Advice on long road trip...

Started Oct 20, 2017 | Discussions
Fishchris
Fishchris Senior Member • Posts: 3,685
Advice on long road trip...

from Sacramento CA, to North Louisiana (near Shreveport, to visit parents). Leaving on Tuesday or Wednesday, and don't have a clue what rout I'm going to take.

The primary reason for this trip, is to visit with my parents, but I'd like to at least make a few shorts stops for photography, and of course would like to time some of those stops for the sunrise, or sunset. Won't have time for hiking.... So nice scenes which can be driven to / through, are what I want.

I just know that I want to see Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon, and (totally feels like the old sci-fi, close encounters of the third kind lol... but I'm am just totally drawn to Shiprock New Mexico... Now, all three of these spots are within a few hours of each other, but about 10-12 hours from Sac. I could easily get to the first of these spots in the first days drive.

I'd like to end up in Shreveport in 5 or 6 days.... Google says its a 1900 mile, 28 hour drive (straight shot of course), so this should allow for a handful of photography stops. What else should I try to see in a mostly East, but slightly Southern rout from Sac to North LA ?

What freeways are best ? Taking my little car for mileage....

Hoping for some T-storms, but dreading snow !

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nevada5
nevada5 Forum Pro • Posts: 12,075
Re: Advice on long road trip...

Fishchris wrote:

from Sacramento CA, to North Louisiana (near Shreveport, to visit parents). Leaving on Tuesday or Wednesday, and don't have a clue what rout I'm going to take.

The primary reason for this trip, is to visit with my parents, but I'd like to at least make a few shorts stops for photography, and of course would like to time some of those stops for the sunrise, or sunset. Won't have time for hiking.... So nice scenes which can be driven to / through, are what I want.

I just know that I want to see Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon, and (totally feels like the old sci-fi, close encounters of the third kind lol... but I'm am just totally drawn to Shiprock New Mexico... Now, all three of these spots are within a few hours of each other, but about 10-12 hours from Sac. I could easily get to the first of these spots in the first days drive.

I'd like to end up in Shreveport in 5 or 6 days.... Google says its a 1900 mile, 28 hour drive (straight shot of course), so this should allow for a handful of photography stops. What else should I try to see in a mostly East, but slightly Southern rout from Sac to North LA ?

What freeways are best ? Taking my little car for mileage....

Hoping for some T-storms, but dreading snow !

It just snowed on Donner Summit - ouch.

The route to Zion should be easy enough. Highly recommended - I lived there for several years just to be connected to to the park (that's the short version.)  I visited Bryce a few times while I lived there (mostly b/c visiting relatives wanted to go) and, my opinion is that it's one you can skip if it's not on your route. Others will have differing opinions.

From Zion or Bryce to Shiprock, the route has few options and the road from Page to Shiprock won't be a fast one.  Maybe consider a side trip to Canyon de Chelley - about an hour out of your way, then back-track out.  The Canyon is one of my favorites, but it is isolated.  Drive on the north and south rims, plenty of pull-offs to more-or-less shoot from the car.  (If you do it, don't miss Spider Rock.)

From there, well, I'd never travel through NM without going to Santa Fe.  You gotta spend the night somewhere, so...

East of there, I can't help you.  Good luck, have fun.

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RUcrAZ
RUcrAZ Veteran Member • Posts: 5,511
Re: Advice on long road trip...

Why not up to Lake Tahoe, then via Bishop, (you'll have Mono Lake, and the ghost town of Bodie, and the high sierras, instead of the boring drive down to LA.) The weather in Bishop looks absolutely great for the next 10 days, at least.

RUcrAZ
RUcrAZ Veteran Member • Posts: 5,511
Two more places ++

Either coming or going... 1) Carlsbad Caverns NM - truly immense and awesome, bring tripod, it's allowed, need 1-10 second exposures. 2) San Antonio, Texas, has the Alamo and the charming River Walk, maybe a nice overnight stop. Also consider "White Sands, NM". Somewhere on your round trip journey, stop over at Las Vegas, of course! From there, return through Death Valley to Bakersfield, then north on I-5, or, weather and time permitting, north via Kings Canyon-Sequoia National Park. I did this part (LV-Sacto) in the spring.)

