#26 8-1-2017 10:42 PM

DaveSwede
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Re: Western USA roadtrip after Thanksgiving

planxty wrote:

I do not know that region at all but hopefully I have a tip which will be of use to you. 

There is a TravBuddy here who I have known for many years from Virtual Tourist days who is and absolute expert on the subject.  I suggest you contact TravBuddy member basaic (Jim) and pick his brains.  I know him to be a really easy-going bloke and he will not at all mind you contacting him.  I'll guarantee he will be able to give you some great information.

Hope this assists,

Fergy.

I also gave BASAIC a plug in my post above.  But goes to show you, he does know the roads of USA like the back of his hand.  He may not navigate these forums, but look into his pages

 

#27 8-2-2017 2:44 AM

nolan
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Re: Western USA roadtrip after Thanksgiving

DaveSwede wrote:

planxty wrote:

I do not know that region at all but hopefully I have a tip which will be of use to you. 

There is a TravBuddy here who I have known for many years from Virtual Tourist days who is and absolute expert on the subject.  I suggest you contact TravBuddy member basaic (Jim) and pick his brains.  I know him to be a really easy-going bloke and he will not at all mind you contacting him.  I'll guarantee he will be able to give you some great information.

Hope this assists,

Fergy.

I also gave BASAIC a plug in my post above.  But goes to show you, he does know the roads of USA like the back of his hand.  He may not navigate these forums, but look into his pages

Jim is also a friend on TravBuddy. I've just gone through a couple of his blogs. Thanks Dave and Fergy for highlighting Jim's familiarity with the backroads.

I also realized after reading in another forum thread ... does my planned route give great views of autumn colors? If yes, which areas should I look out for?

So now the route is looking like Los Angeles - Phoenix/Tucson - Roswell/Santa Fe? - Four Corners - Colorado Springs/Denver? (depends on snow, can skip) - Arches and Zion NPs - Las Vegas - Los Angeles

If I skip Denver that would be about 2,300 miles and 36+ hours of driving over 14 days.  Well likely more hours of driving as that average is 63 miles, so I would say at least 40 hours of driving. So about 3 hours average per day, with some days of over 6 hours driving time.

 

#28 8-2-2017 3:37 AM

planxty
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Re: Western USA roadtrip after Thanksgiving

My pleasure nolan,

Jim was something of a legend as a "road warrior" on VT where he was held in high regard and the fact that Dave (a very respected member here) has also recommended him hopefully shows I'm not just needlessly promoting a friend, he really is the genuine article.  Seriously, send the guy a private message.  I know him and I know he will not mind at all.  I swear, he'll give you a detailed itinerary with the best places to stay, eat and see along the way and he will be happy to do it.  He is a totally nice guy.

 

#29 8-2-2017 4:39 AM

DaveSwede
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Re: Western USA roadtrip after Thanksgiving

nolan wrote:

I also realized after reading in another forum thread ... does my planned route give great views of autumn colors? If yes, which areas should I look out for?

So now the route is looking like Los Angeles - Phoenix/Tucson - Roswell/Santa Fe? - Four Corners - Colorado Springs/Denver? (depends on snow, can skip) - Arches and Zion NPs - Las Vegas - Los Angeles

Nolan,
A lot of what you will be driving however is arid desert or evergreen forests.  These do not change color.

That route would offer a few limited places with the deciduous fall vegetation, such as pocket of Aspen trees maybe around Zion, Four Corners and into Colorado.  But the problem is that you'll be there too late - the best season to see these is into late October.  These trees may be completely barren of leaves by the time you arrive in late November/December.  If the weather has been pleasant, the trees may hold the leaves a little longer, but I would not count on seeing any.

And another reminder if you do hit Four Corners and Arches NP, do consider the small detour over to Mesa Verde on the drive between the two.

Last edited by DaveSwede (8-2-2017 4:40 AM)

 

#30 8-2-2017 4:58 AM

katzgar
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Re: Western USA roadtrip after Thanksgiving

Colorado is known for its fall color.

http://www.colorado.com/articles/10-pla … fall-color

 

#31 8-2-2017 6:52 AM

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Re: Western USA roadtrip after Thanksgiving

DaveSwede wrote:

nolan wrote:

I also realized after reading in another forum thread ... does my planned route give great views of autumn colors? If yes, which areas should I look out for?

