Road Trip in July: TX-NM-AZ-Route 66-NV-UT-CO-TX (May Add WY-SD-ND-MN-IA-MO-NE-KS-OK)

I have a summer road trip planned from July 4th to July 31st. I plan to drive some parts of Route 66 and also plan on attending an offroad meeting in Ouray, CO. I am posting my itinerary. If someone has any suggestions for what cool places to visit on my itinerary, I would love to hear some suggestions.

I would love suggestions of what to do in Sedona for a day to enjoy the best they offer in the short time I have to spend there.

I would also love a suggestion of what to do in day to maximize my one day visit at the Grand Canyon.

If anybody sees me on my trip and wishes to say hello, feel free to honk. I think it would be cool if I could meet any expo member on my road trip.

My tentative plan so far is like this.

Monday, July 4: Houston, TX to Carlsbad, NM. 12 hours drive. Go to sleep after such a long journey.

Tuesday, July 5: Go to Calrsbad Caverns National Park. Then drive to Roswell to see alien museum. Return to Carslbad and spend the nght.

Wednesday, July 6: Check out from hotel and drive to Alamogordo, NM. Visit white sands in the evening and enjoy stunning sunset at the white sands. Sleep at hotel here.

Thursday, July 7: Check out of hotel and take long route to Albuquerque, NM. Go through the town called Truth or Consequences, NM. Then drive to Albuquerque, NM. Sleep in Albuquerque 7th and 8th. If get to town early, go and visit Sandria Peak Tramway.

Friday, July 8: Visit other attractions. Or drive to Santa Fe to visit.

Saturday, July 9: Check out of hotel, drive to Flagstaff, AZ. On the way, stop at Petrified Park and all Route 66 cities and attractions. Sleep in Flagstaff, AZ 9th, 10th and 11th.

Sunday, July 10: Take the whole day and go do as much as possible in Sedona, AZ.

Monday, July 11: Take the whole day and do as much as possible in Grand Canyon.

Tuesday, July 12: Day fully dedicated to ROUTE 66. Drive to Seligman, AZ. Drive to Peach Springs, AZ. Drive to Kingman, AZ. Drive to Oatman, AZ. Stop as often as possible on the road. When done, drive to Bullhead, AZ to spend the night.

Wednesday, July 13: Checkout of hotel. Drive to Hoover Dam. Drive to Las Vegas. Sleep in Las Vegas 13th, 14th.

Thursday, July 14: Do Las Vegas.

Friday, July 15: Check out of hotel and drive to Mighty 5 parks in UT. Sleep when I get tired. Do Zion NP, Bryce Canyon NP and sleep in city where Capitol Reef NP is located. Torrey, UT.

Saturday, July 16: Do Capitol Reef NP, Arches NP, and maybe Canyonlands NP. Drive to Moab, UT. Sleep in Moab, UT 16th, 17th, 18th.

Sunday, July 17: Do Moab. Do Canyonlands NP, if not yet done. Do AM whitewater rafting. Then going offroading. Pick a tough trail and tackle it!

Monday, July 18: Do Moab. Going offroading and getting the QX really dirty.

Tuesday, July 19: Do Moab. Drive to Ouray. Sleep in Ouray 19th, 20th, 21th. This night, do Yankee Boy night run in Ouray with Toyota FJs

Wednesday, July 20: Do Ouray. Going offroading in the San Juan mountains. Suggested trail... Ouray-Ophir Pass-Telluride-Imogene Pass-Ouray. Do Yankee Boy Basin, if there is still time left in the day.

Thursday, July 21: Do Ouray. Going offroading in the San Juan mountains. Suggested trail... Alpine Loop. Black Bear Pass to the top, then make a uturn.

Friday, July 22: Check out of hotel. Drive to Colorado Springs. Sleep in Colorado Springs. Sleep in Colorado Springs.

Saturday, July 23: Do Pikes Peak. Visit Garden of the Gods. May visit Cheyenne Zoo. Drive to Denver, CO. Sleep in Colorado Springs, CO.

Sunday, July 24: Do Denver. Drive to Mt Evans. Visit other attractions. Sleep in Denver, CO.