KENTGA Veteran Member • Posts: 5,945
Re: Advice on long road trip...
1

Chris,

Here's what I'd suggest:

1. Quickest way to South Rim GC. Hwy 99 & 58 to I-40 to Flagstaff. Consider going to Sedona. Great place for landscapes. (1/2 day). Then to GC.

2. Then to New Mexico. Santa Fe old town is very crowded on weekends. I got up early on Sunday AM to make shots. Don't know about the other place in NM you mentioned.

3. Then to Louisanna.

4. On way home- Denver and Rocky Mtn NP (1 1/2 hours N of Denver---- just maybe for RMNP) and come out on western side to I-70. and West to Fruita and take the 22 mile loop thru Colorado Natl Monument (2 hours) then to Moab UT (Arches and Canyonlands and Dead Horse Point Park) ( 2 days) > Capitol Reef NP > Utah Hwy 12 south and consider Burr Trail Rd (paved part) at Boulder (1 1/2 hours) > Kodachrome UT State Park > Bryce ( one afternoon and next morning) > Zion via Eastern entrance (best way to enter for good pix to the Valley).

5. Thru Las Vegas and to Death Valley and up CA Hwy 395 to Lone Pine (Alabama Hills and Mt Whitney) > Bishop (I've got a couple of places if you are interested) > Lee Vining (Mono Lake, Bodie Ghost Town and Eastern Yosemite if the road is open). Then to either Yosemite Valley and home or up to Tahoe and home).

You may want to save some of the stops near your home for another trip.

Let me know if you want more specifics.

I have not allowed any time for hiking but I know you like to hike. Hiking will take up a lot of time. Except for Arches, most of the places I mentioned are basically pulling off the road and making photos and enjoying the scenery.

This is about 4500 miles not counting RMNP or going thru the parks. Keep in mind I'm old and am primarily a landscape shooter. I have been to all of the places I mentioned. If you would like a DVD of jpegs I've put into folders PM me your address and I'll send it to you but it will be after your trip.

Have fun.

Kent

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GCam Veteran Member • Posts: 8,332
Re: Advice on long road trip...

I would go to Zion on the way to Louisiana.  80 to Salt Lake, 15 down to Zion, 15 to 40, 40 to Amarillo, Hwy 287 out of Amarillo to Decatur TX, take 380 to avoid DFW metro area to Hwy 69 south to I-20 above Tyler, 20 to Louisiana.  You can reverse the trip returning to Albuquerque north out of Albuquerque to Shiprock, then north from 4 corners to Bryce, etc.  You will go through a lot of small towns in TX, but the speed limit on the country roads is usually 70-75 and most folks are going faster.  I've driven that route many times, Shiprock and Farmington are two of my favorite places, but I always took 19 north through Cortez CO, before cutting across into Utah.  gc

mfinley Senior Member • Posts: 1,210
Re: Advice on long road trip...

Fishchris wrote:

I just know that I want to see Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon, and (totally feels like the old sci-fi, close encounters of the third kind lol...

If going the northern route via I70 then :

Moab with Arches national park...Canyon Lands national park - dead horse point, and the hardly known but spectacular Goblin Valley state park all offer ridiculous photo opportunities all basically from the car or just short walks from the parking lots... (google those places and click on google images to see the potential if you're not familar with them)

(PS - I don't remember Zion being particularly photogenic without doing a lot of hiking, so do your homework!)

but I'm am just totally drawn to Shiprock New Mexico... Now, all three of these spots are within a few hours of each other, but about 10-12 hours from Sac. I could easily get to the first of these spots in the first days drive.

If going the southern route, I personally don't think Shiprock is anything special compared to what you're passing by to get to it which could be Monument Valley and Antelope Canyon which are 10s on the 1 to 10 scale with Shiprock being maybe a 3 (my opinion). If you're going that southern route instead of the northern route diverting farther south in NM then it's White Sands National Monument, again at least a 8 can be a 10 at sunrise and sunset.

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Fishchris
OP Fishchris Senior Member • Posts: 3,685
Thanks SO much to all ! :)

So I'm going to sit down Monday, and mark pretty much all of the places, each of you mentioned, on a map..... research the ones I don't know about (Google pics makes this SO easy then decide a route, based on the places I want to drive though. Depending on the weather (if its ahorrible blue bird sky) I might kind of blow through a little faster.... then plan to do a reverse trip, with basically the same route.... hoping for a better sky.

