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Driving out West to Utah

Discussion in 'Florida' started by rblalliance, Sep 9, 2018.

  1. Sep 9, 2018 at 5:18 PM
    #1
    rblalliance

    rblalliance [OP] let the wookie win

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    I'm planning a camping trip out to Arches National Park in Utah next summer with my two sons. We're planning on driving from South Florida to Utah and was wondering if anyone here has done that before. Looking for suggestions on travel route and places to stay on the way or any other suggestions. Thanks!
     
  2. Sep 9, 2018 at 5:22 PM
    #2
    Speedytech7

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  3. Sep 9, 2018 at 7:23 PM
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    Unner

    Unner Well-Known Member

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    I've driven out west several times in the last 2 years or so from Alabama. Not as far as south Florida, but similar. I usually try and get out there as fast as I can as the Midwest is boring and not the most scenic typically.

    Interstate 40 across Oklahoma and new Mexico is one option. Not the most scenic until you get to new mexico.

    Interstate 70 across Colorado is beautiful. I'd recommend going this route at least once, either going there or coming back.

    Interstate 80 is an option too. Wyoming is beautiful. Very windy though and possibly out of the way depending on what all you have planned.

    Are you camping or staying in hotels along the way?

    It's hot in Utah in the summer. I'd plan for early summer or spring, or fall if you can't make it then.

    How long are you going for and what kind of stuff are you looking to do? We can give you suggestions for days on what to do there, but some baseline information will get you better suggestions.
     
  4. Sep 9, 2018 at 8:13 PM
    #4
    rblalliance

    rblalliance [OP] let the wookie win

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    Thanks for the information on the drive out. Will probably go the Interstate 40 route. How long does it take to get out there? I was thinking about three days.

    We'll be staying at hotels along the way. I'm taking two weeks off for work and trying to keep time out the road to a minimal, keeping in mind I'll have a 9 and 11 year old with me.

    Was looking at going in July, but based on what you said will look at June instead.

    Right now we're planning on camping at Arches for either 4 or 5 nights, not sure yet. We'd like to ride some trails on the bikes and do some exploring with the truck too. We also want to visit some of the other parks in the area.
     
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  5. Sep 9, 2018 at 9:34 PM
    #5
    Unner

    Unner Well-Known Member

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    You could probably make it in 3 days. It's about 2 days of 12 hour driving from me. Or one day of nonstop driving through the day and night. That's what I did last time...

    Another thing to consider would be breaking the drive in Colorado and spending a couple days in the mountains. Lots of great trails and spectacular camping up there.

    June is probably better. July is gonna be real hot out there. Like well over 100 every day.

    Tower Arch trail is a fun moderate to easy trail in Arches National park. You can also skip the lines at the gate and come in through a 4x4 only entrance on the side of the park also. Willow springs road is the road that leads to this entrance I believe.

    While you're there check out canyonlands. Better yet, do the white rim trail. Book your campsites early and plan on at least 2 full days, 3 or 4 would be better. It's not a difficult trail really, but it's long, 100+ miles. Check with a ranger on road conditions before you go. There's a river that can flood over the road during the rainy season. At the very least drive the Schafer switchbacks, at the beginning of the trail.

    Also do onion Creek trail while you're there. The kids will love it. Another pretty easy trail with 20 something water crossings. None of them are more than a foot of water so no need to worry about that. There's an awesome campsite back there too I can refer you to if you want. Seriously one of the most fun trails in the country.

    Gemini arches and long canyon trails are fun and easy. Tusher tunnel isn't much more than a dirt road, but there's a cool tunnel at the end.

    I'd grab a copy of Charles wells guide to Moab book. It has all sorts of trails, from all difficulties marked with campsites and everything.

    I can't comment on the bike trails, I'm not into that, but I know it's big out there.

    Here's my trip report from when I went to Moab. I'm hoping I can get back out there in the March timeframe next year.

    https://www.tacomaworld.com/threads/5-000-miles-in-10-days-cross-country-trip-to-utah.484423/
     
  6. Sep 9, 2018 at 9:56 PM
    #6
    ETsemaj

    ETsemaj @Koditten Pirate Radio member #001

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    so I just drove from Seattle to Cape Canaveral this Apr, and went thru the Arch park. After I left there I went towards tomecula NM then towards Oklahoma City. Main thing I have to say is if you run Google Maps heading up that way, be careful with the roads. mind you I was driving a car at the time but I hit a pot "ditch" at about 65mph. Yes it was my fault for not 100% focus on the road but bent both my driver side rims and bulged my tires. But after that issue, I started paying attention a lot out there and noticed more and more. This was more in the corner of NW corner of NM.
     