Monday, July 25: Do Denver again. Sleep in Denver, CO.

Tuesday, July 26: Drive from Denver, CO to Spearfield, SD. Sleep. Along the way, try to stop at some or all these attractions; Crazy Horse Monument, Sylvan Lake, Needles Eye Tunnel, Custer, State Park, Mt Rushmore, Bear Country and Reptiles Garden in Rapid City, Sturgis to see bike rally area and burnt full throttle saloon, Deadwood to see Saloon 10 where Wild Bill Hickok was killed.

Wednesday, July 27: Spearfield, SD to Fargo, ND. Sleep in Fargo. Stop at some statues on the way to see them.

Thursday, July 28: Fargo, ND to Omaha, NE. Sleep in Omaha. Stop at some attractions along the way.

Friday, July 29: Omaha, NE to Oklahoma City, OK. Sleep in Oklahoma City. Go to POPS on route 66.

Saturday, July 30: Oklahoma City, OK to Dallas, TX. Sleep at cousin's house in Dallas.

Sunday, July 31: Final lap and get home very exhausted. Park QX for it to rest and in 4 days when I am off, take it out for an oil change, get free balance rotation of all 4 tires from discount tires and then go get my free 4 wheel alignment. Wash and detail car and park it again to rest!

Till the next major trip...
 
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Here is my rig for the road trip. Well, I am not done fully dressing her up. A week before my trip, I will finish my last touches of dressing her up.

I could drive her looking like a regular QX on the road, but I decided to put my own touch to her and will dress her up fully about a week before my trip. Let me just say when you see it on the freeway, you will know it is me. Feel free to honk. I think it would be great to meet some fellow expo members along the way.




 
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unkamonkey

Explorer
It looks like a good trip but to me it's a bit over planned. When you get to some places I think you will find that you can't appreciate everything in one day. I've been going to Moab for 30 years and there is still many areas I've never been to. the same with SW CO. I see you blocked out three days in some areas and all I can say is to allow a bit more flexibility. Sometimes it's good to just sit in the shade and and play with your navel, have a few cool ones and unwind for a day.
 
The itinerary is my reference in case I am wondering what to do on what day. It is definitely very flexible, if I find cooler stuffs to do or if I want to do exactly like you said: just sit somewhere and relax. But more importantly is to help me book the hotels in advance since I will not be camping.

As for a place like Moab, UT and Ouray, CO, those are some of the places that you can never have enough of. So, I totally understand what you mean by even after going to Moab for 30 years, you still have places there you have not been to.

I have been to both places before for a short period of time and looking forward to doing some new areas this time. And I believe I would love to visit them again some other day as there would always be new places to explore in the area.
 

Kerensky97

Xterra101
Between Capitol Reef and the Moab National Parks (I'm guessing you'll head through Hanksville?) make a quick detour West as soon as you hit I-70 to check out the San Rafael Swell.

I'd say dedicate at least a day exploring but even 45mins West on I-70 you'll see how amazing the place is (and you're only seeing about 1/100th of it). Then you can head east again to sleep in Moab.

Sent from my SM-N910V using Tapatalk
 
Between Capitol Reef and the Moab National Parks (I'm guessing you'll head through Hanksville?) make a quick detour West as soon as you hit I-70 to check out the San Rafael Swell.

I'd say dedicate at least a day exploring but even 45mins West on I-70 you'll see how amazing the place is (and you're only seeing about 1/100th of it). Then you can head east again to sleep in Moab.

Sent from my SM-N910V using Tapatalk
I never knew the town of Hanksville until you mentioned it. Based on my trip, going through the Mighty 5, yes, I will be going through Hanksville.

I looked up San Rafael Swell and it seems to have some great rock formations also. But unfortunately it seems I would not be able to go West on I-70 to go see it. Just because it seems I may have to drive about an hour to get there and then an hour to get back and then time to visit the area. It might throw me off on the already tight schedule.

