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 > 4-Week August Family Trip

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ohhell10339

Missoula

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Posted: 01/11/18 11:56am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

mekkerl wrote:

US550 is definitely a road for us!
Thank you for those links Ken;

That train ride looks spectacular!
Okay, I will add the train to the list of possibilities.
If we forgo the train ride, is there other things to do in Durango to warrant a second day?
If not, we could add a full day to Ouray, or to the drive from Salida to KY.


You can walk around downtown Durango and check out all the shops, galleries, bookstores, old buildings, etc. The Strater Hotel is a beautiful Victorian-era building. Also, you can take a half-day rafting trip on the Animas River. And though it would involve more driving, the trip through Pagosa Springs and up to Wolf Creek Pass is gorgeous.

On long trips, I like to have a "layover day" when I just poke around an interesting location and maybe have a good meal. Durango's a good place for that.

Ouray will consume most of the day if you add another activity to the hot spring soak. I would DEFINITELY pop into Box Canyon Falls Park--that won't take long. If you're feeling adventurous, you could take a jeep tour into the backcountry and see some old mines. That's a lot of fun and gets you into some beautiful places.

But all the above aside--take the choo choo!* I recommend both ways as the bus ride back isn't any faster and the return train journey gives you perspectives you didn't have on the way up.

*It's not a train, it's a choo choo.

mekkerl

Rochester, NY

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Posted: 01/26/18 02:00pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

So I just did a little research on Salida, CO -- originally was hoping to take up some of the recommended activities there.
Well...the Ariel Adventure Course has a minimum age of 8...so we can't do that.
And the tubing down the river doesn't seem likely as I found that in August, there is no tubing due to the high levels of water.
So should I just not do Salida and find somewhere else?!


Luke & Carolyn
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2gypsies

Enjoying the West!

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Posted: 01/26/18 11:27pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

mekkerl wrote:

So I just did a little research on Salida, CO -- originally was hoping to take up some of the recommended activities there.
Well...the Ariel Adventure Course has a minimum age of 8...so we can't do that.
And the tubing down the river doesn't seem likely as I found that in August, there is no tubing due to the high levels of water.
So should I just not do Salida and find somewhere else?!


Hmmm.... Look at #15 on this site. It states just the opposite for the river in August. The western rivers are highest in spring with the runoff. They tame right down the end of summer.

https://whitewater.net/white-water-rafti........tly-asked-questions-rafting-colorado/#15


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Matt_Colie

Southeast Michigan

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Posted: 01/27/18 10:05am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Mekkerl,
It is good to see that you rearranging your plan, you have 5 pages of advice here and most of it, I agree with. But, there is one place that I did not see any recommendation.

Rochester (DW is from Albany) is 50+ road hours from GCNP campground. You had that in four days. If your kids aren't killing each other now, after four 10+hour days packed into cab seats, they will be.

You have to figure that a 10~12 hour road day is going to be a very long day (14~16 hours with food, water and fuel stops). If you just shorten the days, it will take a long time to get there. If you break up the long runs with good stops.

I am going to hope that you have done all the day trips from Rochester that we would have done, so I am going to suggest that you get out some travel guides and look up things like:
The Lincoln Museum and Library in Springfield IL
The Museum of Western Expansion in St, Louis (Camp at the casino and take the train over the river)
The Steamboat Arabia Museum in Kansas City, (Parking is a problem)
The Nebraska Archway Museum over I-80. It is OVER the Highway.
The National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City

Notice none are in line. This is just a sample and I don't know if you have planned a route. If you can set it up so you get to striking range of the attraction to ONP and then hit it in the morning, wear that kids down and then travel, it works very well. We have used this plan for both our own and now GCs as they come along.

If your 5er can function self-contained, then where you ONP is not a big issue if you have to find FHU parks, it will be tougher but still manageable.

I wish you hours of boring driving and moments of amazement and wonder to cast memories that will last. Take pictures and buy trinkets.

Matt


Matt & Mary Colie
A sailor, his bride and their black dogs going to see some dry places that have Geocaches in a coach made the year we married.


mekkerl

Rochester, NY

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Posted: 01/29/18 12:45pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Thank you Matt!
Yes, I totally understand what you are saying.
We are accustomed to long drives, but we are still adjusting the schedule to add a day/night to the drive out. And for the way back, if we want to add a day/night, we can do that on the fly and push our finish line back a day.
So, I'll definitely be taking your recommendations for activities on our way out to GCNP.

I am still struggling with the Colorado portion of the trip.
I am hoping that those stops don't need to be reserved this far in advance and the scheduling of that portion of the trip can wait some.
Going from Moab, to Durango, to Ouray, to Salida, then back east to KY...I'm hopeful thats not pushing it too much. Right now, Salida seems to be in question.

