US Rocky Mountain - Advice for an Australian couple visiting the USA | OVERLAND BOUND COMMUNITY

US Rocky Mountain Advice for an Australian couple visiting the USA

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BCNP4runner

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Thanks BCNP4Runner, I was not aware of how the UHF radio specs in the USA differed from Australia - which is a dumb rookie error on my part. I'll do some more research about the technical aspects of swapping the antenna cable from the existing UHF to the input of a US spec one. We have a handheld as well as the vehicle mounted unit - comes in handy when someone is spotting for you - which I expect we can leave at home now. As a foreigner and visitor to your country I think I should pay the licence fee, it's the right thing to do. I'd also hate to have a police record that may make it awkward to get a visa in the future. Despite the enforcement situation, I am a firm believer in the old saying "Murphy's law states that if anything can go wrong it will, and Murphy was an optimist".

Four Corners and Monument Valley are on my list for sure, and the Chaco Canyon has just been added - thank you. I do want to get to Ouray (is it OO-ray or You-ray, I've heard both) and join a Overland Bound meet up in the area if possible - but not Black Bear.
The locals pronounce Ouray more like "yer-RAY" or "yeh-RAY". BUT people in this region are generally pretty tolerant of pronunciation and no offense will be taken - and an Aussie accent with get you some slack.

FWIW: in my Colorado drawl, Colorado can some times come out a bit more like out a bit more like "CULL-uh-RAH-duh", and New Mexico is more like "N'Mexico".

And as for the handheld radios, Midland also makes both FRS and GMRS radios in this form factor - they also sell bundles with a micro-mobile and two handhelds. The lower GMRS channels are shared with FRS. FRS has a slightly lower power limit, but no license required. Additionally, EMERGENCY transmissions are legal regardless of licensing.
 
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genocache

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OK, then Arizona! Best road ever Hwy 191, between Morenci and Springerville. Coming down from Prescott (PRESSCUT) Hwy 89 is amazing views. YOUTUBE search for the KOFA National Wildlife Refuge. Plus all the usual tourist stuff, Sedona, Jerome, Tuscon, Kitt Peak, Mt Graham, Chiricahua National Monument, Petrified Forest.......
 

AlanMcW

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OK, then Arizona! Best road ever Hwy 191, between Morenci and Springerville. Coming down from Prescott (PRESSCUT) Hwy 89 is amazing views. YOUTUBE search for the KOFA National Wildlife Refuge. Plus all the usual tourist stuff, Sedona, Jerome, Tuscon, Kitt Peak, Mt Graham, Chiricahua National Monument, Petrified Forest.......
Arizona is currently moving into number one spot for the winter months, just ahead of Baja, and will probably be after my wife takes time out to go home for some time with her mum. I'll blend in with the snowbirds
 

rtexpeditions

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Sounds like a great trip. I'm sort of tending towards the shipping idea myself, having the vehicle I know and have built up its capability.
I'm thinking more of shipping into Canada instead of the US because the temporary import rules work slightly differently. If you ship into the USA I believe, time spent in Canada and Mexico count towards your 12 months (EPA Exemption paperwork), whereas shipping into Canada I can travel around first and the USA time would only start when I cross the border.
I think the most difficult thing at the moment would be insurance.
Keep us posted as to what you end up doing.
 

North American Sojourner

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Sounds like a outstanding trip. Don't forget the Eastern United States. Lots of National Parks and Forest to explore. Beautiful rig too. Post up some pictures.
 

AlanMcW

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Sounds like a great trip. I'm sort of tending towards the shipping idea myself, having the vehicle I know and have built up its capability.
I'm thinking more of shipping into Canada instead of the US because the temporary import rules work slightly differently. If you ship into the USA I believe, time spent in Canada and Mexico count towards your 12 months (EPA Exemption paperwork), whereas shipping into Canada I can travel around first and the USA time would only start when I cross the border.
I think the most difficult thing at the moment would be insurance.
Keep us posted as to what you end up doing.
Hello RT, We looked at the Canadian option but it is not a significant issue for us as we only plan to stay in the USA for 12 months this trip. Arriving in LA is also a good option for us in terms of catching up with friends. We've looked at insurance options, and the most cost effective seems to be to buy insurance in the USA on arrival. From what I have read it seem that most of the big insurers (Progressive, State Farm etc.) will provide cover for the USA and Canada for temporary imports - but you need to have a street address in the USA. Maybe someone of the forum can confirm this. As for the street address, I have read of people using an Air B'n'B address, but I think it would be better if you had a friend who is a resident and who will allow you to use their address for insurance.
 

