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Old 09-11-2019, 06:21 PM   #1
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My Great Western Trip

Hey guys/gals,

Iím needing any and all input whether pros or cons.

I live in central Arkansas.

I want to hit I-40 westbound. Iíll make small stops at such places as the big steak in Amarillo, petrified forest etc.

My overnights will mostly be Walmart RV campsite.

My must sees are Yosemite, Lake Tahoe and up hwy 1 (or 101?) thru Oregon and around the Olympic range to Puget Sound. Lastly, heading back east (sobs and tears).

My question(s) are:
1. Best Wally worlds and best fuel stops along the way. We can use truck stops for overnight too.
2. Any other gotta sees along the way?
3. Iíd like to avoid larger cities and Iíd love to see beautiful country with mountains. We have so called mountains in this beautiful state but they be mole hills in comparison!
4. Coming back the only must sees are Yellowstone and Grand Teton. But Iím sure there are more?
5. Best routes for 3 and 4.
6. Best time of year to avoid huge snow. A foot or so is ok. And to avoid the family stampede.
7. Lastly, any other questions Iím simply to ignorant to ask!

I plan to travel 500-600 miles daily.

Thanks beforehand for all input,

Romr

PS. If any have need of Arkansas information Iíd be a pretty good contact.
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Old 09-11-2019, 07:05 PM   #2
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How many days are you allowing for this trip?


500-600 miles a day? That's 10-12 hours a day or more. How any down days for sight seeing are you allowing?
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Old 09-11-2019, 08:43 PM   #3
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When are you planning this? How much time do you have for the trip? What kind of RV do you have? Size?

If you drive interstates you'll be driving through big cities.

A foot of snow is not easily doable with a RV. If snow is in the forecast for mountain area you'll be required to put chains on the RV. It's very dangerous to drive in snow with a RV.

Best time would be leaving Arkansas in March/April and first do Grand Canyon and the southern Utah national parks. Beginning mid-June the families will begin to appear and the parks more crowded.

Another time period would be leaving Arkansas in mid-August and do your trip through October.

All WalMarts are the same so don't worry about good stops. Same for truck stops. Their all over so you won't have a hard time finding them on the interstates. Google and you'll find listings for all the WalMarts by state. Call before to make sure you can overnight. Some don't allow it. Truck stops - also Google. Fuel - use GasBuddy site.

Yosemite is our least favorite national park. It's extremely crowded any time of the year. It's too close to civilization. If you want to go you definitely need reservations and they're hard to get. Google on the best timing to get them. If sites open for reservation at 9am they'll be gone in 5 minutes so you have to have your hand on the reservation site.

Taking California 395 to Lee Vining and staying around there and driving your vehicle into Yosemite for a day is the easiest but you'll want more than a day, I would imagine. It's a gorgeous mountain drive but doing it day after day? Staying on west side of the park in a RV park you'll have crowds but it can be done. Not many easily accessible boondocking spots on public lands on the west side. More on the east side along 395. Then from 395 it's an easy drive to Tahoe.

From Tahoe you could take Hwy 50 (all downhill) or I-80/20 into the Sacramento area the 20 west to Hwy 101 which will take you north to Oregon/Washington. There's very little of Hwy 1 to drive in this area and not good for big rigs.

Crater Lake in Oregon is very nice - summer only.

Hwy 101 - any state park is awesome; some don't accept reservations but most do. Take 101 into Washington and around the Olympic Peninsula - beautiful.

Yellowstone/Grand Teton - try to stay in the parks themselves for the best experience. Each national park has a great website (.gov) giving things to do, camping info, road info, special alerts. There are some campgrounds that don't accept reservations but you have to stay nearby the previous night and drive in early the next morning. We like Mammoth in Yellowstone and Gros Ventre in the Tetons.

Southern Utah Nat'l Parks are a do not miss: Arches, Capitol Reef, Canyonlands, Bryce, Zion. There's also Monument Valley where a lot of old westerns were filmed.

Page, AZ - take an Antelope Canyon tour

Grand Canyon - for a first time visit do the South Rim but the North Rim is beautiful, also - just less things to do but also quieter and fewer people.

It's a huge trip to include everything. You may have to pick and choose. Once you hit Arizona on I-40 you definitely won't be driving 500 mi days - more like 200-300 or less between parks.

Have fun planning!
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Old 09-11-2019, 09:40 PM   #4
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Sorry guys I knew I was missing some important points.

