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Solamom

Ideas for Traveling out West

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Hi All!

So my husband lost his job. We were kind of expecting it, but didn't really expect it to happen right now.  Since it is summer and we are in a down time of sorts, we have decided to take our RV and head to the Grand Canyon and hit some of the parks in Utah.  Even still, we are on a time crunch because we have to be home by August 12th for my oldest to attend career camp at Busch Gardens (she wants to be an animal trainer at SeaWorld and everyone says attend the camps).  We plan to leave tomorrow.  I'm looking for any suggestions on campgrounds in Utah or on the trip out/back.  Any ideas in Utah that don't book up or might be available last minute? This is super stressful for me because I am a planner.  We had planned to take this trip in May 18 but now that my hubby has to get a new job, I'm sure that won't happen as he won't have enough vacation time.  I don't have one signal campground reservation, we are totally winging this.  My oldest graduates in 2 years and we really want to jump on this chance to take this trip because it really looks like we won't be able to go out there before she is done w/ high school.  We have thought about other ways of going, but w/ dogs, food, etc...it still is cheaper to take the RV.  Any suggestions on where to stay, what to avoid (roads especially) would be greatly appreciated!  I'll be checking in while packing :) FYI, we are near Tampa and heading to Flagstaff first.  Then go into Utah and head home from there.   My boss lives in Flagstaff and his home has RV hookups, so the days in Arizona are covered, it is Utah and the travel that we need advice on.

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Not sure where you are going, but Spanish Trail Campground in Moab was nice and convenient to Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park.  Ruby's is great for Bryce Canyon.

 

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Ok, I recently made the drive from Florida to Utah. But, our routing was a little different because we were meandering and visiting people.

Do you boondock? Or do you need full hookups?

How far are you comfortable driving in a day?

Camp Gulf Destin, FL
Meaher State Park Mobile, AL
Cherokee Farms RV Service Center Foley, AL
Cherokee Farms RV Service Center Foley, AL
Meaher State Park Mobile, AL
Millbrook Walmart Millbrook, AL
Monte Sano State Park Huntsville, AL
Diamond Caverns Park City, KY
Monte Sano State Park Huntsville, AL
Tom Sawyer's Mississippi River RB Park West Memphis, AR
Crater of Diamonds State Park Murfreesboro, AR
Sam's Club McKinney, TX
The Vineyards Campground & Cabins Grapevine, TX
Oasis RV Resort Amarillo, TX
Coronado Campground Bernalillo, NM
Ute Mountain Casino Towaoc, CO
Copper Cloud Ranch Kanab, UT
OK RV Park Moab, UT

 

