument Valley, Gouldings CG reservedWe would do this a a drive thru, if do-over possible, should have stayed near Grand Canyon-even though wife and I both been GC before
XI.
XII. Day 12 (Tuesday, June 30)
A. Morning in Monument Valley driving tour
B. another night Gouldings early morning again for travel
XIII. Day 13 (Wednesday, July 1) A. Grand Canyon in morning
B. Travel to Kingman, AZ near Woody’s (4 hours) or
1. Lake Havasu (slight detour from route)Skipped
2. Needles
a) DesertViewRVResort
b) Needles KOA

XIV. Day 14 (Thursday, July 2)
A. to San Onofre
1. Joshua Tree NP on way
2. Lake Havasu if not overnight
B. Beach evening, sunset over Pacific!
XV. Day 15 (Friday, July 3)
A. Beach, Hollywood, Disneyland or bike ride on cliff above oceanDid Disneyland this day and the following day before wedding
XVI. Day 16 (Saturday, July 4)
A. Day free -beach or bike ride, shop supplies/laundry
B. To Casino San Clemente for Wedding (5pm)
XVII. Day 16 (Sunday, July 5)
A. End of East to West and off to Sequoia


Cross Country West to East
I. Day 16 (Sunday, July 5)
A. Depart San Onofre to Sequoia NP
1. Sequoia RV Ranch reserved (4.5 hrs from San Onofre)
a) Swimming Hole (no dogs allowed)
b) 8 miles from south entrance to Sequoia NP
II. Day 17 (Monday, July 6)
A. Tour Sequoia
1. Foothills Visitors Center near entrance
2. GiantForest
3. General Sherman Tree (1 hour from CG)
4. General Grant Tree and Grove (2 hours another route)
5. Giant Forest (1 hour from CG along same route as Sherman)
III. Day 18 (Tuesday, July 7) A. Morning at Sequoia
B. Leave for Yosemite 1pm(2hrs)
1. YosemiteRidgeResortCG reserved
a) 12 miles from west gate in Buck Meadows
b) Swimming hole nearby
c) Fishing
IV. Day 19 (Wednesday, July 8)
A. Tour Yosemite
1. Valley Visitor Center
2. Bike trail around valley
3. Cathedral Beach Picnic Area less visited place by river
4. Several short hikes to base of various falls
V. Day 20 (Thursday, July 9)
A. Need early start to do anything at SF
B. To Novato, RV Park (3. hours drive)Did Novato and Muir Woods first night there stayed an extra night to be in San Fran all day
1. Or Two first come CGs at Pillar Pont, Half Moon Bay a) Pillar Point RV Park
b) Pillar Point Harbor RV Parking Lot
2. Or Marin RV Park closer to SF and Muir Woods but less nice
C. If at Half Moon Bay hang there 1. active harbor with seafood
D. If at Novato RV/Marin -Muir Woods possible
VI. Day 21 (Friday, July 10)
A. San Francisco for a day
1. Cable Car Museum
2. Lombard St
3. FishermansWarf
4. Golden Gate NRA
5. MuirWoods
A. Overnight Novato or on the road
VII. Day 22 (Saturday, July 11)
A. Towards Hagerman, ID (10 hours)skipped Hagerman took main roads
1. MiracleHotSpringsResortRVsites
2. 1000 Springs Resort has RV sites**
3. Hagerman Fossil Beds Visitor Center
4. Hagerman Fossil Beds National Monument
VIII. Day 23 (Sunday, July 12)
IX.
X.
A. To Yellowstone Grizzly RV Park (4hr 45minutes) 1. Crators of the Moon Nat Mon. along route (2 hours) 2. EveningWestYellowstone
Day 24 (Monday, July13)
A. Yellowstone
1. Grand Prismatic Spring
2. Old Faithful
3. GrantVillage
Day 25 (Tuesday, July 14)
A. Yellowstone
1. Norris Geyser Basin
2. Mammoth Hot Springs Loop? maybeStayed extra day, went down to Jackson thru Yellowstone (all day trip, late night)
XI. Day 26 (Wednesday, July 15)
A. Travel Day to Devil’s Tower
1. Possible overnight Cody, Buffalo or Gillette (not all if interstate
XII. Day 27 (Thursday, July 16) A. Devils Tower
B. to Mount Rushmore (2 hours)(skipped most of this leg to do other things previously noted -did Mt Rushmore and Badlands loop Road then headed home)
C. Custer SP/SF-Needles Hwy or Wildlife Loop Rd D. Wall, SD (2 hours near badlands)
E. Overnight in Wall or Badlands at end of Loop Road
XIII. Day 28 (Friday, July 17)
A. Badlands along SD Route 240
B. and travel, next stops based upon leaving 2pm (21 hours drive)
XIV. Day 29 (Saturday, July 18)Travel Home XV. Day 30 (Sunday, July 19)Travel Home XVI. Day 31 (Monday, July 20)BACK to WORK
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Old 04-14-2016, 08:32 AM   #20
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First time going west!