I am just hoping seeing the Mighty 5 will already give me that wow factor for now, even though I may really just be experiencing less than half of each park I visit. The Mighty 5 alone seems to be natural wonders on their own. Also, the Mighty 5 national parks seem to be connected by some of the most scenic byways and backways in the country. So, I am really looking forward to driving on those roads and seeing those parks, especially Canyon lands which has that feeling as if you are on Mars. I can't wait!

The Mighty 5 for those who may be wondering what parks in Utah are referred to as the Mighty 5.

1- Zion National Park
2- Bryce Canyon National Park
3- Capital Reef National Park
4- Canyon Lands National Park
5- Arches National Park
 

trollhattan

Observer
Hey Petite. I have seen some of your older posts with first gen QXs and enjoyed reading them.
In August, I will be heading out from nyc straight to CO, hit the big 5, and more.
There are few things that I really wanted to experience that seems to be missing in your itinerary. They are White Rim Road, engineer pass, and black bear pass. I have never been to those places but it seems they are a must. White Rim road may require you to RSVP ahead of time as they are very popular.
I will be following this thread so be sure to update us on your trip. It would be interesting to see how QX80 performs.
 

Christophe Noel

Expedition Leader
Just a couple immediate thoughts. Moab will be hotter than the hubs of hell in July. Not just hot, but potentially unsafe hot, so keep that in mind. I would also be very selective with your off-road choice around Ouray and Silverton. Your vehicle will be suitable for the Alpine Loop and a few of the other moderate roads, but be careful not to over estimate your rig.

Regarding the Grand Canyon, aside from a short hike below the rim, which you would want to wrap up before noon due to the heat, you're likely to only have time to visit the rim and peek over the edge. The Canyon is a place best visited below the rim on foot, which isn't really a summer thing and requires multiple days. Sedona is a fun visit. You won't want to tackle the main off road trails like Broken Arrow, but you could probably do fine on Soldier's Pass, even Greasy Spoon. Again, it will be oppressively hot.

You might consider cutting some of the attractions to spend more time on better gravel roads and in more interesting places. The Petrified Park as an example can be...eh. As an example, there is a nice road you might enjoy (dirt) between Georgeton, Co and Highway 285. That is Guanella Pass. Great drive and a convenient route if you're hoping to get to Evans.

In my opinion, you might be passing by some really cool places in exchange for spots that have more interesting names. Jerome, Arizona is way cooler to me than Seligman, Peach Springs or Kingman, which are....just towns. Not even interesting ones. Williams, AZ is oozing with Route 66 feel and there are fun dirt roads around there to explore, plus it will be 20 degrees cooler than those western towns in the desert.

Anyway, looks like a ton of windshield time to me. I can't imagine adding South Dakota to the mix. Talk about trucker butt!! :)
 
Hey Petite. I have seen some of your older posts with first gen QXs and enjoyed reading them.
In August, I will be heading out from nyc straight to CO, hit the big 5, and more.
There are few things that I really wanted to experience that seems to be missing in your itinerary. They are White Rim Road, engineer pass, and black bear pass. I have never been to those places but it seems they are a must. White Rim road may require you to RSVP ahead of time as they are very popular.
I will be following this thread so be sure to update us on your trip. It would be interesting to see how QX80 performs.
Thanks for the compliment on my other threads.

I strongly encourage you to do the trip you have planned to do the Mighty 5. I will definitely be updating my thread, especially during my trip. So rest assured I would share with you my experience with the Mighty 5.

My itinerary here does not list all the trails I plan to do, but I plan to update it as the days go buy. As of now, I wish to do the Alpine Loop (which is Engineer Pass and Cinnamon Pass combined), Ophir Pass, Imogene Pass. The problem I would be facing in Ouray during these days is going to be the traffic in the mountains with all the over 300 vehicles (The Toyota FJs have their summit and over 300 Toyota FJs would be in town) they would be there doing all the different trails. I don't know if I would do Black Bear Pass this time.

As for the White Rim, I may not do that because that is over 90 miles of offraoding in Moab. That is very long. Also, I am trying to dedicate one of my days in Moab to go whitewater rafting. I have never done that before, so it would be a first for me.

