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Old 07-11-2018, 02:47 PM   #1
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Looking for a south west itinerary.

I’m looking to see if anyone has a two week or less itinerary for the southwest. The wife has her essential oil convention in Utah in July next year and we want to hit up Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon, and ????. We are starting and ending our trip near Sacramento, Ca.

Or if there is a good itinerary app? Recommendations for spots to stay, other things to see, beers I should try.

I’m 42 ft and will have a toad. Those are my only limiting factors besides staying in the 2 week window.

Yes, the southwest in July is a little rediculous to me, but that’s what she wants to do.

Lay it on me, what do you got?
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Old 07-11-2018, 03:07 PM   #2
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Some general information about YNP (some items apply to GTNP also)

YNP is about 45 miles E/W and about 65 miles N/S (2.2 mil. Acres total). The figure 8 loop road inside the park is about 140 miles around. The lower loop is 96 miles and the upper loop is 70 miles around and yes, it is bigger than the states of Rhode Island and Delaware combined.

Whatever time that you think you will need to see YNP you better double it, or to say it another way is that you will see one half as much as you planned on in the allotted time. The Bison think that they own the road (they do!) and will slow down the traffic to walking speed or all stop for 1/4 mile or more blocking both directions of travel, the thermal attractions also tie up traffic and with a 5 month long summer tourist season that coincides with a 5 month long road construction season and a 45 MPH radar controlled speed limit it will take about a full day to see each loop and then you will only see the main attractions. In addition to the occasional construction delays they will also sometimes close whole sections of road (for uninterrupted night construction) between 10 PM and 8 AM in the morning, if you are running late and get caught at night in the wrong area it CAN be a LONG way around to your CG! (The entrance stations will have current construction information or go on line to check it out)

Then there is the elevation- YNP ranges from a low at Mammoth- 6239 ft to 7784 ft at Fishing Bridge or higher if you go hiking and there are passes on the grand loop road that are close to 8000 ft or so! Drink plenty of liquids and pace yourself when walking.

I recommend that you get up EARLY, leave the CG and be back by 4 or 6 PM have dinner and be sitting in your recliner drinking a cool one when your neighbor drags himself back to the CG at 8-10 PM. Remember that from mid May to mid July in YNP the sun doesn't set until about 9:30- 9:45 PM then there is a long twilight.

Cell Phone Service- Only at the major visitor centers, otherwise spotty to non-existent!

Clothing- Especially in the early or late season it is not unusual to have a 30 or even the occasional 40 degree temperature change throughout the day. Dress with easily shed layers of clothing. Also dress in bright easily seen clothing. I am sure that we all have been to a sporting event, parade or Disney World etc. and we blink our eyes and our partner/child has disappeared. My DIL was born and raised in HI, you guessed it, every Xmas, b-day or Father's Day I receive a Hawaiian shirt. One of them is shiny black with 4-5 inch dia. bright flowers. Not many of them in Wyoming and in YSNP, that is what I wear. If your partner has on a Violet blouse and a Orange scarf with a Pink hat I guarantee that she will be the only one within the boundaries of either NP. It can save you a few anxious moments.

Water- Now I will have to contradict myself, at the altitude of YNP yes, drink lots of water! HOWEVER, be aware that the flush toilet restrooms are are in the major tourist areas- Mammoth, Canyon, Fishing Bridge, Lake Hotel, Bridge Bay, Grant Village, Old Faithful, Madison Junction etc. The geyser basins and other thermal attractions areas only have pit toilets. I have seen the pit toilet line (2 rest rooms) at the lower Geyser Basin 25 or more feet long (bless the tour buses) So be smart about drinking your water and use the major tourist area R/Rs before leaving the area! I.e. “Never pass up a flush toilet!”

Sun- At YSNP altitude the Sun is intense (uv)have and apply sunscreen, wear that old floppy wide brim sun hat, wear Sunglasses!

If your luck is like mine Old Faithful will have just erupted when you get there and you will have up to a hour and 10 to 15 minutes wait for the next one. Tour tour the O/F Geyser basin while waiting. O/F INN is a must see, reportedly the largest LOG building in the U.S. (Meals in the O/F dinning room are “OK” also.

We have lived about 110 miles from West Yellowstone, MT since 1964, go to YSNP 3-4 times a summer (normally before Memorial Day and after Labor Day) and haven't seen it all yet! So don’t be discouraged that you didn’t have the time to see all of it. Just plan on coming back another time!

