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Old 03-08-2014, 08:52 PM   #1
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Request for suggestions on Austin, TX <-> San Diego, CA Trip

Last year my wife and I took delivery of our SMB from the Austin, TX location and have been loving it.
Build details can be found here if interested:
http://www.sportsmobileforum.com/vie...p?f=15&t=10872

We made a 3 week trip from Austin, TX to Missoula, MT and back last August. Pre-trip we solicited advice from the forum on good places to see and got lots of great suggestions. Many thanks to everyone that gave advice and particularly to dparkwy who lives in Jackson Hole, Wy. His tips on the Tetons and Shadow Mountain were awesome. I am sorry I never got the chance to meet up and thank him in person.


This year we are planning a trip in June from Austin, TX to San Diego, CA and back. This is the preliminary route and schedule we plan to take.

Austin --> San Diego
We will be leaving from Fort Stockton, TX in the morning.
We will have 7 nights before arriving in San Diego on the 8th day.
The general planned route is taking I-10 West from Fort Stockton, through El Paso, TX and Tuscon, Az to I-8. Then I-8 West to San Diego.

Then staying in San Diego hotel for a business conference.

San Diego --> Austin
We will be leaving the San Diego area the morning.
We will have 6 nights before arriving in Lubbock, TX on the 7th day.
The general planned route is to head north from San Diego to Barstow, then East on 40 through Flagstaff, Az and Albuquerque, NM and then over and down to Lubbock.

Other than this general route we are open to anything that might be worth seeing. The route is just a guideline so we don't mind deviating for a something good.

Our SMB is only 2WD, but we don't mind dirt roads as long as they are stock 2WD van clearance accessible.

Any suggestions on places to stay for the night or places to see for the day would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance,
Mike
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Old 03-10-2014, 01:52 AM   #2
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Re: Request for suggestions on Austin, TX <-> San Diego, CA

The Titan Missile Museum just south of Tucson was the hit of our Christmas holiday. Nothing like it anywhere else.
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Old 03-10-2014, 09:59 PM   #3
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Re: Request for suggestions on Austin, TX <-> San Diego, CA

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dogmobile
The Titan Missile Museum just south of Tucson was the hit of our Christmas holiday. Nothing like it anywhere else.
Thanks for the tip. Anywhere worth staying in that area?
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Old 03-11-2014, 06:45 AM   #4
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Request for suggestions on Austin, TX <-> San Diego, CA Trip

Kartchner Caverns SP is another worthwhile stop in the area and there is a campground there. Their website has a list of other places to explore nearby, of which there are many (Tombstone, Cochise Stronghold, Fort Huachuca, etc).

I would recommend a stop at Saguaro NP too. Who can resist photographing those iconic totems of the Desert Southwest?

Many people rave about the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum. By far the best part is their raptor free flight program - don't miss that if you go.

Most of these attractions are well known. I mentioned the Titan Missile Museum because it is less known, and as I said it was the top highlight of an otherwise great visit. We also really enjoyed the Mt Lemmon Sky Nights program, where a small group of people (~20) gets to spend an evening with an astronomer looking at cool stuff through a big telescope. Really well done and memorable. If you sign up, be sure to go up the mountain early and spend the day exploring and hiking (we didn't, and regretted it). There are USFS campgrounds on Mt Lemmon as well, a good place to escape the heat.
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Old 03-11-2014, 07:03 AM   #5
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Re: Request for suggestions on Austin, TX <-> San Diego, CA

Well, this may be just a little more north than you wanted to go, but my favorite driving/exploring day on any trip I've ever been on was waking up in Vegas (not the highlight) and heading west out of town on 160 over to Parhump, then taking 190 through Death Valley, exploring the valley floor, then 190 on over to 395 at Owens Lake, then going up through the Alabama Hills and staying at Whitney Portal CG on the east side of the Sierras that night. It was epic. We did it in high summer and it was 121 degrees at Badwater Basin (282' below sea level), then climbing up Mount Whitney to Whitney Portal CG at 8000' altitude, where it was in the 30's that night.
I will do this run again, but I'll take 2 or more days to do it and probably not in July.

