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NJ to CA and back in Nov, Looking for ideas

 
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blink32
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 16, 2008 4:52 pm    Post subject: NJ to CA and back in Nov, Looking for ideas Reply with quote

Nov 14 through Dec 7th I'm taking a little drive in the Pathy. I've got a majority of places mapped out that I'll be stopping at but I'm looking for suggestions on more. Keep the following in mind:
I'd like to stay pretty close to the routes that are already mapped out
I plan on being in MOAB for a week next summer so I'm skipping that area for now (sorry Steve)
I prefer National Monuments, parks, etc over pay-to-play stuff, but there are interesting things out there to pay for
Most stops are sub-12hrs

For some reason I'm not able to post a link correctly or imbed the map in the post so here is a link to a link of my planned travel route so far.

Sears Tower
Mt Rushmore
Devils Tower
Yellowstone
Crater Lake
Ave of the Giants
Las Vegas
Hoover Dam
Grand Canyon
Sierra Vista / Mexico
Raleigh, NC area

LINK
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boogyman



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PostPosted: Tue Sep 16, 2008 5:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was out vacationing in vegas a few years ago and the hoover dam doesn't have a tour anymore. No more dam tour. freakin terrorists. You can stop and look but can't go inside unless they changed it recently.

As for other ideas. Lake Tahoe has some great ski areas if you ski. The CA side of Heavenly overlooks the lake. Awesome view.
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blink32
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 17, 2008 4:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Damn, no tours huh. At-least I'll check it out I guess. Say I was there. And I'll have to remember that bit about Heavenly. Thanks!
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NVSteve
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 17, 2008 11:26 am    Post subject: Re: NJ to CA and back in Nov, Looking for ideas Reply with quote

blink32 wrote:
Nov 14 through Dec 7th I'm taking a little drive in the Pathy.


The first thing that comes to mind involves your dates. Thanksgiving is the traditional opening (+- days or weeks) of the ski season on the west coast. All that means is that the snows will be piling up in November(hopefully). Our first snowfall above 7000' was either August 31st or Sep. 1st this year, although it has since melted. But, some of the places you'll be driving through are notorious for horrible winter weather. From Rapid City to Klamath Falls has the potential for some pretty brutal weather. Just one of those fun things you should keep in mind. Might do to have a plan B of some sort.

Quote:

I plan on being in MOAB for a week next summer so I'm skipping that area for now (sorry Steve)


Well, let me know about it when you do.

Quote:
I prefer National Monuments, parks, etc over pay-to-play stuff, but there are interesting things out there to pay for


I notice you won't be driving along Highway 1 from SF south, or was that not intentional? 101 is pretty bland driving, although much better than I-5. I know the 1 gets closed often enough in the winter because of slides, but it is a nice drive if the weather promises to be halfway normal. I drove up the 1 a couple of weeks ago. There are a few state parks for camping (if that's even a possibility for you), and there's also Hearst Castle as an attraction. Lots of other options along your route, but I just don't want to suggest anything because of the snow/road closure issues. Looks like a nice trip though. The only thing I can really suggest is to pull up the state parks for each of the states you'll be visiting. There are really quite a few gems in the various state park systems that few have ever visited, yet are worth a visit.

Oh, and they are conducting tours at Hoover dam. I think Boogyman must have been there at the peak freakout time when virtually everything important was closed to tourists.
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blink32
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 17, 2008 2:41 pm    Post subject: Re: NJ to CA and back in Nov, Looking for ideas Reply with quote

NVSteve wrote:
But, some of the places you'll be driving through are notorious for horrible winter weather. From Rapid City to Klamath Falls has the potential for some pretty brutal weather. Just one of those fun things you should keep in mind. Might do to have a plan B of some sort.


I definitely am taking that to heart. I have family in Klamath and I drove up there (although I took I5 and cut off at Weed, CA) one turkey day a few years ago and hit snow in my Escort. It was manageable but I am preparing. My tires have excellent tread and I am taking a set of diamond snow chains.

Quote:
Well, let me know about it when you do.


I will. Planning on June/July time frame. Neighbor wants to come out in his Xterra also.

Quote:
I notice you won't be driving along Highway 1 from SF south, or was that not intentional?
Oh, and they are conducting tours at Hoover dam. I think Boogyman must have been there at the peak freakout time when virtually everything important was closed to tourists.


Sort of intentional. I grew up in Paso Robles so highway 1 is an after thought since I saw so much of it before. But you are right, a trip down 1 should be beautiful. My only requirement, which I should make, is to be home for Turkey Day. And thanks for the heads up on the Hoover Dam. I'll definitely be stopping by for that.

Tony
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Pathfind'nAZ



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PostPosted: Fri Sep 26, 2008 7:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Don't forget Sedona.. not that far from the Grand Canyon!
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markspath



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PostPosted: Thu Oct 09, 2008 10:36 pm    Post subject: Re: NJ to CA and back in Nov, Looking for ideas Reply with quote

If you're leaving in November and plan on being back in NJ by Thanksgiving you have about 4 weeks if you depart on the 1st. You seem to already have a lot of destinations on your schedule for that amount of time. Remember the trip I took covered half the highlights you have planned in 3 weeks, and in the end we felt it would have been better if we spent more time at less destinations. Don't underestimate the wear, tear, fatigue and annoyance of driving, unpacking, packing back up and driving some more every day, with intermittent stops of 4 hours to a day of walking around all day sightseeing.