I honestly don’t mean to scare or discourage you but to give you a heads up as to what to expect! After all there was 4.1 million visitors in 2015! As far as I know we didn’t lose one of them. Except those who by their own stupidity step off the board walks into BOILING HOT water and ignoring the warnings about the WILD ANIMALS! That is called purifying the gene pool!Early in the summer of 2017 a foreign visitor stepped off a boardwalk into just a few inches of hot water. He walked about 100 yards (according to the newspaper) broke thru the crust and parboiled himself. The park service decided not to try to retrieve the body! Between the temperature of the water and the acidity of it the body would just fall apart when retrieving it, as well as being dangerous to the rangers. Of course a few Bison fall in every winter also.

Note I have seen on this blog and others about folks “day tripping” from YSNP to GTNP, it is done all the time (myself included) however remember this is BIG country and with the speed limits, animals and thermal attractions you will NOT come close to a 60- 65 MPH average. From the West Thumb Area, Grant Village Visitor Center (extreme S/E corner of the lower loop road) to Jackson, WY is about 80 miles with Coulter Bay being about 1/2 way then from Grant Village you have to add the distance to your CG it will be a Long days trip!

A point of Coulter Bay (in GTNP) clarification- there are two (2) CG’s at Coulter Bay, One, the “Coulter Bay RV Park” a full service “RV Park” with FHU’S that takes reservations. The other is the “Coulter Bay Campground “ has no hookups and doesn’t take reservations. Both have about 300 sites and are located basically across the road from each other.

Also in GTNP be sure to see Jenny Lake, the water is swimming pool clear! You almost feel like you are in space when you are on the boat dock and you can see the rental boat shadows on the bottom of the lake!

When in the Jackson area I highly recommend seeing the Bar J Chuckwagon dinner show! If you go, MAKE RESERVATIONS and BE THERE EARLY TO PICK UP YOUR MEAL TICKETS/ TABLE SEATING ASSIGNMENTS! They seat you by when you show up to get your tickets NOT by your reservation number. Tim, their fiddle player has won the "Idaho state old time fiddle contest 7 times and the US open fiddle championship twice". If you decide to go you will sit at picnic type of bench seats/table, they get pretty hard, I recommend that you take along a blanket/pads to sit on. We day trip it there 2-4 times every summer just to see them! Disclaimer- We have no financial or other interest in the Bar J only that it will be the best $$ value for your money for your trip! Check out their website.

Bar J Chuckwagon

Also in Jackson check out the “COWBOY” bar, the bar stools are saddles and check out the # of Silver Dollars imbedded in the bar. The Wort Hotel Bar (just around the corner from the Cowboy Bar) also has Silver Dollars imbedded in the Bar
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Old 07-11-2018, 03:10 PM   #3
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I could easily spend WAY more than two weeks in Yellowstone. If you really want to see something else, I would recommend Grand Teton, NP. It is right next door.
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Old 07-11-2018, 03:21 PM   #4
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Thank you both for the information. Based on just that alone, I think just her convention and YSNP and possibly GTNP may be all that’s in the cards. I don’t want to rush through it as I don’t know when I would be able to go back. Although it would probably be the following year for her oil convention.
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Old 07-11-2018, 03:24 PM   #5
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If you're going to be in Utah make sure to see the Big 5, Arches, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, Bryce, and Zion Nat'l Parks.
Stay in Moab for the first three. Stay in Bryce or Panguitch for the last two.
We did this two years ago in summer. Weather was okay. No stiffling heat. Had a blast.
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Old 07-11-2018, 04:09 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Diesel_Don View Post
I’m looking to see if anyone has a two week or less itinerary for the southwest. The wife has her essential oil convention in Utah in July next year and we want to hit up Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon, and ????. We are starting and ending our trip near Sacramento, Ca.

Or if there is a good itinerary app? Recommendations for spots to stay, other things to see, beers I should try.

I’m 42 ft and will have a toad. Those are my only limiting factors besides staying in the 2 week window.

Yes, the southwest in July is a little rediculous to me, but that’s what she wants to do.

Lay it on me, what do you got?
Utah.....Just a guess Salt Lake City? -

You do understand that Colorado is in the Southwest and that ELEVATION will be the Key to Avoiding the HEAT. -

Couple really Good Spots come to Mind - Ouray - Telluride - and the San Juan's. -

Yellowstone will be Nice - Warm Days and Cool Nights - about 333 + - miles to the West entrance from SLC . -

Just occurred to me that you may be considering the drive from Sacramento to and Back as part of the Two Weeks?.........

So is RT 50 - the loneliest Highway in the cards? -

Maybe give us a few more Clues and we could help a little more, - -

Last thought - try to Make the drive a BIG LOOP. -

Best of Luck,

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Old 07-11-2018, 05:16 PM   #7
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I think that your first plans are slightly optimistic!

