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 > Death ValleyCA->Chicago: sights? boondocking. in April.

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LosAngeles

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Posted: 02/17/20 02:27pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Death Valley, CA -> Chicago: looking for sights, boondocking. April.

Hi all

I have a solo, camping road trip coming up (April) and would like to ask about any MUST SEE things along the way.

I’d also prefer to do minor roads, and less interstate, as they are prettier, and more interesting to drive along.

I will be in a 4X4 pop up truck camper, and camping the whole way.
I prefer very quiet boondocking, and if a campsite - then scenic and mellow and quiet. (nowhere near traffic at all…. / roads)

Looking for scenic things to see along the way, that are mostly along my route, and also great, quiet campsites and boon docking sites.

I may check out various HipCamp, Harvest Hosts, Boondockers Welcome, and similar campsites, to meet interesting people along the way.

I for sure want to go thru Pie Town NM and Magdalena NM (love it there) but East of that I am flexible.
But don’t want to go 500 miles out of my way……. small detours. :-)

Leave Los Angeles (April)

Death Valley, CA

Yosemite National Park (weather permitting)

back down thru Death Valley on the way…. probably

Magdalena NM

(When driving from Yosemite to Magdalena NM.
Any scenic way to avoid Vegas and Kingman and Flagstaff and have it be more scenic? Maybe go thru Sedona somehow?)

Albuquerque NM

then…. any sensible way to Chicago….. the most direct way is below, but I can go any way and make any small detours to see great scenery or unusual places between Magdalena NM and Chicago, the final destination.

The most direct way is below: (small detours are OK, not 500 mile detours)

Santa Rosa TX

Amarillo TX

Oklahoma City

Tulsa

Springfield, Missouri

St Louis

Springfield, IL

Bloomington

Chicago IL.

Thanks!

fitznj

nj

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Posted: 02/17/20 05:37pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I just spent 8 days in DV on a motorcycle ride - super sensational.
There are plenty of places to camp - a few official campsites and lots
of "remote" areas. I was told that you camp anywhere off the main roads
as long as you are not blocking access.

Lots of stuff to see - pick up a map at the visitor center;
https://www.nps.gov/deva/learn/news/newspaper.htm

This is a spectacular place - spend the time to "soak it all in";

Just down the road is Mojave - another spectacular landscape.


Gerry

Janss

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Posted: 02/17/20 11:00pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

How long do you have for this trip?

Not sure Yosemite will be available from the east side in April. I think you can only either come back south on 395 all the way to I-40, or go through some part of Las Vegas (if not through the center of LV, maybe the road through Pahrump through the southern part of LV) to 93 to I-40 at Kingman. When you get to Hoover Dam, stop and exit (before the bridge) to the parking lot and take the walk up onto the bridge for a great view of the dam.

At Kingman, take Route 66 to and through Seligman, then get back on I-40. On that section, you'll see some old R66 leftovers. Also Grand Canyon Caverns by Peach Springs...rustic campground and tour of cave. Then take I-40 to Flagstaff, then down Hwy 89A through Oak Creek Canyon to Sedona. Or...longer but off the interstate, at Ash Fork, south on 89 to Prescott Valley, then east on 89A all the way over Mingus Mountain to Jerome, then Cottonwood, then Sedona. Potato Patch campground on top of Mingus Mountain. Many many curves down to Jerome. In Sedona boondock west of Sedona on FR 525, or stay at a USFS campground in Oak Creek Canyon.

From Sedona, take 179 to I-17 south, exit at Camp Verde to 260 east. (Big uphill pull east of Camp Verde.) Drive 260 all the way to Springerville. Explore the "White Mountains" of AZ along the way, with boondocking and USFS campgrounds. Continue onto 60 to Pie Town and Magdalena. See the Very Large Array between the two.

Next, north on I-25 to Albuquerque. East on I-40 to Tucumcari. Stop and see the Blue Hole in Santa Rosa on the way. At Tucumcari, take 54 diagonally up through Kansas. Visit Dodge City, or Hutchinson Salt Mine. Make your way on various roads up through Kansas to Salina, then straight up to Belleville. Then go east on 36 all the way to Springfield, IL. We enjoyed camping at Long Branch State Park in Macon, MO on this stretch. (Lots of Mark Twain stuff in Hannibal, MO.) Carry on from Springfield to your Chicago destination.

We just traveled this route from Sedona to Chicago this past April. (But just drove from Flagstaff to Tucumcari on I-40.) Shout out to Busskipper on these forums for the route suggestion. Kansas was so windy that our MH roof started detaching! Luckily, we got it fixed near Hutchinson.

If you do stay on I-40, Amarillo has Cadillac Ranch, nearby is the leaning water tower and the big cross. I highly recommend the Oklahoma City Memorial! The outside portion is hauntingly beautiful.


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LosAngeles

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Posted: 02/18/20 05:16am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Holy cow - thank you soooooo much - this is a ton of amazing info. Super helpful!!! :-)

and i am hoping to have 10-12 days to do the trip, so a 1/2 way decent amount of time.

thanks.

Janss wrote:

How long do you have for this trip?

