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Old 02-22-2013, 09:14 AM   #1
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twogone trippin' Edit 3-24

Hey Forum Folks! Christine and I will be making a six week Great West tour, starting on May 20 and ending June 28. I am posting this thread to:

-present our current "known" itinerary
-ask for advice on the "known", most of this optional
-help to fill in the blank dates with cool stuff
-have the opportunity for some meetups with forum members!!!

We have 56 days 'til departure (going by very fast). We know that this is a trip-of-a-lifetime for us, and want to get it right. We are Great West newbs and really do need y'alls help. I will edit this post as dates/locations fill in. Here is what we have so far. (question marks (???) indicate possibilities... seeking advice)

Mon, May 20 Taylor MS - Lake Dardanelle AR
Tues, May 21 Lake Dardanelle AR - Palo Duro Canyon, TX
Wed, May 22 Stay at Palo Duro
Thurs, May 23 Palo Duro - Bluewater Lake State Park, Prewitt NM
Fri, May 24 Bluewater Lake - Wahweap Campground, Lake Powell AZ ???
Sat, May 25 Stay at Lake Powell (options??? we'd love to boondock, we are staging for a 6-day GC river trip)
Sun, May 26 Must be @ Marble Canyon Lodge by 5:00 p.m. for river trip check-in. Need specific advice here on leaving the van for 6 days (security issues???, shuttles???) We are getting out at Bright Angel Trail.

Mon, (Memorial Day) May 27 Paddle trip (via Outdoors Unlimited... reviews?)
Tues, May 28 Paddle trip
Wed, May 29 Paddle trip
Thurs, May 30 Paddle trip
Fri, May 31 Paddle trip
Saturday, June 1 Hike out at Bright Angel Trail, Drive 1 mile to Mather Campground on the South Rim

Sun, June 2 8 hours to Toroweap. We are especially interested in a meetup here, as there is a reservation-only group site up to 4 vehicles, 7-12 people, all 8 or 9 other sites are FCFS. Need advice on boondocking in this area also.
Mon, June 3 Toroweap
Tues, June 4 Toroweap???

Wed, June 5 5 hours to Zion National Park Watchman Campground??? Loop Riverside on Virgin River??? Boondocking???
Thurs, June 6 Zion

Fri, June 7 OPEN???
Sat, June 8 OPEN???
Sun, June 9 Yosemite
Mon, June 10 Yosemite
Tues, June 11 Yosemite
Wed, June 12 OPEN Sequoia?
Thurs, June 13 OPEN Sequoia?

Fri, June 14 Arrive Newbury Park, CA (Christine' brother's home, he will tour us, but seeking advice/meetups in this area also)
Sat, June 15 Newbury Park
Sun, June 16 Newbury Park
Mon, June 17 Newbury Park
Tues, June 18 Big Bear Lake, brother-in-law has a cabin
Wed, June 19 Big Bear Lake

Thurs, June 20 San Diego, family reunion... Camping for three nights.
Fri, June 21 San Diego
Sat, June 22 San Diego

Sun, June 23 7 hours to Tonto National Forest, Roosevelt Lake, Cholla AZ???
Mon, June 24 5 hours to Albuquerque, NM Boondocking, meetup???
Tues, June 25 5 hours Albuquerque - Palo Duro
Wed, June 26 Palo Duro
Thurs, June 27 Palo Duro - Lake Dardanelle
Fri, June 28 Home

I realize this is a lot of info. Thanks in advance for any input you may have.

On Meetups: You must know by now that we make little movies. You don't have to be in the movie, just tell us.

Secondly, while Christine is patient (to a degree) on long discussions about tire-size and engine-size and talltale-size, please bring your significant other, friends, etc. to help mix it up.

We are both working musicians (C=Clarinet, Sax, Harmonica, M=Guitar, Vox). We will NOT be packing instruments, unless, we know (in advance) of a meetup where they need to be included.

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Old 02-22-2013, 11:05 AM   #2
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Re: twogone trippin'

Hey Marc and Christine, sounds like a marvelous trip. Here's hoping the wind is always at your back and you have no breakdowns.

Sun, May 26 Must be @ Marble Canyon Lodge by 5:00 p.m. for river trip check-in. Need specific advice here on leaving the van for 6 days (security issues???, shuttles???) We are getting out at Bright Angel Trail.