Assuming that you are from the Sacramento area and your wife’s convention is in Salt Lake City area google maps shows 649m, 9h 42m driving time (1 1/2 days). SLC to West Yellowstone, MT. (The West entrance to YSNP) 321m, 4h 39m (one day including setup, remember you are still 40 miles from Old Faithful more from the other tourist areas) Total 2 1/2 days driving time!

Then for the return from Jackson, WY (GTNP) to Sacramento 830m, 13h 13m driving time (two long days)

So that is 3 1/2 total days travel time to and from, this does not include your wife’s convention time or the time being a tourist in YS and GT NPs. Remember that Google maps is using an automobile driving time not a MOHO with toad. I would recommend just seeing the two parks!

Then figure another day to drive from where you are in or around YSNP thru the park to GTNP and setup.

What do you mean “oil convention” ?
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Old 07-11-2018, 06:18 PM   #8
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Agreed, I am thinking the first thoughts are way to ambitious.

Yes, SLC is the spot for her convention. And driving out and back is part of the 2 weeks, may be able to adjust dates around the convention to maximize time.

The oil convention is a Young Living Essential Oils. I guess they have holistic properties and she defuses them for a lot of things. She has a mix for helping the kids sleep, some to stop me from snoring, and even ones for adult “recreation” time. But I digress.

There are a lot of great looking places mentioned, but I do think the 2 parks may take up the time of not just one of them.

I guess with the info y’all gave me, I need to change my questions, to what the best place is between Sacramento and SLC to camp for the night, if there is a nice place, or I can just make that drive is a very long day. Though that’s not exactly wise or safe.

The wife definitely prefers full hookups, I on the other hand couldn’t care less.

I do have to say that y’all are awesome. Way better than my friends on Facebook, the only recommendation they have given is to take them with me. Smh.
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Old 07-11-2018, 06:57 PM   #9
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Monument Valley is a good place to visit for a day. If you go, Gouldings Campground and Lodge is a good place to stay. Across the road from the valley, had a nice little restaurant, nice campsite and wonderful views. You can get a guided tour of the valley from there.
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Old 07-11-2018, 08:11 PM   #10
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Agreed, I am thinking the first thoughts are way to ambitious.

Yes, SLC is the spot for her convention. And driving out and back is part of the 2 weeks, ...................

OK, then we need to leave on Friday to gain a couple of Days - giving you 16.5 days not 14 - will help with the drive times.

..................

There are a lot of great looking places mentioned, but I do think the 2 parks may take up the time of not just one of them.

I guess with the info y’all gave me, I need to change my questions, to what the best place is between Sacramento and SLC to camp for the night, if there is a nice place, or I can just make that drive is a very long day. Though that’s not exactly wise or safe.

Look at Ely on the RT 50 route.

The wife definitely prefers full hookups, I on the other hand couldn’t care less.

..................
Depending on your level of adventure - there is/are many places to enjoy in the SLC area - all of the Ski Mountains will have elevation and can be Cooler

Park City is a Fun Town with a really good Resort type CG - at least is close to lots - Lake Jordanelle is Just down the Road and has sites - Flaming Gorge and Dino NM are not that far, both have CG options

Yellowstone without a little Knowledge of the park might be a Challenge as you are in High Really High, Season. Keep in Mind Weekends are still the peak time, with shortages of CG's in State and National Parks.

Timing, during the week, is critical on getting to the more popular spots.

If you are just into Checking Boxes that say Been there - Done that, then then you are going to need to plan a little, with your limited time.


For the most part the drive from Sacramento to SLC, is just a long Drive, so pick your route go just past the Mid Point and find a spot.

Usually, if I recall conventions used to run Thursday through Sunday Morning, at least they did when I would go to them, so now we need to know is this a Friday to Wednesday and a Sunday to Sunday Camping trip?

If so we will have 5 days on the front end and 7 days on the back end??????
With 2 days out and 2 days Back. (3 days of fun going and 5 days after)


So now if I were you I'd look into making this a Northern California Lake and Loop North to get to SLC - then I'd Head down RT 6 and 191 slide into Colorado Head to Ouray/Black Canyon/Silverton/Telluride/Durango and bust for home. (If there was a break in the weather you could do Green River And Moab as a drive through, for future winter trips)

But Just need more Info

JMHO,
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Old 07-11-2018, 09:19 PM   #11
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Ok, July 12/13 will be the departure date, Friday evening, Saturday morning. The convention starts the 17 and goes to the 20th. Back on the road the 20th heading north to the parks. And a departure date to get home late on the 28th or very early the 29th.

I’m surely not a check the box type person, although my wife is if she isn’t interested.

So the good news is we will be there during the week.
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