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Old 09-24-2017, 04:16 AM   #1
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Going out West, Where to Go & What to See

In Need of Advice & Recommendations;

"Newbies" here, we're seeking advice from fellow RV'ers' on places to go & see in Western / Northwestern States.

Some Background;

Being from the Southern State of Louisiana, and having spent the majority of our adulthood overseas (employment), We've yet to discover and see many of the natural beauties of the West/Northwest (other than when we were small children and took vacations with family long ago). Now retired and in our 60's we've joined the ranks of RV'ers wanting to see and explore our beautiful nation and have started to gather our plans for a 2018 West/Northwest tour. Our RV/MH is a 45' diesel pusher.

Some of the known Places we want to visit & see;

A few of the National Parks we already know we want to visit include the Grand Canyon, Moab, Grand Tetons, Yellowstone, Redwoods & Sequoias, Columbia River Gorge, etc. as well as many populated areas such as Santa Fe, Las Vegas, San Diego, NAPA Valley, etc. (we also plan on visiting with friends we've not seen in many years who live in or nearby some of the areas we plan to visit) but certainly there are many more sites we'll want to discover and see. Therefore, we're here seeking recommendations from fellow RV'ers who have travelled to the West / Northwest (or otherwise live there) and have suggestions on places we may want to (or should) include in our tour planning.

Timing;

We don't have a specific time or distance limit but do plan to head out in early Spring 2018 (i.e. March/April) and return home somewhere after the 1st of September (i.e. 7-months). That stated, we also want to try as best we can to plan our routing such as to take advantage of cooler temperatures (i.e. 70's). We typically like to stay in each spot for a min. of 7-days before moving onto the next location (of course some we'll stay less while others more).

Our Current Trip Planning;

At this time, our thinking is we will travel from our Home state (LA) most likely direct westward across TX in order to see NM, AZ, NV and S. Ca during the Spring of 2018 then move upward, N/NE visiting the North West states of WA, MT, WY, UT, CO, during the summer as we work our way back home by mid-September. (please see the attached PDF Map of locations which is still a draft but provides and indication of what we're thinking)

We'll kindly appreciate any and all advice or recommendations on places to go & see on our trip.

west 2.pdf
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Old 09-24-2017, 05:44 AM   #2
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Do you have a toad . Lots of things to see. Would be easier to get around once camped with a toad.
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Old 09-24-2017, 06:27 AM   #3
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First off, if you don't already have it, get a copy of the Rand McNally motor carriers atlas. It highlights all the legal truck routes, so you will know you are at least safe to travel those roads.

Second, visiting all the highlights can't be done in one year without an insane amount of driving, rushing, planning, and LUCK (no fires, no floods, no mechanical failures, no weather delays).

We are approaching our second year of FT and over 10+ years of part-timing with a LOT of go-go-go & hurry to see it all before I die :-). We are getting a ton visited & experienced, but there's always more. We have RVd the US & Canada from coast to coast, furthest SE to furthest NW, several years visiting many of the same areas and we are nowhere close to seeing even a fraction. And the best laid plans must be changed: For example, we had weeks planned & reserved in the Columbia Gorge this year, but the fires & smoke closed most of the area we had targeted. The record heat caused some severe illness for me, too.

You will have a bit of a catch-22 on reservations. You will need them to park a big RV anywhere near the highlight areas (Arches, Glacier, etc); but conditions often force a change of RV travel plans so you'll have to scramble to change reservations, eat cancellation fees, etc. it's an adventure!

We went from Nappanee to Colorado, Moab, Park City, Polson, Glacier, Libby, Couer d'Alene, Olympic Peninsula, Cascade Gorge, Oregon coast, and more this year. We had to book months in advance for many of the premium locations, and we were still driving 200-300 toad miles daily to see a _FEW_ of the highlights in each area. Then, record heat, record drought, and historic wildfires/smoke limited us from some of the areas, roads, and sights.

We are hitting Sedalia in a couple of weeks, and again changing all our fall plans and visiting Savannah before wintering in TX. Then we will go back N/NW after the Smokies, Ohio, Nappanee: from MT to Canmore, Banff, Lake Louise, Whistler, Glacier, Cascades, Olympic NP, Oregon coast, Park City, Colorado, then back through OH & smokies on the way to FL for the winter.

And we will go-go-go again, 1-2 weeks in most places, driving toad 100-300 miles most days, and again only see a few of the highlights in most areas :-)

Plan, reserve, and then be prepared to change it all :-)

Enjoy your planning & your road trip!
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Old 09-24-2017, 06:37 AM   #4
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Lots of things to see and do.....don't try to see it all in a couple of weeks--its not a track meet......unfortunately, things are changing in the west--the summer forest fire situation is terrible. Even if you are not close to a particular fires, the smoke in the region is/can be depressing. Contributing to the fires is the pine-bark beetle infestation--millions, perhaps billions of trees are dead. In northern climates, road construction can be a pain [cant fix roads in winter]. Places like Yellowstone, Glacier, and Crater Lake will take years to recover. Despite all this RVing is enjoying a revival--so make reservations for popular places early and expect crowds when you get there.
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Old 09-24-2017, 06:38 AM   #5
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One point about the NW: it seems to us that we had to choose between seeing much of the coast vs the interior highlights/ parks. You'll see when you look at the truck routes: there are many highlight areas that look close on a map, but that end up impassable via big rig. Whole sections of N Cali, Oregon, & WA, where you have either/or on your route: either the coast, OR the interior, OR a kabillion miles if you want to do it all :-)

And areas that are passable (especially by jeep) but that take LONG days driving because of twisty, hilly back roads.