Oh, great site you have there at Gros Ventre! That's exactly where we had a meet and greet last summer. In fact here we are about 2 sites down from where you took that picture. You're in the same loop where we had the meet and greet



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Old 03-11-2014, 02:30 PM   #6
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Re: Request for suggestions on Austin, TX <-> San Diego, CA

Is that Gros Ventre he's at or Curtis? Looks up a bit higher from the plain than Gros Ventre.

skijunkie, where's that camp?
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Old 03-11-2014, 03:16 PM   #7
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Re: Request for suggestions on Austin, TX <-> San Diego, CA

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dogmobile
There are USFS campgrounds on Mt Lemmon as well, a good place to escape the heat.
Thanks for the additional suggestions. A friend I was visiting in Tuscon took me up to Mt Lemmon ski area one summer to ride the ski lift up to the top. I didn't know there were USFS campgrounds up there. Looks like there are three. That will be a nice place to escape the heat.
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Old 03-11-2014, 03:30 PM   #8
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Re: Request for suggestions on Austin, TX <-> San Diego, CA

Quote:
Originally Posted by 86Scotty
Oh, great site you have there at Gros Ventre! That's exactly where we had a meet and greet last summer. In fact here we are about 2 sites down from where you took that picture. You're in the same loop where we had the meet and greet
Quote:
Originally Posted by daveb
Is that Gros Ventre he's at or Curtis? Looks up a bit higher from the plain than Gros Ventre.
skijunkie, where's that camp?
The pictures from the meet and greet are what made me go to the Gros Ventre campground area in the first place. We did actually stay in Gros Ventre one night but that photo was taken just up the road. I think we stayed in Gros Ventre in the last normal campsite before the group camp area facing the same way as your [86Scotty] campsite.

The campsite in my picture is a boondock site halfway up Shadow Mountain. It is only a few miles from Gros Ventre. It is hard to tell in the picture but just beyond our chairs the ground drops down very steeply. We are quite a ways above the valley floor. We got to sit in our chairs and watch a large bison herd migrate slowly across the valley floor that evening. Never would have found the place without the info from Dparkwy.
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Old 03-11-2014, 03:37 PM   #9
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Re: Request for suggestions on Austin, TX <-> San Diego, CA

Quote:
Originally Posted by 86Scotty
Well, this may be just a little more north than you wanted to go, but my favorite driving/exploring day on any trip I've ever been on was waking up in Vegas (not the highlight) and heading west out of town on 160 over to Parhump, then taking 190 through Death Valley, exploring the valley floor, then 190 on over to 395 at Owens Lake, then going up through the Alabama Hills and staying at Whitney Portal CG on the east side of the Sierras that night. It was epic. We did it in high summer and it was 121 degrees at Badwater Basin (282' below sea level), then climbing up Mount Whitney to Whitney Portal CG at 8000' altitude, where it was in the 30's that night.
I will do this run again, but I'll take 2 or more days to do it and probably not in July.
That sounds like a great run. A bit far north for this trip, but I'll have to file that information away for later. I think they need an app for that. A place to keep tip details on all the places you hear about and want to go visit later.
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Old 03-12-2014, 10:54 AM   #10
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Re: Request for suggestions on Austin, TX <-> San Diego, CA

Quote:
Originally Posted by skijunkie
Quote:
Originally Posted by daveb
Is that Gros Ventre he's at or Curtis? Looks up a bit higher from the plain than Gros Ventre.
skijunkie, where's that camp?
The campsite in my picture is a boondock site halfway up Shadow Mountain. It is only a few miles from Gros Ventre. It is hard to tell in the picture but just beyond our chairs the ground drops down very steeply. We are quite a ways above the valley floor. We got to sit in our chairs and watch a large bison herd migrate slowly across the valley floor that evening. Never would have found the place without the info from Dparkwy.
OK I know of the road and seems more in line with the mountain range. Sorry Yellowstone lovers
but that is what I like about the Teton area, so many more places to boon dock at. Of course
I don't know much about areas just outside Yellowstone NP and there might be some great places
there to. I'd like to find a good off road book for both areas.
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