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New Orleans to San Francisco trip - need ideas

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Old 06-10-2014, 06:18 AM   #1
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New Orleans to San Francisco trip - need ideas

From July 18th to August 3rd, I'm taking my sons camping for 2 weeks from New Orleans to San Francisco. I really want to go on some hiking and driving trails though, and I know many of you guys know the non touristy areas. PLEASE HELP so I can make this memorable for my kids! My Taco is 4x4, lifted, and 33s so it can handle some offroading.

- So far we're gonna visit Carlsbad Caverns and see the bat flight.
- Then we're thinking of hitting White Sands, NM and maybe go see the missile museum.
- Then Meteor Crater in Winslow, Az
- The Grand Canyon
- Death Valley
- Yosemite Falls
- Alcatraz tour
- Maybe zipline the redwoods in Santa Cruz if i can get my son to gain some weight by then.
- Pacific Coast Hwy all the way down to San Diego and visit my old training depot: MCRD
- Ocotillo Wells SVRA, Ca and Sandstone Canyon, Ana Borrego

Anything in between, let me know, and if you want to join and show us around, even better! I'll return the favor if you decide you want to get to know New Orleans. Might even have a couch for ya to lay your head.
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Old 06-16-2014, 11:45 AM   #2
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Old 06-29-2014, 05:50 PM   #3
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Add sequoia national park as a stop between death valley and Yosemite.
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Old 07-14-2014, 02:01 PM   #4
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time white sands with a full moon. they used to allow night visits. super bright..eerily bright at night with a full moon. you could practically read a book. i'd google it to see if they still do it.

carlsbad..you gotta get into a cave. even the main walking tour is kickass.

you are NOT going to want to take the coast highway from SF to SD. it is awesome for about 10 miles..and then you will want to scream, cut across the dry agriculture land, hit a flat, straight highway and gun it to your destination. believe me..it gets old fast. very old.

and if you want to camp in california..you might need reservations. they fill up FAST!

ADD Hueco Tanks. one of the premier rock formation areas..near carlsbad, on the way back to el paso. super cool. not sure if they allow camping anymore. probably. rock climbers decend on that area.
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Old 07-14-2014, 02:14 PM   #5
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I am from New Orleans as well and would LOVE to go on a trip like this. I may need to plan out one of these in the future.
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Old 07-14-2014, 02:17 PM   #6
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Old 08-06-2014, 08:34 AM   #7
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well, folks, i just got back. Yosemite was probably the most beautiful place i've ever seen, and grand canyon was amazing. I recommend going to the watch tower if you ever visit the canyon. i added the sequoias to the trip, hiked carlsbad, stayed overnight at white sands and camped in death valley. Didn't get to zipline, hit PCH, or go to ocotillo wells, but i did take the kids on a hot air balloon ride with Skydrifters.com just east of san francisco. We spent just under 3 weeks on the road.

total was a little over 6k miles, cost was about $1,300 in gas. you may get better/worse mileage with your setup; i have 33's and a 2.5" lift on my truck with no other mods. areas with ascending roads killed fuel mileage and some areas were so steep i'd have my manual transmission down 2 gears lower than i would here in flat louisiana for miles at a time.

back country camping at carlsbad in the Rattle Snake trail head was rough. i don't recommend it if you aren't semi experienced in hiking, but if you do, pack light. the trek to the campsite is scary if you have kids with you because if they slip up they will get hurt bad enough to need medical attention.

If you want to camp in Death Valley, i strongly DON'T recommend doing it at Furnace Creek. the high was around 125 degrees, and the low was 90. Instead drive off to Wildrose which is about 3,000' above sea level and a bit cooler; at night the weather there is PERFECT, probably in the low 70's/upper 60's. it's also very dark at night so the sky is totally clear. as the sun sets you might see bats flying above your tents feeding on bugs; very cool. the sunset and sunrise at wildrose is also beautiful, and they have faucets and toilets on the campsite; plus, wildrose is free to camp while furnace creek is around $18. Leaving wildrose towards the west, there was a closed road that has very damaged from floods. since i was in my truck, i took it anyway, as it would save me about an hour in commute time. it was pretty scenic at times, and i was amazed at the way so much of the pavement had been washed away.

I found a New Orleans Saints bar in San Francisco called the Black Magic Voodoo Lounge where they show Saints games during football season. It's located on Lombard about half a mile from the crooked street. really cool chill spot. Alcatraz was really awesome, but order your tickets a month in advance for the day tour, 8 weeks in advance for night tour.

LA was pretty cool, but only stayed one night so we did Hollywood Blvd.

The area between Fort Stockton, Tx and Ozona, Tx has no gas stations so be sure to have enough fuel between those spots. it's about a 107 miles between those towns. I pushed my luck by not filling up, but was fortunate and had JUST enough fuel to get me to a gas station.

Met some great people along the way too. hopefully in another couple of years i can do another trip.
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