I Find KOA's are primarily used as an overnight stop and during certain times fill up fast, like when the snowbirds are flying north or south in spring and fall. The majority of them seem to be close to railroad tracks, in fact my wife and I joke about them having been the CG's used when the railroads were built. We have stayed at many, they are close to the interstate, but if we are going to stay more than a night we will stay else where.

Although your kids are older, I would avoid the Wal-marts and rest areas, these should only be used as a place to sleep for a few hours, not stay and spend time outside the coach, too much traffic.

If you have the time come back east on US 2. It runs along the Canadian border and makes a beautiful trip. I try to avoid the interstate unless I have a schedule I need to keep. There are some really great stops, Medora, ND www.medora.com has a Pitchfork Steak Fondue, not to mention a musical that should NOT be missed. The COE campground at Fort Peck is one of the best in the country, lots of room between sites and plenty of nature.

Make reservations (if they take them) for any National Park you want to stay in, they book up FAST particularly on weekends and holidays. Likewise for state parks, although they are not quite as bad.

Two years ago we went to Alaska. We took a full month to get from Cape Cod, MA to Dawson Creek, AL, the start of the Alaska Highway. We did not have reservations, but we started early (Memorial day, before most schools were out for the summer). If you want to see the complete trip go towww.capecodtoalaska2014.com I have shown the route, where we stopped and the mileage each day as well as LOTS of pictures, it takes a while for them to download so be patient. It seemed the trip was rushed, but that may have been our anticipation.

On our convoluted route back from Alaska we stopped at Twin Pines CG in Lander, WY. That evening we sat around a campfire, beside a tee pee, talking to a local woman that was a Shoshone Indian, her family had always lived on the Wind River Range and she had some great stories!
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Old 04-14-2016, 09:02 AM   #21
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Our four kids were taken every summer on a big camping trip, using a SUV and a pop up most of the time. Your family will love the trip!

I second going to KOAs with kids. Yes, they are more expensive than some RV parks. But they are set up for kids. Usually the sites are a bit bigger, there is a nice playground, and they almost always have a pool (critical for kids IMHO). Get their value card for 10% off. I would recommend doing the southern parks as early as you can; southern Utah gets hot! You do not want to camp anywhere without AC with a handicapped child. Ruby's at Bryce is good, and there is a shuttle to take through the park. If you go to Moab, you can drive through Arches if you get there early, like by or before 8:00 am. You can also rent a car in Moab or take a tour. Many of the folks will be very accommodating for a handicapped family member. I would not recommend Zion in June; it is really hot. There are some nice RV parks right outside of town if you do decide to go. The shuttle is handicapped accessible and there is a nice walk along the Virgin River that is paved. Also note the Utah State Parks generally are completely reserved on weekends and frequently full on weekdays. There are some wonderful ones though.

