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Old 02-18-2013, 05:05 PM   #1
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Planning a southwest tour of wheeling/camping for the summer.

My wife and I are commissioning and graduating from the University of Arizona on May 11th and have orders to Laughlin AFB (Del Rio, TX) so we are planning a long road trip to see and enjoy some of the places in the 4 corners states before we leave. There are two versions of the trip so far depending on when we enter active duty (we don't have our dates yet). The long version includes Sedona, the Grand Canyon, Moab, Great Dunes National Park, Denver, Albuquerque, White Sands, Roswell, Carlsbad, Big Bend National Park, and finally beautiful Del Rio. The shorter version is basically just Tucson to Del Rio with stops in NM and Big Bend. We have never been to any of the stops on our trip so any suggestions or must see places are appreciated. We will be making the trip in the Jeep so gas will be a little pricey but worth it. Here are a couple of maps.

Long version

Short version

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Old 02-18-2013, 05:35 PM   #2
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Looks like you are going to drive right by it so I would stop at Mesa Verde National Park. If you are into Indian history this is one place to visit. They have old cliff dwellings you can tour, artifacts and whatnot.

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Old 02-18-2013, 05:46 PM   #3
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Might as well stop there too. Thanks for the tip!
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Old 02-18-2013, 05:50 PM   #4
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You will have a nice two-day drive if you were to make the direct trip. There is plenty to see in the three states you will be traveling in.

Algodones Dunes - California (we saw lots of Arizonans here)


Leaving Algodones Dunes



Entering Texas



Juarez, Chihuahua briefly runs parallel to I-10





Cheaper lodging is roughly 40 miles east of El Paso, TX



If you're on a budget, there are plenty of places like this which do not advertise on the Internet, but are rustic out in the country.
Sanderson, TX



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Old 02-18-2013, 06:02 PM   #5
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The outskirts of Del Rio, TX

Pecos/Rio Grande Intersect


Del Rio, TX has some great Continental Mexican-style eateries


Del Rio, TX has plenty of local flavor, too!


When we went to Wal-Mart for Beer, we saw fliers for Club Arriba (now closed). This venue featured Electronica night


Big pickups in Del Rio, TX


There's a great Ice Cream parlor in Downtown Del Rio that we visited.


The Wife and I enjoyed our visit there with friends in 2011.


If you are into hiking/outdoors-type stuff, you have good stuff to do in Del Rio before the warm season hits.



Petros


We enjoyed our time there, and want to visit again.
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Old 02-18-2013, 06:08 PM   #6
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Del Rio doesn't look as bad as people make it sound!
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Old 02-18-2013, 06:18 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jwolfer View Post
Del Rio doesn't look as bad as people make it sound!
I have been all over the Southwest. My Mother taught in Grants, NM before I was born, and we visited most summers on our way to/from my relatives in Oklahoma and Tennessee. I enjoyed our trip, and want to go back - especially, to camp on Padre Island with our Jeep. That would be the best summer trip to take with our Jeep.

Del Rio gets very hot in the summers, but to find something to do, you are about 1 1/2 hrs outside of San Antonio. The cost of living there is low.

Films have been made in the region that highlight the area.

Ciudad Acuña - El Mariachi


Del Rio, Texas - No Country For Old Men
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Old 02-18-2013, 06:31 PM   #8
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Sounds like a fun trip, hope you enjoy it!

Are you planning on camping it?

Outlaw - when were you out there? I notice in the pics some are wearing jackets and others T- shirts.

