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Old 03-09-2010, 12:30 PM
 
22 posts, read 51,801 times
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hey knowledgeable campers, my girlfriend and i are planning a camping trip down to the US this summer. we live in kelowna BC, so we are planning a route down the I-5 to LA, then back up through grand canyon then up to yellow stone and our final destination would be calgary AB.

our list of campgrounds is as follows:

Start Kelowna BC
Millersylvania park WA
Kimball state park OR
Balch Park campground CA
Leo Carrillo state park CA
Joshua tree national park CA
Grand Canyon national park AZ
Otter creek state park UT
Lewis lake campground at Yellowstone WY
Finish Calgary AB

i would love some advice on whether or not these are good spots to camp out. we don't have a lot of money and we like the outdoors so i think this would be an awesome vacation.
we're hoping to take about two weeks total, so we're open for things to do, particularly in Los Angeles area.

thanks in advance guys!
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Old 03-09-2010, 01:36 PM
 
1,477 posts, read 5,043,400 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ryannorthcott View Post
hey knowledgeable campers, my girlfriend and i are planning a camping trip down to the US this summer. we live in kelowna BC, so we are planning a route down the I-5 to LA, then back up through grand canyon then up to yellow stone and our final destination would be calgary AB.

our list of campgrounds is as follows:

Start Kelowna BC
Millersylvania park WA
Kimball state park OR
Balch Park campground CA
Leo Carrillo state park CA
Joshua tree national park CA
Grand Canyon national park AZ
Otter creek state park UT
Lewis lake campground at Yellowstone WY
Finish Calgary AB

i would love some advice on whether or not these are good spots to camp out. we don't have a lot of money and we like the outdoors so i think this would be an awesome vacation.
we're hoping to take about two weeks total, so we're open for things to do, particularly in Los Angeles area.

thanks in advance guys!

All of that in two weeks, sorry but I think that is a crazy time line...Heck you could spend two weeks just in and around Yellowstone......

Also it really depends on what you will be camping in....a tent or RV etc......Several of the camp sites/campgrounds you have listed like Lewis Lake are on a first come - first serve bases......others may book up to a year out so getting a site is not always easy or possible
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Old 03-09-2010, 02:09 PM
 
22 posts, read 51,801 times
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Originally Posted by rtandc View Post
All of that in two weeks, sorry but I think that is a crazy time line...Heck you could spend two weeks just in and around Yellowstone......

Also it really depends on what you will be camping in....a tent or RV etc......Several of the camp sites/campgrounds you have listed like Lewis Lake are on a first come - first serve bases......others may book up to a year out so getting a site is not always easy or possible
yeah i know what you mean by short timeline. we want to spend 3 or 4 days in socal and a day in seattle and a day at the grand canyon and yellowstone and possibly joshua tree as well. trip probably will end up taking longer, but i don't see it being much. maybe three weeks at most.

and about the campgrounds, i'll be phoning ahead to book if they require reservations, and if they're full then i'll call another, those places are just our primary choices but if they don't work out we have a backup only a few miles away.
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Old 03-09-2010, 03:01 PM
 
Location: San Antonio
11,943 posts, read 12,841,501 times
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I cant help you but jut wanted to say I'm so jealous!! We met some people from Canada a few years back that were doing what your doing except they took months to do it. HAVE A BLAST!!!!!!!
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Old 03-09-2010, 05:03 PM
 
Location: Way on the outskirts of LA LA land.
3,040 posts, read 10,454,400 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ryannorthcott View Post
Start Kelowna BC
Millersylvania park WA
Kimball state park OR
Balch Park campground CA
Leo Carrillo state park CA
Joshua tree national park CA
Grand Canyon national park AZ
Otter creek state park UT
Lewis lake campground at Yellowstone WY
Finish Calgary AB
I can only speak for a few of these, as I haven't been to many of them. Kimball State Park in Oregon is beautiful, and a place I would highly recommend. There is a picture of it, and a couple from Crater Lake, in my "Oregon 2001" album in my profile.

It's a very long drive from there to Balch Park, however, so something in between would be a good idea. Perhaps something in the "Motherlode" area east of Sacramento would be a good in between spot.

Balch Park is also beautiful, as it is amongst the Giant Sequoia redwoods. The road in from Springville takes quite a bit of time, because it's steep and has a lot of tight turns. In my opinion, it's definitely worth doing this drive. I haven't camped there in about ten years, but I enjoyed it immensely when I was there, and still have fond memories of it. The fishing's good in the ponds there, too.

I'm not sure where you are planning to camp at the Grand Canyon, since it's large and has lots of camping opportunities. If you're planning to camp within the National Park, though, you may need to have reservations. Same goes for Yellowstone.

I have never camped at Otter Creek State Park in Utah, so I can't speak about that. I have, however, visited much of the area around it. Once you get in that area, you will find that there is a lot to see and do nearby. You may find that you want to spend several nights in the area (if time permits), and you may wish to camp in several places. My "AZ-UT Trip" photo album shows some of the sights from the area surrounding Kanab, which is between the Grand Canyon and Otter Creek. This is fairly typical of what you will see in the area.

When you head toward Yellowstone, you will find that there is a lot to see and do there, too. If possible, visit Grand Teton National Park on your way there. You might even want to camp there, too. When I was there, I camped at the Colter Bay campground. In the evening, there was a presentation by one of the park's rangers at the amphitheater in the campground. It was quite memorable. I believe there are similar presentations in various places in Yellowstone, too.

When you leave Yellowstone, if possible, take the Beartooth Highway (US 212) toward Red Lodge, Montana (out of Yellowstone's NE entrance). This is one of the most scenic highways anywhere, and worth the trip.

