2021 Cross Country Trip Planning: Life Aquatic Edition

Share the juicy deets of your worldly travels, and discuss your pipedreams for future trips.
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Plans have been finalized, we're picking up the wife's aunt's boat from Lake Mead over Easter. Departing 4/1 and returning 4/11.

I know a number of people here have done cross-country trips over the last few years, so I'm looking for some advice. While I've driven across the country more times than I can count, it's always been in one straight shot, without a ton of visiting places. We're not taking a ton of time to do this because the wife is starting a new job on 4/12 and aunt's boat storage is up on 4/1, but want to see stuff. Here's the plan:

I picked up a roof top tent for the CT from Costco. I'm going to mount it on top of the bed for minimal drag impact, and it'll also help shield cargo a bit. We're campers, and would like to camp in some national parks and/or cool areas to keep cost down. My old man decided to pass on the opportunity to come with us, so we lost our hope of accommodations in his bus, so we're trying to keep the cost down while hopefully getting some great camping in.

We're going to bomb out there in as straight a shot as possible departing the night of 3/31 with the goal of arriving at lake mead by early Saturday 4/3, if not sooner. We're going to learn the boat, cruise around, visit family, and depart on Monday evening or Tuesday morning. Would like to hit a few national parks, but with a twist...any with epic water to boat. Since we're towing the boat home, if the stars align and we get an opportunity to launch into some epic waters for the day, we'd love to do that to make the most of the experience. We'll probably never do this again, so I think it would be cool to get the boat into some incredible lakes.

Lake Powell is in my favorite area in the country, the Utah/AZ border. Wife has been there once and said it's insanely gorgeous, so that's likely our first stop since it's not too far from lake mead.

Lake of the Ozarks is appealing because it's on the way home, but this time of the year will probably be an epic crapshoot of whether or not we could launch the boat. It's still an area I'd love to see, so we might target heading through that direction regardless.

Once we get past Missouri, the weather will likely go to shit and we'll just bomb home. So what in the AZ/UT/NM/CO/maybe TX areas are must visits? Water is a bonus, but not required. Federal/open land is desirable for easy camping opportunity.
Desertbreh wrote: Tue Oct 10, 2017 6:40 pm My guess would be that Chris took some time off because he has read the dialogue on this page 1,345 times and decided to spend some of his free time doing something besides beating a horse to death.
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:ohdang:

I am of zero help with this, but following with :popcorn:
This should be pretty epic.
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Apex wrote: Thu Mar 04, 2021 2:54 pm :ohdang:

I am of zero help with this, but following with :popcorn:
This should be pretty epic.
In a way, this is a test run of my new "fun" setup. Truck/vehicle is just a tool, fun things are camping and boating. We'll see how it goes...I wasn't going to buy a RTT until I saw Costco offered one and I figured it's zero risk to try. Glamper is likely going to be sold in the spring if the RTT works out.
Desertbreh wrote: Tue Oct 10, 2017 6:40 pm My guess would be that Chris took some time off because he has read the dialogue on this page 1,345 times and decided to spend some of his free time doing something besides beating a horse to death.
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Detroit wrote: Thu Mar 04, 2021 2:44 pm Plans have been finalized, we're picking up the wife's aunt's boat from Lake Mead over Easter. Departing 4/1 and returning 4/11.

I know a number of people here have done cross-country trips over the last few years, so I'm looking for some advice. While I've driven across the country more times than I can count, it's always been in one straight shot, without a ton of visiting places. We're not taking a ton of time to do this because the wife is starting a new job on 4/12 and aunt's boat storage is up on 4/1, but want to see stuff. Here's the plan:

I picked up a roof top tent for the CT from Costco. I'm going to mount it on top of the bed for minimal drag impact, and it'll also help shield cargo a bit. We're campers, and would like to camp in some national parks and/or cool areas to keep cost down. My old man decided to pass on the opportunity to come with us, so we lost our hope of accommodations in his bus, so we're trying to keep the cost down while hopefully getting some great camping in.