  1. A long first day: Tampa to Mobile, AL and possibly stay at Meaher State Park. Right off of the highway and decent sites. You shouldn't have issue with ants for a 1-night stay. I don't think they have pull-thru sites but the back-ins are easy.
  2. I'd then head north and target Monroe or Shreveport for a second day (350-400 miles). No idea on places to stay in either.
  3. Amarillo, TX could be a next stop at 550 miles but that's a looong day. We stayed at Oasis RV Resort and would stay there again- easy paved pull-thrus. Plus, you can drive over to the Cadillac Ranch for a few minutes on your way out. You'll see signs for a hundred miles for the Big Texan where they have a 72 oz steak challenge- it's a tourist trap but was fun none-the-less and the food (steaks) was decent.
  4. You can split the final leg to Flagstaff by stopping in Albuquerque. There's a little campground called Coronado Campground in Bernalillo, NM. Just water and electric, but mostly pull thrus. Very pretty. It's 300 miles from Amarillo to ABQ and another 300 to Flagstaff. While in ABQ, go drive the Musical Road- it's only 1 of 2 in America (video).
  5. Flagstaff, you're set (which is good because I don't know the area).
  6. From Flagstaff, drive north to Page, AZ and do Antelope Canyon. It's touristy and commercial but oh my goodness stunning. If Glen Canyon Dam is doing tours, it's only 16' shorter than Hoover Dam and tours are something like $5/person.
  7. You can move over to Kanab to explore Zion and the south western part of Grand Staircase Escalante; hiking to the Toadstools was a cool and doable hike (my family doesn't hike!). We actually stayed between Page and Kanab at Copper Cloud Ranch near Paria. If you boondock, friends found an awesome spot. If you are into 6-7 mile hikes, try getting a permit for The Wave; nothing compares!
  8. Moving north, maybe stop at Bryce Canyon National Park. We didn't stay/go, but friends did and it looked awesome!
  9. Moving north again, maybe stop at Capitol Reef National Park. Again, we didn't stay/go, but friends did and it looked awesome!
  10. Moab is my biggest love of Utah. Arches and Canyonlands National Parks are both there. Also make sure you go to Dead Horse Point State Park (gruesome name and story, beautiful park). There's also a ghost town and a ton of petroglyphs/pictographs that you can go view. We have stayed 2 different places- Archview Campground on the north end; it was more expensive at/near $50/night. Our site was great and it had a distant view of the Windows Arches in Arches NP. On the south end of town, we stayed at OK RV Park right behind the Spanish Trail Arena. This was closer to $27/night but had full hookups but almost no amenities; but we were too busy exploring. They don't have a pool, but Ken's Lake is 6 miles up the road and was quite refreshing for us. We also hiked the 1 mile up to Faux Falls and they were really cool (just frightfully cold!). If you boondock, there is a ton of land around there or OK RV Park had dry camping spots.
  11. Even further north, we enjoyed Salt Lake City. For a non-believer, I was super surprised to enjoy exploring Temple Square. Driving out to Antelope Island and seeing bison, swimming in the Great Salt Lake, and just checking out the scenery was very nice. We stayed at the KOA; expensive but a very nice park and very close to the downtown area. Again, there's dry camping out on Antelope Island but it's not super convenient to explore SLC itself from there.

Coming back, you could take I-70 east.

  1. We stopped in Goodland, KS at the KOA there. There was a cool rock formation called Monument Rocks near-ish there that was really pretty.
  2. I'd take a night or two to get to St. Louis, MO. We stayed at the Casino Queen in East St. Louis, IL. It has a view of the Gateway Arch and train access to get across the river. While East St. Louis gets a bad rap (as does downtown St. Louis after dark), we didn't feel uncomfortable while we were there. It's expensive for what it is (blacktop pull through spots, a tiny bit of stone between the sites, and not much else). But it was a good exploring place. If you have extra time, the City Museum gets rave reviews and the zoo is free (and nice!).
  3. Mammoth Cave in Kentucky would be nice if you aren't pressed for time. Otherwise, bust down to Nashville or beyond to get a good day's drive in.
  4. From there, pick your poison for getting home.

Hope that helps... maybe?!

 

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Thank you so much for all that information!!!  We have been in Flagstaff since Friday and leaving Thursday to head into Utah, so we are using this information!

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On 7/17/2017 at 4:08 PM, ependydad...Doug said:

Coming back, you could take I-70 east.

  1. We stopped in Goodland, KS at the KOA there. There was a cool rock formation called Monument Rocks near-ish there that was really pretty.
  2. I'd take a night or two to get to St. Louis, MO. We stayed at the Casino Queen in East St. Louis, IL. It has a view of the Gateway Arch and train access to get across the river. While East St. Louis gets a bad rap (as does downtown St. Louis after dark), we didn't feel uncomfortable while we were there. It's expensive for what it is (blacktop pull through spots, a tiny bit of stone between the sites, and not much else). But it was a good exploring place. If you have extra time, the City Museum gets rave reviews and the zoo is free (and nice!).
  3. Mammoth Cave in Kentucky would be nice if you aren't pressed for time. Otherwise, bust down to Nashville or beyond to get a good day's drive in.
  4. From there, pick your poison for getting home.

Hope that helps... maybe?!

How is I-70 going through Colorado?

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15 hours ago, Solamom said:

How is I-70 going through Colorado?

The pass near Denver is long. A good 6% grade for many miles and at the top goes to Eisenhower tunnel. We did it westward (Colorado to Utah/Moab) and I drove up it doing 35mph. Came down it about the same speed in a lower gear (as recommended).

Otherwise, it's a beautiful drive. We were sad to have done a large part of it at night. We slept at a Flying J near Vale, CO.

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