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wanderlust

Discussion in 'Non-Vegas Chat' started by raraavis, Jun 28, 2012.

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  1. raraavis

    raraavis VIP Whale

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    i came back from vegas last weekend (trip report to follow soon). surprisingly, i am not suffering from post-trip depression like i usually do. :thumbsup: however, i suddenly am experiencing a strong wanderlust and not one for big city traveling.:biker: i really want to do a trip involving nature instead of cities (like san francisco, washington d.c., or new orleans). i've grown up going camping and enjoying hiking/biking/walking/swimming in lakes. my fiance grew up in the bronx...so um he is not so comfortable in a tent in nj with bears roaming around (we discovered this a couple of years ago when i finally convinced him to go camping). needless to say, we have not been back in a tent. my fiance has agreed that we should go to a national park like yellowstone or grand teton. i haven't been in the north or northwest (farthest north and northwest i've been is michigan). i actually haven't even been to california. :rolleyes2: but i digress.

    i'm trying to determine the best place to go in the u.s. i really can't afford to travel often, and usually the once a year vegas trip is all i can do. but something came over me this week when i realized that i want to travel, and waiting years and years until i feel financially secure is silly since i am a paranoid person and probably never will feel financially secure. i've always wanted to travel, but this feeling was different. i am sick of worrying about saving money to the point where i am not enjoying life. yeah, i have huge student loans to pay back. we're getting married next year, so we have wedding costs. oh and we're looking to buy a house within a year or two as well. so these are some big big expenses. i also don't have benefits at work, which means i don't get paid time off. whenever, i take a vacation, i lose part (or all) of my paycheck. so in addition to the actual cost of taking a break, i lose income too. buuuuuuut i just was notified i would be getting a 20% raise effective july 2. :woohoo:

    i realized that putting off travel is not necessary. we want to have kids in the next couple of years, and everyone i know that has kids puts off travel until the kids are such and such age. also expenses tighten when you have kids (especially if you'll be going from two incomes to one), so you're less likely to travel. another reason to travel now instead of waiting is i am in good health. who knows what could happen in the future. traveling now is easy on me mentally and physically. same goes for my fiance.

    i don't really know what our budget would be since i don't know what is realistic for trips like these. my fiance and i are pretty frugal, and i am confident we can do some more traveling on a small budget. we are in nj, so driving to these places would be crazy...however we want to be able to take our dog, so it seems like a road trip would be required. do you think it is a good idea to take our dog on trips like these? or would it be better to leave him with our dog sitter?:confused:

    basically, i am asking for some suggestions from fellow travelers. please only suggest locations you personally have visited. i am considering yellowstone, grand teton, mt. rushmore, badlands/black hills. anyone been to these places? anyone have other favorites? thanks!!:wave:
     
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2012
  2. bigdogmom

    bigdogmom VIP Whale

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    I've been to all the places you mentioned. Yellowstone and the Tetons are awesome; you really can't go wrong with a trip there. From a driving perspective you could easily do the Black Hills, Mt. Rushmore, Yellowstone, and the Tetons in one trip (and Devil's Tower, too) but from a time perspective... Well, how much time were you thinking about taking for this trip?? You won't want to rush through Yellowstone and the Tetons.

    I'd leave the dog at home if I were you. He won't be allowed in the visitor centers or on most trails in the parks so either he'd be in the car or one of you would stay outside with him or you'd both miss a lot...

    If Colorado wasn't on fire this summer :( I'd say come out here; lots of wonderful places to visit like Rocky Mountain Nat'l Park, Pikes Peak, Black Canyon of the Gunnison, and Grand Mesa to name just a few. Maybe another year. :)
     
  3. raraavis

    raraavis VIP Whale

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    ah, now i didn't know that dogs aren't allowed on many of the trails. good to know! we obviously wouldn't bring him along just to have him sit in the car! :nono: i thought he would be able to do a lot with us.

    and you bring up a good topic i forgot to mention: length of trip. this is another area i am unsure on since i don't have realistic knowledge of the time it would take to enjoy the various parks/monuments. it would be at least a week (especially if we're driving) but no more than 2. since we might not be taking our dog, i am open to flying and then renting a car (if airfare is cheap enough) in order to give us more sightseeing time. i'm also not a huge fan of traveling in a car for extended periods of time. my trip home to michigan is about 9 hours, and it's horrible. yellowstone is about a 36 hour drive...however, i could try to plan a more touristy car ride where we are stopping off at various sightseeing destinations. i'll have to think about this one. i think a road trip like that would eat up a lot of my vacation time and make me rush through the actual parks.

    yeah, colorado places are on hold for the time being unfortunately, but i am adding your suggestions to my travel bucketlist. thanks so much for your insight! :nworthy:

    i also thought of another question: when is the best time of year to go to the northern areas (not national parks in places like tennessee)?
     
