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Our Upcoming Trip West


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On Thursday my boys and I will head on a 2-month plus camping trip to the west coast. Here's our route --- any suggestions on other stops along the way, or sights that we should add on that are close to our present path would be greatly appreciated. THANKS

 

Delaware to TX where we will stop for the weekend to see my sister. She's north of Dallas.

Monahans Sandhills State Park, TX

Balmorhea State Park, TX

Guadalupe Mts. NP

Carlsbad Caverns NP

White Sands NM

Percha Dam SP

Fila Hot Springs

Gila Cliff Dwellings NM

Chiricahua NM

Saguaro NP

San Xavier del Bac

Sonora Desert Museum

Red Hills Visitor Center

Casa Grande Ruins Nm

Tonto NM

Montezuma Castle NM

Tuzigoot NM

Coconio NF, Pine Flat Campground

Homolovi Ruins SP

Petrified Forest NP

Walnut Canyon NM

Sunset Crater Volvano NM

Coconion NF, Bonita Campground

Grand Canyon NP

Four corners NM

Aztec ruins NM

Mesa Verde NP

Arches NP

Canyonlands NP

Natural Bridges NM

Capitol Reef NP

Bryce Canyon NP

Zion NP

Death Valley NP

El Capitan State Beach

Cambria, CA

Pfeiffer Big Sur SP

Sequoia

Yosemite NP

Lincoln, NE July 13th --- National Inline Skating Championship

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Cambria! I've been there - great tide pools. We will drive from Yosemite to Big Sur to Cambria on June 13th....part of our big trip to my home state so I can show the kids what REAL scenery looks like.

 

I wish we could do a two-month road trip! You are going to have a blast!!!!

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What a trip! You might consider stopping at Dead Horse Point State Park in between Arches and Canyonlands. (You'll drive right past it.)

 

We just got back from visiting Arches, Dead Horse Point, Canyonlands (briefly), and Zion.

 

Thank you I have added Dead Horse Point SP to our list.

 

I have not been to Arches or Canyonlands before. How many days would you recommend at each?

 

Thanks,

Carole

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Thank you I have added Dead Horse Point SP to our list.

 

I have not been to Arches or Canyonlands before. How many days would you recommend at each?

 

Thanks,

Carole

 

I would say 2-3 days for Arches, depending on how much you want to see and how well you tolerate the heat. (We had a 2yo, so we stuck to the easier hikes.) I would highly recommend hiking to Delicate Arch *early* one morning and signing up for the ranger-led hike into the Fiery Furnace another morning. Landscape Arch is also a must-see, but I prefer to do that hike in the late afternoon or early evening. There are some other arches on that trail if you have time and energy. I would definitely make time for Double Arch. (It's a short hike; an hour total should do it.) Sand Dune Arch was a favorite with the kids. (The adults read in the shade while the kids played in the sand.)

 

Canyonlands is a bit tricky because you can't easily get from one part of the trip to the other parts (it's divided in three). This trip was our first visit to Canyonlands. We only had half a day to spend, so we did the Grand View Point Scenic Drive, about half of the hike at Grand View Point, and the hike to Mesa Arch. My guidebook recommends seeing the Grand View Point area if you have a half day or one day and adding The Needles area if you have a second day. (They suggest the Big Spring Canyon Overlook Drive and all four day hikes.)

 

In fact, given how long you're going to be in Utah, I highly recommend Lonely Planet's Zion & Bryce Canyon National Parks. Don't be fooled by the title; it includes information on all five Utah National Parks as well as the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument and Moab. Details about campgrounds, hikes, etc. I give it two thumbs up.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Today we are sitting in a hotel in Silver City, NM and are experiencing RAIN, WIND. Soon we'll be heading west.

 

I've used the time in the hotel last night to update my blog.

 

I would really, really appreciate feedback as to whether you think I experienced an allergic reaction to the spring water at Balmorhea or if it was dehydration.

 

THANKS.

:auto:

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How do you go about planning a trip like this? Are all your nightly reservations in place before you go? Wow, wow, wow! Any more you can share about the details would be great.

 

Hearst Castle is very close to Cambria, CA and children seem to really enjoy the grandeur of it. Also, on the coast near Hearst Castle is a flock of elephant seals.

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Wow! What a wonderful trip! We went to Arches last summer with our daughter and were able to hike into several of the Arches. Take lots of water.

 

We also went to Four corners...VERY underwhelming and the road to it was really bumpy!

 

We also LOVED Mesa Verde...get there early so that you can sign up for hikes. You can't just walk in and expect to go where you want. One of our hikes was canceled because of an older woman fell and it was a pickle to get her out. There is one trail that you can take that doesn't require a reservation...it is behind the museum...so at least we saw a village up close.

 

One of my friends told me about a place just after Arches where the Green and the Colorado Rivers come together...she said you can see one river very green and the other brown and they mix...sounds kind of cool and wish I could have seen it. Have fun!

 

Sounds like you will miss Crater Lake and The Redwoods...but you do have a huge list to stop at and what great memories you will have! Reese

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  • 2 weeks later...
How do you go about planning a trip like this? Are all your nightly reservations in place before you go? Wow, wow, wow! Any more you can share about the details would be great.

 

Hearst Castle is very close to Cambria, CA and children seem to really enjoy the grandeur of it. Also, on the coast near Hearst Castle is a flock of elephant seals.

 

Actually just a little planning has gone into our trip but there are some essentials:

my oldest is my navigator and we use MicroSofts Streets and Trips to guide us on route choice and for finding motels, campgrounds, gas stations,....

 

We go with zero reservations which allows us to change our minds on the spur of the moment. Presently we are at Bryce Canyon NP, I thought we would be here one night but instead we decided to be here for three nights enjoying the park's programs and the hikes. There are some disadvantages to zero-planning; we weren't able to hike to the bottom of the Grand Canyon but to me that's a minor tradeoff. For us though we feel the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages---when else in their lives will these boys be able to just travel around this country for weeks on end without cares?

 

We've also drastically changed our trip plans since the boys are tired of the desert of the SW. We've used MS Streets & Trips to pick out National Parks in OR and WA to visit instead and will head there after our CA experience. We have always been able to obtain a tent site in a National Park, even when we visited Yellowstone and Teton's two years ago in the summer.

 

We rely extensively upon the park rangers and people we met to give us guidance on what to see and do (read the last few days blog postings to get an idea about that).

 

The other key part of this is that I have a really supportive husband who has just requested that I keep the boys safe and check in when I have cell phone service. He's asked the boys to keep me safe :-) He knows too that I have years and years of backpacking and camping experience so setting up a tent, following a trail, cooking on a camping stove are all tasks that I have tons of experience with.

 

I am SOOOOO happy that I took them west two summers ago and what prombted the idea was meeting a hs mom who had done just that too. She said, just do it! It worked so well we are out here again.

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any medical personnel? Do you have a nurse line with your insurance co? I think given this episode, I'd keep liquid Benadryl on hand in case it happens again and make sure that you're eating and drinking well. (Not that you weren't.) How very scary for you, the mom!

 

:grouphug:

 

What a great trip you've undertaken!! I hope the rest of it goes well for you all.

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We also LOVED Mesa Verde...get there early so that you can sign up for hikes. You can't just walk in and expect to go where you want.

 

That's a bummer. 20 years ago you could walk to many of the ruins. I was going to suggest a bike for Mesa Verde because of the distances between the ruins was too great for walking, but it was awfully short for cars and you didn't need to worry about parking. I guess that's no longer a consideration.

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