And yes, I look forward to seeing how my QX performs for it has been mostly garaged since I got it. Only been taking out for road trips. This would be its first time going offroad and in a challenging environment and it has only street all season tires, but then again, that is what the Land Cruiser and the Range Rovers have and use offroad when stock before people modify them. So, I am putting these street tires to work in Moab and in the San Juan mountains.
 
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Just a couple immediate thoughts. Moab will be hotter than the hubs of hell in July. Not just hot, but potentially unsafe hot, so keep that in mind. I would also be very selective with your off-road choice around Ouray and Silverton. Your vehicle will be suitable for the Alpine Loop and a few of the other moderate roads, but be careful not to over estimate your rig.

Regarding the Grand Canyon, aside from a short hike below the rim, which you would want to wrap up before noon due to the heat, you're likely to only have time to visit the rim and peek over the edge. The Canyon is a place best visited below the rim on foot, which isn't really a summer thing and requires multiple days. Sedona is a fun visit. You won't want to tackle the main off road trails like Broken Arrow, but you could probably do fine on Soldier's Pass, even Greasy Spoon. Again, it will be oppressively hot.

You might consider cutting some of the attractions to spend more time on better gravel roads and in more interesting places. The Petrified Park as an example can be...eh. As an example, there is a nice road you might enjoy (dirt) between Georgeton, Co and Highway 285. That is Guanella Pass. Great drive and a convenient route if you're hoping to get to Evans.

In my opinion, you might be passing by some really cool places in exchange for spots that have more interesting names. Jerome, Arizona is way cooler to me than Seligman, Peach Springs or Kingman, which are....just towns. Not even interesting ones. Williams, AZ is oozing with Route 66 feel and there are fun dirt roads around there to explore, plus it will be 20 degrees cooler than those western towns in the desert.

Anyway, looks like a ton of windshield time to me. I can't imagine adding South Dakota to the mix. Talk about trucker butt!! :)
Great info!!! Thanks a lot for the great info.

I plan to push my rig a little bit out of its comfort zone in the San Juan mountains in Ouray. But I would also be reasonable to know where to back off. Yes, I would like to do the Alpine Loop and other moderate and easier trails. The traffic during these dates would be insane in Ouray because of the FJ Summit. Because of this, trail times might be double what they normally usually are. So, I might not get to do a lot of different trails.

Thanks for the tips about the Grand Canyon, Sedona and the other trails you mentioned. Yeah, too many stuffs than I may have time for all. So, I would just be reading more about these and see if I can amend my itinerary. I would definitely like to take your suggestion on doing the Guanella Pass which you say is dirt road between Georgeton, Co and Highway 285. Especially as it is next to Mt Evans which I would definitely be driving up that hill.

As for The route 66 route I have planned, I have really looked into it and I think I would definitely be doing that.

And you are very right about the trucker butt. I have one thing I would check about my work schedule and if they clear me off that group of people who have to do that project, then I would have some more days and that would allow me to really trucker around the states I listed. I would just be taking a very long route back home. Just enjoying the open road and the wind. Just what I want.
 

Christophe Noel

Expedition Leader
By the way, there are some fun passes in the area of Guenella Pass to also ook into. Weston Pass by Buena Vista is easily doable in your rig and will be pretty that time of year. There is also the detour to Clear Creek and the old townsite of Winfield. That's west of Buena Vista up the road towards Leadville. That area will be very pleasant in July whereas AZ and Utah will be a boiler. If you get to Georgetown and need a good hotel, we like to stay at the Chamonix Inn. Lovely place to stay and Georgetown is a cute little mountain town to enjoy for a night. The Euro Grill is a nice place to eat right on a creek.

