American West road trip graphic

Lots of people have asked me to share some details about the itinerary of our trip, and I’m happy to oblige. If this sort of thing excites and delights you, don’t hesitate to get in touch with more detailed questions.

Background

In May-June this year, my husband, four-year-old son and I took a nearly 10,000km road trip around the American West with our tiny 1974 Trillium fiberglass camper trailer, beginning and ending at our home in Vancouver, Canada. (You can find photos and more about the trip if you look up #werkersontheroad on Instagram.)

A Few More Details

I planned our overall route to optimize the distance we could travel in the time we had. In order to do this – without having long drives every day – we decided to sacrifice some places we really wanted to visit. We chose those places based on how easy it would be to get there another time. For example, my favourite canyon in all the land is Bryce, but we didn’t go there (nor to Zion National Park). To go to those parks and also go to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon (where we wanted to go instead of the North Rim because of the vintage train you can take there from Williams, AZ, and we have a vintage-transportation-obsessed four-year-old) requires about a week, on account of having to drive around that giant hole in the ground. But you can easily get to Zion and Bryce from Las Vegas, and you can always get a cheap flight to Las Vegas. So one day, we’ll take a much shorter, week-long holiday and do just that. And we didn’t go to Yosemite, because we had to get to Southern California in time to meet my parents there for Legoland and Disneyland, which was a part of the trip that was booked long in advance of our more detailed route planning.

Originally, we intended to leave on May 3rd and return no later than June 12th (we ended up getting back home on the 10th). We booked campsites in state parks or RV campgrounds in the places I anticipated would be hardest to book on the fly due to popularity, etc. (Turns out I was wrong in most cases – in most places, at this time of year, we could have just driven up and gotten a site. This does not hold true for national park campgrounds that do not accept reservations – in most cases, we would have been out of luck if we’d tried to show up for a site at any of those, especially because, due to the distance we were covering, it was impossible for us to show up early enough in the day to snag one.) We held off on booking places to camp (both at a high-level in terms of the locale, and more granularly in terms of the exact campground) for other stops (Big Sur; Grants, NM, and everything after Yellowstone, for example).

In the end, we all wish we’d had more time for this trip. It was an ambitious itinerary for just thirty-eight days. At the same time, we managed to set aside thirty-eight days! That’s the time we had, and we milked it for all it was worth. And that involved throwing touristy stuff to the wind in favour of just chilling out sometimes. Because, especially with a young kid, you just need to do that occasionally.

We’re already discussing where we’ll go next, and how we’ll manage to carve out another big chunk of time. Ok, the details:

Map

Here’s an interactive map of our driving itinerary. You can click on any of the numbered stops for more info about where we went, and for some photos. (If you’re reading this in a feed reader, you may need to click through to the post to see these embedded features.)

Text List

And here’s the itinerary in list form (scroll down within the embedded list to get to the bottom). Obviously, we went to more places than are listed here; these are mostly the places where we slept. If you have questions about what we did or saw in any particular place(s), don’t be shy.

Do you have a favourite of any of the places we went? (I’ll write more soon about our favourites!)