  4. ken2v

    ken2v This Space For Rent

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    My parents did a beyond-admirable job of dragging me around North America. Hell, I thought a tent was a Ritz-Carlton! America is truly blessed for its natural places; those we've not felt functioned better strip-mined, clear-cut or turned into an amusement park/mall or a reservoir. I'm a westerner, so I think we have the market cornered; thankfully I've been able to experience the rest to now how cool it all is.

    I think your decision should begin with time: how long it takes to get to your stepping-off point and how that drive time impacts your time in the destination.

    You also should strongly consider crowds. Yosemite, for instance, IS a wonder. In season the valley is a parking lot. Such is the hazard of loving our parks to death. Thankfully, most turistas don't get beyond the scenic turnout, which is good for those who are inclined to get out and actually see stuff. Yet at many parks the backcountry might seem surprisingly crowded and the regular campgrounds are packed.

    I can give you a million reasons to check out Utah. The Sierra. The Cascades. Montana. Southwestern Colorado. Northward in the Canadian Rockies. Etc.

    Wanderlust is a GREAT thing.

    I'm heading out in an hour or so for a quick bit of a trip. Let's chat early next week before my next trip begins. :thumbsup:
     
  5. HoyaHeel

    HoyaHeel Grammar Police & Admin

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    I may have said this before, but if you visited Yellowstone in the summer of 1977 and caught measles, I apologize:eek:

    My parents dragged me around too. LOVED IT. I love to travel today because I was exposed to it when I was a kid. My husband's parents dragged him around too, which is great. I would never have been able to marry a homebody!

    There is a ton of information on national & state parks online (I think sometimes state parks are overlooked because the "big" parks get all the attention -I know I'm guilty of it though I make a concerted effort - here in NC and when I lived in Utah and was exploring the intermountain west....) I'm a fan of travel during the shoulder season - cheaper prices, often better weather, and fewer kids. Er, "crowds":ssst: If you don't have to take a vacation June-August, DON'T.

    There's another thread on a similar topic within the last 6 months, because I remember writing about wanting to visit Yellowstone and/or Glacier in the winter.....I'm odd that way:Þ

    Since you're on the East Coast, maybe start with some weekend or long weekend trips where you can drive - northern New England & upstate NY have some amazing places to visit! Cute B&Bs instead of a tent (while I would camp when I was younger, I do not sleep in a tent now. Nope. A cabin I could handle ;-)
     
  6. Bruinfan1

    Bruinfan1 Tourist

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    Welcome to the world of outdoor recreational travel! It'd be very difficult to cover all of the things to know in a few online posts...plus it would spoil your chance to discover them for yourself! Thankfully there are very few things you must know before you go, although there's lots to learn that might cause some minor inconvenience as you learn the ropes.

    Couple of things I'll add here:

    1. Dogs are allowed (on-leash) in Canadian national parks. Please treat trails as the sidewalks that they are, and clean up behind your pet. Note that in heavily-travelled areas, neither people nor dogs are allowed off-trail, so don't expect to use it as a grassy median.
    2. Dogs often aren't the best travellers. More so than humans. (Who many times aren't good travellers either!) If you've never travelled with your pet, show some respect and trial something shorter than a 3-week epic excursion, or a week of on-leash and kennel time in a park. If your dog is a veteran traveller with you...hopefully this is the next great adventure for fido! Also, dogs and (large) wildlife often don't get along, so caution if you're going for back-country hikes.
    3. Travelling with an infant is absolutely fantastic...except for when the plane takes off and lands. :) So don't rule out travel in the near future, especially by car. Toddlers are a little more challenging....
    4. If you've never been to the mountains...go to the mountains. Perhaps not the Eastern Front in Colorado, but that leaves lots of places. I'd suggest the Canadian Rockies if you have a passport. If not, Montana is almost as nice, especially if you're driving.
    5. Budget $100/day for accommodation (since you're not tent types), $100/day for getting-around expenses, $100pp for food, entertainment, and personal. If you drive from Jersey, put aside $1000 for car expenses, like a tune-up and inspection before you go. When it turns out that all you need is an oil change...you magically have money for your next Vegas trip! :cheers:

    Congratulations on the raise - go celebrate it in the great outdoors!
     
  7. Bruinfan1

    Bruinfan1 Tourist

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    Do Yellowstone first - more to do, more services, more help if something goes wrong (and in winter, it can go wrong fast). Glacier is definitely a place to get away from it all in winter. Great skiing (nordic back-country in the park; downhill next door) but basically nothing and no one else. Might as well find a spot in the Arctic - probably better rescue services in the Arctic.
     
  8. LucyR.

    LucyR. VIP Whale

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    Make your new travel dreams a reality!

    You need to really start doing some research on where you really want to travel to and just start making plans. It can be done.

