3 month trip out west in motor home.

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climberbob

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We are planning a trip from Hartland Michigan out west and will be starting about May 4th. We will drive 6 hours in one day but not back to back. I'm looking not to miss things that are worth seeing and any advice about our trip. There are some gaps between some places and would like to fill them with great camping and sight seeing. We do like to hike about 6 miles per day. We stay at state, national and once in a while at resorts. You know pool, hot tub, lazy river. We do use Harvest host. We do boondocking but would prefer to be plugged in. Just wanting to know if I'm out of my mind.
I haven't figured out the first part of the trip of 22 hours drive time and places to stay.
Arches N.P. 2 nights
4 hours drive to Bryce canyon 3 nights.
1.5 hour drive to Zion N.P. 3 nights.
4.5 hours drive to Grand canyon. 3 nights.
Need a place to stay between here.
7.5 hours Huntington beach 2 night. See want to buy a pair of shorts that she bought 20 years ago.
4.5 hours drive Sequoia N.P. 4 nights
4.5 hours drive Yosemite N.P. 5 nights
Need 2 places to stay between here.
14 hours drive Aberdeen 5 nights to see her sister.
3 hours drive Olympia 4 nights.
5 hours could use help here but have a harvest host in the middle. Skydive west planes 1 night
The 5 hours 2 days in a row is to much.
5 hours drive Glacier N.P. 5 nights
3.5 hours Helena Gates of mountains. 2 nights
6 hours drive Yellowstone N.P. 5 nights We have our dates from July1 to the 6th.
Need 1 place to stay here.
8 hours drive Black hills 5 nights.
2 hour drive Badlands. 3 nights
4 hour drive Newton hills S.P. 2 nights
1 hour drive palisades S.P. 2 nights
5 hour drive Wyalusing river S.P. 2 to 3 nights.
2 hour drive Devil's lake S.P. 3 nights
4.5 hour drive Indiana Dune S.P. 1 night
3 hour drive Home
 

Isaac-1

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It sounds like you have it fairly well planned, with enough slack that you can make up weather delays, etc. I don't know details about your past experience, etc. but I would tend to say don't worry about pushing it a bit past the 6 hour per day point, particularly on that fist 22 hour run, there is a LOT of nothing to see here for several hundred miles east of Denver, and you might as well get through much of it as quickly a possible. Your trip will be in May when the days are long, so consider driving for 4 hours in the morning, take a long lunch break and then another 4 hours in the afternoon on this segment, this will get you an extra 100+ miles down road, and still let you stop well before you find yourself driving into the setting sun. I am generally an advocate for planning drives no more than 300-350 miles per day and not more than 2 days in a row, however when crossing through the vast nothingness that is eastern Colorado, and much of Kansas and Nebraska, I tend to say push those numbers up another 50-100 miles.

p.s. check some of that routing, 8 hours from Yellowstone to the Black Hill of SD likely puts you crossing on a few highways that many people here don't suggest driving in an RV.
 
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SeilerBird

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I think your driving time is way underestimated. I would say double the times. There is a campground at the entrance to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.
 

Old_Crow

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Actually, the closest campground(FS campground, no hookups)to the gate at the North Rim is Demotte Campground. It's 15 miles from the gate. We hosted there for 2 years.
There is disbursed camping closer to the park, though, and a commercial campground, with full hookups at Jacob's Lake, another 20 something miles north of the park.
 

climberbob

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It sounds like you have it fairly well planned, with enough slack that you can make up weather delays, etc. I don't know details about your past experience, etc. but I would tend to say don't worry about pushing it a bit past the 6 hour per day point, particularly on that fist 22 hour run, there is a LOT of nothing to see here for several hundred miles east of Denver, and you might as well get through much of it as quickly a possible. Your trip will be in May when the days are long, so consider driving for 4 hours in the morning, take a long lunch break and then another 4 hours in the afternoon on this segment, this will get you an extra 100+ miles down road, and still let you stop well before you find yourself driving into the setting sun. I am generally an advocate for planning drives no more than 300-350 miles per day and not more than 2 days in a row, however when crossing through the vast nothingness that is eastern Colorado, and much of Kansas and Nebraska, I tend to say push those numbers up another 50-100 miles.

p.s. check some of that routing, 8 hours from Yellowstone to the Black Hill of SD likely puts you crossing on a few highways that many people here don't suggest driving in an RV.
Thanks. I will check the roads for RV traveling.
 

