Honeymoon out west!


May 9th, 2016, 10:05 AM
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Honeymoon out west!

Hey guys! I am trying to plan a road trip out west for my honeymoon coming up next month. I have tried mapping out the distances between places we want to visit, but I am OVERWHELMED. The distance between places is VERY long, so my problem is figuring out how long to stay at each place (since it takes forever to get between locations), where to stay on the cheap (been checking Airbnb and campground info), and any tips on what to add to the trip to make it fun. We will be starting out from Birmingham, Al heading to Dallas. I really only want to go to Southfork, but that is the only thing I am interested in there. Next I originally wanted to go to Carlsbad Caverns in NM, but I am thinking that will just add an extra day to the itinerary. I definitely at least want to stop in Roswell and check things out before heading out to White Sands. From there on to Albuquerque, then Taos, then Colorado Springs, then Denver, then treking across the plains over to Kansas City, KS. Last big stop in Memphis, then back home. SO advice? Help? We really would only like to be gone 12 days at the most, but will need to readjust if needed. Sorry for the rambling. Just need advice!
echolyric is offline  
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May 9th, 2016, 10:18 AM
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Absolutely go to Carlsbad Caverns!! Skip Roswell and even White Sands if you need to skip anything. I'd skip Southfork too but that is a personal choice, I get it.

Taos is nice; Sante Fe has more to see and do.

I am not the best to figure out time for trips, but I think you have way too much on here.

Have you considered flying, renting a car for the SW portion and then flying back? I'd fly into Albuquerque and home from Denver.

I think this is very over ambitious. You will have a day in each stop and spend way too much time in car.

I would really narrow down your plan. The SW has such beautiful scenery and things to see and do; why not concentrate on the area [add in a few more spots] and save Memphis, Kansas City for a different trip?

I'd add in Durango and Telluride CO and maybe a bit more in CO as you head to Denver. That's my take anyway.
DebitNM is offline  
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May 9th, 2016, 10:23 AM
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THANK you! This is the advice I need! We were going to drive my car that way we can pack what we want (especially camping equipment). I am definitely going to rethink!!! Thank you for your advice!
echolyric is offline  
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May 9th, 2016, 12:13 PM
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I agree, you are trying to cover too much ground in too little time. You'll enjoy this most if you limit the amount of driving by choosing places that cluster together geographically. Even if you chose all of your destinations in New Mexico, you'd have a lot of driving.

I'd cut out Kansas City for sure.
Kathie is online now  
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May 9th, 2016, 01:15 PM
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... I know that a honeymoon drive like this feeeeeeels like a grand idea, but the challenges of hours and hours of mindless driving can have an adverse effect on relationships.

I too am inclined to suggest thinking about flying strategically so as to reduce the endless highway miles while at the same time affording more time for the doing of things that honeymooners are wont to do.
NorthwestMale is online now  
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May 9th, 2016, 08:44 PM
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Please - No camping on the honeymoon! Fly to Albuquerque and tour what you want to see in New Mexico with a rental car.
If you have more time, try to see the South Rim of the Grand Canyon and maybe Monument Valley on the way back to Albuquerque.
tomfuller is online now  
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May 10th, 2016, 04:35 AM
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What types of activites/attractions are you wanting to do?
Keith is offline  
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May 10th, 2016, 06:20 AM
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Congrats on the wedding--your trip sounds fun.

We have been road tripping since our honeymoon in 1977, when we visited several of the places you mentioned. It is still our favorite way to travel. Here are a few tips from all those years of experiences:

* Long driving days are OK (like Birmingham to Dallas and Dallas to Carlsbad) at the beginning of a trip. But work shorter driving days into the itenerary when you have lots of points of interest (like Carlsbad, Roswell, White Sands). You might spend the night in Ruidoso, NM on this leg. It's a pretty little mountain town, and the historic Lincoln, NM is nearby, with lots of Billy the Kid history. Capitan, home of Smokey the Bear, is in the area, too.

*While it might take away some spontaneity, making lodging/camping reservations can eliminate a lot of stress.

*In places with a lot of things of interest (maybe Santa Fe area) arriving late and spending one night does not count. Consider spending at least two nights in some places.

*Be realistic--while Google Maps might say a drive will take seven hours, that means without stops. Consider editing your destination list with that in mind. (For example, you might save Colorado Springs and/or Denver for another trip.)

