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Old 11-29-2009, 10:32 PM   #1
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Location: Fruit Heights, Utah
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Advice needed on up coming Holiday family trip to SOUTHWEST

Hello All,

My wife and I started a tradition when we got married, every Christmas holiday we go somewhere, normally we go skiing. We've been to some great resorts throughout the years, Jackson Hole, Aspen, Steamboat, Tahoe & Park Silly haha.

This year we decided to something different, we had planned on going on the Disney cruise, but after having a not so great year finically we decided that we would have to postpone going on the cruise but with the kids all hyped up about Mickey, we decided that we would instead take the family to the coast and to Disney Land.

Now this said, we have been working hard on our build of our van (which is posted here & SMB forum) so we have decided to take everyone in the van and after Disney Land go exploring. We thought about going to Baja or maybe turning north, driving up the coast to B.C. & doing some skiing at Whistler. But after going back and forth for the last month on what to do, we decided that having to take all the extra gear and the extra $ it would take to go north wouldn't be worth doing on this trip, besides we live in Utah so were not going to miss that much skiing and the sun is what everyone is really wanting.

So that brings me to the task at hand, were looking at trying to find some sort of loop from Anaheim (Disney Land) back towards Utah. We would really like to find something cool each day on the trip to show the kids while trying to stay off the HWY's using as many two lane & dirt roads as possible. Because of the kids and the fact that my wife and I have never been to Baja, she is really nervous about going down there without having a group of us to kind of show us around. She does a lot of research online, and she looked up the US Travel Advisory on Mexico and they said that because of the Drug violence that traveling with small children is not advised. So, that's where I'm looking for more advice! Besides we will also be traveling with our dog and I'm not sure what is totally involved with bring him along?

So we thought after leaving Disney Land taking hwy 1 south (I know this is a major hwy but the wife and the kids will really dig it) to San Diego, then heading east towards AZ. In AZ travel close to the boarder finding something to check out, then from there heading north using again, two lane & dirt roads up through Sedona & Flagstaff to the Grand Canyon etc.

If possible, I'm looking to find something everyday that we travel to or towards that we could show the kids, this will help keep the excitement up on the trip, besides it gives us all something to look forward to. This is another area I need allot of advice on, if anyone has done a trip like this and has any advice on places to go, places to camp, roads to travel, things to do, etc. please by all means, post or P.M. me it will be greatly appreciated!!

I hope everyone had a fulfilling Thanksgiving weekend!

2006 E350 Quigley 4x4, building the conversion with the gracious help from the people on this awesome forum!
I'll try & post all of our progress on our family dream, when we have some.....
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Old 11-30-2009, 08:17 AM   #2
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Re: Advice needed on up coming Holiday family trip to SOUTHWEST

The obvious first stop east of San Diego would be Anza-Borrego Desert State Park...lots of places to camp outside the campgrounds, lots of hikes, etc. The kids would probably like Sandstone Canyon Wash and there is nice camping in the side canyons there too.

If you plan to continue close to the Mexican border as you travel east, Massey and Wilson mention that you might run into illegal immigrants on some of the 4WD trails in those areas. Their book on Arizona 4WD trails would be worthwhile...
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Old 11-30-2009, 08:38 AM   #3
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Re: Advice needed on up coming Holiday family trip to SOUTHWEST

I think that the chance of running into illegal immigrants is probably better at Disneyland than on the 4X4 trails of the Southwest.
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Old 11-30-2009, 08:40 AM   #4
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Re: Advice needed on up coming Holiday family trip to SOUTHWEST

San Diego + Kids = Zoo
This alone can keep you busy for days.
... Charlie
EV-2 build is now complete, (yeah right).
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Old 11-30-2009, 09:52 AM   #5
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Re: Advice needed on up coming Holiday family trip to SOUTHWEST

While in San Diego, I would camp at one of the campgrounds at the beach. One located in Carlsbad, and one in cardiff. You could also go down to the silver stand area in Imperial beach as that would put you right next to the border.
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Old 11-30-2009, 10:25 AM   #6
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Re: Advice needed on up coming Holiday family trip to SOUTHWEST

Here I sit in Baja, so I'm a little opinionated, but your decision is made up on that one.
The San Diego zoo is a can't miss as well as Wild Animal Park. As you head east on I-8 a section of the old plank road thru the sand dunes just east of Yuma is kind of cool. The old Territorial Prison in Yuma is also neat. South of Gila Bend in AZ is Organ Pipe Cactus N.M. and there is good camping and super scenery. But, there is always the chance of illeglas in that area too. If you go as far east as Tucson, ya gotta stop at the Desert Museum and both Saguaro N.P's are worth a visit. There's always Tombstone (pretty touristy, but fun) and lots of great camping in the Chiricahua Mtns. There's also a couple of caves east of Tucson if you're into that kind of thing. Can't remember the names and don't have much info here with me. The one north of I-10's been open for decades and neat as an old outlaw hideout. The one south of the freeway is newly discovered and very pristine.
North out of Phoenix there's Montezuma Castle. East of Flagstaff, Walnut Canyon and the Petrified Forest N.P. are worth a stop.
Most all of these places can be reached via roads less traveled with a good map on board.
Whatever you do, you'll have a great time. 'Cept for maybe the crowds in Dizzyland....
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it amazes me that so many choose stupid....

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Old 11-30-2009, 07:28 PM   #7
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Re: Advice needed on up coming Holiday family trip to SOUTHWEST

In Yuma AZ you can look into renting something to play on the dunes with.

The Sierra Anchas are nice, but I'm not sure where they fall in relation to your route.
it was good to be back
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Old 11-30-2009, 10:29 PM   #8
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Re: Advice needed on up coming Holiday family trip to SOUTHWEST

I'll second Scatter's recommendation of the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum just outside of Tucson. At least when I lived in Tucson going to the UofA, the Desert Museum was consistently ranked in the top 10 zoos in the world. BTW, the word zoo doesn't do it justice.

SMB-less as of 02/04/2012. Our savings account is richer, but our adventures are poorer.
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