It's so beautiful, though! You will have so much fun :-)
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Old 09-24-2017, 06:40 AM   #6
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For NM I would put Carlsbad Caverns on the list. If it is bat season stay to watch the fly out from the cave.
San Diego.....Zoo, Wild Animal Park (Sorry, Safari Park...) Be sure to go out to the Cabrillo Natl Monument. Best view of the city there. I would avoid Tijuana. Sadly it is just not worth going there with crime etc. (Personal opinion there.) Go east of the city and drive Sunrise Hwy to Julian for some pie.
Northern AZ into Utah...Monument Valley is stunning. Natural Bridge and far too much for one trip. Have a blast
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Old 09-24-2017, 06:51 AM   #7
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Our top spots include
Bryce & Zion in UT
In NW the following are memorable.
Rogue River in OR...jet boat day trip.
In WA... Drive...toad up to Paradise on Mt Ranier...better yet stay onite at the Lodge.
Mt St Helens
Olympic Peninsula loop w a few days at each of 3 stops...day hikes on the rain forest or on the beach.
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Old 09-24-2017, 07:46 AM   #8
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Thanks to all for the inputs thus far. Certainly we realize we can't nor won't see everything in our 1st tour of the Western/Northwestern states but this kind of input from fellow RV enthusiasts such as yourselves, helps us identify and research locations we either may not have considered (yet) or otherwise did not know about. We also know our tour will result in identification of other places we want to go to or stay longer at the next time around. We are just getting started and have nothing holding us back from "keeping the wheels turning".

We do have the Atlas and lots of other "tools" along with our research via the Internet, i.e. Places to go, things to do and see", etc. but of course referrals from those that have "been there & done that" are good way to approach such trip planning. As to making reservations far in advance, we've been there too having recently returned from a 3-month tour of the midwest and eastern seaboard down to NC then back into the deep south. Had to change, cancel and make new reservations quite a few times on the "fly" including incurring some cancellation fees but hey that's ok and part of the journey. Again, thanks.

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Old 09-24-2017, 08:12 AM   #9
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All good advice. Having been in the west and northwest several times you will find that two or three trips will be needed to see the good things. Be sure to include a jetboat ride through Hells Canyon on the Snake River in Idaho.
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Old 09-24-2017, 08:17 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rewillia View Post
In Need of Advice & Recommendations;

"Newbies" here, we're seeking advice from fellow RV'ers' on places to go & see in Western / Northwestern States.

Some Background;

...........in our 60's we've joined the ranks of RV'ers wanting to see and explore our beautiful nation and have started to gather our plans for a 2018 West/Northwest tour. Our RV/MH is a 45' diesel pusher.

What do you enjoy or think you will enjoy, Hiking? Photography,? Just seeing? High end resorts or Boondocking - or a combo of all? Are you mechanically Handy? Toad, can it go off road? Would the wild and Beautiful places you can get into with a 4X4 be of interest? Have you done any traveling/RV'ing before? Just a few of the questions you will need to ponder as you work on this exploration of the West.

Some of the known Places we want to visit & see;

A few of the National Parks we already know we want to visit include the Grand Canyon, Moab, Grand Tetons, Yellowstone, Redwoods & Sequoias, Columbia River Gorge, etc. as well as many populated areas such as Santa Fe, Las Vegas, San Diego, NAPA Valley, etc. ........... certainly there are many more sites we'll want to discover and see. ........... recommendations from fellow RV'ers who have travelled to the West / Northwest (or otherwise live there) and have suggestions on places we may want to (or should) include in our tour planning.

Weather is Key, as to timing, so if possible would you/could you start earlier? We have done this, RV thing, for a long time and there are a few things we have found that will affect our enjoyment more than the Weather. Second thing is Crowds - We like to enjoy Great Weather and Small to No Crowds. So the South and the Desert southwest are only good in the late Fall winter and Early Spring.(JMHO) Problem is you will not be the only one who will Know this. So Timing, might involve a little risk, getting there/anywhere just a little ahead or a little behind the Masses is Key. When School is out the NP's Are FULL. Most have also been discovered in the early Fall. That's the Bad info - the Good Info is that State Parks are often not nearly as crowded or full, midweek or once kids go back to school, and weekends are something you will need to be able to work around. Winter also tends to require a little more planning as often the RV parks are closed. Starting to get a little carried away, but one last thing, on this TRIP of a Lifetime, you will not see it all, just too much to see and too little time, so figure on at least a 3-5 year plan.(JMHO)


Timing;

We don't have a specific time or distance limit but do plan to head out in early Spring 2018 (i.e. March/April) and return home somewhere after the 1st of September (i.e. 7-months). That stated, we also want to try as best we can to plan our routing such as to take advantage of cooler temperatures (i.e. 70's). We typically like to stay in each spot for a min. of 7-days before moving onto the next location (of course some we'll stay less while others more).

