Trip Report: All Across the South West

Old Nov 29th, 2019, 05:23 PM
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Originally Posted by mac_kraut View Post
A question to all of you:
If I ever get to go back to drive Hwy 12, how would you recommend to experience it: How many days, where to stay overnight, any special food places along the way, and which side roads are worth driving?
We drove from Capitol Reef to Bryce making a few detours along the way. In hindsight I wish we had spent the night somewhere along the way, maybe Boulder or Escalante, to have more time to explore. We went to Devils Garden and Willis Creek Slot Canyon. Had we had more time I would've liked to have driven the entire length of the Burr Trail, hike Calf Creek Falls and maybe visit Kodachrome State Park. One complication may be that the majority of side roads are unpaved so you'll need to check if you can take a rental. We also checked road conditions at nearby visitor centers before we set out https://www.blm.gov/learn/interpretive-centers/GSENM_VisitorCenters We went in October and at the time of our visit, the only road where 4WD was recommended was to Willis Creek Slot Canyon as it had an uphill sandy section.
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Old Nov 30th, 2019, 02:52 AM
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Originally Posted by emalloy View Post
Thanks for posting your trip report.
For your next trip, Late September- October or April-early May are my favorite times to do the parks in Utah. If you wanted to do Death Valley as an add on, put it at the very beginning of a spring trip or at the end of a fall trip to avoid the extreme heat. You could do it from Las Vegas, drive up UT 94 to Beatty then head west over to the park with a stop in Rhyolite for the "ghost town" experience, the view from the top of the mountains as you approach the park is spectacular.
This sound really cool (or hot, rather). I will certainly try to add this to the plan, if I ever get the chance to come back.
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Old Nov 30th, 2019, 02:58 AM
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Originally Posted by sf7307 View Post
I was skeptical about traveling in the RV, but I am a convert. We loved the lifestyle, loved having all our stuff at our fingertips, loved being outdoors more of the time than we would be staying in hotels, loved being able to eat in or out depending on the mood (we usually ate out one meal a day, but ate in all three meals if we weren't any place where eating out was special), loved not having to pack and unpack. All in all, we're looking forward to getting back on the road in April 2020.
I totally agree. Our first attempt at RV-ing (a few days in Switzerland) did not work out so well, so I had almost given up on the idea. But this trip was absolutely terrific, especially thanks to the RV experience, and for precisely the reasons you mention.
I envy you for the possibility to do 4 month coast-to-coast trips ... some far day (with the kids out of the house) I might want to look into that. Until then we will have to do with 3-4 week trips, and you can already do a lot with those. We were also thinking of doing some east coast trip (New England to Florida), I probably will start a new thread to collect any ideas for this.
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Old Nov 30th, 2019, 03:00 AM
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Originally Posted by Patty View Post
We drove from Capitol Reef to Bryce making a few detours along the way. In hindsight I wish we had spent the night somewhere along the way, maybe Boulder or Escalante, to have more time to explore. We went to Devils Garden and Willis Creek Slot Canyon. Had we had more time I would've liked to have driven the entire length of the Burr Trail, hike Calf Creek Falls and maybe visit Kodachrome State Park. One complication may be that the majority of side roads are unpaved so you'll need to check if you can take a rental. We also checked road conditions at nearby visitor centers before we set out https://www.blm.gov/learn/interpretive-centers/GSENM_VisitorCenters We went in October and at the time of our visit, the only road where 4WD was recommended was to Willis Creek Slot Canyon as it had an uphill sandy section.
Thanks, Patty, for this info ... this sounds like a really awesome variant. I will look into this, if there is a chance for us to go back.
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Old Nov 30th, 2019, 09:27 AM
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Originally Posted by mac_kraut View Post
I totally agree. Our first attempt at RV-ing (a few days in Switzerland) did not work out so well, so I had almost given up on the idea. But this trip was absolutely terrific, especially thanks to the RV experience, and for precisely the reasons you mention.
I envy you for the possibility to do 4 month coast-to-coast trips ... some far day (with the kids out of the house) I might want to look into that. Until then we will have to do with 3-4 week trips, and you can already do a lot with those. We were also thinking of doing some east coast trip (New England to Florida), I probably will start a new thread to collect any ideas for this.
Well, our kids are grown and we’re retired (I can’t believe it will be a year already at the end of December). We waited a long time to be able to do this with no time constraints.
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Old Nov 30th, 2019, 12:33 PM
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I spent a night in Torrey but if you are camping, there is a campground in Fruita inside Capital Reef. Reservations possible for peak season.

https://www.recreation.gov/camping/campgrounds/272245
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Old Dec 2nd, 2019, 12:11 PM
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Originally Posted by mlgb View Post
I spent a night in Torrey but if you are camping, there is a campground in Fruita inside Capital Reef. Reservations possible for peak season.

https://www.recreation.gov/camping/campgrounds/272245
This looks great.
It really feels awkward to know that despite having had a really intense trip, there are still so many other things to discover along the same route. One could do precisely the same route in 12 weeks and still not get bored!
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Old Dec 7th, 2019, 09:04 AM
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Really enjoyed your trip report. Vielen Dank! (Northern Germany draws me back....Binz/Rügen in particular.)
If you get back to the area, Capitol Reef NP is worth a day, with a number of hikes, and the interesting rock art.
Have fun planning your next adventure!
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Old Dec 8th, 2019, 04:32 PM
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What a great trip! I'm a little jealous.

