Depending on how you will be traveling, by Motor home, trailer or by car and staying at Hotels, will determine how you pack. If you plan to drive your car you will be somewhat limited on what you take depending on your vehicle, also what you plan to do while visiting the parks and the areas you go to. We used our SUV which provided us the opportunity to take the items that we wanted to use on our trip. For instance we like to bike, hike, and play golf, therefore we did take our bikes, golf clubs and our basic hiking shoes (we are not mountain climbers) just easy hiking trails. We also brought with us, a picnic basket and a small cooler. This gave us the opportunity to enjoy eating at some of the most beautiful scenic areas on our trip.
Keep in mind the time of season you travel and the Parks you plan to visit, you will want to have the appropriate clothing. We started our trip late summer and finished in the early fall, the months of August to October. We brought with us two suit cases each, one with summer clothing and one with fall clothing. No need to tell you what to pack because we all have our own preferences.
- Before leaving on your trip do a trial packing of your vehicle.
- Pack light and do your laundry at the hotels once a week.
- Make your luggage easily accessible for your overnight stops.
When planning for retirement we decided to do a three month trip around the United States and visit National Parks and State Parks that we had never been too before. We went to book stores and researched books for road routs, lodging and restaurant’s and places of interest in the towns and cities we would be traveling thru. We wanted to get the experience of not only the National parks but the communities that the people lived and worked in, and experience the local restaurants.
Some of the books we used were the National Geographic Guide to Scenic Highways & Byways, the 300 best drives in the U.S. (https://www.amazon.com/National-Geographic-Scenic-Highways-Byways/dp/1426210140)
you can view on the above link or purchase it from Amazon, well worth the investment.
We also used Lonely Planet – USA’s Best Trips 52 Amazing Road Trips (http://shop.lonelyplanet.com/usa/usa-best-trips-2/)
we found this book to be really good in planning the best route to see the National Parks, it gave you the route to take with each parked numbered from depending on the route and a starting point to following to see each of the National Parks and road scenic vistas. The book also included places to sleep and local restaurants a must when wanting to experience the local area.
We also use a map book that we acquired from Triple A, which helped to see a bigger picture of the state and road systems in locating the Parks for us to visit. Great trip and I will share more of our trip and experience in newer posts.
Pictured above is Merrick Butte.
Monument Valley is located within the Navajo Nation on the boarders of Arizona and Utah. Many of these formations are familiar to most people because many Western movies with John Wayne and others were made here. To get good views such as the one above and below you want to go into the Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park then take the 17 mile drive thru the Valley. Also at the visitors center you can take a Navajo sponsored Jeep drive or you can take horse back thru the Valley. The going is dusty, somewhat hilly, the road goes in a one way direction because is is narrow in most places, but being close up to these formations are just spectacular.
The above monument is the West Mitten Butte.
The drive thru the park takes about 2 hours and maybe longer if you are stopping to take pictures of the different formations. When we left the park, our vehicle was covered in the red dust which you can see on the ground. But the drive and the sites were well worth get the dust on your vehicle, but keep the windows and vents closed.
First Stop Mesa Verde National Park.
This is the site of the Ancestral Puebloans or cliff dwellers. When driving to the site, you will rise high on a plateau where you will want to visit the Chapin Mesa Museum and the Spruce Tree House here at the tree house you can climb down into the kiva “Kiva is a Hopi word meaning “ceremonial room” (the round area in the picture) . If you have time to spend two or three days at the park you can take ranger led tours of the Cliff Palace, Balcony House and also explore the Wetherill Mesa (the quiet side of the canyon). Below are more pictures take at the Kiva.
Above the ceremonial room.
This is a wonderful National Park to visit and learn about the Early Native Americans who were cliff dwellers.
Traveling to the Western Part of the United States we visited the National Parks in Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Utah and California. Sites that everyone should at sometime in the life get to see.
Below is Monument Valley, Utah
This is Monument Valley, many people will recognize these formations because many Western movies we filmed here.