Regarding Ouray area trails, everything in that area is either appropriate for a Subaru or a full blown lifted 4x4. There's not too much in between, nor is there much opportunity to thin the crowds, so be ready for a lot of traffic.
 

jrob

Observer
Trails near Ouray your Infinity can handle:
Corkscrew, Hurricane, California, Ophir, Stony, Cinnamon, Cunningham Gulch and other various offshoots.
May give you trouble, but doable depending on your driving ability:
Engineer, Imogene
Steer clear of Black Bear as it has gotten a little rough these days, and I simply wouldn't want to lumber that big *** thing down the switchbacks. Also Poughkeepsie. There is a bypass now, but even so, if you have any sentimental attachment to your bumpers, I wouldn't recommend it.
If you drop into Silverton, grab a fancy cocktail at Montanya.
Departing Ouray North bound there is a turn off just outside Ridgeway for Owl Creek Pass. Great little detour that keeps you moving toward Montrose or Gunnison, with some great views of the lesser known cimmaron ridge, Chimney rock and courthouse rock.


As mentioned, it will be hot as balls in Utah, but it's a dry heat. I find it much more pleasant than Houston. That said...nothing to trifle with, stay hydrated.

Safe travels!
 

Christophe Noel

Expedition Leader
I did Engineer Pass as part of the Alpine loop last September in a Subaru CrossTrek, but it was barely doable. And the spots that almost got me hung up could be ten times better...or worse...by the time you get there. Chances are you'll be okay, but expect those pretty wheels to develop some character by the end.

Where people get in trouble in Moab in the summer is when they venture out (when no one else is) get in a jam, then cook in the sun until their brains fry. About five years ago a couple nearly died when they got a flat on the White Rim Trail and they somehow couldn't get their jack to work. Both nearly died in the span of just 4 hours with gallon of water to drink.
 

bishop2queen's6

New member
Wednesday, July 13: Checkout of hotel. Drive to Hoover Dam. Drive to Las Vegas. Sleep in Las Vegas. Sleep in Las Vegas 13th, 14th.

Thursday, July 14: Do Las Vegas.
There is a lot of good input here for other aspects of your trip, so I'll chime in on the Vegas part. Have you ever been to Vegas before? Anything specifically you want to see or do within that day? If you're more specific, I can be more precise with what I recommend. Vegas in a day is a bit rough because it's kinda like Disneyland for adults, A lot to see within a day.

With your rig, it might be too tall for a lot of the parking structures. Most parking structures in Vegas have a 6'3" limit so be mindful of your height.

I would recommend parking at the Palazzo hotel/casino (parking is free in the structure, unless you want to valet. Write down where you parked though (floor/section) it is easy to forget and spend a lot of time looking for your car), then walk your way to the New York New York stopping through hotels and seeing the attractions a long the way. I recommend this order: Palazzo shops, Venetian canals, Paris alleys,Shops at Caesars, Bellagio water show, Bellagio lobby and atrium, Cosmopolitan chandelier room, Aria shops, Aria fountain ending at the New York New York walking across the Brooklyn Bridge and going through the food court and arcade inside. It's going to be very hot in July so carry water. Unless you're seeing a show, dress code is very casual. These hotels, in my opinion, have the most to offer when it comes to walking through appeal.

Be prepared for the grossness walking on the Vegas sidewalks. A lot of callgirl cards, a lot of beggers, costume characters looking to get paid for pictures.

To eat, I recommend eating at the Bellagio cafe in the attrium or the Aria cafe. Prices are similar to Denny's, not joking, and it's solid food. Just make sure to get a player's card, which are free, but it allows you to cut to the front of the line. It's one of the most affordable places to eat in Vegas, no joke. Avoid the buffets. There are very few good buffets in Vegas because you do get what you pay for with respect to buffets in Vegas. The best buffet is at Caesers and it's something like $100+ per person and a 3 hour wait in line.

If you're going to see a show, go directly to the box office to buy a ticket a few hours in advance. This has been the cheapest so far more so than online or gold ticket, or any other "discount" ticket offer place.

Let me know if you want anything more specific about Vegas. My family has a timeshare and we go a couple times a year so I'm pretty familiar with the strip. I don't know much about offroading and hiking though in the area, which I've heard is awesome.
 

unkamonkey

Explorer
Lots of trails and places to camp in Co and UT. If you are in the Moab area in the summer. Do your hike early and plan on being in the shade with a cool one in your hand by 1:00 PM. Somewhere there is a cartoon of a skeleton and the caption reads, "But it's a dry heat".
 
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