Larry N.

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I more or less agree with Tom that your travel time estimates are often way off. Many of the areas where you list 3-5 hours travel are way underestimated, due to low speed limits, curvy roads or other factors. Most Interstate highways are easy to estimate, but others can be different from what you expect.

Also, you don't mention what size your motorhome is or whether you have a toad, which can often affect travel time or even travel route, as well as what you can see.

Finally, be aware that many states now require reservations for camping in their state parks -- no walk-ins -- and they're often filled up 6 months in advance. Specifically, Colorado state parks aren't open for reservations until 180 days before the reservation date, and are often filled up within 10-15 minutes after opening, though sometimes there'll be something left for a day or two. It's worst when school is out (late May thru Aug), but rough most any time. Weekends are the worst (Fri & Sat nights), but weekdays are still bad, especially since the pandemic started.
 

climberbob

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I more or less agree with Tom that your travel time estimates are often way off. Many of the areas where you list 3-5 hours travel are way underestimated, due to low speed limits, curvy roads or other factors. Most Interstate highways are easy to estimate, but others can be different from what you expect.

Also, you don't mention what size your motorhome is or whether you have a toad, which can often affect travel time or even travel route, as well as what you can see.

Finally, be aware that many states now require reservations for camping in their state parks -- no walk-ins -- and they're often filled up 6 months in advance. Specifically, Colorado state parks aren't open for reservations until 180 days before the reservation date, and are often filled up within 10-15 minutes after opening, though sometimes there'll be something left for a day or two. It's worst when school is out (late May thru Aug), but rough most any time. Weekends are the worst (Fri & Sat nights), but weekdays are still bad, especially since the pandemic started.
Thanks.
The times are actual times from Bing maps. We add 10 more minutes per hour. Our RV is a 31s Thor Hurricane pulling a Ford Flex. I was thinking of using RV wizard to help with roads and over passes. I also will need to change to oil somewhere near Huntington beach when it gets near 5000 miles.
 

Larry N.

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The times are actual times from Bing maps.
I've never messed with Bing maps (those are calculated, not actual), but other map programs that I HAVE used show calculated times that often are off in certain areas, sometimes by quite a bit, so don't be surprised if you have to modify your schedule a bit in a few places when you experience actual times that are quite different. Not everywhere, certainly, but...
 

Utclmjmpr

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Most "easterners" don't have a clue how vast the western half of the country is,, and are shocked when discovering it.. We recently talked to a young couple traveling from the Atlanta area in a truck camper,, they were incredulous when they found huge areas that had no humans squatting on it..>>>Dan
 
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donn

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IMHO unless you have a specific reason I would avoid California as much as possible. Gas today is 5 dollars a gallon, traffic is horrible, and really not friendly any more. You could come west on I80, and head north on US395 missing all but a fraction of the state. Oregon alone you could spend 2 months and still not see it all. Unless you marathon drive plan at least 4 days each way plus planned stops.
 
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Isaac-1

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Most "easterners" don't have a clue how vast the western half of the country is,, and are shocked when discovering it.. We recently talked to a young couple traveling from the Atlanta area in a truck camper,, they were incredulous when they found huge areas that had no humans squatting on it..>>>Dan
A great example of this is the drive from Amarillo, TX to Rapid City SD, a 700 mile drive that does not go within 50 miles of any town over 10,000 people, largest town on the route is Lamar, Colorado with just under 8,000 people, and most towns on the route are 1,500 people or less.
 

Rob&Deryl

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Two things other than plan mor time for travel.

2 nights, aka 1 day at Arches, might be too short depending.

