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Thread: Planning Roadtrip for June in Middle/Western USA

  1. #21
    Tin Can's Avatar
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    Dec 2011
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    Re: Planning Roadtrip for June in Middle/Western USA

    23 years ago I drove Winnemucca to Chicago in one go, 1750 miles and hit middle of nowhere road construction

    I was on a 'Radar Love' Run to meet my lady

    "Radar Love

    Lyrics
    I've been drivin' all night, my hands wet on the wheel
    There's a voice in my head that drives my heel
    It's my baby callin', sayin', "I need you here"
    And it's a half past four and I'm shiftin' gear
    When she is lonely and the longing gets too much
    She sends a cable, coming in from above
    Don't need no phone at all
    We've got a thing that's called radar love
    We've got a wave in the air
    Radar love
    The radio's playin' some forgotten song
    Brenda Lee's "Coming On Strong"
    The road has got me hypnotized
    And I'm speedin' into a nude sunrise
    When I get lonely and I'm sure I've had enough
    She sends her comfort coming in from above
    We don't need no letter at all
    We've got a thing tthat's called a radar love
    We've got a line in the sky
    Radar love
    No more speed, I'm almost there
    Gotta keep cool, now gotta take care
    Last car to pass, here I go
    And the line of cars go down real slow, woah
    And the radio played that forgotten song
    Brenda Lee's "Coming On Strong"
    And the newsman sang his same song
    Oh, one more radar lover gone
    When I get lonely and I'm sure I've had enough
    She sends her comfort coming in from above
    We don't need no letter at all
    We've got a thing that's called radar love
    We've got a line in the sky
    We've got a thing that's called radar love
    We've got a thing that's called
    Radar love
    Source: Musixmatch
    Songwriters: B. Hay / G. Kooymans"
    Tin Can

  2. #22
    Corran's Avatar
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    Re: Planning Roadtrip for June in Middle/Western USA

    I do appreciate the concern, regarding things like car breakdowns, but that's one of the things that got me thinking about doing this. With a 2-year-old car and 40k mileage, I felt like this would be the best time to take a trip of this magnitude. And Toyotas are rock-solid. Especially with the full-size spare as that would be the most likely cause of issue.

    Regarding mileage - the trip really starts at Las Vegas and ends at Denver or thereabouts, depending on when I start heading east. I just calculated that to be about 4000 miles in roughly 3 weeks, which is ~200 miles a day. That's not much, especially if I average a bit more on interstates sometimes when doing bigger jumps to the next place. That will be bookended with large drives west and east at 400-500 miles a day which won't include much if any sight-seeing, which I think is doable, but I'll keep thinking about it. It's true that I need to research the more technical parts of the drive not on interstates to confirm mileage per day ability.

    As for weather - no, I'm not going to stick it out at a location if the weather is poor. Sometimes you get lucky, sometimes you don't. I will have to accept that. Last year when I was in Idaho for 2 weeks I went to Craters of the Moon NP and the weather was bright, cloudless, and blah. Oh well, I only had one day there and that was that. There's always next time. No way I can get a banger photo at every location! If I get a handful of good images that's a great start (my trip to Idaho, I think I got 2-3).
    Bryan | Blog | YouTube | Instagram | Portfolio
    All comments and thoughtful critique welcome

  3. #23
    Alan Klein's Avatar
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    Re: Planning Roadtrip for June in Middle/Western USA

    Quote Originally Posted by Drew Wiley View Post
    djusteer and Alan, are you trying to roast the poor fellow to death? Summer is NOT a time to go hiking in Red Rock Canyon or Joshua Tree. He's traveling via an SUV, not a camel caravan! Some of these places are actually hotter than the Sahara!
    Well, we didn't hike. Just drove in an airconditioned car getting out only to take the pictures. But you're right. That's why I suggested the northern route only.

  4. #24
    Alan Klein's Avatar
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    Re: Planning Roadtrip for June in Middle/Western USA

    Quote Originally Posted by Corran View Post
    I do appreciate the concern, regarding things like car breakdowns, but that's one of the things that got me thinking about doing this. With a 2-year-old car and 40k mileage, I felt like this would be the best time to take a trip of this magnitude. And Toyotas are rock-solid. Especially with the full-size spare as that would be the most likely cause of issue.

    Regarding mileage - the trip really starts at Las Vegas and ends at Denver or thereabouts, depending on when I start heading east. I just calculated that to be about 4000 miles in roughly 3 weeks, which is ~200 miles a day. That's not much, especially if I average a bit more on interstates sometimes when doing bigger jumps to the next place. That will be bookended with large drives west and east at 400-500 miles a day which won't include much if any sight-seeing, which I think is doable, but I'll keep thinking about it. It's true that I need to research the more technical parts of the drive not on interstates to confirm mileage per day ability.

    As for weather - no, I'm not going to stick it out at a location if the weather is poor. Sometimes you get lucky, sometimes you don't. I will have to accept that. Last year when I was in Idaho for 2 weeks I went to Craters of the Moon NP and the weather was bright, cloudless, and blah. Oh well, I only had one day there and that was that. There's always next time. No way I can get a banger photo at every location! If I get a handful of good images that's a great start (my trip to Idaho, I think I got 2-3).
    If the money works, maybe you can fly to Las Vegas rent a car and fly home from let's say Albuquerque. You'll save half the driving. My wife and I did that a couple of times. First, we flew from NJ to Santa FE and drove through all the national parks in Utah and Arizona and then flew home from Pheonix. Another time we flew into San Diego, drove to LA and LAs Vegas and flew home from there.

