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Old 03-08-2015, 07:21 PM   #1
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Heading West in 2016

Hi - we are beginning to plan a big trip for 2016 - traveling northwest from OH to MN, then going west through ND, ID, MO, OR, WA, south through CA and back home through southern states - NM, AZ, TX etc. We like National Parks and museums/unusual sites. Willing/hoping to do some boondocking here & there to keep our costs lower. Can anyone give me any tips -
What to see?
Where to stay?
What to avoid?
What routes to drive/not drive?
Months to travel?

All your suggestions are greatly appreciated!
Thanks from newbies Big D & Ro!

Big D & Ro
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Old 03-08-2015, 09:49 PM   #2
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Old 03-08-2015, 10:09 PM   #3
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Wow! You're asking a lot!!

Since you have a year to plan I would suggest that you make a post for each state you plan on driving through and ask questions of that state. It won't seem so overwhelming to you....or to us.

For starters you could also get a road atlas and highlight the points of interest such as the national parks. Then you can make a route by connecting the dots.

You appear to have unlimited time for this awesome trip from Ohio so if you could leave in April and take a southern route to perhaps Arizona and work your way north for the summer months. You could easily be traveling from April until October for all the states you want to cover.

As far as boondocking spots, we've done a lot in the West because there are so many easily accessible areas of BLM lands and national forests and many are geared for big rigs, if that's what you have.

Here's a national forest site we like to use which also gives good directions for each one:

Campground Directory and National Forest Campgrounds
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Old 03-09-2015, 10:04 PM   #4
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BDR, a hell of a trip there! You'll see your odometer well past 7000 before you see Ohio again.

Tell me, what kind of time do you have available ? Any constraints ?
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Old 03-09-2015, 10:33 PM   #5
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I don't know if you've been out west but in June, July and August 110 degrees is possible in a lot of the southwestern states including California where I live.

Make sure your engine's cooling system is in good shape.
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Old 03-09-2015, 11:24 PM   #6
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Heading West in 2016

If you are starting in the spring reverse your order. But we really need some more information like start month and trip duration. There are some must see national parks and some great state parks as well along your way. We love Yosemite, Kings canyon, Death Valley, the coast of CA and OR. Check out Valley of Fire SP in NV and Zion, Bryce, north rim of Grand Canyon. The list of great places to visit is endless.

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Old 03-10-2015, 05:14 AM   #7
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I agree that if you're leaving in the spring, do the southwest first because of heat later in the summer. Also traveling too early northbound you'll find some campgrounds still closed.. There's so much to see on a trip like that. To add to Chiefly1's list, Yellowstone, Glacier, Mt. St. Helens, Mt. Ranier, The Tetons, Mt. Rushmore & Crazyhorse. We love western Montana, and Idaho for beautiful scenery when you get off the interstates. We pretty much did what you're planning in 2011, only we started from Maryland, going through Alb. N.M., and then up through the rockies to Yellowstone and then to all the other places that have been mentioned. Ultimately ended up in San Diego for the winter of 2011/12. Then it was on to Alaska. This is such a great life out here on the road. I believe the only thing that will get us off will be health issues eventually.
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Old 03-10-2015, 10:14 AM   #8
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Don't by-pass our part of the world - the top LH corner of Washington State. It's particularly pleasant in summer, when the high temps rarely top 75 degrees even in bright sunshine. There's lots of gorgeous scenery, from snow-capped volcanoes, steep, craggy mountain ranges and islands.

Anacortes (our town) is the "Gateway to the San Juans". The state ferry system operates from a terminal about a half mile from our house, with services to three of the San Juan Islands and to Sidney, on Vancouver Island in summer. It's expensive to take an RV on the ferries (fee is based on length), but a car is relatively cheap.

Your trip sounds like a great adventure.
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Old 03-10-2015, 10:27 AM   #9
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We trip plan by building a list of things we are interested in in each state. Then i plot these using Google Maps / My Places. Once I see where the clusters are, I better know where to basecamp. At that point I use rvparkreviews.com and military campground web site (I am an air force retiree) to select campgrounds. Depending on location and time of year, i make reservations. Least expensive (other than military campgrounds) are usually NPS, state parks, and municipal parks. There are lots of dry camping (boondocking) areas in AZ.

We never see everything on our list... just too much. But this gives us reason to return another time.

Have fun!
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Old 03-10-2015, 06:01 PM   #10
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We did a similar trek following the Lewis and Clark Trail. We had the book Undaunted Courage on audio disk. For much of the trip it was in sync. Incredible experience,
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Old 03-11-2015, 12:04 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Arch Hoagland View Post
I don't know if you've been out west but in June, July and August 110 degrees is possible in a lot of the southwestern states including California where I live.

Make sure your engine's cooling system is in good shape.

X2 on the heat. We live just north of San Diego, and travel to Tucson a few time a year. We only go to Tucson between November and April. From May through October It is just too hot for us to consider desert travel. If your travels take you through Tucson, I recommend The Arizona Sonora Desert Museum, Biosphere, Titan Missile Site, Saguaro National Park, and too many great golf courses to count.

In San Diego Ca, there is of course the ocean, the harbor and the bay. Sea World, the San Diego Zoo and separate Wild Animal Park, Legoland, Balboa Park, Point Loma Lighthouse, about 90 golf courses (I've played over 60 of them) playable year round. Excellent hiking, rock climbing, and bicycling opportunities.

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Old 03-11-2015, 04:25 AM   #12
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Heading West in 2016

This is a great thread. I'm sure there are many others who have put this trip on their bucket list / and others who have crossed it off. I'm enjoying the conversation for my own planning.
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Old 03-11-2015, 07:10 AM   #13
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Hi BigDnRo,
Going through ND is okay, but consider making a detour to the south western part of SD. That is where many of the national treasures are.
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Old 03-11-2015, 11:46 AM   #14
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One of our goals was to visit every Presidential Museum in the country.

In the process we saw a lot of the states.

We were headed to the newest Bush museum in Dallas but had vehicle problems near there so will hit it later.

Otherwise we've seen them all.

We met one couple a few years ago who attended every major league baseball team's stadium and saw a game there over the course of one summer.

Their toad was totaled two days before they left on the trip but they went anyways. Where there's a will there's a way.

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