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Old 07-25-2007, 08:24 PM   #21
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One of our last road trips.. Minneapolis to Denver to Utah to Arizona to Las Vegas, realized we were still 'ahead of schedule' so we went over to Napa Valley and then took the PCH to Oregon then Seattle then Montana and back.

Sequoia National Forest and Kings Canyon were amazing. So was Bryce Canyon, the Grand Canyon, Arches, Las Vegas, the Hoover Dam, Napa Valley (silverlode trail, I think, specifically), Zion was nice, so was the area around Boulder, the petrified forest, Wind Cave and the Badlands.

In conclusion, fly into Marquette Michigan and explore Lake Superior. If you plan ahead a bit, you should be able to book an outfitter to go on a kayak tour of the Pictured Rocks shoreline in Munising... go with the company that offers the earliest departure, it'll probably just be you and the guide. Don't worry, they supply everything but lunch.

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Old 07-26-2007, 09:25 AM   #22
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Was in Redwoods, San Franciso area last year. Very nice.

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Old 07-26-2007, 09:46 AM   #23
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Coast or Redwoods, it's all good, Wildcat. You can't go wrong. One thought, though. If you're doing the coast and you have any problem whatsoever with heights, drive south to north. That'll put you on the INSIDE of those cliff-side roads instead of on the ocean side next to the big drops!

I used to laugh at my mother for cringing as my dad drove the cliffs -- but I do the same thing myself now.

Whatever you choose, have a GREAT trip!
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Old 08-14-2007, 08:05 AM   #24
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4 years ago me and some friends backpacked Europe for 3 week. I managed to get my plane ticket with skymiles, so the whole trip for me came out to around $1800. If you were to plan way ahead you might be able to get tickets down to the $600-700 range depending on where you are flying from and too. This $1800 was also including our $400 eurail unlimited passes. With some planning(finding the good but inexpensive hostels) it can become a little more affordable.

Now as far as domestic vacations out west, I know nothing about. Have you already done South America? My cousin went last year to most of the countries and he said that he went on some pack mule excursions through the valleys that were all inclusive for like $80 for 10 days. He said that for an extra 2 dollars a day(per person) they had their own trial chef that traveled ahead and setup camp and cooked all the food before they got there. Plane tickets would still be $$$ but depending on the country, everything else could be inexpensive.
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Old 08-16-2007, 06:12 AM   #25
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Sounds like you narrowed it down to the west coast so I won't plug Panama.
I love the coast of CA. When my wife was pregnant we drove from LA to Santa Barbara (which I love) and then up to Hearst Castle. What a wonderful scenary on PCH 1. It took us a couple days as we spent the night in Santa Barbara and enjoyed the town. Matter of fact we're heading back to SB in a few days then off to Maui.

BTW- I think the vacation packages to other countries are worth while if you don't have a lot of time and are trying to see as much as possible. If you intend to stay longer than a week then you can go venture out without a guide. When we first visited Panama (hadn't been here in 15 years prior) we bought a package deal to see all the areas of Panama. On the second trip we stayed longer and knew where we wanted to spend more time based on the previous trip and had a great time.
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Old 08-20-2007, 06:48 AM   #26
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Hi Wildcat,
The suggestions on this thread are all good and from what you have narrowed it down to, it is hard to see how you could go wrong.
For myself, I enjoy walking, and there is no better way to see some of the natural wonders than one step at a time (also keeps you healthy).
You might consider one of the trips from either ElderHostel or Road Scholar (someone has mentioned those).
I have used Country Walkers Walking Vacations, Walking Tours, Hiking Vacations to Ireland, Europe, Italy as well as Walking the World There are tons more, but from experience these two organizations will show you things and take you places you could never find on your own. I used Country Walkers to trek in the Banff/Lake Louise area and also part of the Lewis and Clark Traiil in Oregon and Washington. I used Walking the World to trek in Spain and also in Corsica. I would not take for that experience and have two more planned for 2008.
You will have a wonderful trip because the destinations you have on your list are wonderful.
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Old 08-20-2007, 11:09 AM   #27
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Wildcat, we like to travel independently, but I have a fairly new and expensively learned rule about tour companies/group stuff (meaning that when I took my mom to Italy last year and ended up with her in a hospital emergency room, I'd have given anything for a native speaker to help me out). If I am going to a country where I don't know the language, I'm going to play it safe and have some structure to the trip and an english-speaking guide. Our upcoming trip to Mongolia will be with a guide from start-to-finish, I think.

But in Belize, which I highly recommend for your Central American jaunt, you can move around easily, since it is english speaking. Go it alone there and discover stuff on your own.
“One day your life will flash before your eyes. Make sure it's worth watching.”
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Old 08-21-2007, 09:25 AM   #28
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Originally Posted by bssc View Post
I would do the US without a tour group. There are tons of things to see.
I have done the international scene and for my money... I couldn't agree more with BSSC! Also, here at home the $ value can be evaluated and the standards in accomodation easily discerned. If you decide to hit AZ give me a holler and I'll buy coffee or whatever the weather dictates!
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Old 08-30-2007, 09:06 PM   #29
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If you're in the mood to do something completely different, you could try some of the cheaper countries in Asia. I found a flight to China a few months back for $850, and the rest of the trip was extremely inexpensive. Compared to what you will spend in Northern CA, you could probably do China or somewhere in SE Asia for the same price.

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