I’d love to make this a 2 month trip. However, we’re grandparents now and that’s toooo long for granny. So let’s say 5 weeks. I know that 500-600 miles is a lot but I’ll be running about 70mph and just cringe at the pump.
My must sees about 3 days each. I’ve never travelled thru California, Oregon or Washington and know nothing of the roadways except what I see on a map with now gradient showing.
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Old 09-11-2019, 09:54 PM   #5
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twogypsies,

Wow! Great stuff.

My earlier statement about 5 weeks doesn’t sound doable now. I’ve done the Grand Canyon (south rim) and headed north thru the Utah parks and really enjoyed it. So farther west to Yosemite and Tahoe are on my bucket list. We have old friends who went to Wyoming in the 80’s to become Park Rangers and they both retired just outside Teton in Moose WY. So we can spend about 5 days with them and do those parks.

Also, I’ve heard that National Parks have an RV length limit? At 36’ would I be over the limit?

Thanks again and I apologize about my signature not making the opening post.
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Old 09-11-2019, 10:01 PM   #6
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Five weeks for just the West coast will be doable. We got our 40' MH and Jeep into Oregon's state parks: Cape Blanco (first come), Beverly Beach, Bullards Beach, Harris Beach (A loop #15 is great) and Fort Stevens. In Yellowstone we used Mammoth (first come), along with Bridge Bay & Madison campgrounds. Grand Teton we used Gros Ventre campground (our first choice) and Colter Bay campground.
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Old 09-11-2019, 10:43 PM   #7
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Just an FYI. Yosemite and some of Tahoe are in Calif where the speed limit towing a vehicle is only 55 MPH and highly enforced. Factor this into your driving distance and mileage per day. As far as National Parks camp site lengths. Most have remodeled and have longer big rig sites but only a few per campground and they fill up fast and first so reservations would help you. twogypsies post is a good iteniery. 395 to Lee Vining is the way to go. Hwy 120 at Lee Vining will take you to the East entrance of Yosemite. Continue north on 395 will get you to Tahoe. I-80 from Tahoe to Sacramento and then continue East, not on 80 or you will end up in San Francisco, to Hwy 101 north to Oregon and Washington. You donít want to drive Hwy 1 in an RV.
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Old 09-12-2019, 07:09 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ArkansasRomr View Post
Hey guys/gals,



Iím needing any and all input whether pros or cons.



I live in central Arkansas.



I want to hit I-40 westbound. Iíll make small stops at such places as the big steak in Amarillo, petrified forest etc.



My overnights will mostly be Walmart RV campsite.



My must sees are Yosemite, Lake Tahoe and up hwy 1 (or 101?) thru Oregon and around the Olympic range to Puget Sound. Lastly, heading back east (sobs and tears).



My question(s) are:

1. Best Wally worlds and best fuel stops along the way. We can use truck stops for overnight too.

2. Any other gotta sees along the way?

3. Iíd like to avoid larger cities and Iíd love to see beautiful country with mountains. We have so called mountains in this beautiful state but they be mole hills in comparison!

4. Coming back the only must sees are Yellowstone and Grand Teton. But Iím sure there are more?

5. Best routes for 3 and 4.

6. Best time of year to avoid huge snow. A foot or so is ok. And to avoid the family stampede.

7. Lastly, any other questions Iím simply to ignorant to ask!



I plan to travel 500-600 miles daily.



Thanks beforehand for all input,



Romr



PS. If any have need of Arkansas information Iíd be a pretty good contact.


Not sure if you have the AllStays Camp & RV app, but it has a lot of pluses for trip planning. One thing in the filter is ability to show all the walmarts ďask to parkĒ plus it shows rest stops and casinos along your route for free overnight parking. We use it all the time.
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Old 09-12-2019, 10:08 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twogypsies View Post
Five weeks for just the West coast will be doable. We got our 40' MH and Jeep into Oregon's state parks: Cape Blanco (first come), Beverly Beach, Bullards Beach, Harris Beach (A loop #15 is great) and Fort Stevens. In Yellowstone we used Mammoth (first come), along with Bridge Bay & Madison campgrounds. Grand Teton we used Gros Ventre campground (our first choice) and Colter Bay campground.
I’ll place pins at those spots.