Some suggestions I'd make:
  • After Chicago, go through Badlands SD and take the scenic loop. Try to arrive early AM and plan on lots of stops to see the landscape, but most are just a short walk from the parking lot. Of course, if you want to and the weather cooperates, you can go hiking for hours. Bring your own food/drink.
  • Leave Badlands and stop at the "World Famous" Wall Drug. After over 1,000 miles of billboards, you'll never sleep again unless see what all the hoopla is about. Lots of souvenir shops and tourist attractions. Worth the 2-4 hours to browse and eat.
  • Stay overnight near Rapid City or Hot Springs, then head down to Custer State Park before going on to Mount Rushmore. Custer is a beautiful, huge nature reserve that features herds of Buffalo and other wildlife in abundance. There's an easy-to-drive gravel road through the park about 2/3 the way in that will take you through rolling hills and up close enough to Buffalo and deer to smell their breath. Bring your own food and drink.
Deadwood can be an interesting stop, but it takes you about 4 hours out of your way. Sturgis isn't much to see when the bike rally isn't there, and you can buy cheap Sturgis souvenirs at virtually every service area along the highway in South Dakota.

In November the weather might be a limiting factor, but both Badlands and Custer should be drivable in your rig unless there's a huge storm. But I think you'll be OK early in November, just watch the cross-winds on I-70 because, as the locals in that area will tell you, there's just a scrubby bush and two barbed-wire fences between you and the North Pole.

There's not much to do at around Mount Rushmore except look at the sculpture for an hour or so. You can go off-roading in the Black Hills, but this might not be a good idea with snow on the ground unless you can hook-up with the local 4WD group there. But there are underground caverns you can tour that provides a few hours of enjoyable entertainment. Make sure to bring a jacket and wear shoes with good traction. Skip the Crazy Horse monument -- the admission price is not worth the experience.

Devils Tower is an interesting phenomena, but like Mount Rushmore, there's not much to do except look and take pictures. You can walk entirely around the tower, which will take most of the day. Weather and skill permitting, you can try to climb the tower, but it is by no means an easy climb, and I don't sense you're a professional climber. Beside, it will be cold, windy and quite possibly snowing at this elevation.

Highways in South Dakota and Wyoming, particularly the mountain pass between them, can be closed due to snow. I don't know if that will be a problem early in November, but it is possible in late November.

You need to check road closings for Yellowstone before planning a trip to the park. My recollection is that most of the roads close to wheeled vehicles in November, and do not open to snowmobiles until sometime in December. Trust me when I tell you that you don't have enough time in 4 weeks to walk, snowshoe, cross-country ski or ride on horseback through YNP. If the roads are open, the concessions will probably be closed for the season, but given the outrageous prices and slim selections, you're better off bringing your own food anyway.

In fact, you're better off bringing your own food, snacks and beverages at any of the national parks. Unfortunately, the park service sells franchises to private companies to operate the parks and do not regulate the prices charged. As a result, everything is movie-theater-priced or worse.

South of YNP is Teton National Park, and South of that is Jackson Hole. Teton Park seems like an extension of YNP, but there's a few mild backroads you can explore if the snow isn't too deep. 1 hour further South is Jackson Hole, which is worth stopping at if you have the time. You can ride the Gondola to the top -- over 14,000 feet -- and stay at one of the lodges at the base and eat at one of the restaurants.

If you're going to bypass Moab you might consider Bryce Canyon in Utah. Mormon Square in SLC and Brigham Young University are also worth visiting for 1/2 day each.

Of course, I'm not sure how much of that can realistically be packed-in to your existing schedule. If I had to prioritize, Badlands would be my #1 recommendation, Bryce my #2 and Custer State Park #3.
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 10, 2008 11:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

On your return give me a call when you come through VA....... Triffid
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blink32
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 10, 2008 1:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for all the suggestions. I do a lot of driving so I have gotten used to 20-22 hr travel days. In-fact, I average at-least one cross country trip per year. So far my fastest was 2 1/2 days from CA to NJ solo.

As of now my expected travel dates are Nov 19th through December 9th. I will be out of the far north by Thanksgiving. I had done some research and all but the main road into Yellowstone will be closed. I'd like to at-least drive through on that road and see if I can see anything but I might by-pass it depending on the severity of conditions. I put on several locations that are more backup or "want to go to's" than my "have to see's". Like I may skip Mexico and Sierra Vista because a friend might not be available.

I can't wait for this trip. Just got my snow chains and a USB HD TV tuner, only need to pickup a few small things and supplies and I'm off. I'd be stoked if I could hook up some driving lights like some of you have either on the rack or up front but I'm not sure if I'll have enough time.

Triff, I'll have to contact you because you've got some mod's I'd like to check out.
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markspath



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PostPosted: Sun Oct 12, 2008 1:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

blink32 wrote:
Thanks for all the suggestions. I do a lot of driving so I have gotten used to 20-22 hr travel days. In-fact, I average at-least one cross country trip per year. So far my fastest was 2 1/2 days from CA to NJ solo.


Ah, the benefits of youth! I can generally go 4-6 hours, or 8 with a good nap in between. Returning from Colorado I did drive 20 hours with a couple of rest stops, but I think I slept for 20 hours the next day. At least I slept in my own bed.
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Brian Nametko



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PostPosted: Sun Feb 17, 2013 2:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This would be an interesting Pathfinder trip! How many people ususally attend this journey? Question
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