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Old 03-21-2015, 05:42 PM   #1
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Ideas for 2 week trip - Seattle to South West

Hi. In the next two months, I'm retiring. My honey (Marianne) and I want to take several trips to the west and south west this summer in our 41' DP. We're thinking the first trip will be something like two weeks. So...

We'd like to have a relatively easy going trip that might include the Grand Canyon and interesting places in that area - say within 400 miles. It would start in late May and end sometime in early June (no specific dates yet).

We're not much interested in big cities and structured touristy stuff. We are interested in biking, outdoors, hiking, golf, photography, birding, and the like. Natural history museums and national parks are good too.

So... Any suggestions for a nice two week trip? Good RV parks to stay? Tips? Things/places/roads to avoid?

Thanks and regards,

Dan.

p.s. By "Good RV parks" I mean places that you would feel comfortable staying for a few nights. Spendy RV resorts are off our list, but we don't mind spending a few bucks extra for a better park.

p.s. The only luxury park on which I'd spend the money would be this one in Key West, FL: http://www.bluewaterkey.com/2_gallery_gallery.html# . Maybe someday.
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Old 03-21-2015, 08:17 PM   #2
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400 mile radius is a pretty big area, but staying away from the populations areas, I can immediately think of: Sedonna has lots of natural beauty (just south of Flagstaff/Grand Canyon) and hiking trails. Last I checked, parking anywhere in the massive Coconino Natl Forest required a parking permit (even parking for hiking around Sedonna), but a National Parks Pass used to work. Just south of Sedonna a few miles is Cottonwood, home of the Verde Canyon RR. Although catering to tourists, the Verde Canyon surprised me with its natural beauty (only accessible by the rail). Farther south in AZ, near the Mexico boarder, is Bisbee, AZ, an "off the beaten track" historical mining town with modestly priced mine tours and the Arizona Cactus & Succulent Research Inc. with over 750 species of cactus and succulents (free). Although not on your "list" of preferred things, as you go south in AZ towards Bisbee, you'll pass through Tuscon and near Kitt Peak Observatory. Tuscon has a lot of historical sites including the Titan Missile Museum, and up the hill, tours of the Kitt Peak Observatory. As you head north from the Grand Canyon, of course, you have Four Corners and Monument Valley, and Arches Natl Monument. Arches is of course, a beautiful place for hiking. Nearby Moab, famous for its biking. Capitol Reef, Grand Staircase and Canyonlands have beautiful scenery and hiking, as does Zion/Bryce, although Zion has limited access (especially for larger RVs). Lots of hiking areas in Death Valley, but definitely not in the summer. If you are Mt Whitney type hikers, you'll need reservations with the park service in advance. Great Basin NP in far eastern NV is one of our least visited and least know NPs with very little tourism but vast open areas and mountains for hiking and enjoying nature without lots of others, but truly in the middle of nowhere (no disrespect to the residents of eastern Nevada). If you are so inclined to travel the Lonliest Highway in America (US50), from Great Basin headed west to Carson City, in 300 miles you will cross seven mountain ranges and about that many other cars. Because NV at US50 is high desert, there is no shortage of wildlife if you are willing to be patient and look for it, including elk, antelope, wild mustangs, and many other smaller mammals. If you aren't already a lifetime NP pass holder, or not qualified for same, I would definitely spend the money to buy an annual pass at the first NP you enter. Have a wonderful trip! I'm envious as the area you are going to is my favorite part of America.
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Old 03-21-2015, 09:51 PM   #3
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First, congrats on your retirement. We are truly enjoying ours. 2 weeks is pretty short given what you might want to see in the area and how long it may take you to just get there from the Seattle area. We live in SoCal and are planning to travel up to your neck of the woods this summer and have set aside 5 weeks. That said, you'll figure out your timeframe and prioritize what you want to see.

We'd suggest doing the "grand circle". This includes the Grand Canyon, Zion NP, Bryce Canyon NP, Canyonlands NP, Capitol Reef NP, Arches NP and Mesa Verde NP. It's a lot, but it's all connected, fairly close together and amazing. Sedona is also very interesting, but the main town has gotten very touristy.

For lodging, Trailer Village inside the Grand Canyon is best for seeing that park and for Arches and Canyonlands, we choose to stay at The Portal. For Zion, The Zion River Resort is great, there is also good dry camping inside the park.

Whatever you choose to do, you'll have a great time down here and it's a great time of year to do it.
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Old 03-22-2015, 09:18 PM   #4
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First I think you have way too much to see in 2 weeks. We did the reverse last year and spent 5 weeks. Tons of stuff in Az and Utah. We also did Death Valley which the wife thought was going to be the last place she wanted to see and it was die rentals a hit, do it if possible.
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Old 03-22-2015, 09:34 PM   #5
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Coulter, ChileRick,

Thanks for the feedback. It looks like you both are singin' from the same hymnal and mostly from the same pages! I wasn't aware of the Grand Circle, but it sounds like a great place to start. Obviously planning will be critical, including getting the necessary passes (like the NP pass) and permits. However, your feedback brings up two key issues - time to appreciate the wonders there and the weather we'll encounter.

We've been to Sedonna (once) for two days and remember the incredible beauty. But we arrived in the afternoon of the first day, spent the second exploring, and left in the early morning of the third. We had a great time, but barely enough to "nibble" at what Sedonna had to offer and not enough time to "chew it over" and appreciate it.