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  7. Sep 9, 2018 at 10:32 PM
    #7
    Karasu

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    I'm in northern Arizona. You've got a LOT of options. Play with your map/route options.

    If you take I-40 out you might find the best route to be to Flagstaff and then Highway 89 north to Utah. (Or reverse if going back on I-40) Note that depending on timing you can take the Hwy 64 turnoff to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon from 89N. That turnoff is near Cameron which has a quirky motel, a restaurant, and a big gift shop. Not a quick junket to the Canyon, it would be a good day trip if you wanted to spend it that way. If you skip that and keep going on 89N you also pass the turnoff to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon (Hwy 67) which is MUCH nicer and MUCH less crowded than the South Rim (even mid summer). (This will be much clearer if you're looking at a map.) If you're going to pick one of the two, I'd advise the North Rim every time.

    Not suggesting you change your plans, just noting that you'd be in "the neighborhood" of the Grand Canyon if you're on 89N. Note that I strongly concur with Unner's feedback regarding temperatures. Google is your friend here, you can get month by month temp and precip averages for almost anywhere. June through August are pretty hot in Flagstaff unless you're getting the "monsoon" rains which "usually" start mid Julyish and go through August and sometimes into September. They are wonderful but can be a bit … intense ;-)

    Not sure what your options are esp. with kids but I'd vote for April or September as optimal.

    PS: Do NOT go to Phoenix in the summer for fun! (temp there yesterday = 109!)
     
  8. Sep 10, 2018 at 10:06 AM
    #8
    rblalliance

    rblalliance [OP] let the wookie win

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    Thanks for all the information. Unfortunately, due to school June or July would be the best time for us. Otherwise, the kids would have to miss a week of school and the wife is already having heart palpitations over the trip since she's not going, LOL.

    As far as the trails trying to keep them easy since it will just be me and the boys. I did some research on the trails a few weeks ago and there are a lot of them out there. Definitely, looking into going to Canyonlands but probably will just make it a day trip to the park. This is my first time out there so using this as a learning experience.

    I'll look into the Charles Wells Guide too. I'll also take a look at your thread. Going to look into the Devils Den Campground reservations so I can start to putting together the travel itinerary.
     
  9. Sep 10, 2018 at 10:07 AM
    #9
    rblalliance

    rblalliance [OP] let the wookie win

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    Thanks, will keep this in mind.
     
  10. Sep 10, 2018 at 10:11 AM
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    rblalliance

    rblalliance [OP] let the wookie win

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    Thanks! Like I mentioned to @Unner to go another time of year would require me pulling the boys from school for a week.

    The Grand Canyon is on our bucket list too, but in a few more years when the boys are little older. We want to hike down to Phantom Ranch and spend a few nights down there. The wife and I did that a few years ago before we had kids. We went in July and it was like 103 when we got the Indian Gardens from the South Rim.
     
  11. Sep 10, 2018 at 10:25 AM
    #11
    Karasu

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    Sounds like a good plan!
     
  12. Sep 10, 2018 at 11:46 AM
    #12
    Unner

    Unner Well-Known Member

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    Gotcha. Didn't realize your wife wasn't going. The La Sal's are the large mountain range near Moab. They're snow capped in the spring still, not sure about the summer. Anyway, a ranger told us if you can see the La Sal's you should have cell phone signal. We found this to be very true while we were there. Might be helpful to give her updates while you guys are out and about.

    You've got lots of time to throw a plan together too which is nice.
     
  13. Sep 10, 2018 at 6:53 PM
    #13
    rblalliance

    rblalliance [OP] let the wookie win

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    Thanks! She's definitely going to want as many updates as I can give her. I go camping with the boys all the time so she's used to that, but we've never gone that far from home.