I would combine times for Black Hills and Badlands. All can be accessed from one campsite out west of Rapid City.
 
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phil-t

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We have done three different east to west trips (no California, yet), All were ~8 - 9k miles in three months. We picked routes that would take us to see the major sights. Definitely lots more to see and do than we did. There are many more trips in our future. Those 3 month trips were packed with driving and sightseeing, not a lot of "down" time, maybe a day here and there.
Enjoy the adventure, you can do it all again next year. (y)
 

climberbob

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Two things other than plan mor time for travel.

2 nights, aka 1 day at Arches, might be too short depending.

I would combine times for Black Hills and Badlands. All can be accessed from on campsite out west of Rapid City.
Yes you are right on both. We are going to stay 3 full days to see the arches, dead horse point and canyonland.

 

climberbob

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We have done three different east to west trips (no California, yet), All were ~8 - 9k miles in three months. We picked routes that would take us to see the major sights. Definitely lots more to see and do than we did. There are many more trips in our future. Those 3 month trips were packed with driving and sightseeing, not a lot of "down" time, maybe a day here and there.
Enjoy the adventure, you can do it all again next year. (y)
We know this is packed. We have gone for 3 weeks at a time. You never know when you will need down time or if it rains you lose a day. My wife needs more down time than I do. I will try to add more down time.
 

RRR

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MeetWays: Meet in the Middle - Find a Halfway Point is a decent tool to quickly figure half-points.

May I suggest cutting over to US 101 and going through the Redwoods then up the Oregon coast? Lots of State Parks on the Oregon coast, You could base in a couple and do some short day trips or hiking. And you can take 101 into Aberdeen.

Harris Beach in Brookings (Views!) South Beach and Beverly Beach near Newport. Beachside near Waldport (front row seat to the beach IF you can snag a site). Sunset Bay near Coos Bay. Bullards Beach near Bandon, Ft, Stevens near Warrenton. Book ASAP, after school lets out (early to mid June) you'll need them. Weekdays it is a gamble.

Not sure where you are going after Olympia but let us know and someone will have an idea. Have fun.

About the oil change put a Fumoto valve, one with the nipple on it. 24" of 3/8" hose, couple of gallon milk jugs and drain your oil into them. Loosen your filter a little then a gallon ziplock bag over it and take it off the rest of the way. Little practice and you won't spill a drop.
 
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climberbob

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MeetWays: Meet in the Middle - Find a Halfway Point is a decent tool to quickly figure half-points.

May I suggest cutting over to US 101 and going through the Redwoods then up the Oregon coast? Lots of State Parks on the Oregon coast, You could base in a couple and do some short day trips or hiking. And you can take 101 into Aberdeen.

Harris Beach in Brookings (Views!) South Beach and Beverly Beach near Newport. Beachside near Waldport (front row seat to the beach IF you can snag a site). Sunset Bay near Coos Bay. Bullards Beach near Bandon, Ft, Stevens near Warrenton. Book ASAP, after school lets out (early to mid June) you'll need them. Weekdays it is a gamble.

Not sure where you are going after Olympia but let us know and someone will have an idea. Have fun.

About the oil change put a Fumoto valve, one with the nipple on it. 24" of 3/8" hose, couple of gallon milk jugs and drain your oil into them. Loosen your filter a little then a gallon ziplock bag over it and take it off the rest of the way. Little practice and you won't spill a drop.
Thanks,
I haven't worked on Oregon yet. I will check them out.
 

donn

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The problem with the coast is it is always packed with RVs. Reservations are necessary if you want a place for a night.
 

JudyJB

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Between Yosemite and Aberdeen, WA, I'd recommend Durango RV park in Red Bluff. Also, Armitage county park near Eugene. Nice, paved, full hookup sites there for $32 and they let you wash your rig on the pad!! Another option along the way is the county fairgrounds in Meaford, OR. It is called Southern Oregon RV Park and is brand new with full hookups and pleasant landscaping. Nice big spots at reasonable prices--$38 per night.
 
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