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Old 09-21-2018, 09:10 PM   #1
aggie182
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Default Planning an 11 Night Pop-Up Camper Adventure - TX, NM, AZ, CO

I posted this on a pop-up camper forum, but figured maybe some of the folks here have done something similar so I figured I'd cross-post here.

The wife and I are planning an adventure with the kids for this coming summer (7 year old girl, 8 year old boy). We're trying to pack as much as we can in to an 11 night adventure. I'm trying to walk the fine line between seeing as much as we can and not being overly ambitious. We'll be dragging our Forest River Rockwood 1910ESP Pop-up. I'm looking to make the longest 2 drive days the first and last days since we won't have to break down the first morning or set up the last evening since we'll be at home. The idea was to build this trip around the 2 nights at the South Rim. The wife and I have been to both the South Rim and North Rim and felt like the South Rim would be better for the kids' first trip there.

Tentatively, we're looking at this, with everything subject to change:

7/4-Home in Houston Area to Carlsbad Caverns NP (drive time 9:50)

7/5-Carlsbad Caverns NP

7/6-Carlsbad Caverns to Gallup, NM (drive time 6:57)

7/7-Gallup, NM to South Rim Trailer Village (drive time 4:08, plus stop at Meteor Crater and
possible swing through Petrified Forest NP)

7/8-South Rim

7/9-South Rim to Mesa Verde NP (drive time 5:23, plus stop at 4 corners)

7/10-Mesa Verde NP

7/11-Mesa Verde NP to Roswell, NM (drive time 7:30)

7/12-Mesa Verde NP to Balmorhea State Park (TX) (drive time 3:46)

7/13-Balmorhea State Park

7/14-Balmorhea State Park to Home in Houston Area (8:10)


I'd love to hear thoughts, suggestions, tips, can't miss stops along the way, etc. We may flip-flop Balmorhea and Carlsbad Caverns but that won't change the core of the trip. The stop in Gallup is a bit random but it seemed like the best spot between Carlsbad Caverns and the South Rim.

Last edited by aggie182; 09-21-2018 at 09:18 PM. Reason: Ha! I'm an idiot, it's only 10 nights
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Old 09-21-2018, 09:31 PM   #2
Winman
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I read somewhere recently that the pool was closed at Balmorhea. You may want to check.
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Old 09-21-2018, 09:34 PM   #3
Winman
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I read somewhere recently that the pool at Balmorhea was closed for repairs. You may want to check.
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Old 09-21-2018, 09:38 PM   #4
aggie182
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Quote:
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I read somewhere recently that the pool was closed at Balmorhea. You may want to check.
It is. We saw that and figured it would be open by Summer, 2019. If not, we'd switch that out for sure. Most likely, Guadalupe Mountain NP or another State Park.
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Old 09-21-2018, 09:39 PM   #5
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Depending on your kids they may like Bedrock City near the Grand Canyon. It is on the way and would just be stop for an hour or so. There is also Guadalupe Peak if yall are hikers. I did it with my 3 kids a few years ago when they were 6, 9 and 12. They all made it to the top. It is the highest point in TX. Good advice above about Balmorhea. It was being repaired last time I checked. Bring warm clothes. The Grand Canyon is cold in the summer at night and monsoon season is just starting.
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Old 09-23-2018, 08:15 PM   #6
knucklehead
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If it was spring, you could see baseball in Phoenix. I'm not sure what there is in Gallup. Meteor Crater is nothing but a hole in the ground, but very impressive hole in the ground. I recommend. Petrified Forest is meh . Try to fit in some Sante Fe NM and Happy Jack AZ. You're on the right track
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Old 09-23-2018, 08:21 PM   #7
stickerpatch59
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Have fun!!!
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Old 09-23-2018, 08:24 PM   #8
aggie182
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I'm not sure what there is in Gallup.
Gallup would be a one nighter. It was a convenient stop before the Canyon and has a Walmart, etc. so we could replenish food supplies and what not before hitting National Parks for the next 4 nights.
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Old 09-23-2018, 08:26 PM   #9
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Planning this trip may be half the fun. The plans are evolving and there's a lot of "What if we do ........." discussions. I may enjoy the planning and research more than the trip itself. As long as the wife and kids enjoy the trip, I'll be a happy camper.
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Old 09-23-2018, 08:30 PM   #10
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The hard part is figuring out how much driving between stops is too much. Google Maps gives me miles and duration, but figuring how much to add to that duration may prove difficult having bathroom stops and the typical slowdown from dragging a trailer through unfamiliar terrain.