    How far are you from Mobile? Looking at using that as my first stopping point on my way out. My wife has a friend whose parents live there and I will probably stay at their place. I also checked the site and can't reserve a campsite until December :(.

    Yeah, trying to do as much homework as I can now so we can really enjoy the trip. The boys are really looking forward to it especially after I showed them your thread and they saw your pictures. BTW, those are some awesome pictures.
     
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  14. Sep 10, 2018 at 7:22 PM
    #14
    Unner

    Unner Well-Known Member

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    I'm sure you guys will have a good time. Thanks for the compliments on the pictures!

    There's a lot to do and see there. If you're coming in from the southern side of Utah another good spot to stop is Alstrom Point. The views are like no other.

    I'm about 5 hours north of Mobile, almost at the Tennessee border.
     
  15. Sep 12, 2018 at 2:59 AM
    #15
    JPinFL

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    The route you take depends on what you want to see on the way there. You can also take a different trip on the way back to see different things, which I recommend.

    Last summer, we went from Jacksonville to Boise, with stops in CO and Salt Lake to see family and friends. That route was through the south, up to Dallas and Amarillo, then straight up to CO. On the way back, we drove from Salt Lake to Moab, then 4 Corners. After that we basically took the 40 and the 10 to get home.

    This past summer, we drove to CA (where we are originally from). That was just a straight shot on I-10, through the south, Texas, Arizona, and CA. Not needing to see anything (we've done it a few times already), we just had to get to CA. It took about 2 1/2 days. On our way back, we went up to CO (from CA, through Nevada & Utah). From CO to FL, we did the 70 through CO and Kansas, then shot down through various highways and roads (OK, Arkansas, Alabama) until we got to the 10. That was a cool trip since we have never been that way.

    As for weather, July is hot out in the west. When we drove through Nevada and Utah, we were in the 100s all day, topping out at 119*.
     
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  16. Sep 12, 2018 at 3:05 AM
    #16
    okichewy1

    okichewy1 Just chuggin' along!

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    I travel from Southern Idaho to Pinellas Park, Florida sometimes. Don't think I have ever went the same way though. We try and hit different ways every time to see different things. If coming across the south to Utah, hit Route 66 when you can, Cadillac Ranch in Tx, 4 corners (NM, CO, AZ,UT states meets). MOAB, UT is a nice place to see also.
     
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  17. Sep 12, 2018 at 9:40 AM
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    rblalliance

    rblalliance [OP] let the wookie win

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    Thanks for the information on the routes. I have been looking at ways to get there and come back. Based on some of the post I might need an extra day to get out there and come back. Right now just trying to plan the best places to stop on the way there and back. Since I only have two weeks for the trip it's going to be hard to fit everything in, but that gives me an excuse to do it again.

    The weather is something I have been thinking about. I'm planning on going out there in the early part of June and hopefully it won't be to hot yet.
     
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  18. Sep 12, 2018 at 9:42 AM
    #18
    rblalliance

    rblalliance [OP] let the wookie win

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    Thanks! Like I mentioned to @okichewy1 trying to figure out the best places to stop on the way there and on the way back.
     
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  19. Sep 12, 2018 at 2:42 PM
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    JPinFL

    JPinFL Well-Known Member

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    How long did you plan on being in Moab? If you figure a week, the other week can be total driving time. You can get there in 3 days with some short stops on the way. And 3 to get back. No problem.

    If you're going to do some mountain biking, be prepared. The heat, dry weather, and the elevation can really have a toll on you. Stay hydrated, know your limits, and listen to your body.
     
  20. Sep 12, 2018 at 5:32 PM
    #20
    rblalliance

    rblalliance [OP] let the wookie win

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    Right now I'm looking at either 4 or 5 nights of camping. Yeah, I'm hoping that we can see some sights using 3 days to get there and back but might consider 4 days. My plan right is to use Mobile, AL as the first stop on the way out and then plan from there what we do. I'm also planning to stay somewhere close to the park the night before we check in to the campsite. That way I can get food and water there, rather than having to take it with me when we leave.

    Mountain biking is in the plans and looking to do some of that either early morning or late afternoon\early evening when hopefully it's not so hot. Will probably get the boys some CamelBaks so it's easier for them to drink and stay hydrated. I have one that's also a backpack and will bring that to with some water bottles.
     
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