So now the route is looking like Los Angeles - Phoenix/Tucson - Roswell/Santa Fe? - Four Corners - Colorado Springs/Denver? (depends on snow, can skip) - Arches and Zion NPs - Las Vegas - Los Angeles

Nolan,
A lot of what you will be driving however is arid desert or evergreen forests.  These do not change color.

That route would offer a few limited places with the deciduous fall vegetation, such as pocket of Aspen trees maybe around Zion, Four Corners and into Colorado.  But the problem is that you'll be there too late - the best season to see these is into late October.  These trees may be completely barren of leaves by the time you arrive in late November/December.  If the weather has been pleasant, the trees may hold the leaves a little longer, but I would not count on seeing any.

And another reminder if you do hit Four Corners and Arches NP, do consider the small detour over to Mesa Verde on the drive between the two.

Yes, will consider Mesa Verde.

As Oljato-Monument Valley is nearby, might as well consider that. Any recommendation for accommodations in this area? (Mesa Verde, Four Corners and Monument Valley)

 

#32 8-2-2017 7:39 AM

grandmar
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Re: Western USA roadtrip after Thanksgiving

katzgar wrote:

Colorado is known for its fall color.

http://www.colorado.com/articles/10-pla … fall-color

The difference between the fall color in Colorado and the fall color in the east is that Colorado doesn't have many native trees that turn red in the fall.  So the trees are mostly yellow (and green for the evergreens).

 

#33 8-3-2017 8:21 AM

Dymphna
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Re: Western USA roadtrip after Thanksgiving

katzgar wrote:

Dymphna wrote:

I am not sure that Yellowstone will even be open at that time.

perhaps do your homework before you post.  While many things are closed the park is indeed open.  supermarket deli sections are a great source for cheap meals.  nothing prettier than yellowstone in winter.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZQDs9pJXBqA


https://www.nps.gov/yell/planyourvisit/hours.htm

I live close to Yellowstone and have been there in the winter. I don't need condensation. I did look on the site and it did not list the dates it closes. But it does close during certain parts of the winter. How horrible for him if he were to get there and it was closed. Most of the hotels are closed. Unless there is enough snow there is no snowmobiling. And even if it is open in the winter, it is often only open to tours, not the general public. So no you do your homework.

 

#34 8-3-2017 8:25 AM

katzgar
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Re: Western USA roadtrip after Thanksgiving

Dymphna wrote:

katzgar wrote:

Dymphna wrote:

I am not sure that Yellowstone will even be open at that time.

perhaps do your homework before you post.  While many things are closed the park is indeed open.  supermarket deli sections are a great source for cheap meals.  nothing prettier than yellowstone in winter.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZQDs9pJXBqA


https://www.nps.gov/yell/planyourvisit/hours.htm

I live close to Yellowstone and have been there in the winter. I don't need condensation. I did look on the site and it did not list the dates it closes. But it does close during certain parts of the winter. How horrible for him if he were to get there and it was closed. Most of the hotels are closed. Unless there is enough snow there is no snowmobiling. And even if it is open in the winter, it is often only open to tours, not the general public. So no you do your homework.

when the NPS Yellowstone site says the park never closes I believe them.  You need facts.

 

#35 8-4-2017 11:44 AM

Dymphna
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Re: Western USA roadtrip after Thanksgiving

katzgar wrote:

Dymphna wrote:

katzgar wrote:


perhaps do your homework before you post.  While many things are closed the park is indeed open.  supermarket deli sections are a great source for cheap meals.  nothing prettier than yellowstone in winter.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZQDs9pJXBqA


https://www.nps.gov/yell/planyourvisit/hours.htm

I live close to Yellowstone and have been there in the winter. I don't need condensation. I did look on the site and it did not list the dates it closes. But it does close during certain parts of the winter. How horrible for him if he were to get there and it was closed. Most of the hotels are closed. Unless there is enough snow there is no snowmobiling. And even if it is open in the winter, it is often only open to tours, not the general public. So no you do your homework.

when the NPS Yellowstone site says the park never closes I believe them.  You need facts.

I took the time to call the ranger in Yellowstone and ask. Most roads close as of Nov. 5th until the 3rd week of April. Other than snowmobiles and tours you cannot get into the park. The only road kept open during that time is the NE entrance to the North entrance. Yes, I know my facts.

