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28 Days in a Campervan on the West side of USA- advise please?

28 Days in a Campervan on the West side of USA- advise please?

Mar 1st, 2009, 02:47 PM
  #1  
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28 Days in a Campervan on the West side of USA- advise please?

Hi,
We desperately need advise on our trip from when we pick up our camper in LA on the 1st of April for 28 days- drop off is in Las Vegas. We have unlimited mileage on the camper. We want to see the following places and need a suggested itineray (because we really dont have much idea on distances - only that it must be a hell of a long route).
So LA north coast - Yosemite NP- Yellowstone NP- then option 1: Nth Route to Mt Rushmore (is it worth going all that way to see it?) - Denver- Moab- Monument Valley - Lake Powell - Bryce Canyon - Grand Canyon - Las Vegas. Is that trying to fit too much in?
How many kms/miles would that be? Or should we cut out Dakota and try option 2: from Yellowstone - Salt Lake - Denver - Moab-Monument Valley- Lake Powell- Bryce- Canyon - Vegas (as above). Or cut out Denver in option 2?
I welcome feed back please.
kathnkev is offline  
Mar 1st, 2009, 03:05 PM
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Is Yellowstone NP even open to private vehicles in April?

As a kid, we drove from Ohio to LA and back in a month but that was staying one night per place with 2 weeks in the LA area visiting family.

ST
SuzieTrue is offline  
Mar 1st, 2009, 03:29 PM
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Weather and road conditions in April can be chancy in the northern mountains. As Suzie pointed out, Yellowstone may not yet be open to private vehicles. The northern approaches to Yellowstone will almost certainly still be closed.

if it were me, I would cut out both Denver and Mt.Rushmore on this trip. they are both worth a visit but will add a ton of miles.

For mileages, go o google maps or mapquest.com and try out the various routes you are condsidering.

Have a wonderful trip. You will be visiting superb country.
dwooddon is offline  
Mar 1st, 2009, 03:46 PM
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I don't know where you live, but I would really suggest visiting the Southwest of the USA... Grand Canyon,Monument Valley, Canyon de Chelly. You can get a great map from AAA called "Indian Country" which really give great maps for touring a part of our country that is really different. I'd skip going North for now. L.A. up to San Francisco, over to Yosemite, Death Valley, Las Vegas and then what ever you can see in Arizona...like Monument Valley etc. Good luck.
kleroux is offline  
Mar 1st, 2009, 03:48 PM
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I too would cut out the northern states and stick to the Southwest - California, Southern Utah, Arizona and Nevada. At the higher elevations in the north, it will still be winter.
Supercilious is offline  
Mar 1st, 2009, 04:43 PM
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I agree w/ those above -- way too early in the year to be planning an RV trip to some of those areas. Even just the CA part -- you could get up to the north coast and back down to Yosemite for sure. But getting out of Yosemite would mean coming back west since Tioga Pass rd over the Sierra will almost certainly be closed.

While SF and the north coast redwoods are amazing - they are in the complete opposite direction of where you want to end up. So I'd also concentrate on the SW National parks/monuments.
janisj is online now  
Mar 1st, 2009, 04:53 PM
  #7  
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Thank you to all who responded!
kathnkev is offline  
Mar 1st, 2009, 05:00 PM
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Also agree with the above, probably will be snow in the north. You could include some of the Arizona sites like Painted Desert/Petrified Forest, Walnut Canyon, Wupatki, Sunset Crater,and in the Page AZ area check out Antelope canyon, Glen Canyon Dam. and go up to Mesa Verde. Do go to the Grand Canyon south rim will be open, north rim will no; also in southern Utah Arches, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, Bryce, Zion, Natural Bridges, Monument Valley. You will be able to go to Yosemite Valley but probably won't be able to go up through as the road won't be likely to be open. If you did the California coast first then drove south through Sequoia NP head east on whatever route is open and hit Death Valley then do a loop either across AZ hitting the sights there then north and back through Utah and back to Vegas. Enjoy your time out there it is truly fantastic.
emalloy is offline  
Mar 1st, 2009, 05:07 PM
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They have 28 days, so I think they could realistically visit both the California coast (including up as far as Ft. Bragg and return down 101), Yosemite, then head south and east, cross through Death Valley (lovely in April), and head for the southwest destinations.
enzian is offline  
Mar 1st, 2009, 05:26 PM
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Ok, well yes i think we will cut the North out- thats what you are all saying. I thought it would be ok to get to Denver at least because 4 years ago around the 25 March we travelled from Vegas to Bryce and then on route 70 to Glenwood Springs -(where we had to stop because of vehicle trouble) and never got to Denver.
kathnkev is offline  
Mar 1st, 2009, 07:52 PM
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Kathnkev - the reason I suggest eliminating Denver was distance, not weather. I-70 is almost always open in the winter. It's just a very long drive to go the Rushmore and Denver from the other areas you are planning to visit.
dwooddon is offline  
Mar 1st, 2009, 08:11 PM
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Hey, thanks so much for all your input. I think iv worked out our trip. Please if you have any other suggestions of advice, i'd love to hear it.
So here it is: No set time scheduled for how long in each place, but these are the places we would like to see in 28 days.
1.Pickup Camper Santa Fe Springs. Head to Coastline - Santa Monica/Venice Beach/Hollywood etc(along the way where is the best place to pickup food supplies?)
2. Coast road to Big Sur/Santa Cruz (any suggestions)
3. San Francisco (any must see suggestions?)
4. Yosemite
5. Sierra Nevadas
6. Zion / Bryce NP (how many days?)
7. Capitol Reef NP
8. Archers NP/ Moab
9. Canonlands NP
10. Natural Bridges/ Monument Valley
11. Lake Powel
12. Grand Canyon (what can we see from here back to Vegas?)
13. Las Vegas (drop off Camper on day 28)