  5. #25
    Corran's Avatar
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    Re: Planning Roadtrip for June in Middle/Western USA

    Rental cars have been an issue during the pandemic, for whatever reason. Out of curiosity I checked prices for a mid-size SUV from Vegas for about 3 weeks and it was over $1250 to rent. Only a couple hundred cheaper for a compact car. Those would also be worse on gas mileage than my hybrid SUV.

    I'm budgeting $800-1000 on gas (8000 miles at ~38-42mpg and $4-$5/gallon). It sucks about the current gas prices. On the plus side, my work should be paying for about half the gas bill for travel to the conference I'm going to in Vegas. Related, if this all falls apart due to whatever, I would probably fly to Vegas on their dime and rent a car for a week or two and just stay between Vegas and San Francisco. Temperatures be damned .
    Bryan | Blog | YouTube | Instagram | Portfolio
    All comments and thoughtful critique welcome

  6. #26

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    Re: Planning Roadtrip for June in Middle/Western USA

    I don't have anything of value to offer beyond some mild jealousy. I'd love to do something similar one day.

    I once drove from Montreal to Miami one-shot but there was obviously no photography. I could barely see straight by the end!

  7. #27

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    Re: Planning Roadtrip for June in Middle/Western USA

    Quote Originally Posted by Corran View Post
    Tentatively I've confirmed taking the whole month of June off for a large-scale roadtrip I've been envisioning for a couple of years. This will be a solo trip both for enjoyment and with the intention of making a variety of photographs - probably taking 120, 4x5, and 12x20.
    Corran, what a trip! You'll be passing tons of great spots along your route, but I think you're wise to focus on quality time at some of those great spots, rather than rushing through many. For camping purposes, June is obviously a bad month for campgrounds, but the national forests are almost always open, there are usually few camping restrictions (aside from open fires). Historically the national forests have been reliably open, but in recent drought times closures are not uncommon. More often than not, camping is permitted on BLM land. You can check the closure status of particular forests or BLM sites via the forest service (https://www.fs.usda.gov/) or BLM web sites (broken down by state, https://www.blm.gov/about/what-we-manage/arizona for instance). Big Bend NP is very hot in June, and there are few public lands in Texas. Getting reservations at the Chisos Basin campground would be a great way to go, and there is also a hotel in the Chisos, and motels in nearby Marathon or Terlingua.
    Good luck!
    cheers
    Tom

  8. #28
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Planning Roadtrip for June in Middle/Western USA

    Rental cars pricing has gone way up due to overall vehicle shortages. But gas is likely going to go still quite a bit higher due to the current European crisis. The President is supposed to give a speech about that today, I think. A major quantity of the world oil supply came from Russia, and now that's being severed; and much of our own natural gas might need to be shipped to Western Europe. And
    this state of affairs is here to stay quite awhile no doubt. The lowest gas price I saw on my trip here in CA this week, the most expensive state, was $4.09 per gal along major truck routes. But in many urban areas its more like $4.75 gal.

    But still, even if your need to trim back your total mileage some for budgetary reasons, you might as well see what you can while you still can. The effects of accelerated climate change are kicking in fast; and within a decade or two, Glacier National Park might have exactly zero actual glaciers left. That will end the turquoise color of the water in the glacial lakes too. Pine forest continue to die everywhere in the West. And the risk of having a trip ruined by widespread forest fire smoke is less in June than later in Summer.

    Going from Vegas to Yosemite is perfectly feasible just heading north in Nevada itself, then cutting across West toward Mono Lake. Lonely Hwy 50 is quite scenic, with interesting old towns like Austin.
    There are all kinds of paved secondary highway options to get you somewhat higher in elevation than the worst of the heat. Another beautiful pass over the top, besides Tioga, is Sonora Pass. There are plenty of lovely unofficial car camping sites up there. Even if you still want to go over Tioga, it's only about a 20 min drive off of Hwy 395 to the top of Sonora Pass to camp somewhere; then back down the next morning through Bridgeport toward Virginia Lakes and Mono Lake south on 395.

  9. #29
    Corran's Avatar
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    Re: Planning Roadtrip for June in Middle/Western USA

    Gas prices, climate change, etc. are some of the reasons I want to do this now. I've been talking with my wife about this rough outline for years. And at 36 I'm still young enough to do it without a ton of physical constraints.

    I got gas yesterday at $3.19 here, which I realize is low. I looked at an article today about $5/gal prices in CA due to the conflicts in eastern Europe...but ultimately the difference in cost between $3 and $5 is not much long-term, compared to the experience. I'm not one to ever want a massive RV but lately I've been seeing some large panel vans that I hope in the future may become viable as full-electric, car-camping mini-RVs.

    I'll check out BLM and FS sites for ideas on places to stop over w/o full-on camping. As an aside, I am also certainly up for the occasional motel or AirBnB on the route. I haven't tried it, but I've seen some "instant booking" AirBnB rentals that seem easy, safe, and cheap (we almost exclusively use AirBnB for overnight stays these days).
    Bryan | Blog | YouTube | Instagram | Portfolio
    All comments and thoughtful critique welcome

  10. #30
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Planning Roadtrip for June in Middle/Western USA

    There are almost an unlimited number of casual camping sites on BLM and FS land. That's one of the advantages of alternate non-Freeway routes in particular. There's nothing quite like pulling a little off a quiet long Hwy across Nevada and waking up in the middle of the night to witness wild mustang stallions in moonlight combat just yards away. That happened to me once. Once had a coyote sneak up and steal a venison steak right off the hot frying pan of my Coleman stove itself. Lots of memories. It's only in and around highly popular NP's that you might have a problem finding a place to camp. Last year, when my backpack trip fell through due to severe forest fire smoke, I not only found relief from the smoke near the Bristlecone area of the White Mountains, on the opposite side of Owens Valley from the Sierra east front, but abundant and free private camping sites, unlike above the Hwy on the other side.

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