Need a lot more TIME! Especially if you will do this in 5-10 day chunks. (Just count the number of options and divide into the days, you will be amazed) California, IMHO (One of my kids did school there and I grew up there as a young kid so I have been and seen it) Is just a Hard if not Impossible Place to visit in an RV (JMHO) so this will need to be well planned and likely a trip all it's own. So, I usually recommend people figure out what they really enjoy first, then try to do that before getting into the really heavy Crowds and the possible - Disappointments that might follow. What do you want to do?

Our Current Trip Planning;

At this time, our thinking is we will travel from our Home state (LA) most likely direct westward across TX in order to see NM, AZ, NV and S. Ca during the Spring of 2018 then move upward, N/NE visiting the North West states of WA, MT, WY, UT, CO, during the summer as we work our way back home by mid-September. (please see the attached PDF Map of locations which is still a draft but provides and indication of what we're thinking)

As this is the PLANNING STAGE I suggest you get some Paper Maps - either Wal*Mart Book or order (Smart) from each state - open up the map and mark where you want to go/see/be. Then begin to connect the dots. Then look at the Milage - things are not close, it's a really BIG Country. and if you look at what you are thinking in terms of Mileage and Time, I think you will quickly find this is really not possible to do in the limited time you have laid out (Minimum X3)? So what do I suggest, Let's just do the sort of Meet the US SouthWestRockies tour - this is possible without killing all the time just driving long distances.

Next we could do a Cali/NorthWest/Pacific- tour then Finally a fill in the Blanks Tour. IMHO just sooooo much to see.


We'll kindly appreciate any and all advice or recommendations on places to go & see on our trip.

Attachment 177648
Look over this Web Site - Stan has done much of what you seek and you will be able to see the possibilities in a well organized plan, - Stan Parker's Photo Galleries at pbase.com

This one group of Pictures will explain Why you need to extend your time fame into late September/October - https://lynn.smugmug.com/Travel/Colo...pens/i-tsVRkXg

So as you asked, I'll just give you a long list of Possible places to stop and visit, some popular and well known some not.

Carlsbad National Park - White Sands - Window Rock - Canyon de Chelly - Page/Lake Powell - Antelope Canyon - Mexican Hat - Goosenecks SP - Rainbow Bridge -Chaco Canyon - Moab - RT 128/along the Colorado - Arches - Canyonlands - Dead Horse SP - Colorado River - Green River - Goblins SP - Capitol Reef NP - RT 12 Hogback - Escalante - Kodachrome - Glen Canyon NRA - Bryce - Zion - North Rim......................this is just the first of two states, so what till you get into the Rockies........................................... ......................................so like I said MORE TIME.

So in the first year I'd focus on say the Southwest - then possibly push up into the Rockies, before dropping back into the southwest and Home to Plan on Cali and the Northwest.

Last thing here is - are you a Reservations sort of Couple or a by the seat of your Pants sort of Couple? This will dictate much of what you do, and how you plan.

So now Break this into the smaller sections or into a State plan or a Season Plan and redo you questions around specific areas and this forum will give you a lot more info.

Probably a lot more than you were looking for but..........

Hope this is of some help, as this will be FUN.

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Old 09-24-2017, 09:44 AM   #11
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I live in Las Vegas. Lots to see and do but you wouldn't want to take a 45 ft. motor home on the strip or to Hoover Dam. That's why I asked if you had a toad. Hoover Dam has tours that take you inside and down to the turbines. I would also recommend Great basin National Park in east central Nevada. You can take the tour of Lehman Caves. Also from the park you can drive to Historic Ely Nevada and Ride the Northern Nevada Railroads "Ghost Train". Lots of hiking trails at the park including Glaciers and some of the worlds oldest trees. From Vegas it's an easy drive to multiple National parks. Death Valley, Zion, Bryce Canyon, Capital Reef, Canyon lands, Moab, Grand Canyons north and south rim. A toad would be helpful. Stop by and say hi.
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Old 09-24-2017, 10:07 AM   #12
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We live near San Diego and love heading towards the Pacific Northwest. Northbound we mostly take the inland route ( I 99-rather than I 5). Southbound, our preference is to take the coastal route (101) from WA to CA. You get the best views when the Pacific Ocean is right out your curb side windows. Be sure and take the "Avenue of the Giants" side road through the Redwoods.
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Old 09-24-2017, 10:20 AM   #13
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Yes, we flat tow a Jeep Grand Cherokee Summit 4x4 SUV and also have a Garia street legal and licensed/registered low speed vehicle (think Golf car but it's not) which we carry on a Hydralift mounted to the rear of the coach. Those together with 2-bicycles gives us plenty of mobility for excursions away from the Motorhome.
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Old 09-24-2017, 10:54 AM   #14
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Get a Mountain West directory and you can preview the many mountain roads.
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