Are you putting in at Lee's Ferry? How does your van get to the Grand Canyon? Does the raft company have any transportation between Marble Canyon and the Grand Canyon? It is over 120 miles (2.5-3 hrs) between the two. And, it is a strenuous hike out and it will be HOT. 2 liters of water each and refill at Indian Gardens on the way up.

Sun, June 2 8 hours to Toroweap??? We are especially interested in a meetup here, as there is a reservation-only group site up to 4 vehicles, 7-12 people, all 8 or 9 other sites are FCFS. Need advice on boondocking in this area also.
Mon, June 3 Toroweap???
Tues, June 4 Toroweap???

8 hours should get you to Toroweap. Be careful on the road in. It can be smooth or very rough. On occasion it can have deep, wide chuckholes (8' wide 20' long 12-18" deep) filled with dust. They are hard to see and really nasty to hit. I suggest 30mph max just in case. I've never seen the campground full. And if it is full, there is dispersed camping just outside the Park Boundary. Be sure and look over the cliff down 3000' to the Colorado River. Again, HOT.

Wed, June 5 5 hours to Zion National Park Watchman Campground??? Loop Riverside on Virgin River??? Boondocking???
Thurs, June 6 Zion???

You can get a reservation for Watchman Campground. I prefer the South campground, but it is FCFS and it is a busy time of year. Some great hikes in the Park. Start early, the trails get busy and HOT later. Limited boondocking, but more camping is available east of the park in higher elevations.

You could also drive over to Bryce Canyon and spend a day or two. It is also worth a visit.

Others will have more knowledge of the rest of your plans.

Have fun,


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Old 02-22-2013, 11:38 AM   #3
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Re: twogone trippin'

OU is a good company. I don't know any of the guides and am more familiar with AZRA, ARR and C. Exp. I'm sure they'll put on a splendid trip that will have you come back for another to see the lower half. And a paddling trip, how cool is that. I'll be on the river in early May so I won't see ya.

The long-term parking lot at Lees Ferry is pretty safe. There's a Ranger office right behind it although they all sleep higher up the hill. But I have not heard of break-ins. Just some stuff stolen off the ramp from unattended boats.

I'll think of other things but off the top of my head if your in the Roosevelt Lake area you might want to consider spending a day here:

Jumping off the Salt River Bridge for a swim is always fun. Hiking Tonto Creek from Gisela has some excellent swimming holes. Barnhardt Canyon in the Mazatzal Mountains is an excellent hike.
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Old 02-22-2013, 11:41 AM   #4
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Re: twogone trippin'

Hey, that's a great itinary ! Sadly, I will still be in Switzerland at this time...

On Friday, May 24th, do you mean Wahweap Hoodoos? If yes, you can boondock along the river, at the end of the gravel road, about 1.5 mile north of hoodoos. They are some small trees but not much shadow... Here a picture of hoodoos:

If you need it, I can send you GPS route from Cottonwood Road to Wahweap Hoodoos...
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Old 02-22-2013, 10:37 PM   #5
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Re: twogone trippin'

Sounds like a great trip Marc and Christine. We've visited Arches, Bryce, Zion and the Grand Canyon prior to us getting our SMB. All are beautiful Parks and are a must see. I agree with Mike, try to make it over to Bryce Canyon. It's not that far from Zion and it's amazing scenery.

By the way, if you extend your trip by another 6 weeks you could come up north and see Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming and hit Colorado on the way home. As long as you're out West, might as well see it all, right?

I'm already looking forward to the video of this trip!

Safe travels,

Mike and Kris
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Old 02-24-2013, 07:37 AM   #6
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Re: twogone trippin'

Originally Posted by MKRyan
By the way, if you extend your trip by another 6 weeks you could come up north and see Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming and hit Colorado on the way home. As long as you're out West, might as well see it all, right?

Mike and Kris

X2 on the extension to the Northwest.

Maybe you should rename your trip to the Great South West tour since you are missing the even Greater Pacific North West.

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Old 02-24-2013, 07:57 PM   #7
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Re: twogone trippin'

If you end up rolling thru Phx, we'll leave the light on.
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Old 03-06-2013, 02:28 PM   #8
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Re: twogone trippin'

I would think your rafting company should be able to arrange shuttles. Since you are hiking out I expect they'll book something for you. I've used various shuttle services to move my van; it's usually the easiest way to go. Otherwise you may need to book a night's lodging so you can meet the shuttle the next day if they are just transporting you.

