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Discussion Starter #1
So my wife and I are planning a western trip to visit some of the major parks that we've yet to see. The plan is to leave from Louisiana to Colorado to visit great sand dune and rocky mountain natl. parks. Then to Utah for arches natl. park and bonneville salt flats. After that we'd go to crater lake in Oregon. From there we'd drive through California to lake tahoe, then to yosemite, sequoia, and death valley. And finally to grand canyon and horseshoe bend, then back to Louisiana.

Im more than likely in over my head but we'd really like to visit this part of the country, its mostly foreign to us. We'd also be traveling with 2 dogs. We'll be planning over the next 6 months and the departure is still tentative. I'm concerned with the plans of the vehicle, how do you prepare your truck for a long trip like this? What do you recommend I add that'll help with the trip (its nearly stock now)?
 

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Sounds exciting. What year is your fj and how many miles? Are you familiar with its maintenance history? What are your accommodation plans? Hotels? Campgrounds? Primitive campgrounds?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Sounds exciting. What year is your fj and how many miles? Are you familiar with its maintenance history? What are your accommodation plans? Hotels? Campgrounds? Primitive campgrounds?
Its a 2007 with 130k, and unfortunately I have no idea of its history. Our plan is to stay in hotels traveling between parks and then stay in both improved and primitive campsites.
 

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I would find a reputable local Toyota mechanic and have the fj inspected and serviced. I would then try to make reservations asap at high profile places you would like to visit like the grand canyon and yosemite, etc based on your schedule. You can always fill in the periods in between with hotels, airbb and other campgrounds.
 

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I have done lots of the Colorado-Utah-Grand Canyon route you describe over the last couple of years and have enjoyed it immensely. My advice is to consider the normally expected temperatures in the areas you want to visit when planning your trip and also to plan on the national parks (especially the camp grounds) being very crowded in the summer time. I find that I end up camping at more Natl Forests and BLM campgrounds than the Natl Parks themselves, especially those that are close to a popular Natl Park because it is easier to find a spot there than at the parks. I live in Austin and make three or so runs out west starting in late spring and ending in early fall. I don't like tent camping in the lower 30's and prefer 40's if I can get it all, with 50's a dream. Usually, the summer time heat (as in way too hot for tent camping) you and I are used to at home is not an issue at 7,500' + elev. and I have froze in late July at 8,500' elev. I have to plan when I feel the temperature is comfortable enough for tent camping and that dictates my route some. Running west from Austin (sort of the same as running from La) in late spring/summertime, the first place I can camp with cool enough temps for tent camping is in the Natl Forest just east of Santa Fe and can make that in one long day travelling. Or, I can run to the Cloudcroft/Ruidoso area and camp in the Natl Forest there. I was in Rocky Mtn Natl park last summer (cold, drizzly, crowded, still very, very enjoyable) and then ran down south some to warm up at Black Canyon of the Gunnison Natl Park. I recommend you put travelling Colorado Hwy 550 (north-south state hwy through the mountains) on your route. Utah may just be my favorite area for camping/hiking, but of the five national Parks that make a very nice travel route, the end parks of the route, Arches and Zion, are very, very crowded. It is entirely possible that you may not find a spot to drop a tent within several miles of either park during the summer time. In particular, I like going to any ancient cliff-dwelling Indian sites and plan my routes from place to place, with some national park hiking in between. I will quit here before I wear you out any further, but please contact me if you want more info.
 

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I know it is a long way north of your route, but if you can swing it Glacier National Park is well worth the drive. IMHO. Have fun.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Wow, thanks for the info. Ill definitely keep all this in mind. We both like hiking and if need be, we can travel to another campsite to post up for the night. Id like to reserve a site at popular parks, but being such a long trip, its really hard getting logistics together and knowing when exactly you'll be at a certain location.
 

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There is a nice, scenic, not-too-long-between-stops five national park run through eastern-southern Utah that includes (from north to south): Arches, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, Bryce and Zion National Parks. While camping in the parks at Arches and Zion may very well be hard to accomplish, there are plenty of motels in the areas of all of the parks. All are very scenic, all have some common characteristics, yet each has its own particular rock formations that amaze the eye. It is kind of on the way from Rocky Mtn Natl Park as you travel west. You could then circle down to Grand Canyon, but that does not tie in at all to your further west travel plans. So much to see, so many roads............... You may see me somewhere along the way because as soon as winter lets go out west, I will go that way again.
 
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