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Discussion Starter #1
We're beginning to plan a road trip in the 'E', from our home in Tampa, to northern AZ (Grand Canyon being the major destination).

While we've been all over the west, we've never taken this route.

We'll take pack-camp gear, as well as base-camp gear, and plan to mix things up as conditions warrant.

This will happen mid-to-late April.

Any suggestions for stopping points along the way? MapQuest gives us three pretty solid days of driving each way.

Thanks for any tips.
 

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There's tons to see in Arizona in addition to the Canyon.. The Petrified Forest, Sedona and the Verde Valley (including Jerome), and Prescott is a nice little town.
 

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Don't miss Canyon de Chelly

If you haven't already been there, you shouldn't miss Canyon de Chelly. It's not as majestic as the Grand Canyon since it's only 600-900 feet deep, but it is much prettier. There are sheep and cow herds and a cliff dwelling in the canyon, but you have to take a guided tour to the valley floor. You can drive your own vehicle around the rim. It's pronounced de Shay by the way and it's on reservation land. You can hit the Petrified Forest /Painted desert in Holbrook then head north to the Hubbell Trading Post and on to Canyon de Chelly. It's in the middle of nowhere, but if you head NW from there you'll hit Monument Valley then west to the Grand Canyon. Enjoy.
 

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Have some preparation for snow in the Flagstaff/GC area. Mid- to late-April is late for the serious cold, but you can get surprised that time of year there. Can't recommend Sedona - very, very crowded in spring, even mid-week.

Oh... plan around buying gas in Flagstaff or Kingman, avoid points in between such as Williams or Seligman - usually 40-50% higher. Don't know why, it just "is". Also sticker shock in Needles should you venture that far west.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the great suggestions. I was at least slightly aware of all, although I had forgotten about a few.

Any ideas for interesting stops on the long drive there? We've done 'Nawlins, Mobile, Houston, San Antonio, and most of the usual stops along I-10, and the I-40 highlights being places like Nashville, Memphis and the like don't exactly excite us.

We're not against ditching the interstates for more local roads, but also don't want to spend all our time getting there and back either.

Again, thanks to those who have replied, and thanks for the heads-up regarding fuel prices. Being a native Floridian, we're familiar with fuel stations capitalizing on 'remote' locations.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
We've pushed this to late May-early June, to take advantage of warmer weather. We've also altered our plans to basically center on the 4 corners area, with stops in Durango, Moab, Farmington, and somewhere in AZ, but mostly to hit the high spots in that area.

Now I'm really needing to build a sleep platform. I know I've pored over several setups, but has anyone ever done any templates for the rear, with seats removed?

I'm thinking tailgate-height, out of either 3/4" plywood or starboard, two basic pieces, covered with carpet, then with memory foam and our old-school Coleman flannel sleeping bags, with legs from IKEA (they have quite a selection).

This should leave room underneath to stow gear, as we'll also take backcountry camp gear.
 

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Sounds like a good trip.

A few suggestions, based on route. If you take mostly I-10 west toward Tuscon, then a couple of points of interest would be:

-San Antonio-The Alamo. Also visit the nearby Menger Hotel bar and see where Teddy Roosevelt recruited the Rough Riders.

Davis Mountains in west Texas- Davis Mtn State Park and a star party at the McDonald Observatory in west Texas.

Van Horn, Texas (right on I-10) and eat at Chuys. This is not the same Chuys in Austin, but the Van Horn one is home the the John Madden (yes, that John Madden) Haul of Fame.

Carlsbad Caverns and Guadalupe Mountains National Parks are just over an hour north of Van Horn.

White Sands is a couple hours northeast of El Paso

Saguaro NP is near Tuscon.

Now if you are going to cut up to I-40 (the old Routee 66) you will want to see:

Amarillo, Texas- Big Texan Steak Ranch classic tourist spot. Also the Caddys west of town. The ext is between Arnot and Brushland?

I'd say skip Canyon de Chelly, very underwhelmed and very run down place (reminds me of a border town). If you want ruins and like to camp goto Chaco Canyon National Monument, north of Grants, New Mexico. Much neater and cleaner than Canyon de Chelly.

If you goto Grand Canyon south rim and want to avoid some of the crowds, check out Shoshone Point. Unmarked parking area east of Yaki. About a 1 mile walk to an isolated point.

If you goto the north rim, be sure to stop in Page and visit Antelope Canyon and then do a sunset hike to Horseshoe Bend.

If you get to Moab, be sure to goto Deadhorse Point SP and Canyonlands NP. Personally sunrise at Mesa Arch is the best view in the Moab area. Its about an hour from Moab so leave early. Also check out Milts hamburger stand in Moab. 4 blocks or so east of the main drag. Classic.

Have a great time.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks, Jedi.

The wife has already pointed out many of the landmarks you suggested, so yes, we'll see quite a bit.
 

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Be sure to visit the Navajo and Hopi Indian reservations! (great bargains on handmade torquoise and silver jewelry)
But make sure that your cooler and vehicle is completely empty of alcoholic beverages.
Speaking from experience -
The reservations are sovereign nations who's laws trump both federal and state.
If you get caught with contraband (booze) on the Hopi reservation it's a schit-load of trouble!

I was ignorant of the alcohol law and got caught restocking my cooler with ice in front of the local cops at the tiny village of Kykotsmovi.
I was observed pulling beer bottles out of the cooler and it sure caused a rukus!
They could of impounded my truck and auctioned it off, thrown me in jail, and fined me.
Instead I got lucky and was escorted off the reservation (along with my beer) and told not come back anytime soon.
I ain't been back yet but will someday.
It's definately worth another visit - next time I'll be stocking my cooler with Root Beer!
 

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Wow! We were planning on visits to both, so this is good to know.

We usually don't travel with alcohol, as neither of us drink much, but still, good to know now.

Thanks!
 

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Wow! We were planning on visits to both, so this is good to know.

We usually don't travel with alcohol, as neither of us drink much, but still, good to know now.

Thanks!
Your welcome!

There's a great big welcome sign as you enter the Hopi Reservation from Tuba City - incredible beauty, the mesas are breathtaking!
The welcome sign is huge and has a thousand words on it pertaining to the alcohol laws and such.
But we blew by the damn thing at 80 MPH and never stopped to read the fine print. :roll:

****************************************************************

If you're not afraid of heights you might want to check this out too.

Grand Canyon Sky Walk: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BvzlZuWrJNw&feature=related
 

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You all need to prepare yourself for an amazing trip! I did the Grand and most of UT in '07. I was living just up the road from you in Ocala, FL at the time too. :) The place that I would most like to return to other than the canyon is Carlsbad Caverns! I would greatly recemend taking one of the guided tours that takes to deeper in the caves...awsome experince. Also if you get up into UT at all, there is Goblin Valley State Park which is like no place you've ever been before. Just about no matter where you go out in that area there is something interesting that they just don't have back east. :) I say it again...you will have a great trip!
 
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