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Old 10-30-2018, 08:56 AM   #1
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Inexperienced- welcome any insight on first trip out West

Greetings all- decided to set out and know nothing. We will be leaving from Louisiana, pulling our 40 ft 5'er with a 1 ton Ram-husband is experienced driver. Places I've considered seeing along the way are Carlsbad Caverns, Winslow, Sedona, Yuma (a must to see family), Pahrump (a must to attend classes), Brice/Zion, Yosemite NP, the redwoods, Yellowstone NP, Teton NP.

I'd like to head out in April so we end up in Yellowstone mid-May. As I understand, any earlier than that is not good but I'd also like to avoid the crowds as much as possible. My dates are flexible and I was thinking we would travel over a couple of months. We don't have a generator so boondocking won't work.

The places I mentioned are not set (except Yuma and Pahrump)- just ideas. I know there are lots of experienced folks out there that could guide me on places to eliminate and absolute must-sees. I'm open to anything- just want to see America the Beautiful and enjoy life! Thank you!!!
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Old 10-30-2018, 09:04 AM   #2
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Have you checked out the specs on your truck and trailer.
Are the tongue of the 5th wheel and the trucks pay load compatible?
Is the GCVW of the truck and 5th wheel with you, fuel, water, and all supplies aboard compatible?
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Old 10-30-2018, 10:09 AM   #3
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Uhhh, Iíll sick my husband on that right away. He probably knows anyway but thanks for the input- itís very important.
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Old 10-30-2018, 10:15 AM   #4
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You mention Winslow, but not the Grand Canyon. Have you been there before. It is definitely one of the must sees. We did the Grand Canyon, then headed north to Page Arizona to see the slot canyons, and the Glen Canyon Dam. From there we headed straight west to Zion NP, then down to Las Vegas. I really like the Grand Canyon area. A hundred miles or more in any direction is my favourite places for scenery. Sedona, Page, Monument valley, Lake Havasu, Oatman, are just some of them. The Beringer Crater and the petrified forest are close to Winslow Arizona as well. Both are interesting. Enjoy your trip.
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Old 10-30-2018, 10:17 AM   #5
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We live in Sedona so if we can be of any specific help there just let us know. I second the idea of keeping Sedona on your list. All we had to do was camp here for two weeks a couple of winters ago to fall in love with the place and move the home base here. There is a nice campground here called Rancho Sedona, but it books up in Spring so I would make reservations as early as you can.
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Old 10-30-2018, 10:32 AM   #6
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Hi bayougal,
Noticed you are not going to the coast. These are some places to think about:
1. Amboy Crater - Southern California near Twentynine Palms CG.
An out of the way cinder crater you can walk into.
2. Death Valley - Not far from Pahrump
3. If you are going to Yosemite NP, San Francisco should be a consideration.
4. You didn't have anything father north on your list so we will leave that until next time.
5. Arizona (Garden of the Gods) and New Mexico (Gila Cliff Dwellings) have a wonderful set of choices for the National Parks and Monuments. This means you could start the trip earlier.