Carlsbad caverns... went there once about 45 years ago Don't remember if I brought my 110 instamatic lol

Goblin state park..... Yes, I have seen some amazing shots from there....

Oh and one other cool thing, very close to my parents home, is some fantastic swamp areas, totally surreal. I shot them the last time I was there about 5 years ago, but my camera didn't do well in the low light, and I didn't have a tripod Long story short, the shots look pretty cool in a small file size for posting online, but would suffer big time at pixel level (for large prints) So anxious to redo those shots with my 6D.... and a tripod ...and 5 more years of experience.

Much thanks again to all of you

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mfinley Senior Member • Posts: 1,210
Re: Thanks SO much to all ! :)

You will have a blast whatever route your choose, taking one way out and another on the way back is a great idea. The western states of CO, UT, AZ and NM are photographically so stunning and rich you could spend a lifetime in the area (and more than one person has dating back to the beginnings of photography with large format cameras). Enjoy your trip!

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Fishchris
OP Fishchris Senior Member • Posts: 3,685
Re: Thanks SO much to all ! :)

mfinley wrote:

You will have a blast whatever route your choose, taking one way out and another on the way back is a great idea. The western states of CO, UT, AZ and NM are photographically so stunning and rich you could spend a lifetime in the area (and more than one person has dating back to the beginnings of photography with large format cameras). Enjoy your trip!

Yes ! I just wish I had a motor home, and unlimited time....

Have to work today, but couldn't help but to start looking at some of these places already.... and Wow ! that Canyon de Chelly is amazing, and the white sands of NM are truly white !  A sunset or sunrise over that white sand would be so unbelievably cool !!! I mean, I already saw some that were.... They just need my name on them lol

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brucet
brucet Veteran Member • Posts: 3,039
Re: Thanks SO much to all ! :)

You have in affect two trips. One there and one back.

I would keep an eye on the weather and do a north route east bound and the return can be further south in case winter sneaks in early.

Me? I would stick to Interstate 70 to Grand Junction via Salt Lake City, Rifle and Helper. South from the Grand Junction and pick up Highway 141, (a yet to be flooded with tourist drive!), and 62 to Ouray. Silverton and Durango. Down to Farmington. Cut back to Shiprock. (Caution - I've been there twice in the past few years. Some of the local are not friendly towards photographers). Down to  Interstate 40 east and pick up old Route 66. 40 will help you pick up some time. At Oklahoma city you can drop down to Interstate 20 any number of ways. Look for Caddo Lake, north of Marshal,  for you old swamp images.

Returning home via Interstate 20 and 10 will make up time until you get near Phoenix. Then up into the parks region. Grand Canyon, Zion etc etc etc.

Good luck.

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Gary from Seattle Senior Member • Posts: 2,632
Re: Advice on long road trip...

Although I've never been, if I was taking that drive to Louisiana, I'd visit Big Bend National Park in Texas.

On a more northern route I'd visit Anazasi ruins near Cortez, Colorado.

In New Mexico consider Taos or San de Ilfonso Pueblos and the Sandia mountains out of Albuquerque.

In Arizona consider visiting Acoma or Sky Pueblo to see the Zuni culture.

I suspect Shiprock will not be that big of deal compared to the rest of the landscape you will see.

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KENTGA Veteran Member • Posts: 5,945
Re: Advice on long road trip...

Chris,

Most of the places on my "go-to" list above are rock features and not much greenery like you see around Tahoe and very few waterfalls but the features are varied from place to place. You will see some greenery along CA Hwy 395. You will see some buildings (churches) in Santa Fe and in some of the older towns you'll travel thru. So just keep in mind that I love the places I suggested. IMHO Capitol Reef is one of the best and doesn't get many visitors.

I didn't mention Silverton/ Ouray CO (relatively close to Santa Fe because of all of the other choices.

Arches NP has several hikes to see some of the arches. Also very memorable.

Let us know when you complete your plans.

Kent

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Austinian
Austinian Veteran Member • Posts: 7,448
Re: Advice on long road trip...

(Just a few additions to all the excellent suggestions you and others have made)

Gary from Seattle wrote:

Although I've never been, if I was taking that drive to Louisiana, I'd visit Big Bend National Park in Texas.