Ummmmm, that motel.........looks like a Bates motel to me!
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Old 02-18-2013, 06:42 PM   #9
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If no time for anything else, I would recommend the Needles District of CNP, I'm sure most all of the back country campsites are reserved already, and you are not sure of your dates anyway, but you can get a day pass to go wheeling and hiking, and who knows, if it is mid week, a non reserved campsite may be open at Squaw Flat camp site.. We have been there twice, and going for more in Sept.. No crowds, no lines, no BS, just beautiful back country.. All of Canyonlands NP is that way, but reservations are needed for the White Rim Trail, and the Maze, but very much worth going up top to Island in the Sky district, and driving down the Shaefer trail to get back to Moab.. Check with BLM in Monticello about free campsites... Honestly, you could spend an entire month exploring the Moab region, and still not experience it all.. We have, and still so much more... Good Luck !!!
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Old 02-18-2013, 06:50 PM   #10
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We plan on camping most if not all of the trip unless we are staying with family (mom in Denver and Uncle in Pagosa springs). Thanks for the tips on Moab. The whole area is pretty intimidating.
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Old 02-18-2013, 08:38 PM   #11
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If you plan on doing what is on the first map Mesa Verde NP is close by. If you do the trip in 2nd pic it will be to far.
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Old 02-18-2013, 09:30 PM   #12
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Outlaw - when were you out there? I notice in the pics some are wearing jackets and others T- shirts.
Central heating is the norm in Texas nowadays.LOL Seriously, the sunlight was warm, but the air temps were in the 60s during daylight, down into the 40s and sometimes 30s at night. I was there with my Wife in January 2011.
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Old 03-15-2013, 06:08 PM   #13
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Well I got my date to enter active duty (8 July) so we will be able to make the long version of the trip! That being said we are open to any and all suggestions for camp grounds/offroading trails in the following areas.

Sedona
Moab
Great Dunes Nat'l Park
Denver
Big Bend Nat'l Park

We prefer cheap/free campgrounds and don't mind making our own spot on a trail if we need to. Gas will be expensive enough on this trip. Also, if you are in any of the areas let me know. We would love some local tour guides to show us around. We are planning on leaving Tucson on 27 May to get to Denver by around the 10th of June.
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Old 03-16-2013, 04:24 AM   #14
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there are tons of places in az to just unload and camp for free. depending on the type of whelling you want to do, north of phoenix there are lots of places around the table mesa exit off of i-17
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Old 03-16-2013, 07:13 AM   #15
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Hopefully next summer I will drive my kids out to the Grand Canyon and do this Driving to the bottom of the Grand Canyon
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Old 03-16-2013, 07:20 AM   #16
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Mesa Verde is awesome, especially the dwellings on the cliff- I believe it is called the "Tree house".

I thought Carlsbad Caverns was astounding if you have time. Try to stay a few days in Sedona and hit Broken Arrow trail with the Jeep and a few hiking trails- well worth it!
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Old 05-15-2013, 10:29 AM   #17
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So this trip is coming up sooner rather than later and I am starting to somewhat finalize plans. Here is what I have so far.

Tucson to Sedona (camp over night)
Sedona to Grand Canyon (stay for a half hour or so just to say "that's a big hole")
Grand Canyon to Antelope Canyon (camp over night probably)

This is where it gets tricky is bryce canyon worth checking out? From here we can either go west to bryce canyon for a day or we can just go straight up to canyonlands in Moab.

Moab to Mesa Verde National Park (camp overnight)
Mesa Verde to Pagosa Springs (stay with my uncle for a night)
Pagosa Springs to Great Dunes National Park (camp over night)
Great Dunes to Denver (end of trip)

Is there anything I missed? Bryce Canyon is the big question mark for now. Also, is two days enough in Moab?
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Old 05-15-2013, 03:49 PM   #18
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Looking at it again we have decided to skip Bryce canyon and hit Glen Canyon Nat'l Park instead. Any thoughts?
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Old 05-15-2013, 07:23 PM   #19
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Is that Antelope Canyon near Page? If so you can cross at Page & go up 89. If you go that way I recommend taking 89 to Utah 12 & going east from there. It is a spectacular drive & a lot to see including Bryce which is worthwhile if going that way. Even without Bryce 12 is worth the drive in my opinion. If you have the time a great way is to take the Burr Trail from Boulder & down to Lake Powell & to Halls Crossing on the ferry. Then across to Blanding & on up to Moab. Another great stop is at Butler Wash about 10 miles before Blanding on 95. The parking lot will most likely be empty & a short walk will put you in view of some well preserved cliff dwellings. That’s also a really good place for lunch or even camping (if allowed). That was my wife’s one & only encounter with a rattle snake (heard, not seen). We took this route some years ago & are heading that way next month to explore the trails between Escalante & Bricknell then down Cottonwood Trail to Big Water. There is a place called Alstrom Point that we want to see east of Big Water that overlooks Lake Powell.
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Old 05-15-2013, 08:47 PM   #20
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Great tips, thanks. Ans yes, Antelope Canyon is near Page.
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Old 05-15-2013, 11:00 PM   #21
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I thought so but I found one south of Henderson, NV but was pretty sure you weren't going that way. Have a great trip whichever route you take!

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