AlanMcW

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Sounds like a outstanding trip. Don't forget the Eastern United States. Lots of National Parks and Forest to explore. Beautiful rig too. Post up some pictures.
Hi Sojourner, our plan is to eventually head East as the next step is to ship to the UK and Europe. Sadly, we'll not have all the time needed to give as much time to the East coast as we'd like. That will be a whole other vacation.
 

North American Sojourner

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Hi Sojourner, our plan is to eventually head East as the next step is to ship to the UK and Europe. Sadly, we'll not have all the time needed to give as much time to the East coast as we'd like. That will be a whole other vacation.
Very cool. I shipped my vehicle out of Baltimore to Germany so that is a good middle point on the east coast.
Have a great time and be safe out there.
Zim
 

MMc

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This sounds like a great trip! I would recommend seeing Joshua tree in So Cal if you show up around the first of the year. Our summers are hot. If you want info. on Baja PM me. been doing to for 60 years.
 

AlanMcW

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Very cool. I shipped my vehicle out of Baltimore to Germany so that is a good middle point on the east coast.
Have a great time and be safe out there.
Zim
Thanks Zim, I have not looked at East coast ports yet and your Baltimore tip is appreciated. I am guessing that the transatlantic shipping options are wide and varied.
 

AlanMcW

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East Coast? Near Baltimore? Limited time?

Check out this place: Devil’s Backbone Camp plus Nelson County VA Touring Trails.

Plenty of 4x4 trails near the camp (see orange square) close to the George Washington & Jefferson National Forests (see blue symbols):

View attachment 210154

View attachment 210155

Give “Overland Bound - East” a shout out about 2 weeks or more before your arrival. If time allows we’ll make an attempt for a short meetup.
Hi NJCoastal, thanks for these tips. Heading East is going to be a set of very tough decisions for us when it comes to picking a route. My wife has been to Chicago several times and she has always told me I must see it - so we'll have to juggle a "Northern Route", a "Southern Route" and maybe a "middle route" from California to the East coast. These suggestions help and we will try and connect with you on our way through.
 
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AlanMcW

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This sounds like a great trip! I would recommend seeing Joshua tree in So Cal if you show up around the first of the year. Our summers are hot. If you want info. on Baja PM me. been doing to for 60 years.
Hello MMc, thanks for the tip about Joshua Tree, and also for the offer of help with Baja.
 

ZombieCat

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Where do you plan to camp when visiting the U.S. National Parks? Although it puts you in an established campground, it’s sometimes advantageous to be inside the park boundary. A good example is Rocky Mountain; camping at Moraine Park means you won’t need to purchase either day use or Bear Lake Corridor entry passes because you’re already inside both areas. However, you’ll need to book at the earliest possible date in order to get a reservation. When I say earliest, I mean the MINUTE the reservations open. Note that some parks (Yosemite) have different schedules for releasing campsites. Most parks release sites daily beginning at 6 months out, but Yosemite books 4 months out and drops an entire month of camping opportunities all at once. Read the websites and Recreation.gov booking info carefully! There are various apps, such as The Dyrt, Campendium, iOverlander, etc. that are helpful for finding all types of camping locations.

I also recommend purchasing the annual parks access pass for $80 USD. It’s a huge savings over paying for each location individually. Wait until you arrive at your first park and buy it as you enter in order to maximize the expiration date.

A few more ideas for California:
- From Yosemite, drive down Hwy 120 from Tioga Pass to Lee Vining, CA and Mono Lake. Visit the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest, just east of Big Pine, CA. Drive all the way out the dirt road to the Patriarch Grove and hike around. I was there in late April this year and didn’t see a soul for 5 hours. There’s a campground in the park, too.
- Lava Beds National Monument has interesting caves, history, Mariposa lilies and a campground.
- Lassen Volcanic National Park - if Yosemite and Yellowstone had a baby park, this would be it.