These are just samples. The only advice I can provide is not to pack too much into the trip. Extend the trip of plan to return.
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Old 10-30-2018, 11:16 AM   #7
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Great ideas- I love it! Winniman- we have been to the Grand Canyon during a LV trip a few years ago- amazing.
Thank you for the offer slabweiss. My cousin put me on Sedona. She lives in New Orleans but Sedona is her favorite place, and she has traveled a lot. Don't want to miss that. Great suggestions GaryKD! Glacier is further north but it would be too early in the year to visit.
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Old 10-30-2018, 12:53 PM   #8
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Your thoughts are the same as mine were in 2017. We wanted to avoid crowds by leaving in April. We left New England April 8 and returned home June 12 or there about. We visited 12 National Parks and other stops along the way. We were in Zion April 30 and it was hot. It is a crowded park but we were at the entrance when they opened and no waits. We never had to wait for the trams either. Iíve read some stories where people will wait for a very long time to get on one. It was busy for sure but not uncomfortable. We were in Bryce on May 4 for three days. It wasnít crowded at all. We got into a campground there without reservations. Weather was cool but not cold. Onto Capital Reef, a gem not to be missed, not crowded and to Arches NP. We arrived in Grand Teton and Yellowstone area May 21 for the next two weeks. We had great weather.
We stayed at three different campgrounds in that time frame and was out around June 3. The trick as you must know is to get an early start! We would pack the tow vehicle the night before with food, extra clothes and camera and hit the road by 6 a.m. We could travel for miles without seeing another vehicle and animals are more plentiful at that time. By 10 a.m. we started to see the packed tour buses.
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Old 10-30-2018, 01:12 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gladie View Post
Your thoughts are the same as mine were in 2017. We wanted to avoid crowds by leaving in April. We left New England April 8 and returned home June 12 or there about. We visited 12 National Parks and other stops along the way. We were in Zion April 30 and it was hot. It is a crowded park but we were at the entrance when they opened and no waits. We never had to wait for the trams either. Iíve read some stories where people will wait for a very long time to get on one. It was busy for sure but not uncomfortable. We were in Bryce on May 4 for three days. It wasnít crowded at all. We got into a campground there without reservations. Weather was cool but not cold. Onto Capital Reef, a gem not to be missed, not crowded and to Arches NP. We arrived in Grand Teton and Yellowstone area May 21 for the next two weeks. We had great weather.
We stayed at three different campgrounds in that time frame and was out around June 3. The trick as you must know is to get an early start! We would pack the tow vehicle the night before with food, extra clothes and camera and hit the road by 6 a.m. We could travel for miles without seeing another vehicle and animals are more plentiful at that time. By 10 a.m. we started to see the packed tour buses.

Great advice, thank you. I'm not a morning person but I know that's the key to making the most of this trip. Where did you stay at YSNP? I figured I'd stay at Grizzly RV park bc we won't be able to stay in the park. I'll look at Arches and Capital Reef, anything else you can add would be appreciated.
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Old 10-30-2018, 02:01 PM   #10
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There are a couple (several!) things I would do first of all in my planning and what worked for us:

- Order via the intenet a tourist guide for every state you think you may visit. They are free. I just did a house cleaning from our last two trips and have an overflowing box of cast off. I'll order new ones for wherever we decide to go in 2019

- Get a GOOD US map. I use a Michelin 761 along with their bound driving atlas, The big US map hasn't the detail as the atlas and each state will usually supply their better, even more detailed road map.

- Get a good GPS. The Garmin RV GPS works best for me. Others like the Magellan.

Get a calander and mark out the travel days.

Sign up pay your recurring bills on line if possible.

Have a great time planning and a great trip. It's fun



- Get the KOA and the Good Sam cards. You will save their costs with at least a 10% discount. There are a couple others but for our East of the Mississippi travels, not worth their cost.

- Make sure you RV is in top mechanical shape. It will be over 100*F in areas of the South West
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Old 10-30-2018, 02:30 PM   #11
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If you qualify, make sure you have the senior pass. Entrance to all NP's are free and all COE campgrounds are half price.
We stayed at Henry's Lake SP while visiting Yellowstone. It's approx. 12 miles from the west entrance to Yellowstone and has a beautiful lake and mountains. Don't forget the Mormon Tabernackle (sp) square and the Great Salt Lake.
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Old 10-30-2018, 02:35 PM   #12
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Out of Winslow you can stay in Williams and truck up to the south rim of the Grand Canyon.
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Old 10-30-2018, 03:40 PM   #13
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Since youíre thinking of Carlsbad, consider adding Big Bend NP to your list. Itís remote but well worth the drive.

++ On the lifetime senior pass. Even at the new price of $80 itís a bargain. Donít pay the online handling fee. You can get it at the first National Park, Memorial, Wildlife Refuge or other federal site you visit.
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Old 10-30-2018, 04:03 PM   #14
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Since you will be heading to Yuma, skip Carlsbad Caverns and take in the Karcher Cavern which is great, in S Arizona. Roads around Carlsbad are terrible with oilfield trucks and trash. An unheralded but easy to access visit is the Titan missile site south of Tucson, it is a great tour. Also in Tucson is the Pima Air Museum, a must see for anyone with an aviation interest. Beware of Sedona, you want to access from the south. Yellowstone in late May is fine, things are just beginning to open up and staffers are coming in. DO NOT Miss the Wolf and Bear Discovery Center in West Yellowstone! Enjoy!
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