Has anyone used the app called ‘RV Parky’? Just started playing with it. I’m assuming you can plan trips with it. Does this forum have a trip planner?
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Old 09-12-2019, 10:13 PM   #10
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Just an FYI. Yosemite and some of Tahoe are in Calif where the speed limit towing a vehicle is only 55 MPH and highly enforced. Factor this into your driving distance and mileage per day. As far as National Parks camp site lengths. Most have remodeled and have longer big rig sites but only a few per campground and they fill up fast and first so reservations would help you. twogypsies post is a good iteniery. 395 to Lee Vining is the way to go. Hwy 120 at Lee Vining will take you to the East entrance of Yosemite. Continue north on 395 will get you to Tahoe. I-80 from Tahoe to Sacramento and then continue East, not on 80 or you will end up in San Francisco, to Hwy 101 north to Oregon and Washington. You donít want to drive Hwy 1 in an RV.
TXTiger

Great help with the highways and speed reductions in CA, the lengthened spots in national parks and staying off Hwy1.

I’ve noticed that Walmart overnight camping isn’t allowed in most of the spots I’ve checked in C.A. is that true?
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Old 09-12-2019, 10:19 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by JV2LY View Post
Not sure if you have the AllStays Camp & RV app, but it has a lot of pluses for trip planning. One thing in the filter is ability to show all the walmarts ďask to parkĒ plus it shows rest stops and casinos along your route for free overnight parking. We use it all the time.
John & Vickie,

I will definitely give that app a look see. Because diesel fuel is expensive enough I’d like to keep campsite fees to a minimum. Hence the Walmart info. I know the south and southeast a bit but out west past Colorado not so much. Are there areas out west that have available water for fill ups? Possibly state line rest stops?
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Old 09-12-2019, 10:29 PM   #12
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TXTiger

Great help with the highways and speed reductions in CA, the lengthened spots in national parks and staying off Hwy1.

I’ve noticed that Walmart overnight camping isn’t allowed in most of the spots I’ve checked in C.A. is that true?
The Walmart corporate policy is that overnight parking for RVs is at the discretion of the manager. There are a number of locales (city/town/county) that prohibit it, and some Walmarts are in leased space as part of a larger development where the owner does not permit it.

When in doubt just call ahead, when you get there go in to say hello to the manager and confirm the overnight is still okay.

I hope you two have many fun, safe miles.
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Old 09-13-2019, 05:22 AM   #13
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John & Vickie,

I will definitely give that app a look see. Because diesel fuel is expensive enough Iíd like to keep campsite fees to a minimum. Hence the Walmart info. I know the south and southeast a bit but out west past Colorado not so much. Are there areas out west that have available water for fill ups? Possibly state line rest stops?


Since this is our first long venture, we have not yet searched out water sources, other than rv parks. CA has many rest areas on their interstates and state highways. Some have free dump stations and may have a water fill near them, but have not used them as yet. Free water in CA is hard to find.
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Old 09-13-2019, 05:46 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ArkansasRomr View Post
Hey guys/gals,

Iím needing any and all input whether pros or cons.

I live in central Arkansas.

I want to hit I-40 westbound. Iíll make small stops at such places as the big steak in Amarillo, petrified forest etc.

My overnights will mostly be Walmart RV campsite.

My must sees are Yosemite, Lake Tahoe and up hwy 1 (or 101?) thru Oregon and around the Olympic range to Puget Sound. Lastly, heading back east (sobs and tears).

My question(s) are:
1. Best Wally worlds and best fuel stops along the way. We can use truck stops for overnight too.
2. Any other gotta sees along the way?
3. Iíd like to avoid larger cities and Iíd love to see beautiful country with mountains. We have so called mountains in this beautiful state but they be mole hills in comparison!
4. Coming back the only must sees are Yellowstone and Grand Teton. But Iím sure there are more?
5. Best routes for 3 and 4.
6. Best time of year to avoid huge snow. A foot or so is ok. And to avoid the family stampede.
7. Lastly, any other questions Iím simply to ignorant to ask!

I plan to travel 500-600 miles daily.

Thanks beforehand for all input,

Romr

PS. If any have need of Arkansas information Iíd be a pretty good contact.
We just did much of that this past winter and spring. Doing it in five weeks seems to me way too ambitious. California alone needs more than five weeks.

I have driven 500-600 miles in a day and it wears you out fast. We took our time and spent a week or more in one spot. That allowed us time to relax and see the sites. We spent about week each in Indio, Ventura, Monterrey, San Francisco, Napa, Lake Tahoe.
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