Thom02099

Loveland,CO

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Posted: 01/29/18 06:27pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

mekkerl wrote:

Thank you Matt!

I am still struggling with the Colorado portion of the trip.
I am hoping that those stops don't need to be reserved this far in advance and the scheduling of that portion of the trip can wait some.


With very few exceptions...it can't wait some. That part of Colorado is extremely popular, with the weekend warriors as well as the out-of-state visitors. For national parks and USFS CG, you really need to heed the 180 day window, otherwise you'll miss out on some really great spots. February 3 is the window opening for August 3 reservations. Anything prior to that is likely booked; the weekends for sure, maybe openings during the week. I tried to get reservations in one of my favourite places up here in northern Colorado, was on line shortly after the window opened at 10am and the sites were completely booked in 2 of the 3 campgrounds that I was looking for.


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HHfundays

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Posted: 02/12/18 06:06pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

We did this trip with a young teen and it was a blast! Mesa Verde was awesome. I suggest you book the tour into the cliff dwellings. We didn't get to Zion or Bryce, but added in Petrified Forest/Painted Desert. We went home south and hit Carlsbad Caverns and saw all the bats at night -WOW! We never find traveling boring and do lots to pass the time. We stop at places we find interesting and push for long days. I would suggest you call each national park and get them to mail you their Junior Ranger program book. We did these on the way out to pass the time and get excited for all we were going to see. My daughter treasures her Junior Ranger badges and Passport Stamp Book. She even did a project about them when she was in high school and the rest of the kids and teachers were amazed at how many places she has been. Enjoy the memories you make as a family!





mekkerl

Rochester, NY

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Posted: 02/13/18 08:30am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

This is where we stand right now...potentially hitting 10-National Parks:

Day 1-5 – Drive to Grand Canyon
Day 6-7 – Grand Canyon NP (2 full days)
Day 8 – Drive to Lake Powell
Day 9 – Lake Powell (1 full day)
Day 10 – Drive to Zion NP
Day 11-12 – Zion NP (2 full days)
Day 13 – Drive to Bryce Canyon NP
Day 14-15 – Bryce Canyon NP (2 full days)
Day 16 – Drive to Moab
Day 17-18 – Arches NP / Canyonlands NP (2 full days)
Day 19 – Drive to Mesa Verde NP
Day 20 – Mesa Verde NP (1 full day)
Day 21 – Drive to Ouray, CO
Day 22-23 – Ouray/Telluride (2 full days)
Day 24 – Drive to Salida/Buena Vista, CO
Day 25-26 Salida/Buena Vista, CO (2 full days)
Day 27-28 – Drive to Mammoth Cave KY
Day 29 – Mammoth Cave NP (1 full Day)
Day 30 – Drive to Cleveland, OH
Day 31 – Drive to Rochester, NY

We have all campgrounds booked, except for Salida and Mammoth Cave...as those two stops are in question. And I can't seem to find a solid choice for camping in Salida.

I have tickets for the Firey Furnace hike in Arches.
We will stop at the Mesa Verde Visitor Center right when we arrive to get tickets for the Guided Cliff Dwellings hike...as you can't get those online ahead of time.
We plan to hike a lot in the parks. And in Ouray/Salida we will relax a little and use the Hot Springs, check out Box Canyon, rent UTV for off-roading, white-water raft, tubing. While also getting to Black Canyon of the Gunnison and Great Sand Dunes NP while in those areas. If driving goes well, maybe a quick stop at Capitol Reef NP.

I have reached out to most locations for visitor guides and starting to get those in the mail.

I'll DEFINITELY be printing ahead of time (or see if the Parks will mail) the Junior Ranger materials.

Still some final tweaks to do, but this forum has been the most help!!

NOW I JUST NEED TO STOP MYSELF FROM SECOND GUESSING OUR ROUTE!!
(but I'll be doing that from now and for long after we return from the trip)

2gypsies

Enjoying the West!

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Posted: 02/13/18 10:43am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Given your time constraints for the whole trip, you have it planned well. You can always return to your favorite areas for more in-depth exploring. Have a good one!

Lauren

Sahuarita, AZ (or on the road!)

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Posted: 02/13/18 07:26pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

(On edit)

My bad ..... I did not see your revised. I like it MUCH better. We spend a lot of time in CO in the summer and focus on Buena Vista and Ouray and Carbondale.

We lived in Estes 8 years. Moved out in 2003 and would not go back there for anything anymore.


Barbara-DW 55 years
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