Home Forums Truck Camper Adventure Forum Death Valley, CA -> Chicago: looking for sights, boondocking. April.

Viewing 9 reply threads
  • Author
    Posts
    • #38203
      john.
      Participant

      Death Valley, CA -> Chicago: looking for sights, boondocking. April.

      Hi all

      I have a solo, camping road trip coming up (April) and would like to ask about any MUST SEE things along the way.

      I’d also prefer to do minor roads, and less interstate, as they are prettier, and more interesting to drive along.

      I will be in a 4X4 pop up truck camper, and camping the whole way.
      I prefer very quiet boondocking, and if a campsite – then scenic and mellow and quiet. (nowhere near traffic at all…. / roads)

      Looking for scenic things to see along the way, that are mostly along my route, and also great, quiet campsites and boon docking sites.

      I may check out various HipCamp, Harvest Hosts, Boondockers Welcome, and similar campsites, to meet interesting people along the way.

      I for sure want to go thru Pie Town NM and Magdalena NM (love it there) but East of that I am flexible.
      But don’t want to go 500 miles out of my way……. small detours. 🙂

      Leave Los Angeles (April)

      Death Valley, CA

      Yosemite National Park (weather permitting)

      back down thru Death Valley on the way…. probably

      Magdalena NM

      (When driving from Yosemite to Magdalena NM.
      Any scenic way to avoid Vegas and Kingman and Flagstaff and have it be more scenic? Maybe go thru Sedona somehow?)

      Albuquerque NM

      then…. any sensible way to Chicago….. the most direct way is below, but I can go any way and make any small detours to see great scenery or unusual places between Magdalena NM and Chicago, the final destination.

      The most direct way is below: (small detours are OK, not 500 mile detours)

      Santa Rosa TX

      Amarillo TX

      Oklahoma City

      Tulsa

      Springfield, Missouri

      St Louis

      Springfield, IL

      Bloomington

      Chicago IL.

      Thanks!

    • #38205
      Jefe4x4
      Moderator

      John, it looks as if you have it pretty well skulled out. You might order the National Geographic map of Death Valley. It has all the jeep trails and side roads on it. Ours was invaluable to make sure we were 2 miles from pavement to camp. We’ve been to D.V. many times in the last 40 years and it never gets old. Windy…yes. Once we were broadsided by what’s called a ‘Haboob’ that had to be over 100 mph at times. It was during the night so we didn’t see it coming until this giant hand started shaking our TC enough that I thought it would blow over onto its side. Thankfully, it remained upright. This was also in April, when the temps are starting to rise into the 90’s in the valley.
      The best way to figure out where to go is to leave enough time to wander and find your little gems.

      2020 Ford F-350 XLT FX4 4WD SRW SB SC 7.3L Godzilla Gas TorqShift 10R140 397 amps dual Alt dual batts Frnt Dana 60; Rr Dana M275 E-locker 4.30's 4580/4320/4066# payload 7243# curb wt. 11,300# GVWR 5-er prepped. 2020 Northstar Laredo SC, 12v compressor fridge, cassette, 320w Solar sub zero insulation.

    • #38227
      John Perz
      Participant

      Take a look at this site . . .

      http://www.weirdus.com/states/index.php

      Regards
      John
      I don't like to make plans. They cause the word "PREMEDITATED" to get used in court!
      DON'T FEED THE VULTURES!
      My Body is a Temple! Ancient, Crumbling, Probably Cursed . . .

    • #38254
      john.
      Participant

      Thanks for the great suggestions. 🙂

      The 2 areas I have not yet found good camping sites yet are after I leave Rocky Point Campground Rd, Santa Rosa, NM and am heading east/northeast on 40/44/55 up to Chicago – I would like to stay about 3 nights along those 1,200 miles…

      1st night near Elk City OK (320 miles that day to there) – needing suggestions for camping or boondocking near here. Not on a busy road, but not 40 miles off the freeway either. 🙂

      2nd night near Joplin, MO (360 miles that day, to around there) (same parameters as the previous night)

      3rd night I’ll likely stay at Sangchris Lake State Park – looks very good.

