Thursday, February 25, 2010

Durango Road Trip

Southwest Road Trip

Hi Jamie,

My boyfriend and I are planning to go to America in July 2010 as we have a wedding in Durango!

We would like to travel for a maximum of 3/4 weeks and travel around Colorado ideally flight out to California, then rent a car and drive through Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado and Wyoming to visit the Yellowstone National Park.

We both been to California and NY so we would like to take this opportunity to see as much as possible of America, but it's proving hard to decide exactly where to go and also in terms of time scale, how it would take us to drive from one estate to another.

We'll have to be in Durango in early July but apart from that we're pretty flexible.

I look forward to hearing from you!



Dear Paula --

Thank you for writing in to Road Trip USA.

Your trip to Durango sounds like fun -- and three weeks should be plenty of time to get to know the wonderful landscapes of the Rocky Mountains (and maybe a little more!) My first thought when I read your note was to ask: do you want to have the wedding celebration at the beginning, the end or the middle of your trip?

Because the week before the wedding it's the 4th of July -- the greatest all-American (and ever-so-slightly anti-English...) holiday of the US calendar.

(You didn't mention where you're coming to the USA _from_ , but from your phone number I assume it is the UK ...)

On and around the 4th of July, most American towns have some kind of big public parade and party -- and one of the biggest and best in the West is just over the mountains, via the magnificent Million Dollar Highway from Durango, in the Wild West spa town of Ouray. This event is truly a blast -- there's lots of red-white & blue, with fireworks and junk food, and the fire fighters have a massive water fight on Main Street.

Add in Ouray's wonderful natural hot springs, and there's no better way to overcome jet lag!....

So you could maybe fly in the week before the wedding, get acclimatised and do a tour of southern Colorado (not to miss the Mesa Verde Cliff Dwellings, and similar Native American legacies all over the "Four Corners" region that stretches south into New Mexico and Arizona). If you wanted, you could add on a trip to the Grand Canyon, even Las Vegas.

After the wedding, you could loop north, via spectacular Colorado National Monument and Arches National Park in Utah, up to Wyoming's Grand Tetons and Yellowstone. From Durango, it's a 2- or 3-day drive each way, passing thru amazing scenery almost the entire way. Yellowstone National Park itself demands at least 2 days, preferably more -- try to stay at the historic Old Faithful Inn, which is full of character and only steps away from the most famous spouting geyser in the park.

If you can stay in Yellowstone around July 26th, you can experience the geysers by the light of the full moon -- I did this years ago, and it is truly magical. Make sure you book rooms as soon as you can, becuase it is a very popular and very protected (undeveloped...) place. Also, Yellowstone, and much of the Rockys, is at a high elevation so be sure to bring warm clothes -- and hiking/walking boots, and swimming shorts for all the hot springs.

There's a lot more I could suggest, so please feel free to write me again when your plans start taking shape. And have a great trip!

In the meantime I hope you enjoy my website, and my book.

Happy Trails,

Jamie Jensen
Road Trip USA


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