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Old 01-01-2012, 02:34 PM   #1
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Monumental planning job!!!!!

We are planning a trip in summer of 2012 from Florida to the great West. This will probably be the last trip of this magnitude for us due to age and health (and budget. We will continue to travel but shorter trips of 30 to 45 days.) I am retired and Lynda will retire in Feb. I just laid out the maps and started looking. I did not realize the magnitude of the western states and I keep finding more places to visit. Planning on Bryce, Zion, Arches, Grand canyon (north and south rim) and all the other big name places. Initial planning was 2 months but we are not limited. We do not want to miss any of the good places. If it takes 4 or 5 months or more, that's fine. We are planning on boondocking for several days and then a campground to recharge and refresh and dump. We hope to see New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, California and Washington. Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi are also on the way. We have been to Wyoming, the Dakotas and states east. Did not get further west. Time now to see the rest. We are in a 30' class c with a 460 engine. Will be towing a Jeep.

Any suggestions on places that are a must see for this trip. Any off road trails and roads.(Not crazy off road but mining roads etc.) We are not fixated by museums and the like. More fixed on the great things that God made and gave to us. Boondocking areas and regulations are also welcomed. Suggestions on roads to take or stay away from. We like two lane paved roads but will probably take the interstates for the first few days.

We have been talking about this trip for years but it is beyond the talking stage now with Lynda retiring.

Any help would be appreciated. Hope you all have a great New Year.


Lynda and Bob with the traveling cats .. Homey and Jitterbug
'00 Safari Trek 2830, Workhorse chassis. '99 Jeep towed.

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Old 01-01-2012, 02:59 PM   #2
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You forgot Oregon

Trip of a lifetime. The West is AWESOME country; there is no such thing as spending too much time here.

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Old 01-01-2012, 03:54 PM   #3
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Hi bobwalter,
You've got the map so I'm not going to mention all the usual things to see. My comments for maybe the less traveled but just as important things to see.

1. Southern California - Amboy Crater National Landmark. About a mile away is the hamlet of Amboy. One can walk (about a mile) to the crater and actually climb up and into the crater of an extinct volcano. This is not developed. The hike is flat land. Rock from the last explosion remain all over the place. The Hamlet of Amboy time stopped in the late 50's. There is a gas station and diner for lunch. Stay at Twenty Nine Palms. Just south of the CG is the Joshua Tree National Park. Death Valley and all it has to offer is another great choice. Stay in Pahrump Nevada. Terribles casino has a great CG.

2. Northern California - Muir Woods National Monument - big trees. Redwood National Park - really big trees

3. Washington - Mt. St. Hellens National Volcanic Monument. This takes longer than one would think. Plan a few days and enjoy.

4. Idaho - Craters of the Moon National Monument - It is flat, but good hiking shoes are a must. This is a full day and you will not forget what you see. Take your own food and drink. There is none available at or near the National Monument.

5. Montana - Glacier National Park - Stay on the East side (St. Mary's) Go no earlier than mid July. Prior to that there is way too much snow!

6. Utah - The Great Salt Lake - Visit Antelope Island. Go swimming in the Great Salt Lake from several beaches on the island. On the island there is a 23 degree climb and decent (for the car) see if you can find it. Just north of Mexican Hat (south east corner of Utah) are two items of really good interest. Pack food and water. Mexican Hat is the only place for food). Take Route 163 to route 261 to route 316. This is not many miles, just watch for the signs. At the end of route 316 is Goosenecks State Park. Drive straight and park in the circle. Walk to the railing and be prepared to step back. After you catch your breath, step up to the railing again and take a good long look at one of the most breathtaking views on the planet. Leave Goosenecks and turn left onto route 261. You can't get lost these are the only roads in the area. There will be signs the road end, but ignore these signs and continue on. Watch for the Valley of the Gods turn. It will be a right turn. Take the road through the Valley of the Gods. You will not be disappointed. Both these adventures together are a full day. As you return south on route 163, you'll pass through Mexican Hat. There are two places to eat. Either is great food. There is a CG at one of the restaurants.

This is enough to get you started. If you want any more out of the way places, PM me here at iRV2.
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Old 01-01-2012, 04:09 PM   #4
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Grand Tetons
Yellowstone Natl park
Devils Tower
Moab and Canyonlands
Pikes Peak
Wind River Valley
Rocky Mountain Natl Park
Grand Canyon
Meteor Crater
Hoover dam/Lake Mead
Ortiz highway (74)
Zion Natl Park

Way too much to list.....
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Old 01-01-2012, 04:38 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by bobwalter View Post
I did not realize the magnitude of the western states and I keep finding more places to visit. Planning on Bryce, Zion, Arches, Grand canyon (north and south rim) and all the other big name places.
Friends were at a FMCA rally in WY, say some people loading into a car so they asked where they were going. They said they were going to drive over to the ocean beaches. They were some 800-1000 miles away!! "Well, it's only two states away". They just didn't realize that it takes almost two days driving to get through WY alone!
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Old 01-01-2012, 05:02 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Frantz View Post
You forgot Oregon