    Regarding your dog: Leave the dog home because your dog has NEEDS like having to make potty stops, feeding time, barking in a hotel room, picking up ticks on body in the woods, etc.

    You will not be able to go to resturants to eat because your dog would have to stay in the hot car outside.

    I have traveled with my small doggie and she had all of those needs. I had to buy Take-out foods and we would eat in the hotel room at the Hilton where they allowed dogs. She barked sooo loud one time when the telephone repair man had to fix my room telephone. The hotel neighbors complained and the Hotel warned me that they would throw me out of the hotel if my dog barked some more. I would lose my hotel money too if I had to leave the hotel. My dog can scream real loud. She is a J.R. dog.
    I also had to be careful that other dogs wouldn't start a fight with my dog.
    She is ready to fight back or start a fight with another dog.

    My dog liked Motel 6 better but I am not the Motel 6 type of traveler.lol.
    I had to pack my own towels, sheets, pillows and comforters to feel better at that hotel. I also packed a doggie carrier to put her in when necessary.
    My dog had her own packed bag too. She had a great time but it was work
    taking her along on my trip.

    Leave the dog at home because your dog could run away in the woods and never find her/him. The dog is safer at home.
    Remember.... it is your vacation and you should have fun. Lucy
     
  9. dfalk

    dfalk VIP Whale

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    haha me too! I've slept in more tents and campers than I have motels.
     
  10. mikenhe

    mikenhe VIP Whale

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    I'm thinking along the same lines as Hoya...

    How about a trip up the coast.. Cape Cod, Bar Harbor, Novia Scotia, bay of fundy.

    Accomadation is reasonable around there if you aren;t too picky.

    I've done hotels and also a yurt on cape cod.. pretty good. plus you can drive all of it and bring the dog.. keeps the cost way down.
     
  11. vegasbound

    vegasbound Moderator

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    Good information has already been shared over logistics.

    I will add vacations are life experiences and for those that enjoy them, they should be made a priority. All work and no play isn't healthy. Traveling is something we've always enjoyed, whether it was a week in Vegas or a weekend camping trip. My husband and I never took many trips growing up, but since we found each other it is something important to us both.

    In recent years, we've made travel priority in our lives. We have adjusted our living expenses to include travel. We have created seperate savings accounts for trips. We have a wanderlist in writing, we're crossing places off at a fairly quick pace. Long weekends are key for us to maximize time off. There is never a guarantee of tomorrow, we should all do more of what makes us happy. Afterall, if not now, when?
     
  12. raraavis

    raraavis VIP Whale

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    thanks ken! that is awesome that your parents took you to all of those places.

    unfortunately, we are not experienced hikers, so we might need to stick to basic trails. i definitely want to do more than the simple scenic overlook type stuff. we wouldn't be going this summer; i'm thinking fall. even though i don't get paid time off, my supervisor is really good about letting me take time off whenever i want. summer is just too hectic for us, so i don't see us traveling until september or so.

    have fun on your trip!
     
  13. raraavis

    raraavis VIP Whale

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    1977 huh? no worries; i wasn't born yet ;)


    thanks hoya; sorry i missed the earlier thread. i better use that search function better! i've been reading up on various places online (before i posted this thread), but i just wanted personal opinions on what is a must see. there is so much out there to see (not complaining!), and i don't know where to start. :faint:

    about sticking to the east coast (just went to maine last summer), i really want different scenery, ya know? i got it in my head to go west (possibly because i just got back from vegas). i been to a few great places on the east coast and also lots of great places in michigan (upper peninsula). i want to experience one of the national parks, one of the big ones. i'm not a fan of the b&b experience in general; but i'm feeling a need to sleep in a tent...i know, i'm weird. :rolleyes2: i wouldn't mind a cabin as well. i think i just want to go somewhere a little more isolated. yeah i know, yellowstone isn't exactly isolated. :)
     
  14. HoyaHeel

    HoyaHeel Grammar Police & Admin

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    I thought the last time I slept in a tent was March 1994, but then I remembered I slept in one ~2002 at Sun n Fun in Florida. Ugh.

    But in March 1994, I was a senior in college and had just bought my first car when I was home on spring break. My best friend and I drove it to Zion (my mom was living in SLC at the time; we were visiting & skiing and I was getting set for grad school in Utah). We camped and hiked at Zion - was great fun, very quiet that time of year. And we know why - we were caught in a blizzard on the drive home and spent the night at a rest area in Beaver Utah:confused2: I visited a lot of the parks in Utah, but I'm just not a western girl. The red rock and the tall mountains that many find so awe-inspiring do very little for me. But ya gotta see 'em all yourself to be able to come to that conclusion:peace: (I much prefer the coast of Maine or the rolling hills of Virginia and North Carolina!)