Kind of far out of the way; personally I'd do that only if I had lots of time.

On a more northern route I'd visit Anazasi ruins near Cortez, Colorado.

In New Mexico consider Taos or San de Ilfonso Pueblos and the Sandia mountains out of Albuquerque.

Yes, along with Santa Fe those are splendid places to visit.

SF is a good place to take a rest day and see a few of the fantastic art galleries and museums. Photographer hint: some of the finest photos I've ever seen (especially B&W) are at this gallery:

http://www.andrewsmithgallery.com/artists.html

In Arizona consider visiting Acoma or Sky Pueblo to see the Zuni culture.

As I recall the Zuni res and Acoma are in New Mexico between Albuquerque and the AZ border.

I suspect Shiprock will not be that big of deal compared to the rest of the landscape you will see.

I agree. After places like Bryce or GC, IMO Shiprock isn't terribly impressive.

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Fishchris
OP Fishchris Senior Member • Posts: 3,685
Re: Thanks SO much to all ! :)

brucet wrote:

You have in affect two trips. One there and one back.

I would keep an eye on the weather and do a north route east bound and the return can be further south in case winter sneaks in early.

Yes, you are totally right. But the only thing that messes me up, is that say I do one route on the way out, and I don't have anything but a blue bird sky.... Well then, those photos are barely worth saving, or finishing.... but by returning on the same route, I get one more shot, at a better sky / light.

Me? I would stick to Interstate 70 to Grand Junction via Salt Lake City, Rifle and Helper. South from the Grand Junction and pick up Highway 141, (a yet to be flooded with tourist drive!), and 62 to Ouray. Silverton and Durango. Down to Farmington. Cut back to Shiprock. (Caution - I've been there twice in the past few years. Some of the local are not friendly towards photographers).

Hmmmm. Yes, I've read that it is owned by the Native Americans, and is considered to be sacred grounds.... Which I understand, and respect. So I'm just hoping I don't get shot. I'm just SO drawn to that rock !

Down to Interstate 40 east and pick up old Route 66. 40 will help you pick up some time. At Oklahoma city you can drop down to Interstate 20 any number of ways. Look for Caddo Lake, north of Marshal, for you old swamp images.

Yes, I've been to Caddo Lk. I think a late Uncle of mine had a Summer home on it ?

Returning home via Interstate 20 and 10 will make up time until you get near Phoenix. Then up into the parks region. Grand Canyon, Zion etc etc etc.

Have to see Zion fore sure !

Good luck.

Thank you Brucet

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Fishchris
OP Fishchris Senior Member • Posts: 3,685
Re: Advice on long road trip...

Gary from Seattle wrote:

Although I've never been, if I was taking that drive to Louisiana, I'd visit Big Bend National Park in Texas.

Will look this one up...

On a more northern route I'd visit Anazasi ruins near Cortez, Colorado.

In New Mexico consider Taos or San de Ilfonso Pueblos and the Sandia mountains out of Albuquerque.

In Arizona consider visiting Acoma or Sky Pueblo to see the Zuni culture.

I'm not so much into ancient culture types of places...

I suspect Shiprock will not be that big of deal compared to the rest of the landscape you will see.

Maybe..... But that rock just amazes me ! LOVE most of the better photos I have seen of it !

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Fishchris
OP Fishchris Senior Member • Posts: 3,685
Re: Advice on long road trip...

KENTGA wrote:

Chris,

Most of the places on my "go-to" list above are rock features and not much greenery like you see around Tahoe and very few waterfalls but the features are varied from place to place. You will see some greenery along CA Hwy 395. You will see some buildings (churches) in Santa Fe and in some of the older towns you'll travel thru. So just keep in mind that I love the places I suggested. IMHO Capitol Reef is one of the best and doesn't get many visitors.

Capitol Reef, will look it up.

I didn't mention Silverton/ Ouray CO (relatively close to Santa Fe because of all of the other choices.

Arches NP has several hikes to see some of the arches. Also very memorable.

Let us know when you complete your plans.