 

#36 8-4-2017 1:18 PM

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Re: Western USA roadtrip after Thanksgiving

Dymphna wrote:

katzgar wrote:

Dymphna wrote:


I live close to Yellowstone and have been there in the winter. I don't need condensation. I did look on the site and it did not list the dates it closes. But it does close during certain parts of the winter. How horrible for him if he were to get there and it was closed. Most of the hotels are closed. Unless there is enough snow there is no snowmobiling. And even if it is open in the winter, it is often only open to tours, not the general public. So no you do your homework.

when the NPS Yellowstone site says the park never closes I believe them.  You need facts.

I took the time to call the ranger in Yellowstone and ask. Most roads close as of Nov. 5th until the 3rd week of April. Other than snowmobiles and tours you cannot get into the park. The only road kept open during that time is the NE entrance to the North entrance. Yes, I know my facts.

The NPS link I provided lists which roads and lodges are open year round it's really pretty simple

 

#37 8-9-2017 1:34 AM

nolan
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Re: Western USA roadtrip after Thanksgiving

One option I saw for a Western trip which won't involve driving is the Amtrak Coast Starlight from Los Angeles to Seattle. It's only $97 one way on the cheapest fare for the Monday after Thanksgiving.

Of course, not driving means less flexibility. But less stress from the driving itself as this means being a passenger.

My cousin mentioned Antelope Canyon. Although she said the ticket lottery is a matter of luck ... and recommends the Lower instead of the Upper Valley.

 

#38 8-9-2017 10:22 AM

DaveSwede
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Re: Western USA roadtrip after Thanksgiving

nolan wrote:

One option I saw for a Western trip which won't involve driving is the Amtrak Coast Starlight from Los Angeles to Seattle. It's only $97 one way on the cheapest fare for the Monday after Thanksgiving.

Nolan, typically Amtrak prices are almost equal to flights for the same routing.  I think $97 is a good price for that ticket.

I have not done the LA to Seattle train, but I have done San Francisco to Seattle, and separately Truckee-San Francisco-Seattle, both round-trips.  I believe you are looking at a 26+ hour train journey.

Yes, you will not have the flexibility as you would if you were driving.  But considering the cost of rental car, plus gasoline, the economics is easy to justify.  That train passes through some great landscapes, small towns and mountain areas that you would not otherwise see if you are driving the main highways.   In the autumn, the northern half of that train route offers fantastic fall foliage.  In the winter, that route does give some beautiful snowy mountain vistas.  Granted, a lot of it will be under the cover of darkness at night, but it is a stress free way to travel.

 

#39 8-10-2017 2:32 AM

pfsmalo
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Re: Western USA roadtrip after Thanksgiving

nolan wrote:

One option I saw for a Western trip which won't involve driving is the Amtrak Coast Starlight from Los Angeles to Seattle. It's only $97 one way on the cheapest fare for the Monday after Thanksgiving.

Of course, not driving means less flexibility. But less stress from the driving itself as this means being a passenger.

My cousin mentioned Antelope Canyon. Although she said the ticket lottery is a matter of luck ... and recommends the Lower instead of the Upper Valley.

Since when has there been a lottery for tickets at Antelope ? I haven't been back there since 2009 and there wasn't anything like a lottery then. I think the Lower Canyon is better too...

 

#40 8-10-2017 7:34 AM

shavy
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Re: Western USA roadtrip after Thanksgiving

During our road trip in June 2012 we visited a few national parks in the area, I remember we buy our ticket for Antilope ( lower valley) when we get there it cost 20$, I don't know how much it is now, but we must waited for a while till the other groups return, you can't go alone you'll be going in a guided tour. The tour guide knows exactly where to take photos

Inside is very dusty, the lens of my dslr camera broke, it doens't closed anymore, protect your camera from sand. We also been to Arches, Monument valley and the Badlands, you need a car to this places. There is also a nice place and worth a stop Kanab, Utah not far from Bryce and Zion. They called Kanab a little hollywood because most western film is taken there.

 

#41 8-17-2017 1:48 AM

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Re: Western USA roadtrip after Thanksgiving

shavy wrote:

During our road trip in June 2012 we visited a few national parks in the area, I remember we buy our ticket for Antilope ( lower valley) when we get there it cost 20$, I don't know how much it is now, but we must waited for a while till the other groups return, you can't go alone you'll be going in a guided tour. The tour guide knows exactly where to take photos

Inside is very dusty, the lens of my dslr camera broke, it doens't closed anymore, protect your camera from sand. We also been to Arches, Monument valley and the Badlands, you need a car to this places. There is also a nice place and worth a stop Kanab, Utah not far from Bryce and Zion. They called Kanab a little hollywood because most western film is taken there.

