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Old 09-15-2019, 02:09 PM   #1
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Traveling out west

Hello:

Looking for guidance on a trip we’re planning, starting mid-April through end of May (roughly 6 weeks). Starting in lower Michigan, would like to encompass Grand Canyon, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, northern Texas and, if possible, Lake Tahoe.
We’re in our mid-60’s, traveling in a MH and towing a car. Interested mostly in the sights out west (our first time west).
If anyone has done something similar, would appreciate your input, “must see” places and also “don’t waste your time” places. Thanks in advance,

Rose
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Old 09-15-2019, 03:09 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Rp1955 View Post

Looking for guidance on a trip we’re planning, starting mid-April through end of May (roughly 6 weeks). Starting in lower Michigan, would like to encompass Grand Canyon, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, northern Texas and, if possible, Lake Tahoe.
That will be a very nice trip and with your allotted time, it could easily be done. Lake Tahoe will be out of your way somewhat but definitely include it in your planning stage to see if you can work it in. You didn't give your interests but you will have many wonderful national parks to visit.

If you could even leave a little earlier you can avoid some heat and crowds.

I'd recommend heading south to Texas first weatherwise because you don't want to get north too early in the season.

From Michigan head down to Tennessee and do the Natchez Trail down through Mississippi. Take in some of the Louisiana Cajun country for fun music and good food. Then head west to Texas. You stated 'northern Texas' ... is there a specific reason? I'd surely hit some of the 'Hill Country' around Austin, Fredricksburg, San Antonio. Big Bend Nat'l Park is also great. Stay in the park at Rio Grande Village RV park or campground.

Now you'll have to make decisions because there's no way to can tour the whole states. You can either drive north in New Mexico and take I-40 west to Grand Canyon. (Interstates are boring and secondary highways are great - you'll see more of the country). You could go up to Santa Fe, also. Or... you could drive west on I-10 to Tucson and the greater Phoenix area and up to the Grand Canyon. Lots to see both routes.

Grand Canyon - stay in the park in Trailer Village campground for the best experience. You can get the free shuttle from there and you can also walk to the Rim.

From there if you haven't been to any of the southern Utah national parks before I'd recommend them as long as you're so close. Zion, Bryce, Capitol Reef, Canyonlands, Arches and the Tribal park, Monument Valley.

Nevada? There's Las Vegas. You could weave your way to Lake Tahoe, also. Nevada is pretty barren. Driving across Hwy 50 is a great experience.

Returning to Michigan you could do some of SW Colorado - gorgeous and then take I-70 across.

When you have specific areas locked in then return to ask about where to stay. It just depends on where and what you want to see. Skipping Nevada, Lake Tahoe & Texas would give you more time for the AZ, UT & CO. Your trip will be driving many miles.
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Old 09-17-2019, 07:12 PM   #3
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you should check out going south west from Michigan to Custer South Dakota .so much to see around there, Mt. Rushmore the caves and Yellowstone and more then head south. you should check open times, your a little early could very well be snow.
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Old 09-17-2019, 10:06 PM   #4
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Hi Rose. That will be a wonderful trip! One thing to keep in mind will be the weather. We have encountered snow at the Grand Canyon in April. Melts quickly but it can make traveling a little challenging.
A good possible route would be to drop down to Oklahoma City, take Hwy 40 through Albuquerque then on to Williams AZ, turn North up to the Grand Canyon. I agree staying at the Grand Canyon Village RV Park works out very well ! Make reservations!
From there, you can take hwy 64 to hwy 89 North. From there you can get to Zion National Park, or do what we did and take a side trip up to Monument Valley. It is really beautiful, but a little off the beaten path! From Monument Valley, you can head North up to Moab and Arches National Park.
If you decide to skip MV, Zion and Bryce Canyon are both spectacular! After Bryce, you can head West and get to Hwy 50 across Nevada, go to Reno and use it as a base camp to visit Lake Tahoe ! I know I haven’t given you all the highway information, but I have tried to simply give you some options from my travels in that area. SO MANY GREAT OPTIONS !!
Have FUN !!
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Old 09-18-2019, 08:24 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rp1955 View Post
Hello:

