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Thread: Planning Roadtrip for June in Middle/Western USA

  1. #71
    Tin Can's Avatar
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    Re: Planning Roadtrip for June in Middle/Western USA

    I did ALL my heavy duty driving when younger than you

    I would quit a job to take a 6 week vacation, which I find long enough to want to go home

    Quote Originally Posted by Corran View Post
    That sounds nice, but it's not going to happen anytime soon, either fiscally or time-wise. I know there's a lot of retirees here and all but I have a full-time position at a university, along with a lot of side work and gallery stuff going on. Not to mention my wife with her own job!

    Funny thing you mention "low 80's" in DV at night. That sounds like heaven! I camped on the coast of GA over New Year's and the first couple of nights were about that but at 100% humidity. Miserable!
    Tin Can

  2. #72

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    Re: Planning Roadtrip for June in Middle/Western USA

    Since you have a position at a University, some institutions offer cheap accommodations at student housing over the off season for visitors.
    It might be worth contacting some of the colleges along your road trip and see what's available.
    A real bed and shower every so often can be a nice break during a long road trip.
    University of Colorado at Colorado Springs comes to mind---that town gets really crowded during the summer!
    "I would feel more optimistic about a bright future for men if he spent less time proving that he can outwit Nature and more time tasting her sweetness and respecting her seniority"---EB White

  3. #73
    Tin Can's Avatar
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    Re: Planning Roadtrip for June in Middle/Western USA

    Good one

    I have done that
    Tin Can

  4. #74

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    Re: Planning Roadtrip for June in Middle/Western USA

    I've done a long road trip similar to yours a few years ago. Basically a large loop of the Western US....WA, ID, MO, WY, UT, CO, AZ, CA, OR, NV.
    My suggestion would be to plan on going to 3 or 4 places and let the wind take you where it may. Over-planning is the enemy.

    Talk to folk along the way...ask them where they came from, where they were. It's good to have a destination but allow yourself the freedom to stop along the way.
    There are so many unexpected places and surprises...as well as disappointments. Don't be distracted by the well known places...although many are great destinations for a reason.
    Places like Death Valley and Zion have hidden gems....talk to people and be flexible.

    Some of my highlights would have featured on very few lists...if at all... Farson, Wyoming...Dinosaur Park, UT...Crested Butte, CO...The Buttermilks (Bishop), CA...Big Sur, CA...Shiprock, AZ ...some biker bar outside Pahrump, NV...etc...

    I will add that June travel in mountain areas may still see snow....if not, bugs.

    Looking at your list, I would definitely hit Death Valley. On your way to Mono Lake, enjoy the Eastern Sierras a bit more...Bishop, Lone Pine (Alabama Hills)... (maybe even hike parts of the John Muir/Pacific Crest). Then hit Yosemite but keep an eye on Tuolomne, Sequoia NP, and even the area between Fish Camp and Fresno. On your way to SF, consider the coast from Big Sur to Carmel/Monterey. After SF, just follow the Pacific Coast highway ...gems like Stinson Beach, Mendocino, Patrick Point...basically all the way to Seattle. From Seattle, there are so many opportunities for Cascade volcanoes (Rainier, Adams, Baker, etc...)...but the weather is a huge factor. Montana is a huge state and Yellowstone is a great place, but there are some amazing hidden gems away from the tropes and tourist spots...for instance, Texas Geyser is only a 1 mile hike, but it is deserted compared to Old Faithful. The Tetons are stunning, and Jenny Lakes is a great place to stay...but again, weather has to be factored in. Utah is worth an entire month of it's own. I will say that Zion, Bryce, GC won;t disappoint, but spend some time in the red rocks of Sedona or the slot canyons of Paige AZ.
    Oh man...now you have me planning another trip!!! Enjoy...and seriously...over planning will only add stress. You will have an awesome adventure regardless.
    Enjoy!