We should have a minimum of 6 trips under our belt before this excursion so hopefully we'll iron out the kinks of set-up and tear down and figure out what we need and what is just extra crap. We picked up the pop up yesterday. I'll post photos in the next post with my phone.
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Old 09-23-2018, 08:31 PM   #11
topduarte
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If you are close to Grants, NM I would highly recommend this:

https://www.newmexico.org/blog/post/...ndera-volcano/

This was our hidden gem find on our 5,600 Griswold trip summer 2017.
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Old 09-23-2018, 08:32 PM   #12
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The deer love this thing, look back behind the trailer.





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Old 09-23-2018, 08:58 PM   #13
knucklehead
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Quote:
Originally Posted by topduarte View Post
If you are close to Grants, NM I would highly recommend this:

https://www.newmexico.org/blog/post/...ndera-volcano/

This was our hidden gem find on our 5,600 Griswold trip summer 2017.
I've not been here, but it is probably 1000X better than Gallup NM. I would not recommend staying in Gallup. Push to Flagstaff or detour to Durango. I think you've got one heck of a road trip planned. Please invite me!

I have my own tent!

Last edited by knucklehead; 09-23-2018 at 09:13 PM. Reason: im a dumbass
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Old 09-23-2018, 09:12 PM   #14
Pedernal
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Nice trailer!! Sounds like a fun trip...
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Old 09-23-2018, 09:59 PM   #15
MikeP
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Thatís going to be a lot of set ups and take downs with a pop up. I would suggest staying a couple of nights at each place and cutting your list of places to stay in half. Only see/stay at the top few places you want to go.


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Old 09-24-2018, 07:03 AM   #16
Texas Tracker
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeP View Post
Thatís going to be a lot of set ups and take downs with a pop up. I would suggest staying a couple of nights at each place and cutting your list of places to stay in half. Only see/stay at the top few places you want to go.


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x2 A vacation should be relaxing not stressful.
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Old 09-24-2018, 08:15 AM   #17
aggie182
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeP View Post
Thatís going to be a lot of set ups and take downs with a pop up. I would suggest staying a couple of nights at each place and cutting your list of places to stay in half. Only see/stay at the top few places you want to go.


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We were talking about exactly this last night. It's tough with the Grand Canyon being 3 driving days and needing to fit it in to 11 days. We also talked about staying in a hotel a night each way to minimize the set ups.

I appreciate the tips. We checked out Grants, NM last night. Looks like there's a lot around there. The plan above will be evolving quite a bit I'm sure. Things will fall in to place as we get closer. The one thing that is for sure is that there will be no shortage of things to look at in the upcoming months as we plan, replan, and begin to finalize a plan that is subject to change anyway.
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Old 09-24-2018, 08:27 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by topduarte View Post
If you are close to Grants, NM I would highly recommend this:

https://www.newmexico.org/blog/post/...ndera-volcano/

This was our hidden gem find on our 5,600 Griswold trip summer 2017.
Been there 17yrs ago...really neat to see that ice cave in 100degree weather...it's nice and cool (temperature wise) when you get down there....the lava tubes are neat too...interesting place...Mal Paiz is what it's called I believe...
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Old 09-24-2018, 09:17 AM   #19
In-Yo-Grill
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Not a big fan of New Mexico but Arizona and Colorado are the shiznit. The wife and I did 11 days of dispersed camping in the mountains in our teardrop camper. It was the most peaceful time I've ever had. Did some biking and fishing between Salida and Pagosa Springs.
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Old 10-11-2018, 04:02 PM   #20
aggie182
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We reassessed and reworked the trip idea.

We're thinking about getting up near Colorado Springs (Larkspur, Manitou Springs, Woodland Park, etc.) for 6-7 nights and using that as a basecamp. We'd be under 2-3 hours to a lot of things. Also some of the thing's we do, the journey to/from would be a big part of that day's destination, if that make sense. We also thought about 3-4 nights down in the Pueblo/Canon City area, then moving up to Grand Lake or Estes Park (or possibly Winter Park) for 3-4 nights. If I had to guess now, Colorado is the way we're leaning.

A wild card idea is to get to Page, AZ. That would put us less than 2.5 hours from the South Rim, North Rim, Zion, Antelope Canyon, and other awesome stuff. The big downside here is that it will be much warmer at our basecamp which would likely be near Lake Powell.
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Old 10-11-2018, 04:55 PM   #21
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Some of those areas are pretty hot in July. I would head up to the Lake City, Ouray, Telluride area. Perfect base area less driving more outdoors. Day trip or overnight in Moab. Get the high desert and mountain environment all together.

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