How many days do you think should be set aside for these parks in Utah? Badlands might be too far away as it's in South Dakota.

 

#42 8-17-2017 4:18 AM

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Re: Western USA roadtrip after Thanksgiving

I would suggest that you plan one complete day in each park, if you are only driving through and seeing the views from the road sides and only doing short walks.  Since winter will be set in, I do not imagine you will be doing any overnight treks, camping or long hikes, so a full day would be adequate.  If you arrive early, you could be done same-day.  If you arrive late, you'd need that afternoon plus the next day until ~24 hours later.

If you were planning to hike, there are dozens of trails to choose from and each park could take days to see.  But again, knowing your tight schedule, I do not expect this to be a viable option.

 

#43 8-17-2017 8:05 AM

shavy
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Re: Western USA roadtrip after Thanksgiving

nolan wrote:

How many days do you think should be set aside for these parks in Utah? Badlands might be too far away as it's in South Dakota.

It depends how many parks you want to visit, we visited one park everyday.  Visiting the national parks in the US you need to buy a pass, when entering a park is sometimes checked. The pass basically gives access to all NPS-managed sites, which are all National Parks, National Monuments, National Recreation Areas, and so forth. The pass gives in principle only the right to access a park and valid for a year.

Last edited by shavy (8-17-2017 8:05 AM)

 

#44 8-17-2017 1:20 PM

Dymphna
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Re: Western USA roadtrip after Thanksgiving

nolan wrote:

shavy wrote:

During our road trip in June 2012 we visited a few national parks in the area, I remember we buy our ticket for Antilope ( lower valley) when we get there it cost 20$, I don't know how much it is now, but we must waited for a while till the other groups return, you can't go alone you'll be going in a guided tour. The tour guide knows exactly where to take photos

Inside is very dusty, the lens of my dslr camera broke, it doens't closed anymore, protect your camera from sand. We also been to Arches, Monument valley and the Badlands, you need a car to this places. There is also a nice place and worth a stop Kanab, Utah not far from Bryce and Zion. They called Kanab a little hollywood because most western film is taken there.

How many days do you think should be set aside for these parks in Utah? Badlands might be too far away as it's in South Dakota.

I agree. Actually, I would set a summer trip for another time and do the Badlands, Yellowstone, Black Hills (Mt Rushmore), and maybe even Glacier in it. It gets cold in November in the north and you will enjoy your trip far more if you wait for summer.

 

#45 8-19-2017 4:08 PM

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Re: Western USA roadtrip after Thanksgiving

Yellowstone has a majority of the world's geysers and is massive. One day spent in Yellowstone is insanely too little time.

 

#46 8-22-2017 3:15 AM

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Re: Western USA roadtrip after Thanksgiving

Hello everyone - I'm back from Thailand and now am planning the 3rd trip into the future (the USA roadtrip).

At this stage I am making the backup plan in case the original Western USA roadtrip doesn't push through for various reasons (e.g. some of my friends may take me to AZ or UT separately and cover those sections). And of course, the weather when it comes to driving may be a challenge since more than half of the places I plan to cover I haven't been to yet!

In any case, here is the backup plan. I will detail it in a separate discussion, so as not to lose the focus on both options.

As a rail fan, I saw the Amtrak 15 day pass (roughly $469) which covers 8 segments. Thus it would be 8 cities, and I am choosing from combining parts of the California Zephyr, Southwest Chief, Texas Eagle and Coast Starlight. The benefit of taking the train for me is that it will be more relaxing that to drive, and with those 8 cities/segments, I will be able to stop where I have friends who can meet with me and drive me around their area.

That's all I have for now, but one thing I learned from one of the popular TravBuddies here is to have a Plan A, B, C, sometimes all the way to Plan Z! Yes, backup and flexible plan it is.

 

#47 9-5-2017 3:33 AM

nolan
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Re: Western USA roadtrip after Thanksgiving

OK here is the thread to the backup plan:

http://www.travbuddy.com/forums/viewtopic.php?id=68415

This one is looking more likely as I am seeing more options to cover with hardly any driving, although it will be about 5,000 miles roundtrip (but on Amtrak).

 
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