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Roadtrip through the States

Roadtrip through the States

Old Feb 11th 2011, 10:42 am
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Post Roadtrip through the States

Hi everydbody

I am visiting the USA Discussion Forum (normally in the Canada one), as I need some help from you to plan our roadtrip through the States.

We are relocationg with three children from the UK to Canada (Vancouver) this June. We will fly to Toronto (visiting relatives) and the plan is to buy a car and trailer and go on a long roadtrip through the States (we need to be in Vancouver beg of August).

Some BE Canada members gently indicated that a roadtrip via the TransCanada Highway might be rather dull....

It would be great if you could suggest any must see places/routes. We would like to make a detour over New York and Washington and we def want to see Bryce/Grand Canyon, Mesa Verde, Las Vegas and California. We are not sure about the route from Washington to Denver (over Chicago or rather Kansas City?). Your help, infos and feedback are highly appreciated!

How's life on the road with a trailer? How are the campgrounds? Do we need to book in advance for June/July?

Thanks a lot! Kristina
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Old Feb 11th 2011, 11:40 am
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Default Re: Roadtrip through the States

While this is quite a detour rather than going direct I assume you'll have the time. If you're doing Bryce then also consider Zion NP (and then Valley of Fire State Park). Assume when you said Grand Canyon you meant North Rim? North Rim is less crowded but you have to put in far more effort for visual rewards than many of the other NPs.

Also consider - Monument Valley and Arches/Canyonlands - both are spectacular.

The NPs are very busy during school holidays and to camp inside them I'd definitely be looking at reservations. You also need to find out if the trailer is a no/no though as some may be restricted on space. Each NP has a website that includes contact information.

And yes - the middle bit of the Trans Canada highway is as dull as fluck.
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Old Feb 11th 2011, 2:21 pm
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Default Re: Roadtrip through the States

We tow a trailer here and have done some good trips. If you're buying a totally new rig, have a close look at weights and towing capacities because they are in a different league over here to what I remember from the UK years ago (there was a thread recently about our experience towing an Ultralite with a 5.7l hemi engined Dodge Durango).

Currently planning our next trip which has a furthest point of Mount Rushmore, returning via Yosemite and Yellowstone, but not got a lot farther than that!

In terms of life on the road - we try to go for National/State parks as a first choice, and if they're not available, go for KOA (Kampground of America) which is one of the large franchise chains over here. You get a membership for a few bucks a year which gets you discounts and accumulate points for free stays. The ones we've stayed at have all been pretty good, family orientated with a playground and/or pool, and hence other kids around for ours to play with. And most of them do good communal breakfasts in the local cuisine....the chili breakfast burritos at the one in Albuquerque New Mexico are awesome! They're not everyones cup of tea, and I think on the whole I prefer the "wilderness" feel of the state parks, but its nice to get a mix.

NP/SP normally have a variety of sites - dry, water, water and electric of full hook up (water, electric, sewer) in order of increasing cost. They are invariably good value - generally around 15-20 a night for a full hook up, plus some charge park entrace fees, so if you are planning a few State Parks in one state, it may be worth getting an annual family pass. KOA are a bit pricier (30 ish a night) and normally all sites have full hook ups, but you may pay a but extra for a premium site - one with a good view for instance.

Sadly, unless we have specific recommendations or some very good feedback from online sites, we tend to stay away from the small privately owned campgrounds. I say sadly, because in just about every other area I will support the little guy over the large chains, even if it costs a bit more, but our experience with private campgrounds has been so hit and miss. We've had some great ones, but we've also had a few very dodgy ones so we've now pretty much given up on them, like I say, unless we know someone who has had a good experience.

One book I find really useful for planning the driving is Next Exit - it basically lists all the major roads in the country, telling you what is at each exit in terms of food, gas, local facilities. In some of the more remote areas where it can be 100+ miles between gas stations, it can be a lifesaver when you're only getting 12/12 mpg...

For planning purposes, I normally work on about 55-60mph average on Interstates, and have the absolute top mileage for a day around 500 - I find driving more tiring when towing, and at that sort of mileage it rapidly becomes a chore rather than an adventure, especially for the kids. I prefer to do a lot less unless theres a dull area we want to get thru quickly.
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Old Feb 11th 2011, 2:24 pm
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Default Re: Roadtrip through the States

Ps - if you're thinking of being east of the Grand Canyon I would definitely have a look at Painted Desert / Petrfied forest state parks, whichI found quite jaw-droppingly spectacular. Also, just south of the road from GC to PD/PF there is a place called Meteor Crater that we had as a good side diversion. I know it gets a slagging on some websites as overpriced and overrated, but we enjoyed it.
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Old Feb 11th 2011, 3:17 pm
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Default Re: Roadtrip through the States

I have driven from Denver to Kansas, flat boring and unbelievably hot.
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Old Feb 11th 2011, 6:32 pm
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Default Re: Roadtrip through the States

Definately check out KOA, if you buy a membership it cuts the costs of stays dramatically. We stayed with KOA on our journey across the northern states and found every campground to be well kept and the hosts friendly.