In Utah, drive Hwy 12 through Escalante and through Dixie National Forest. Drive the Moki Dugway down into the Valley of the Gods. There’s an obvious pullout about halfway down the descent; stop and check out the valley overlook. As others suggested, drive Shafer Road down from the Island in the Sky section of Canyonlands to Potash Road, then back towards Moab. Stop to see the dinosaur tracks and hike to Corona and Bowtie Arches. Camp in Bears Ears National Monument and hike to see the House on Fire pueblo at noon. Horseshoe Canyon (part of Canyonlands) has some of the best pictographs and a great place to camp (take plenty of water).

In northern Arizona, use House Rock Road to reach the Wire Pass Trailhead. It’s nearly impossible to win the lottery for access to The Wave, so hike into Buckskin Gulch instead. A fabulous slot canyon!

Don’t skip New Mexico! Bandelier National Monument & Tsankawi, Kasha Katuwe Tent Rocks, Los Alamos Bradbury Science Museum, and definitely Chaco Canyon (but not if the road is wet, trust me on that one!). A hidden gem is Bisti/De-Na-Zin Badlands, about an hour south of Farmington, NM. In my opinion, the best hoodoos in the southwest.

As a hiker who has traveled pretty extensively around the western U.S., I’d be happy to recommend some amazing trails in the parks/areas you plan to visit. I’d have to tailor my choices based on your abilities and preferences, so feel free to reach out to me if you like.

Your trip will be epic!
 

OTH Overland

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Alan, Sounds like you are well on your way to an awesome adventure, lots of great ideas being posted, your defiantly not going to run out of adventure in a year's trip! If you do end up passing through the Seattle area, we would offer you a place to park up and have space where you can do any maintenance, repairs or cleaning of your equipment before heading up on the Alaskan leg of your journey. Also the Olympic Peninsula and Olympic National Park have some amazing scenery and well worth a visit.
 

AlanMcW

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Where do you plan to camp when visiting the U.S. National Parks? Although it puts you in an established campground, it’s sometimes advantageous to be inside the park boundary. A good example is Rocky Mountain; camping at Moraine Park means you won’t need to purchase either day use or Bear Lake Corridor entry passes because you’re already inside both areas. However, you’ll need to book at the earliest possible date in order to get a reservation. When I say earliest, I mean the MINUTE the reservations open. Note that some parks (Yosemite) have different schedules for releasing campsites. Most parks release sites daily beginning at 6 months out, but Yosemite books 4 months out and drops an entire month of camping opportunities all at once. Read the websites and Recreation.gov booking info carefully! There are various apps, such as The Dyrt, Campendium, iOverlander, etc. that are helpful for finding all types of camping locations.

I also recommend purchasing the annual parks access pass for $80 USD. It’s a huge savings over paying for each location individually. Wait until you arrive at your first park and buy it as you enter in order to maximize the expiration date.

A few more ideas for California:
- From Yosemite, drive down Hwy 120 from Tioga Pass to Lee Vining, CA and Mono Lake. Visit the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest, just east of Big Pine, CA. Drive all the way out the dirt road to the Patriarch Grove and hike around. I was there in late April this year and didn’t see a soul for 5 hours. There’s a campground in the park, too.
- Lava Beds National Monument has interesting caves, history, Mariposa lilies and a campground.
- Lassen Volcanic National Park - if Yosemite and Yellowstone had a baby park, this would be it.

In Utah, drive Hwy 12 through Escalante and through Dixie National Forest. Drive the Moki Dugway down into the Valley of the Gods. There’s an obvious pullout about halfway down the descent; stop and check out the valley overlook. As others suggested, drive Shafer Road down from the Island in the Sky section of Canyonlands to Potash Road, then back towards Moab. Stop to see the dinosaur tracks and hike to Corona and Bowtie Arches. Camp in Bears Ears National Monument and hike to see the House on Fire pueblo at noon. Horseshoe Canyon (part of Canyonlands) has some of the best pictographs and a great place to camp (take plenty of water).