There used to be a campground right near Lee's Ferry; I would expect it's still there. Pretty busy area. You could probably stealth camp right at the put in, but make sure you arrange your meet up with your guides.

I'd suggest booking a site at Devil's Garden in Arches. There are lots of places to stay in Moab, but it can get crowded. The campground in Arches itself fills fast. But it's one of the prettiest campgrounds in the Nat'l Parks, and if you haven't been in Moab it's the place to start. The sites near the water, like Granstaff, also fill fast. I think Arches is a better place to stay than Granstaff, but YMMV.

But having said that, why are you going to Moab? Seems like you'd be zooming through some awfully nice places to get there, and then zooming back the other way almost immediately. And while parts of 15/70 are nice, that really isn't the best way to go unless you've just gotta get there ASAP. 89/12 is a world-class scenic route with much more to see and do, in fact, too much for three days. If you haven't been in that are, I'd suggest sticking closer to Zion, and spend some time in Bryce and maybe Kodachrome. Bryce is high and cool; Moab will be hot in June, high 80's low 90's, but will probably feel hotter down in some canyons.

And going from Moab to SoCal is hot as well. Look for high spots. If you do go from Moab, there's Fremont Indian State Park just off 70 before you descend all the way to 15; nice spot for an overnight. About 200 miles.

After that, you're pretty much in full-on desert the rest of the way. Lake Mead might work, or somewhere near Vegas. Be aware that on weekends the LV to LA traffic can be horrendous around Barstow for miles; like bumper to bumper. Avoid it. There are places to stay near Mojave Preserve; the campgrounds in the middle are quite high so often cooler. Just past the preserve there's Rasor Road, an OHV area. But on non-weekends it's pretty quiet and has some nice boondocking, but hot. Afton Canyon is a bit further down 15, and is a regular campground on the river, if it's flowing. Hot. Owl Canyon is a bit north of Barstow, and a quiet little campground with nice fossils.

As you approach SoCal it's time to start planning. Any camping near water is gonna be super crowded, if not already booked. Mid June is probably one of the busiest since school lets out. And it could take a full day just to drive from San Bernadino to Thousand Oaks (I just cringe...). You might be better off going over 138 to 14. There's camping at Saddleback Butte. Or up in the San Gabriels. But again, very busy.

And other than WalMarts and stealth parking, there really isn't any boondocking on the SoCal coast. And most state parks (not much fed land) is probably booked. You might look in the Santa Monica Mtns, or private campgrounds. And just getting from the west San Fernando Valley to northern San Diego Co is a LONG trip. Super congested, and don't even think about it on a June weekend near the beaches. So you might be better off going slow through the mountains or over the top end all the way to Big Bear. Lots of camping and places to see along the way.

And San Diego is a big place...not sure where you'd wanna stay. But same advice pertains for any camping near any bit of water. Other than the mountains outside of town, not many cool places to stay on your way over to Roosevelt Lake (you must really love heat ).

That's a lot of nice territory; you'll have a great time!

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Old 03-07-2013, 04:34 PM   #9
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Re: twogone trippin'

Sounds awesome!

Where in San Diego?

As crowded as the beaches are, it's the reason many people come to San Diego.
San Elijo Campground is cool if you can still get a reservation. So is South Carlsbad.
Campland on the Bay, on Mission Bay has a good location and views. But pretty pricey and LOTS of big, huge RV's.
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Old 03-12-2013, 10:53 PM   #10
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Re: twogone trippin'

Sounds like a great trip planned.

June 14-19th you may be able to reserve a spot on or across the HWY from the ocean in Malibu.
Malibu has 2 routes through the mountain to Newbury Park area real easy to get to.
Kanan road and malibu cyn road.
Also a few great places up in Oxnard on the Water also.
Maybe a 40 mile distance from all of them to Newbury Park

They have spots right on the Water in the North part of Malibu.

I live in Hollywood CA, by the Hollywood sign and have access to a Tennis Club with Pool and huge Area to meet and greet and drink and such if you want to come down to Hollywood Land and you need a bigger place to meet and greet if others want to join in on the fun. We have enough parking for all the SMB's and such as well. Not to mention food and drink....


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