  5. #75
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Planning Roadtrip for June in Middle/Western USA

    Some of those places Mudrunner just listed are Awfully HOT in June. Others are now scenes blackened by extreme forest fires, so will look a lot different than they did on postcards, for better or worse, depending on your photographic taste. Fires zones can be quite interesting to a view camera, but if recent, involve a lot of cleanup mess too, so some of the roads in such areas are potnetially subject to closures, both here along the coast and in the mountains. Always check in advance. This year snow conditions over mountain passers differ dramatically between the Southwest, which is in drought, and the Northwest, which has seen a heavy snow winter. The
    Sierras are now at about 75% of "normal" snow condition; so the major road passes like Tioga Pass should be open by Memorial Day on schedule unless there is a last minute heavy storm, which often there is!

    I'm just updating this a bit based on current conditions. There have been several road closures since I last posted, as well as certain re-opening.

  6. #76

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    Re: Planning Roadtrip for June in Middle/Western USA

    Good point about the heat/season @DrewWiley. My time through the Sierras is typically mid/late September, and often up in the mountains where it's cooler.
    You also bring up the issue of fires...and more so...smoke. Many areas of the western US and Canada have been affected by forest fires over the summer months. And many times I've had to make plans with an eye towards where the smoke was blowing....and that can be a long distance from where it originates. While dissipated smoke can make for some moody and interesting photography, it is not like fog....it can harm you.
    I'm in the Pacific Northwest, so fire season doesn't typically rear it's head until July/August...not sure about the South West.

  7. #77
    Tin Can's Avatar
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    Re: Planning Roadtrip for June in Middle/Western USA

    I once baked in Death Valley and snow in the west pass

    on motorbike

    Really glad I had a windshields as the sand/wind was the worst
    Tin Can

  8. #78
    Vaughn's Avatar
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    Re: Planning Roadtrip for June in Middle/Western USA

    I'd rather show you a few nice spots rather than try to pin them on a map. Let me know when you are in the neighborhood of the redwoods!

    Vaughn
    "Landscapes exist in the material world yet soar in the realms of the spirit..." Tsung Ping, 5th Century China

  9. #79

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    Re: Planning Roadtrip for June in Middle/Western USA

    I've always had a lot of luck stopping at the local police stations and asking for advice.... good local restaurants, where to park, and when I was traveling in my Rialta (small self-contained RV) was there a place where I could boondock overnight. More than once they told me that I could stay in the local school's parking lot as long as I left at dawn. In cities I approached police walking on their beat. A friend who is a policeman told me that it was just better if I never approached a policeman who was parked in a car.

  10. #80
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Planning Roadtrip for June in Middle/Western USA

    Mudrunner - fire season is now all year round, and intercontinental. The smoke from my home town fire two years ago spread all the way to western Europe and blacked out the sun in New York city.
    Its thermal cloud reached 70,000 feet high and at one point contained four fire tornadoes inside. The force of devastation in those deep canyons was literally equivalent to the energy of about 20 hydrogen bombs. But the very next May I drove into part of there to camp at a favorite spot. There was an incredible display of wildflowers coming out of the ash, an exceptional diversity of birds taking advantage of the new situation (including easy bug picking in burnt tree bark), multiple species of frogs in the stream, young tree squirrels running around.

    Later this week I might do a day drive to one of the areas of massive burn behind Mt Hamilton where the old observatory is. Few people go there, despite its proximity to major cities. But flower species which haven't even been seen for over a hundred years are out in the tens of thousands there now. Various otherwise rare flower species require fire to sprout. More common fireweed is typical after burns, but certainly vivid too. In June it will be too late for lower elevation blooms, especially in drought areas. But the somewhat higher altitude meadows of Lassen Natl Park might be a good candidate this summer. Plus a lot of it was pre-burnt a century ago by a volcanic eruption, and the juxtaposition of the two kinds of devastation might be not only interesting, but have a great deal to tempt photographers more than usual. But sometimes Lassen opens late due to snow.

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