Trip of a lifetime. The West is AWESOME country; there is no such thing as spending too much time here.
The waterfalls on the Oregon west coast are unbelievably gorgeous, worth the trip by themselves.
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Old 01-01-2012, 05:45 PM   #7
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OMG!!!!! Please keep them coming. A lot of your suggestions I have never heard of. That is what I am looking for Thanks to all so far. I will be printing out this whole thread. Sounds like I have months of planning to do....

Thanks again and PLEASE keep them coming.


PS: OOPS on missing Oregon.
Lynda and Bob with the traveling cats .. Homey and Jitterbug
'00 Safari Trek 2830, Workhorse chassis. '99 Jeep towed.

Sunny Sebastian Fl.
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Old 01-01-2012, 06:20 PM   #8
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Crater Lake in Oregon off highway 97 is my recommendation. Too many places to see to actually try to recommend them all. The international national park is cool also.
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Old 01-01-2012, 10:49 PM   #9
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If you want to put that Jeep Toad to use, then include Moab, UT on your schedule and plan several days there. There are 4x4 trails and there are roads, both can be a blast and some outstanding view and photo ops to be had. Don't forget Arches National Park as well as Canyonlands.

With your jeep check out Potash road from just north of Moab, along the Colorado River and then climbing up to Canyonlands national Park or you can start at Canyonland and drop down to Potash Road. There are several little side trips you can do off of Potash Road, all very do able in a stock Jeep. Last year I saw a Lincoln Towncar on the road and up the switchbacks to Canyonland, the Views are unbelievable and you have to see then your self.

If you go to Dead Horse State Park and look down, you will see a dirt road between you and the Colorado River, that is part of Potash Road. There is a book detailing most of the trails and back country roads around Moab (I can not locate my copy to give you the name) but it lists the roads and trails, tells about obsticales if any and is very helpful. I have spend weeks there with my Grand Cherokee and have not started to see all the things I wish to see there.

Same for the Northern California and Oregon Coasts. I drove just last Nov from Santa Rosa, CA up into WA on Hwy 101, and you could spend a couple weeks doing that easy and still not see all the interesting sights that can not be seen any other place on earth.
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Old 01-02-2012, 09:22 PM   #10
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Silverton, Colorado - gorgeous mountains with some easy roads to mining operations. I said "some" there are some doozy roads, too! Very nice boondocking on South Mineral Creek.
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Old 01-02-2012, 09:47 PM   #11
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Lassen NP, CA is nice if you find yourselves near there.
Crater Lake is a must see.
Waldo Lake, East of Oakridge, OR is the second clearest lake in the world and there is a great old forest service road (4x4) that heads North from North Waldo CG.
The Newberry Crater South of Bend, OR holds 2 lakes in it's collapsed caldera.
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Old 01-02-2012, 10:22 PM   #12
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While en route or coming back from the west, the back roads in Mississippi can take you to Natchez where you could spend days taking in the antebellum homes and other historic sites Natchez Historic Home Tours - Things to Do - Natchez Trace - Natchez Visitors Bureau - Official Natchez Mississippi Tourism Site . Oak Alley Plantation on Highway 18 west of New Orleans is well worth seeing. It also has a killer restaurant that features "traditional Louisiana-style dishes, such as red beans & rice, jambalaya, shrimp Creole, chicken fricassee, fried alligator nuggets, crawfish etouffee and gumbo, as well as po-boys (Louisiana's version of a submarine sandwich), fresh salads and a wonderful selection of homemade desserts like bread pudding with whiskey sauce, pecan pie and buttermilk pie". ("quote" from their website.) The food is wonderful.
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Old 01-02-2012, 10:45 PM   #13
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okgc, nice pic! Been there and done that!
Oregon does have some of the most beautiful water falls I've seen. A bunch of them scattered all along the state.

Crater Lake is absolutely awesome and is a goal of mine to go back and and stay for more than one night.

Lake Tahoe is great.

Yosemite, perhaps my favorite place of all. Last time I was there we had sun, rain, snow, then sun again. Spent a week and could have easily stayed one more.

Have fun!
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Old 01-02-2012, 11:28 PM   #14
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Moab has been mentioned and it is real must to go see. Down around Bolder Mountain is Goblin Valley where the years of wind has turned the sandstone into some pretty weird looking characters. Down the road from there is Fruita where you can stay overnight and watch the deer come in and feed off the fruit trees. If you like to fish, on Bolder mtn there are several lakes you can drive or hike to that have great trout fishing.

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