In northern Arizona, use House Rock Road to reach the Wire Pass Trailhead. It’s nearly impossible to win the lottery for access to The Wave, so hike into Buckskin Gulch instead. A fabulous slot canyon!

Don’t skip New Mexico! Bandelier National Monument & Tsankawi, Kasha Katuwe Tent Rocks, Los Alamos Bradbury Science Museum, and definitely Chaco Canyon (but not if the road is wet, trust me on that one!). A hidden gem is Bisti/De-Na-Zin Badlands, about an hour south of Farmington, NM. In my opinion, the best hoodoos in the southwest.

As a hiker who has traveled pretty extensively around the western U.S., I’d be happy to recommend some amazing trails in the parks/areas you plan to visit. I’d have to tailor my choices based on your abilities and preferences, so feel free to reach out to me if you like.

Your trip will be epic!
Hello Zombiecat, these are great suggestions, thank you. Booking early is the plan, but I fear that there will be too much variability in the itinerary to lock in too many camp locations in advance. I think parks like Yosemite will have to be booked, but others will have to be ad hoc as we get close. Annual passes for NPs are a great saving - over here in Aus the National Parks are administered by the various states and having an annual pass in one state does not give access to all. Hiking ability, now there is a question, I could say better than some, but less able than others. Seriously though, I'm OK on a strenuous day walk at a sensible pace, but I'm not fit enough for a multi-day pack carry with steep climbs and a 25Kg pack. My wife hiked in Nepal in the year before Covid and is still very fit - thankfully she is patient enough to wait and let me to catch up with her on day walks.
 

AlanMcW

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Alan, Sounds like you are well on your way to an awesome adventure, lots of great ideas being posted, your defiantly not going to run out of adventure in a year's trip! If you do end up passing through the Seattle area, we would offer you a place to park up and have space where you can do any maintenance, repairs or cleaning of your equipment before heading up on the Alaskan leg of your journey. Also the Olympic Peninsula and Olympic National Park have some amazing scenery and well worth a visit.
Hello OTH, this is a very generous offer, thank you. Seattle is very much part of the plan, we also hear that the coffee there is good.
 

Kent R

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We are planning to ship our 2010 VDJ78 Landcruiser Troopy to the USA in 2023 and aim to stay for about 12 months (as a temporary import, the Troopy can't stay in the USA any longer than that). We have an itinerary planned from LA (port of entry to USA) to Anchorage, Alaska travelling between the islands of the inside passage on the public ferry system. The next stage is to drive the Alaska- Canada (Alcan) Highway to Montana. We'd like to link together a route through Montana, Wyoming, Utah and Colorado. What do you recommend as highlights and "must sees" while we are in the Rockies? is there a way to visit these states that you can suggest that will not necessarily involve too much time on the interstate?

For some background, our vehicle is set up for overland touring. It can go most places, but it is not really a rock crawler, and because it will be our home and transport for our time in the USA we're not looking for anything too "extreme" - parts and repairs can be costly and time consuming. The Troopy will almost always be "heavy" as it will be carrying our gear, food and water. I’ve attached a recent photo of our Troopy taken in the Flinders Ranges (South Australia). The roo bar/winch are Toyota dealer options, as is the windscreen visor, the rock sliders and rear bumper/wheel carrier/Jerry Can carrier/recovery equipment box are custom made. The side mirrors are aftermarket extendable towing mirrors from a local company called MSA. The flip top is Alu-Cab from South Africa, I’m pretty sure it was the first Australian conversion done with their kit. The Troopy also has a 50mm (2 inch) lift, and apart from upgraded shocks and front coils the suspension is stock standard. We have a Garmin InReach for emergency comms plus a UHF radio for car to car chatter, and where there is a signal we have mobile (cell) phones. We normally use paper maps for navigation supplemented by a Garmin Overlander, which is great, but we'll have to update all of the Garmin maps for the USA. The colour of the Troopy is called “Sandy Taupe”, and while the colour is widely derided as being as exciting as elevator music it does have the advantage of never seeming to look dirty. I think it kind of suits the car.

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