For Colorado, Rocky Mountain National Park is my favorite. It has all the classics of the Rocky Mountains - snowy peaks, mountain lakes, lots of big animals, views to die for! It is crowded in Estes Park, but worth it. You are probably already too late to camp in the park itself, so just live with the crowds in Estes and head into the park each day. Get a reservation for the campgrounds in Estes. There are times in the summer they are completely full, particularly on weekends. Mesa Verde is wonderful, and there are a few opportunities for views that are handicapped accessible.

Montana is one of our favorites. Lots of campgrounds and views once you get away from the eastern plains. Wyoming is the same - stay west and enjoy the Chief Joseph and Beartooth Highways. Yellowstone is incredible, but get there early! The lines to get in can be horrific by 10:00 in the summer. Also remember the park is vast and the speed limit is low, plus there are traffic jams whenever wildlife gets close to the road. Lots of handicapped accessible places, but very limited parking for the RV; rent a car or take a tour. A side trip for the kids is the Museum of the Rockies in Bozeman - an incredible dinosaur museum.

We never thought Mount Rushmore was very impressive, and our kids were definitely "Blehhh". However they adored the Badlands, and it was one of the highlights of many trips. However the Badlands are really hot in the summer too. Just driving through gives you a great view, but if the kids want to release some energy it is great. There is a campground on the southern border of the park that we used to stay in. It had great cottonwood trees for shade. Bring your wallet to Wall Drug; lots of things for the kids.

You have probably figured out that a month isn't nearly long enough. You could easily spend a month in any of the states. Make sure you have reservations for the most popular spots and on weekends.
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Old 04-14-2016, 02:06 PM   #22
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After all the good advice remember this is YOUR TRIP! Take the advice, but plan the trip to see the things you and your family want to see. We are all different. Decide on the things that that are important to you, plan a route to get there without any more backtracking than absolutely necessary, and go. Recognizing you can't see it all in one month, set priorities (1-2-3 etc.) then see how routes to tie them together will flow. You may have to do this several times, but eventually it will come together. Then work on places to overnight. Some plan that to the Nth., others do not. We were always in the latter group and it always worked out for us. When traveling the interstates from point A to point B we usually stayed in rest areas to save time and money. Sometimes at a truck stop after getting fuel. Off the interstates it is a little more difficult, but we always found a place to overnight. If you want to go to the coast you can, it's just a matter of priorities. Plans can also be changed at any time.

I'm pretty low tech and for years (since the '70s) we've used a road atlas for planning. After computers were more widespread and programs like Mapquest became available I started using that along with the atlas. I'm sure there are better ways, but that has worked for us a long time. A GPS is also a handy device, but I've learned they are not 100 percent trustworthy. I do appreciate having one to know what lane I should be in when going through/around a large city in heavy traffic.

Once we determine what places we would like to see I usually look for ways to learn about them. I often go to the public library and find books, buy books, TV programs, learn from the computer, or now from this group. IMHO, learning about a place always makes the visit more interesting.

Best of luck!

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Old 04-14-2016, 02:13 PM   #23
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Don't be concerned with a 37' motorhome fitting in campgrounds. We had no issues with our 40' traveling constantly in it for 8 years of full-timing.

We've stayed in Yellowstone at Mammoth, Madison and Glacier Bay campgrounds.

We've stayed in Teton Nat'l Park at Gros Ventre and Colter Bay campgrounds.

We've stayed in Glacier at Apgar campground.

Zion at Watchman campground, Grand Canyon at Trailer Village in the park, Mesa Verde at Morefield campground (they also have about 12 electric hookup sites), Rocky Mtn. at Moraine and Glacier View campgrounds.

We've stayed all along the Oregon coast in the state parks. Naturally, we've stayed at many more public campgrounds, including national forests.