    I saw Mt Rushmore as a kid (same trip as measles at Yellowstone) and thought it was cool, but I really appreciated it more as an adult - we went to a wedding in South Dakota, November 2001, and drove up to see it while we were there. Especially having seen (and loved) North by Northwest and seeing shows about its creation on the Discover channel - it's more meaningful. Nearby, Custer State Park is beautiful to visit.
     
  15. HoyaHeel

    HoyaHeel Grammar Police & Admin

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    Here's the older Yellowstone thread:thumbsup:
     
  16. NickPapageorgio

    NickPapageorgio OG of the Sal Sagev Hotel

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    With location and $$$ being the priority considerations, mixed in with an outdoorsy, pet friendly twist, I think I have a winner:

    The Shenendoah River runs through the Shenendoah Mountains, approximately 70 miles west of DC..... There are pet friendly campsites, tubing on the river, and wonderful wineries.... Actually the best i've been to outside of Napa and Tuscany.

    Do it... you won't regret it. Shenendoah River Outfitters (SRO) does a great job, whether you want primitive camping or riverfront cabins. I also highly recommend Naked Mountain Winery (VERY dog friendly) and Three Fox Vineyards, both in Delaplane, VA.

    Nick:beer:
     
  17. raraavis

    raraavis VIP Whale

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    thanks for the in depth response! i am definitely not an outdoor traveler. i enjoy the outdoors, but i think i am really inexperienced (meaning, i am lacking in survival skills). but i would love to learn!

    1. well, i am only interested in u.s. national parks at the moment, not canadian. but i will research info about dogs in the parks because we would love to bring our pooch with us.

    2. our dog has traveled with us in the past, mostly to michigan (so those are 9 hour car rides), and he does very well. he's not a veteran traveler though, so i don't know if that long of a road trip would be hard on him. it might.

    3. i didn't mean to imply that people with kids can't or won't travel. i just meant that most people i know with kids want to travel, but something always comes up or gets in the way. they usually have to put travel on a back burner. so i was just saying i don't want to keep postponing travel, especially since we don't have kids now. i think it is much easier to travel without kids. it's not like when we have kids, i'm going to keep them in a bubble haha. i want them to experience things too. but i would feel more comfortable exploring some of these national parks without kids first to know what to expect when we do decide to bring them.

    4. we have passports, but i prefer to check out my own country before i move on to others. :) i don't think we're going to go as far as montana, though i would love to visit that state someday.

    5. oh no, i am a tent type, and i am still trying to convert my fiance, whether he likes it or not! :evillaugh but you're right, i might have to ease him into it and will probably have to budget for accommodations. that's a good point about putting money aside and not using it, then having our next vegas trip paid for! we will probably rent a car. we usually rent a car for our michigan road trips.

    i am really thinking of doing yellowstone first, but we are shying away from winter time. we aren't big winter sports people, and frankly i need more outdoor experience before i venture into winter escapades. :)

    thanks for the pm; i appreciate the help! i'll respond to that soon too. :wave:
     
  18. raraavis

    raraavis VIP Whale

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    well, i've already started the research aspect; i'm looking for the opinion portion of it now. :thumbsup:

    the points you make about the dog:
    einstein is not a barker, and he gets along with every dog he's ever met. he doesn't seem to chase squirrels, birds, etc.

    no problem with potty breaks as we only had to stop once on our 9 hour drive to michigan (well, we stopped more than that, but he only had to go once). he is very good with potty stuff. he never wanted to eat while we were stopped, so we simply put his food bowl in the seat with him, and he enjoyed his food while we drove. we try not to eat out that often, especially on camping trips. so there's no worry about feeling hindered by our dog. i am well aware of the limits we would have having a dog with us.

    ticks? we actually took one off of him last weekend. the dog sitter lives in a more remote part of new jersey, and einstein was in the woods a lot. even the dog sitters had ticks on themselves! we're used to that stuff (plus he has his flea and tick meds). i'm more worried that a hawk will carry him off! ok ok, maybe not since he's 20 lbs. but he definitely wouldn't be able to fight off wild animals. that's really my only concern with taking him on a more nature-ish vacation.

    yeah, we obviously don't want him running away! that is a concern, but he would be leashed at all times. he also has a microchip in him that would hopefully help if he got lost. they actually have collars with gps built into them, and i might consider something like that if we were to take him on hikes. but you're right, the dog is definitely safer at home. but i think he would really enjoy the experience.

    thanks for the suggestions! :wave:
     
  19. raraavis

    raraavis VIP Whale

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    i would love to see nova scotia actually! since we do live here on the east, i would rather go somewhere entirely different for a week long excursion. i want to save the east coast stuff for long weekends i think. but thanks!
     
  20. raraavis

    raraavis VIP Whale

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    thank you!! :nworthy:
     
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