When in Montana, you will find a lot to see and do, too. You'll probably want to spend at least one or two nights there, as well. I stayed at a beautiful campground near Holter Lake (I believe it was Log Gulch). There are several campgrounds near the lake to choose from. From there, I headed north to Glacier National Park, and drove over the "Going to the sun road" from the east side of the park to the west. I camped another night in the park, not far from the west entrance (Apgar campground). From Glacier, it's just a short drive to the Canadian border, and Canada's Waterton National Park (Canada's portion of the Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park).
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Old 03-09-2010, 05:50 PM
 
Location: We_tside PNW (Columbia Gorge) / CO / SA TX / Thailand
22,652 posts, read 40,029,981 times
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Watcha driving? (bring a 50 mpg 'grease burning' Canuck VW, free fuel)

Your camping choices may be kinda spendy and crowded. There are usually plenty of 'forest service' parks within ez reach (~$8-14 / night often/2 with a federal parks pass)
America the Beautiful - National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass (be SURE to get that before leaving, or at first park). I would reserve in the parks that are large and busy (if it is not too late)

I use this database Free Campgrounds for RVs
Many small town parks and county fairgrounds are free.

Sorry... you will be gravely disappointed in US parks after BC parks...
bring TP, antibiotic cleansers, and firewood to the camp site (NO Beetles PLEASE !!)

Plan to drive at night during boring sections and during full moon. (you have a lot of ground to cover)
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Old 03-09-2010, 07:49 PM
 
22 posts, read 51,801 times
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thanks for the very detailed responses guys you've been repped accordingly.

about the timing of it, since we live in BC and have seen everything from mountains to forest to desert to lakes and oceans, this trip is going to be less focussed on the scenery aspect of camping. yes i know the USA has very stunning natural beauty, but like stealthrabbit alluded to, there's not much we haven't seen before. therefore i'm not really opposed to driving 7-8 hours at a time during the day and maybe skipping a few scenic sites.

i'll be honest, the main destination is south california, as neither of us have been there before, and lately i've become enamored with moving there after i've finished my degree. i sort of just want to get a feel for the real estate and job market there. we'll be having our fair share of fun doing touristy things of course though.
i've read the threads about moving to LA, staying away from LA, and everything in between, so i sort of just want to get a feel for it myself over a few days. seattle is another place i would love to check out based on what people i know have said about it, so we'll be spending a day or two there as well most likely.

oh yeah and i have decided if we'll be driving in my car or my girlfriend's.
i've got a 2002 audi A4 1.8T and she's got a 2000 VW jetta 2.0

the main concern is gasoline, we figure we'd save about $100 total by taking her car over mine, although mine is definitely more comfortable and quiet for long trips.

once again thanks for the awesome responses guys!

EDIT: yep i see what you mean by a long drive from kimball to balch park, i just completely omitted our in between destination of tomales bay state park. it looks like a beautiful coastal location and it's just north of san fransisco.

Last edited by ryannorthcott; 03-09-2010 at 08:15 PM..
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Old 03-09-2010, 09:24 PM
 
Location: We_tside PNW (Columbia Gorge) / CO / SA TX / Thailand
22,652 posts, read 40,029,981 times
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I'd drive to SEA, stay for a few days (be sure to experience rush hour 'parking' on the freeways)

then I'd get a CHEAP flight to LA (I've been able to go for $89 each way, that doesn't buy much gas). I rent cars from Priceline, and frequently get them for $12-16 per day

Otherwise, the drive is not so bad with 2. I drive straight through and overnight through the valley (Sacramento to LA). I like my Passat diesel. I can drive to LA without stopping for fuel (1200 mile range). Just need to keep from drinking much enroute.

When in LA, be sure to eat at Philippe's a 'french dip' sandwich shop, directly across from Union Station (2 blocks north of Alvera Street) Philippe's a mainstay since 1908. excellent stew and cream pies. Cheap, not fancy, great experience (sawdust on floors, 'stand up' counters to eat, like in NYC.)
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Old 03-09-2010, 09:25 PM
 
22 posts, read 51,801 times
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hmm seems i've omitted another one of our destinations, giant springs MT

here's the final list (not that you care anyways haha)

Kelowna BC
Dash Point state park WA
Millersylvania park WA
Kimball state park OR
MacKerricher state park CA
Balch Park campground CA
Leo Carrillo state park CA
Topanga state park CA
Joshua tree national park CA
Grand Canyon national park AZ
Otter creek state park UT
Henry’s lake state park ID or Lewis lake campground at Yellowstone WY
Giant Springs state park MT
Calgary AB
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Old 03-09-2010, 09:31 PM
 
22 posts, read 51,801 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StealthRabbit View Post
I'd drive to SEA, stay for a few days (be sure to experience rush hour 'parking' on the freeways)

then I'd get a CHEAP flight to LA (I've been able to go for $89 each way, that doesn't buy much gas). I rent cars from Priceline, and frequently get them for $12-16 per day

Otherwise, the drive is not so bad with 2. I drive straight through and overnight through the valley (Sacramento to LA). I like my Passat diesel. I can drive to LA without stopping for fuel (1200 mile range). Just need to keep from drinking much enroute.

When in LA, be sure to eat at Philippe's a 'french dip' sandwich shop, directly across from Union Station (2 blocks north of Alvera Street) Philippe's a mainstay since 1908. excellent stew and cream pies. Cheap, not fancy, great experience (sawdust on floors, 'stand up' counters to eat, like in NYC.)
thanks for the tip, but i think i'd rather do the drive. i'm not stranger to long distance driving so it's no problem for me. plus i'd rather not deal with all the hassles of airports and bags and renting cars and whatnot.
and i'll be sure to check out those restaurants .

any other things to do in LA besides hollywood, santa monica, venice, redondo beached, universal studios etc.?
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