Have fun !
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Old Feb 11th 2011, 6:47 pm
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Default Re: Roadtrip through the States

Few links for you

http://www.goodsamclub.com/ - onfo, discounts, breakdown cover

http://www.rvparkreviews.com/

http://britishexpats.com/forum/showthread.php?t=679524

http://www.campercommunity.com/

http://www.rv.net/forum/index.cfm

http://britishexpats.com/forum/showthread.php?t=680239
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Old Feb 11th 2011, 10:01 pm
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Default Re: Roadtrip through the States

Better check out this link too.
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Old Feb 12th 2011, 1:07 am
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Default Re: Roadtrip through the States

Don't miss the Grand Canyon but not sure about Vegas with 3 children.
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Old Feb 12th 2011, 1:11 am
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Default Re: Roadtrip through the States

Originally Posted by Ronisi View Post
Don't miss the Grand Canyon but not sure about Vegas with 3 children.
Las Vegas is totally overrated.
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Old Feb 12th 2011, 1:15 am
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Default Re: Roadtrip through the States

Originally Posted by Sally Redux View Post
Las Vegas is totally overrated.
Agreed
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Old Feb 12th 2011, 1:39 am
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Default Re: Roadtrip through the States

Originally Posted by Sally Redux View Post
Las Vegas is totally overrated.
Las Vegas is lovely.
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Old Feb 12th 2011, 1:46 am
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Default Re: Roadtrip through the States

Originally Posted by SwissBread View Post
Hi everydbody

I am visiting the USA Discussion Forum (normally in the Canada one), as I need some help from you to plan our roadtrip through the States.

We are relocationg with three children from the UK to Canada (Vancouver) this June. We will fly to Toronto (visiting relatives) and the plan is to buy a car and trailer and go on a long roadtrip through the States (we need to be in Vancouver beg of August).

Some BE Canada members gently indicated that a roadtrip via the TransCanada Highway might be rather dull....

It would be great if you could suggest any must see places/routes. We would like to make a detour over New York and Washington and we def want to see Bryce/Grand Canyon, Mesa Verde, Las Vegas and California. We are not sure about the route from Washington to Denver (over Chicago or rather Kansas City?). Your help, infos and feedback are highly appreciated!

How's life on the road with a trailer? How are the campgrounds? Do we need to book in advance for June/July?

Thanks a lot! Kristina
Forgot to mention - you should book in advance for California in June/July, especially the coastal sites from San Diego all the way up to San Francisco.
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Old Feb 12th 2011, 8:30 am
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Default Re: Roadtrip through the States

Originally Posted by Yorkieabroad View Post
Ps - if you're thinking of being east of the Grand Canyon I would definitely have a look at Painted Desert / Petrfied forest state parks, whichI found quite jaw-droppingly spectacular. Also, just south of the road from GC to PD/PF there is a place called Meteor Crater that we had as a good side diversion. I know it gets a slagging on some websites as overpriced and overrated, but we enjoyed it.
I would second this. We moved from CA to TX and did this on our drive to TX. It is amazing.
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Old Feb 12th 2011, 10:23 am
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Smile Re: Roadtrip through the States

Thank you all so much for your thoughts, tipps and feedback. We have now some very useful information, which is gonna help us deciding on a route.

We're not sure at the moment if it's better to buy a car and trailer in Toronto and take the shortest route over to Arizona and California (where most of the places are, we want to visit), or if we shall fly to Miami, buy transportation there and drive through to California.

I believe cars/trailers are cheaper in the U.S., but then it might be very expensive to get an insurance without having an address....your thoughts on that?

Hubby and I did a roadtrip ten years ago (pre kids) from Miami to Arizon, up to Utah and over to Chicago and New York. The trip was great, although too long, when you have to stay in motels and live out of suitcases. And we didn't get to California, that's why we def want to go there this time! I think travelling with an RV (instead of staying in hotels/motels) is a bit more comfortable, esp with kids. But I know now that we will def have to book the campgrounds in advance.

Thanks again for your help!

Kristina
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