So the first issue is how long to spend at each of these wonderful places to really appreciate them. Obviously that depends on what we visit. The total trip time is commuting time down and back + commuting time between RV parks + time exploring. Getting to and from the area from Seattle is about 2,500 miles - something like six days. Getting around the Grand Circle looks like it will add about 1,000 miles - maybe another four commuting days spread out getting from one place to another. That's ten days just for commuting. It seems like this is more like a three+ week trip even if we keep it a bit limited.

The second issue is weather. We are thinking about starting the trip in mid-late may. Some of these places are at higher altitudes so the heat may not be that bad. OTOH, it looks like Las Vegas is the standard entry point for the Grand Circle and it's known to be a bit toasty in the summer. So... Is rational to make the Grand Circle in the early summer?

Thanks,

Dan
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Old 03-22-2015, 10:09 PM   #6
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First I think you have way too much to see in 2 weeks. We did the reverse last year and spent 5 weeks. Tons of stuff in Az and Utah. We also did Death Valley which the wife thought was going to be the last place she wanted to see and it was die rentals a hit, do it if possible.
Scr392,

Hmmm... Our posts crossed. Great minds, etc... I came to the same conclusion. Death Valley is on our list, but maybe not on this trip. We can't be gone for five weeks, but it will definitely be longer than two weeks.

I've lived in 18 states and spent time in 20 more (mostly for business). But the ones I find the most interesting and the ones I've least visited are west of the Mississippi and mostly starting at the Rocky Mountains. I want to spend much of my remaining years exploring the US and not scrambling to make a living.

I was fortunate to live in Littleton and Boulder Colorado for five years. One of favorite spots was a large boulder in Rocky Mountain National Park. I'd spend an hour or two sitting on the boulder every couple months to appreciate the mountains and just think. I want to find more quiet boulders to just sit, appreciate the surroundings, and just think. (And take lots of pics and videos, of course. And perhaps share good food and wine with my honey. )

Lots to think about. Thanks for the feedback.

Dan.

p.s. One place we did visit several years ago was Glacier National Park. If you've not visited, please consider adding it to your bucket list. It is amazing. The Going-To-The-Sun road can be crowded, it's a must-see IMO.
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Old 03-22-2015, 10:22 PM   #7
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You have about 1400 miles to the Grand Canyon. 2 days minimum each way, bro!
If you settle into a park at that location, there is more than enough within 100 miles to suck you in, absorb you, and steal your hearts away before the dreaded RETURN.
Chillax.
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Old 03-23-2015, 10:40 AM   #8
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Coulter, ChileRick,



So the first issue is how long to spend at each of these wonderful places to really appreciate them. Obviously that depends on what we visit. The total trip time is commuting time down and back + commuting time between RV parks + time exploring. Getting to and from the area from Seattle is about 2,500 miles - something like six days. Getting around the Grand Circle looks like it will add about 1,000 miles - maybe another four commuting days spread out getting from one place to another. That's ten days just for commuting. It seems like this is more like a three+ week trip even if we keep it a bit limited.



The second issue is weather. We are thinking about starting the trip in mid-late may. Some of these places are at higher altitudes so the heat may not be that bad. OTOH, it looks like Las Vegas is the standard entry point for the Grand Circle and it's known to be a bit toasty in the summer. So... Is rational to make the Grand Circle in the early summer?



Thanks,



Dan

Second issue first. We usually begin our annual travels in June and conclude them by the end of September. So it just so happens that we've been to these places in both June and September. If your plan is Mid-May through Mid-June it's rational. It may get a little toasty once in awhile, but the heat of summer will not have hit yet.

How long to spend..........hmmm well, we have a couple suggestions. You mentioned photography. There is a photographers thread/forum in IRV2 you can leverage for info. You are for sure going to want to capture both sunrise and sunset at the Grand Canyon and Bryce. There is an incredible amount of info in various reference books. We like "Photographing the South West" we use them to figure out days we'll need with the camera. Then you mentioned hiking. Well, you could spend weeks hiking in any of these places, so again, we would recommend doing some (a lot) of research to determine what hikes are "must dos" for you. Everyone is different, a must do for us, may not be a must do for you. We use the national park service websites and a good paper travel guide for the areas we want to see and plan the number of "full days" in each location. Sometimes, we even get it right😄 and in almost every case we plan to go back.

Hope that helps,
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Old 03-31-2015, 08:21 PM   #9
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Folks,

We finally decided that visiting the Grand Canyon area this year would not be a good idea. It's a combination of logistics and preparation. So we're going to do several one to two week trips this year here in the Northwest US and Southwest Canada. Like Yosemite, Glacier, coast of Oregon, etc.

Next year, after some serious planning and preparation, we'll head to the Southwest for a much longer trip - four to five weeks.

Bottom line - we'll have lots of fun this year and loads of fun next year.

Many thanks for the great feedback.

Regards,

Dan.
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Old 03-31-2015, 09:07 PM   #10
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Since you're now retired, why not plan to spend the winter in the SW? You can now travel leisurely, not for just a few weeks and rushing it.
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Old 04-19-2015, 11:58 PM   #11
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Yosemite. One of the most beautiful places I have been. A fav of mine. The falls are best seen in the spring when there is the most water flowing.
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