Looking for guidance on a trip we’re planning, starting mid-April through end of May (roughly 6 weeks). Starting in lower Michigan, would like to encompass Grand Canyon, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, northern Texas and, if possible, Lake Tahoe.
We’re in our mid-60’s, traveling in a MH and towing a car. Interested mostly in the sights out west (our first time west).
If anyone has done something similar, would appreciate your input, “must see” places and also “don’t waste your time” places. Thanks in advance,

Rose
Why did you leave off Utah?

We are just returning from 6 months just visiting NM, UT, CO, WY. Sooo many things to see. And this is the 3rd or 4th time there. And we'll still have to go back to see some of the same things again and explore spots we missed.

At least you'll be going in the somewhat slower tourist months. Still, you'll encounter lots of folks that now visit places in the shoulder seasons. SO YOU WILL WANT TO MAKE RESERVATIONS for the more popular places.

Grand Canyon South Rim maybe needs 1 or 2 days unless you plan to hike into the canyon. The North Rim isn't likely to be open before mid May, but it is my preferred choice anymore (been to both sides multiple times) as it is less crowded and still offers studding views.

Nevada - haven't spent much time there. But have heard that these are nice: Valley Of Fire, Great Basin Nat'l Park, Cathedral Gorge SP, Hoover Dam.

Norther TX: nothing I can think of. Maybe stop in Amarillo and eat at the Big Texan & get a ride in their limos with the steer horns mounted as a hood ornament.

New Mexico: Santa Fe is quaint town, Bandelier Nat'l Monument,

Arizona: Painted Desert, Monument Valley, Sedona (Jerome, Cotonwood), Page (this place is continually underrated - we spent 10 days there and will return).

I've left off a lot, but you've missed the best part by not including Utah.

Best advice: go on line and research states/places and then find out what peaks your interest and plan around that. Request travel info from every state, read the books & find what interests you. We all have similar but somewhat different tastes; you'll find yours.

Routing.... I'd just head out toward Denver on the interstates in the interest of maximizing travel time. heck, even in Nebraska you can find neat things no far off the interstate. Once into Colorado you can continue to UT, NV, down to AZ, across NM, maybe even hit TX before instating it back home.

Since it's your first time out there don't worry too much about missing something - you will anyway as you will find out; but at least you'll know what you want to go back and see and maybe spend more time.
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Old 09-18-2019, 12:06 PM   #6
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Good ideas! Keep the weather in mind. Travel to the hotter areas first since you plan to be done by the end of May. In April/May the northern areas can still have snow.
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Old 09-18-2019, 01:11 PM   #7
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We have done a similar trip from Ontario, except we leave at the end of January. We have done route 66. Last time we went specifically to do the Grand Canyon area. We did a 200 to 300 mile circle around the Grand Canyon. This included route 66 stuff, Painted Desert NP, Petrified Forest NP, Flagstaff, Sedona, Page, Monument Valley, Zion NP and southern Utah, Las Vegas, Hover Dam, Lake Havasu, Oatman, and Phoenix. The beauty of this area is you have things at both higher, and lower elevations. If the weather is going to be colder, do some stuff at Vegas or Phoenix, Lake Havasu areas. We even checked out Quartzite and Ehrenberg last time. We rented a side x side and went on a desert excursion. If the weather is nice, head up the hill to everything else. The Grand Canyon of course is the main attraction, but the entire surrounding area is just as spectacular. One of my favourite places to go. I will return again.
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Old 09-18-2019, 01:25 PM   #8
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Lake Powell.... Take a tour boat ride up to Rainbow Bridge. Since you're going to be in the area..