Kent

Thanks again Kent. I LOVE rock features ! I'm kind of a big rock freak lol We have kind of a running joke, where everytime I see a massive rock, at Tahoe, or Yosemite, or wherever, I always tell my GF... "I want that rock in my front yard" lol

Shiprock would be the ultimate decorative rock in my yard, but they might get mad if I brought it home  lol

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Gary from Seattle Senior Member • Posts: 2,632
Re: Advice on long road trip...

Fishchris wrote:

Gary from Seattle wrote:

Although I've never been, if I was taking that drive to Louisiana, I'd visit Big Bend National Park in Texas.

Will look this one up...

On a more northern route I'd visit Anazasi ruins near Cortez, Colorado.

In New Mexico consider Taos or San de Ilfonso Pueblos and the Sandia mountains out of Albuquerque.

In Arizona consider visiting Acoma or Sky Pueblo to see the Zuni culture.

I'm not so much into ancient culture types of places...

Acoma Pueblo and the 4 corners ruins present lots of opportunities for outstanding photography. Canyon of the Ancients is amazingly photogenic. I've been likely three times to Canyon of the Ancients myself. On one of my last trips I waited at a friend's house in Telluride until there was a snowstorm and photographed ruins with several inches of fresh powder snow and heavily falling snowflakes. Some of the images are outstanding.

I suspect Shiprock will not be that big of deal compared to the rest of the landscape you will see.

Maybe..... But that rock just amazes me ! LOVE most of the better photos I have seen of it !

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Fishchris
OP Fishchris Senior Member • Posts: 3,685
Re: Advice on long road trip...

Austinian wrote:

(Just a few additions to all the excellent suggestions you and others have made)

Gary from Seattle wrote:

Although I've never been, if I was taking that drive to Louisiana, I'd visit Big Bend National Park in Texas.

Kind of far out of the way; personally I'd do that only if I had lots of time.

On a more northern route I'd visit Anazasi ruins near Cortez, Colorado.

In New Mexico consider Taos or San de Ilfonso Pueblos and the Sandia mountains out of Albuquerque.

Yes, along with Santa Fe those are splendid places to visit.

SF is a good place to take a rest day and see a few of the fantastic art galleries and museums. Photographer hint: some of the finest photos I've ever seen (especially B&W) are at this gallery:

http://www.andrewsmithgallery.com/artists.html

In Arizona consider visiting Acoma or Sky Pueblo to see the Zuni culture.

As I recall the Zuni res and Acoma are in New Mexico between Albuquerque and the AZ border.

I suspect Shiprock will not be that big of deal compared to the rest of the landscape you will see.

I agree. After places like Bryce or GC, IMO Shiprock isn't terribly impressive.

Don't get me wrong, I think Bryce, Zion, the GC etc, are all amazing places, but Shiprock just awes me. I've seen lots of pics of it, and I'd just love to get a great one of it myself, which could be printed large on aluminum. This is one of those things that "I know" not everybody would be so thrilled by, as I am.

You ever see the old movie, "Close Encounters of The Third Kind" ??? .....where a bunch of people had images of the big rock (Devils Tower Wyoming) implanted in there brains, and they just had to get to it at all costs ??? Well this is me with Shiprock lol

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Fishchris
OP Fishchris Senior Member • Posts: 3,685
Oooh ! Yea !

Fishchris wrote:

KENTGA wrote:

Chris,

Most of the places on my "go-to" list above are rock features and not much greenery like you see around Tahoe and very few waterfalls but the features are varied from place to place. You will see some greenery along CA Hwy 395. You will see some buildings (churches) in Santa Fe and in some of the older towns you'll travel thru. So just keep in mind that I love the places I suggested. IMHO Capitol Reef is one of the best and doesn't get many visitors.

Just looked up Capitol Reef and wow ! That's cool ! It has a pretty big rock too lol

Capitol Reef, will look it up.

I didn't mention Silverton/ Ouray CO (relatively close to Santa Fe because of all of the other choices.

Arches NP has several hikes to see some of the arches. Also very memorable.

Let us know when you complete your plans.

Kent

Thanks again Kent. I LOVE rock features ! I'm kind of a big rock freak lol We have kind of a running joke, where everytime I see a massive rock, at Tahoe, or Yosemite, or wherever, I always tell my GF... "I want that rock in my front yard" lol

Shiprock would be the ultimate decorative rock in my yard, but they might get mad if I brought it home lol

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