Any suggestions on where to park this big camper on overnight stays along this trip would be helpful.
Also 'must see" & "must avoid" places?

We are open to suggestions, thanks to anyone who can help.
kathnkev is offline  
Mar 1st, 2009, 08:16 PM
  #13  
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Hi to Doowooden,
Thanks , we've cut Denver & Rushmore from our plans, thanks to your advice. Have you seen my 13 listed places of interest?
What do you think? More attainable?
kathnkev is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2009, 04:08 AM
  #14  
 
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I would love to do this. How lucky you are to have so much time. These sites might be helpful to you. Most have forums. There are also a lot of sites with campground reviews--about.com has a camping section. I prefer national and state parks to private campgrounds like KOA.

www.gorving.com
www.roadtripusa.com
www.byways.org
www.roadtripamerica.com/forums
LindainOhio is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2009, 05:23 AM
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If you can hit Death Valley on your way to Zion you will be pleasantly surprised. Spend as many days in the Arches/Canyonlands area as you can. When you are in the Lake Powel area (Page?) do try to hit Antelope Canyon. Take at least a couple of days in Grand Canyon. If you go east along the rim and then south out of the canyon you go by Wupatki and Sunset Crater and then when you get to I 40, just east of Flagstaff is Walnut Canyon National Monument - neat cliff dwellings that you can hike through. Then on the way back to Vegas stop at Hoover Dam. If you find you have extra time, east of Grand Canyon is Canyon de Chelley, one of our most memorable places - you can see it from the top, hike down to one ancient habitation site, but the only way to see the whole canyon is with a Navajo guide - available at the Park service Information place or through various outfitters in Chinle.
emalloy is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2009, 07:12 AM
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I think seeing Canyon de Chelley with a Navajo guide is one of the most memorable trips I have taken in the Southwest. I think you should count on doing it. Its not that well known and its really special.
kleroux is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2009, 07:24 AM
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>>4. Yosemite
5. Sierra Nevadas<<

- is a bit of a problem. Yes, Yosemite is in the Sierra. But you can't really get to anywhere else in the Sierra from YNP in April. Yosemite Valley is on the west slope of the Sierra Nevada and the road into and across the mountains is closed from Fall til late Spring/early summer.

So to tour the mountains you'd have to go west from YNP into the central Valley (Fresno), down to Bakersfield and then back north along 395 (which is how you'd get to Death Valley too)

Or - you'd go west into the central valley (Stockton/Sacramento) and then east on hwy 50 or 80 to the Lake Tahoe/Reno area and then catch 395 south.

There is one other option of hwy49/88 but it is the same sort of issue.
janisj is online now  
Mar 2nd, 2009, 06:20 PM
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I would take the hwy 49/88 option after leaving Yosemite as janisj suggests. The main problem with this route in the summer is the heat in the foothills along hwy 49. But, in April this will be a lovely drive. The hills will still be green and the temperatures mild. You might want to spend an extra day and stay the night in an old mining town like Murphys or San Andreas.

The Motherlode area has a number of interesting sights including Columbia State Park, several interesting caverns, and a number of fine wineries. You have plenty of time, so there is not reason to rush your trip in the Sierra.

I too suggest you add a night or two for Death Valley. It's wonderful in April. Also, the drive from Lake Tahoe to Death Valley is really spectacular. Much nicer than going around the southern route through Bakersfield and Mojave to Vegas.

All the places you are going to have been the subject of topics and trip reports on this forum. So, if you do a search for each place, you will get lots of ideas for your trip. For example, the drive from LA to San Francisco is one of the most popular topics on this board and you will find many great suggestions by going back and reading them.

By the way, what kind of "camper" are you getting? Is it a campervan, pickup camper, or some type of motorhome? The size of your vehicle may influence some of the roads and places that are suggested to you.
Supercilious is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2009, 01:37 PM
  #19  
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Thank to LindainOhio for the map links,
also to the others who suggested routes 49/88.
Anyone else with information? i taking on everything.
kathnkev is offline  
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