The heat is horrible at that time of year but sometimes you just have to deal with it.
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Old Dec 8th, 2019, 10:19 PM
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Originally Posted by travlsolo2 View Post
If you get back to the area, Capitol Reef NP is worth a day, with a number of hikes, and the interesting rock art.
Thanks for the hint. I agree, it looks like the entire Rte 12 / Escalante / Capitol Reef area deserves more attention then just driving through it in one go. Next time we will plan more time for this and make sure we also check out the side routes.
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Old Dec 8th, 2019, 10:23 PM
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Originally Posted by sundowner View Post
What a great trip! I'm a little jealous.
The heat is horrible at that time of year but sometimes you just have to deal with it.
Thank you, it sure was a terrific 4 weeks. The heat wasn't so bad, it just takes some getting used to, and we knew it would be like this so we were mentally prepared. More irritating was actually the constant switching between air conditioned inside and the heat outside, like in Las Vegas.
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Old Dec 9th, 2019, 12:47 PM
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Originally Posted by tomfuller View Post
I agree about Disney. My grandchildren prefer Knotts Berry and Six Flags (near Newhall).
Six Flags is also my favourite, but my kids are too young to appreciate the thrill rides. Maybe next time when they are older.
My older son dared to go on the New York New York Rollercoaster in LV with me. I think he regretted it ... although he wouldn't admit.
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Old Dec 20th, 2019, 03:02 AM
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some impressions from our trip


Lower Antelope


Yellowstone NP

Yellowstone NP

Arches NP

Bryce Canyon NP

Sunrise at Bryce Canyon NP

Sunrise at Bryce Canyon NP

Grand Canyon NP

Sunrise Lake Powell

Sunset Long Beach Belmont Shore

Telegraph Hill San Francisco

Vernal Falls Yosemite NP

Lower Antelope
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Old Jan 10th, 2020, 01:55 PM
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The Grove? ... hmmm

Originally Posted by mac_kraut View Post
the Grove right next to it is your regular mall, so need to spend a lot of time there
Haha, re-reading my own post, I discover this weird typo. What I meant was not to spend a lot of time there, of course, if any. For some reason, the description and ratings of the Grove in the forums were mostly positive, but we couldn't see what was special about the place. So my recommendation: Don't waste your time there.
The Farmer's Market, in contrast, was really very enjoyable ... there are infinite food options, it's too bad you can only take three meals per day
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Old Jan 11th, 2020, 02:07 PM
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Mac-kraut, your TR was enthralling. The planning sounded good...very few do-overs! Great photos and the 'antelope' shots really called out. And I loved your word "relaxed" to describe the pace of traffic! Remember that if you ever visit D.C. or Boston! Bravo.
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Old Jan 12th, 2020, 07:25 AM
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Originally Posted by TDudette View Post
Mac-kraut, your TR was enthralling. The planning sounded good...very few do-overs! Great photos and the 'antelope' shots really called out. And I loved your word "relaxed" to describe the pace of traffic! Remember that if you ever visit D.C. or Boston! Bravo.
Thank you! It can only be enthralling because the trip was. And the precise planning was more a necessity than a choice ... it probably would have been different (i.e. with more flexibility and improvisation) if we had been travelling in May or October.

The traffic in the US is really much more relaxed compared to Europe (I think this comparison still stands when looking at DC or other major US cities). In the US, I can drive for several hours and it is not exhausting, while after driving just one hour in Germany I am all tense.
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Old Jan 22nd, 2020, 12:19 AM
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can you say which hotels you stay in california? are they good hotels?
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Old Jan 22nd, 2020, 09:28 AM
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Thanks for returning with the photos, real eye candy. I was formerly posting as emalloy and noticed a typo in my earlier reply. From Vegas, to Death Valley, go north on 95 to Beatty then west.
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Old Jan 22nd, 2020, 11:53 AM
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Originally Posted by alej195 View Post
can you say which hotels you stay in california? are they good hotels?
LV: Excalibur. Let's say it's the most worn down of all hotels on the strip, but to be on the strip was a requirement. The kids liked it though, and we still had a great time, even if the newer ones looked a lot more inviting ... but then, it was also a budget question.

LA: Pacific Inn Seal Beach. We wanted to be on the south side of LA for nostalgic reasons. I remembered Seal Beach as a nice little town, disconnected from LA yet close enough to get around the LA area. The hotel was nice, nothing fancy. Mostly picked it for its location: Walking distance to Seal Beach Main Street with plenty of nice restaurants and coffee shops and to the beach.

Sequoia: Wuksachi Lodge. Pretty much the only place inside the park. Beautifully located and close to many nice walks/hikes. Rooms were ok, dinner was alright ... the service was a bit slow, but it could have been a slow day (and we were not in a hurry, so no damage done).

Yosemite: Yosemite View Lodge in El Portal. It was a recommendation of this forum, certainly the best option outside the park (inside was too expensive for us; but if I had to do it again I would consider paying a bit more to be in the valley). Hotel was OK, several pools, rooms alright. We were given a room away from the road and towards the river ... this sounded nice when they told us, but it turned out that the river is incredibly loud (and the road completely silent at night ... duh) and the air conditioner was ancient and very noisy, so with the hot nights we had to pick between noisy and hot or super-noisy and cool. I recommend to pick roadside. The main point why this place is still a good choice is its proximity to the park entrance.

SF: Marriott Marquis Union Square. Your regular big-chain hotel, looked brand new, very nice rooms and good service. Location is good, close enough to walk to all places around Union Square and Market Street.

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Old Jan 22nd, 2020, 11:54 AM
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Originally Posted by mac_kraut View Post
LV: Excalibur.
OK, before everyone complains, LV is not strictly California
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