This is a good read:
https://www.us-parks.com/roadtrip/th...road-trip.html
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Old 09-18-2019, 01:38 PM   #9
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There is so much to do and see in the west that you may consider two trips. One going to the south west and take in TX, NM, AZ, UT, CO. AZ and UT can last a week or two by themselves. Do another trip the following year and see the north west, Tahoe, So Dakota, (Custer, Mt Rushmore, Deadwood can be almost a week by itself).
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Old 09-19-2019, 03:26 PM   #10
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If you want to swing a little farther west, Las Vegas area, Mead Lake, Hover Dam, and death valley. There are several NPS places around Lake Mead that we like. AND , if your a shooter, the Clark Count shooting range has sites.
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Old 09-24-2019, 12:00 PM   #11
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Norther TX: nothing I can think of. Maybe stop in Amarillo and eat at the Big Texan & get a ride in their limos with the steer horns mounted as a hood ornament.
On our last trip out west, a fellow camper somewhere told us to go see Palo Duro Canyon State Park just a little way SE of Amarillo, TX. It isn't nicknamed "The Grand Canyon of Texas" for nothing. We didn't have time, but we will on the next trip.
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Old 09-24-2019, 02:46 PM   #12
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We did a trip in 2017 similar to what you are planning. We, too, were in our mid 60s, towing a vehicle, first time out west, from New England and left April 9 and out for 10 weeks. We headed south to TN and picked up route 40 west. Generally we don’t make reservations unless it’s a long holiday weekend or peak season. We had no problems finding availability at campgrounds. We saw the Great Smokies in TN. Great weather. In Arkansas we stayed at an Army Corp of Engineers in Ft Smith. More great weather. Oklahoma was windy but dry. We stayed at Juniper Campground in Palo Duro Canyon State Park for three nights in Amarillo. Highly recommend. It was hot, in the 90s. We visited Santa Fe and Albuquerque in NM.More great weather there.

It was warm at the Petrified Forest and Painted Dessert. We spent a few days in Williams AZ to visit the Grand Canyon. Unfortunately, the north rim was not opened end of April. It was 50 degrees in the mornings when we did our hiking along the south rim.

North to Utah brought more very warm weather in Zion. All in all, we visited 11 National Parks, ending up in the Badlands of South Dakota and Black Hills. We only saw three days of rain. Hit a snow squall in Bryce for one minute! It was a great time to visit the parks in my opinion. No crowds, lines,traffic. We got out of the hot southwest before it got unbearable. As I said, it was our first time there and we managed two to three days at each National Park, but two weeks in Yellowstone/Tetons. Enjoy. It’s simply breathtaking,
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Old 09-24-2019, 03:36 PM   #13
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A little different perspective. We are located in California and have been/toured most of the areas mentioned in the previous posts. Local knowledge, records show that it has snowed on every day of the calendar at some time in the past at Lake Tahoe. Not a problem just watch the weather forecast when at elevations higher than 4000 ft. We found the Canyonland by Day and Night boat tour and campground dinner in Moab to be worthwhile. Invest in Lonely Planet's western guide books. These are written by locals and not travel writers. These have led us to some very interesting sites and good restaurants. Have a memorial trip
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Old 09-24-2019, 04:51 PM   #14
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Norther TX: nothing I can think of. Maybe stop in Amarillo and eat at the Big Texan & get a ride in their limos with the steer horns mounted as a hood ornament.

If you're stopping in Amarillo you might want to check out Jack Sisemore Traveland RV Museum
Lots of interesting things on display, and admission is free!


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Routing.... I'd just head out toward Denver on the interstates in the interest of maximizing travel time. heck, even in Nebraska you can find neat things no far off the interstate.

If you're going through Kearney, Nebraska on I80 you should stop at https://archway.org/ - otherwise known as the Great Platte River Road Archway. Admission is reasonable ($11 for seniors) and it's an awesome experience - we spent several hours going through it.
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