      4th nite: arrive in Chicago area.

      So any campground suggestions along that route for nights 1 +2?

      I’d like to go this way as I have never been to that part of the world at all, plus it is the most direct route to Chicago.

      Thanks!

    • #38256
      Dumb Mick
      Participant

      How is Yosemite on the way to Death Valley? Give it a miss anyway unless you like crowds and noisy campgrounds.

      Be sure to stop at White Sands NP and then drive up to Cloudcroft. The area south and north of Cloudcroft is the best part of New Mexico. Fort Stanton is well worth a stop too. It is just a few miles from Capitan – Smokey The Bear’s grave.

      BTW, for all of you I cannot recommend too highly Benchmark Travel Atlases. They have one for each western state. I am a geographer so take my word!
      You can order them on their website: benchmarkmaps.com

      It’s good to be a n00b - so I can aspire to be just stoopid.

      Monrovia, CA

    • #38258
      john.
      Participant

      Hi ‘Dumb Mick’

      Obviously Yosemite isn’t between Death Valley and Chicago.

      However I have always wanted to go – in my opinion some stunning scenery, and also early April is supposedly a great time to go – very few people, and somewhat quiet.
      Some roads will be closed. Fine with me.

      Thanks for the other tips. Appreciated.

      How is Yosemite on the way to Death Valley? Give it a miss anyway unless you like crowds and noisy campgrounds.

      Be sure to stop at White Sands NP and then drive up to Cloudcroft. The area south and north of Cloudcroft is the best part of New Mexico. Fort Stanton is well worth a stop too. It is just a few miles from Capitan – Smokey The Bear’s grave.

      BTW, for all of you I cannot recommend too highly Benchmark Travel Atlases. They have one for each western state. I am a geographer so take my word!

      You can order them on their website: benchmarkmaps.com

    • #38271
      wellsdesigned
      Participant

      Rather than hitting Death Valley twice, I suggest going over Highway 120 in Yosemite, catch 395 south for a few miles and back on 120 east into Nevada and then go east on 6 at Benton. Be sure to gas up in Tonopah, but stay on 6 east until you get to NV 375 at Warm Springs NV. This takes you on the Extra Terrestrial highway right past Area 51. Rachel NV is the Area 51/alien place for a quirky stop. Plus the way described is very open Nevada at its best. From there I suggest aiming your way for the North Rim of the Grand Canyon and then following your whims down into NM.

      For boondocking, look into getting permits from the Indian reservations you will be passing through.

      Tom
      Sacramento CA
      2003 Eagle Cap 850 Camper
      2019 Ram 3500 SRW 6.4 L Gasser

    • #41524
      Janice Meyers
      Participant

      Hey John, I hope you are having an awesome trip. You should be seeing an amazing display of wildflowers in California!
      I am curious to know if Death Valley, Yosemite and other parks were open? Their websites have been reporting they are closed due to COVID.
      We love exploring the Death Valley area and agree with Jefe that it never gets old.
      Tom’s route through Nevada looks interesting. Our son lives in Sparks, so I hope to check that out.
      Say Tom, how do you get permits from the Indian Reservations?
      Stay well and happy trails, Janice

    • #41525
      john.
      Participant

      Hi Janice – trip cancelled due to CV19.

      maybe another time – 2021 or later.

      John

    • #41677
      wellsdesigned
      Participant

      I haven’t gotten the reservation permits. Always been able to find a national park or BLM campground in the area if you are willing to drive just a bit more or plan ahead.

      Tom
      Sacramento CA
      2003 Eagle Cap 850 Camper
      2019 Ram 3500 SRW 6.4 L Gasser

Viewing 9 reply threads
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.