* A long driving day on the way back is sometimes OK if you are ready for "home sweet home." Give yourselves a full day of rest before heading back to the daily grind.
jayne1973 is offline  
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May 10th, 2016, 07:27 AM
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I think this sounds like fun--and obviously your spouse to be agrees.
I might suggest cutting the Kansas and Memphis part short/off. You are not far from Memphis (I assume you live in Birmingham, but maybe not?) You can do that for a weekend some time in the future, IMO.
Choose Denver over COSprings.
Think of it as "not the last time we'll do a road trip". Do the SW portion and really enjoy it. then plan another loop for another time.
Gretchen is offline  
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May 10th, 2016, 03:28 PM
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I love road trips. But, this was is a little too much even for me.

I agree with leaving Memphis off as well as Kansas. That is on your side of the country and no where close to us in New Mexico.

How do you feel about flying into one city and out of another with driving a rental car in between? I don't know where to suggest until you can narrow down your "must see" spots in the west. With 12 days I think a Denver - Albuquerque flight plan could work with Durango and maybe driving the Ouray-Silverton circle on the way down then Taos, Santa Fe and maybe all the way down to Carlsbad Caverns and then work your way back to Albuquerque and then fly home.

Ditto taking off Dallas stop if that's all that interests you there. I guess you could fly into DFW if you have to see Southfork and then hit the road to Carlsbad and work your way up New Mexico and part of Colorado. That's a lot of driving and not much down time to actually feel like you've been able to enjoy the places and relax after the whirlwind of getting married.

We just spent all day Sunday driving from Santa Fe to Cimarron and back through Taos. Know that some distances take more time than what google maps tells you so keep that in mind when planning. And, feel free to come back and ask more questions.

And, Congratulations!
BeachGirl247 is offline  
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May 11th, 2016, 04:36 AM
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Echolyric said they are trying to do this trip on the cheap. Air fares and adding a rental car are not cheap.
Keith is offline  
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May 11th, 2016, 04:47 AM
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If they need/want to do this on the cheap, they need to reduce the # of places on the list and get the remaining places in a closer grouping. Driving all over the place won't be cheap either, even if in their own car.
DebitNM is offline  
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May 11th, 2016, 07:11 AM
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I too enjoy road trips but the one echolyric is planning is way too ambitious. A quick check on google maps shows the trip will be in excess of 3,300 miles (50 to 60 actual driving hours) over a period of 12 days. To put this in perspective 12 days add up to 288 hours. Assume they sleep for an average of 8 hours a day plus another 3 hours per day for meals and unproductive "downtime" (total 132 hours) that leaves 156 hours. Subtract from that a minimum of 60 miles of driving time giving the honeymoon couple only 96 hours for actually seeing/doing things.

One of the best road trips we ever did was almost the same length (2,700 mile) but we did it over a period of 4 weeks and it included 3 "air hops" totaling about 900 miles.

A road trip is exciting as long as you don't spend the bulk of your time "on the road". For our trip we planned our itinerary so we drove no more than 3 or 4 hours between destinations and we spent 2 to 3 nights in each destination.

This gave us the ability to not only enjoy the drive but to do so at our leisure and to make stops along way at various points of interest. Thus our "drive day" was not consumed with driving but actually seeing and exploring many points of interest we would have otherwise driven past. A typical itinerary for a "drive day" would have us depart after a leisurely breakfast, drive for an hour or so, stoping at a point of interest, a little more driving followed by a stop for lunch (usually in a quaint town or village), a bit more driving perhaps with a short stopover along the route finally arriving at our next intended destination around 4PM.

We'd then spend the next 2 or 3 days exploring the area near where we were staying and then it was on to our next stopover.

The biggest hurdle OP has is they are leaving from Birmingham and everything they was to see is way out west. If I were them, I'd fly out to New Mexico (say Albuquerque) or Colorado and begin and end the road trip in that part of the country then fly back to Birmingham since there's really nothing in-between that the couple wants to really see (except Southfork in Dallas which they should skip). that way they don't waste precious time driving through "fly over country".

I realize following this advice would mean they'd incur the cost of airfare and a rental car but it would be money well spent.

The success of their trip, of course, depends on how much they have budgeted.
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