Not sure Yosemite will be available from the east side in April. I think you can only either come back south on 395 all the way to I-40, or go through some part of Las Vegas (if not through the center of LV, maybe the road through Pahrump through the southern part of LV) to 93 to I-40 at Kingman. When you get to Hoover Dam, stop and exit (before the bridge) to the parking lot and take the walk up onto the bridge for a great view of the dam.

At Kingman, take Route 66 to and through Seligman, then get back on I-40. On that section, you'll see some old R66 leftovers. Also Grand Canyon Caverns by Peach Springs...rustic campground and tour of cave. Then take I-40 to Flagstaff, then down Hwy 89A through Oak Creek Canyon to Sedona. Or...longer but off the interstate, at Ash Fork, south on 89 to Prescott Valley, then east on 89A all the way over Mingus Mountain to Jerome, then Cottonwood, then Sedona. Potato Patch campground on top of Mingus Mountain. Many many curves down to Jerome. In Sedona boondock west of Sedona on FR 525, or stay at a USFS campground in Oak Creek Canyon.

From Sedona, take 179 to I-17 south, exit at Camp Verde to 260 east. (Big uphill pull east of Camp Verde.) Drive 260 all the way to Springerville. Explore the "White Mountains" of AZ along the way, with boondocking and USFS campgrounds. Continue onto 60 to Pie Town and Magdalena. See the Very Large Array between the two.

Next, north on I-25 to Albuquerque. East on I-40 to Tucumcari. Stop and see the Blue Hole in Santa Rosa on the way. At Tucumcari, take 54 diagonally up through Kansas. Visit Dodge City, or Hutchinson Salt Mine. Make your way on various roads up through Kansas to Salina, then straight up to Belleville. Then go east on 36 all the way to Springfield, IL. We enjoyed camping at Long Branch State Park in Macon, MO on this stretch. (Lots of Mark Twain stuff in Hannibal, MO.) Carry on from Springfield to your Chicago destination.

We just traveled this route from Sedona to Chicago this past April. (But just drove from Flagstaff to Tucumcari on I-40.) Shout out to Busskipper on these forums for the route suggestion. Kansas was so windy that our MH roof started detaching! Luckily, we got it fixed near Hutchinson.

If you do stay on I-40, Amarillo has Cadillac Ranch, nearby is the leaning water tower and the big cross. I highly recommend the Oklahoma City Memorial! The outside portion is hauntingly beautiful.


padredw

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Posted: 02/18/20 06:10am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Assuming your route to include Pie Town and Magdalena, agree with possibility of Sedona before those stops. After Magdalena I also agree to scoot up I-25 through Albuquerque to Santa Fe. There are several Forest Service campgrounds around Santa Fe, and one of the nicest COE campgrounds at Cochiti Lake (between Albuquerque and Santa Fe, but closer to Santa Fe). In the Amarillo area there is Palo Duro State Park which would be a nice place for a stopover.





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Posted: 02/18/20 07:59am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

A+ on pie town nice easy place to boondock.

LosAngeles

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Posted: 02/18/20 08:07am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

padredw wrote:

Assuming your route to include Pie Town and Magdalena, agree with possibility of Sedona before those stops. After Magdalena I also agree to scoot up I-25 through Albuquerque to Santa Fe. There are several Forest Service campgrounds around Santa Fe, and one of the nicest COE campgrounds at Cochiti Lake (between Albuquerque and Santa Fe, but closer to Santa Fe). In the Amarillo area there is Palo Duro State Park which would be a nice place for a stopover.


Awesome - great! Yeah Sedona and Santa Fe are both great..... Santa Fe (was there twice recently) might get missed so maybe instead i can go to 4 corners instead... maybe.... Hmmmmm

:-)

Janss

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Posted: 02/18/20 11:32am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Four corners would be backtracking west from Albuquerque. Vendors and a marker that's not exactly in the right place (so I've read). Not worth the detour IMO.

If you do go up I-25, you can catch US36 out of Denver. That was also suggested to me last year.

I forgot to note that it's important to keep an eye on the weather. The higher elevations in Northern AZ, etc. could get an occasional spring snowstorm. I just looked at Potato Patch Campground (from my previous post) website and it doesn't even open until May 1.

doxiemom11

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Posted: 02/18/20 05:14pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

try freecampsites.net they have low cost and boondocking sites listed.

LosAngeles

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Posted: 02/19/20 08:11am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Thanks all, for the great suggestions.

The 2 areas I have not yet found good camping sites yet are after I leave Rocky Point Campground Rd, Santa Rosa, NM and am heading east/northeast on 40/44/55 up to Chicago - I would like to stay about 3 nights along those 1,200 miles…

1st night near Elk City OK (320 miles that day to there) - needing suggestions for camping or boondocking near here. Not on a busy road, but not 40 miles off the freeway either. :-)

2nd night near Joplin, MO (360 miles that day, to around there) (same parameters as the previous night)

3rd night I’ll likely stay at Sangchris Lake State Park - looks very good.

4th nite: arrive in Chicago area.

So any campground suggestions along that route for nights 1 +2?

I’d like to go this way as I have never been to that part of the world at all, plus it is the most direct route to Chicago.

Thanks!

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