...just wanted to let you know that you won't have a problem with your motorhome. It may take a little more research but it's doable.
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Old 04-14-2016, 02:23 PM   #24
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My suggestion being we've been out West several times is to take more time. You said the husband has the summer off, that's more than one month. You are going to be covering a lot of miles and with your plan not getting to really enjoy the experience of the West. I understand to cover as much as you can the first couple of days, not much to see and your excitement level will be in high gear. BUT seriously though when you hit Colorado start to back off the accelerator pedal and enjoy the scenery. Being it's going to be peak travel time I would most certainly make some reservations in the areas that you would like to stay longer and explore. I hope you enjoy your trip as I'm sure you will. If you've never been out there I can guarantee you there will be a lot of WOW moments. Be Safe and enjoy!

I strongly suggest you pick up a Mountain Directory (West) guide. It will give you guidance of the roads and what to expect on the passes you'll be traveling. There available on line and if you have a Camping World near by they normally have them. Also try Amazon.
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Old 04-14-2016, 02:51 PM   #25
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As Steve N Sal recommended, definitely get the 'Mountain Directory for Truckers and RVers'. It's an excellent resource for driving big rigs in the West. Even though we've traveled many of the roads over and over, whenever we do it again we use the publication to refresh our minds as to what's coming up.

We've found that purchasing it through Amazon is extremely expensive for some reason. Try a Camping World or online directly from the publisher for a much better price.
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Old 04-15-2016, 07:29 AM   #26
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My suggestion being we've been out West several times is to take more time. You said the husband has the summer off, that's more than one month. You are going to be covering a lot of miles and with your plan not getting to really enjoy the experience of the West. I understand to cover as much as you can the first couple of days, not much to see and your excitement level will be in high gear. BUT seriously though when you hit Colorado start to back off the accelerator pedal and enjoy the scenery. Being it's going to be peak travel time I would most certainly make some reservations in the areas that you would like to stay longer and explore. I hope you enjoy your trip as I'm sure you will. If you've never been out there I can guarantee you there will be a lot of WOW moments. Be Safe and enjoy!

I strongly suggest you pick up a Mountain Directory (West) guide. It will give you guidance of the roads and what to expect on the passes you'll be traveling. There available on line and if you have a Camping World near by they normally have them. Also try Amazon.
Thank you! I found the Mountain Directory for about $20 and bought it. I was actually looking for something like this so I do appreciate you mentioning it!!

I also appreciate everyone's information!!! You guys are all so awesome. Wow.

I do think it sounds like we are trying to accomplish too much in too little time. But I guess I should also qualify that our purpose of the trip isn't necessarily to tour ALL of those states and see ALL the attractions. Our main goal is just to BE in those states and travel through those states and, spend lots of time just relaxing at a campsite with, hopefully, some beautiful views. With our handicapped child, doing a lot of activities will be difficult. We definitely plan on taking our car out for some backroads drives - one of our favorite things to do when we are home too. But seeing all the landmarks, museums, etc etc? Not sure. I do not want this to be a trip that is so exhausting that I need another vacation just to relax!

I don't know if I am being unrealistic, but we'll see!

But I still do love hearing what everyone else did and where they went! It is getting me so excited!!!!!!
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Old 04-15-2016, 07:56 AM   #27
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OP you never stated if you have a toad (or did I miss this?) Reading your post gives me hives.. My dad (R.I.P.) loved to travel. We'd pack up the car (with TENT) on the roof and hit the road. I felt (as a kid) all we ever did on those trips was drive , arrive to campground way too late to enjoy any pool or activities, up at dawn and hit the road again. Yes we saw the great and wonderful sites out west but we were limited in our time. I'd really suggest if you're going somewhere, Yellowstone, plan some quality time there! Watch the original National Lampoon Vacation. Don't rush the trip, see what you can, make sure you don't drive, drive, drive. It's no joke to say the pool will be the thing your kids remember the most! Good luck, have fun, and make reservations around any popular travel destination!
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Old 04-15-2016, 10:04 AM   #28
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I think the region you're talking about is quite a bit for one month (not even counting Wyoming!, which is in between the states you mention). My suggestion would be to concentrate on either a northern or southern aspect. North being the Black Hills, Yellowstone, Grand Teton, Glacier, etc. South being Mesa Verde, Gunnison, Durango/Silverton, Zion, Bryce, etc.
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