We're going to bomb out there in as straight a shot as possible departing the night of 3/31 with the goal of arriving at lake mead by early Saturday 4/3, if not sooner. We're going to learn the boat, cruise around, visit family, and depart on Monday evening or Tuesday morning. Would like to hit a few national parks, but with a twist...any with epic water to boat. Since we're towing the boat home, if the stars align and we get an opportunity to launch into some epic waters for the day, we'd love to do that to make the most of the experience. We'll probably never do this again, so I think it would be cool to get the boat into some incredible lakes.

Lake Powell is in my favorite area in the country, the Utah/AZ border. Wife has been there once and said it's insanely gorgeous, so that's likely our first stop since it's not too far from lake mead.

Lake of the Ozarks is appealing because it's on the way home, but this time of the year will probably be an epic crapshoot of whether or not we could launch the boat. It's still an area I'd love to see, so we might target heading through that direction regardless.

Once we get past Missouri, the weather will likely go to shit and we'll just bomb home. So what in the AZ/UT/NM/CO/maybe TX areas are must visits? Water is a bonus, but not required. Federal/open land is desirable for easy camping opportunity.
You may wish to consider Navajo Lake as a more manageable version of Lake Powell.

http://www.emnrd.state.nm.us/SPD/navajo ... epark.html

At least in the summertime, your boat is not big enough for the Lake of the Ozarks. The main channels are turned into boat swamping danger zones by huge yachts and offshore racing boats purchased by the wealthy denizens of Kansas City and Saint Louis. In the 80s' it was a reasonable family lake, but no longer. You may wish to research some TVA lakes as an alternative. They are also further south. In early April, all of the water you are going to be in will be cold af, so don't envision being out on a floatie.
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It is also my thinking that you are just a LITTLE too early for enjoyable boating almost anywhere in the first week of April. It's gonna be cold on the water, and that Bayliner does not come with a heated steering wheel. I would stick to the land features.
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Desertbreh wrote: Thu Mar 04, 2021 4:03 pm

You may wish to consider Navajo Lake as a more manageable version of Lake Powell.

http://www.emnrd.state.nm.us/SPD/navajo ... epark.html

At least in the summertime, your boat is not big enough for the Lake of the Ozarks. The main channels are turned into boat swamping danger zones by huge yachts and offshore racing boats purchased by the wealthy denizens of Kansas City and Saint Louis. In the 80s' it was a reasonable family lake, but no longer. You may wish to research some TVA lakes as an alternative. They are also further south. In early April, all of the water you are going to be in will be cold af, so don't envision being out on a floatie.
I was thinking this..... far be it from me to soil anyones Häagen-Dazs, (and please forgive me if you have already considered all this ) but launching and re-trailering a boat is generally a wet affair...and its a two person job...
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Desertbreh wrote: Thu Mar 04, 2021 4:24 pm It is also my thinking that you are just a LITTLE too early for enjoyable boating almost anywhere in the first week of April. It's gonna be cold on the water, and that Bayliner does not come with a heated steering wheel. I would stick to the land features.
Yea, I guess I downplayed this in the OP, but we fully expect to not put the boat in once, this is literally just a "if the stars align" type thing where if we come across water on an unseasonably warm day and feel like taking the plunge to YOLO.

Timing certainly isn't ideal, but the aunt's boat storage ending plus the wife starting a new job has forced our hand here. But at least we'll have the boat in our slip at the first opportunity to maximize the season.

I'm really just looking to make a list of epic national parks or whatever that have water potential to check out on the way home. Might just end up being :millennial: photos of the CT and boat on the trailer in front of different lakes on the way to camp, still kind of :neat:
Desertbreh wrote: Tue Oct 10, 2017 6:40 pm My guess would be that Chris took some time off because he has read the dialogue on this page 1,345 times and decided to spend some of his free time doing something besides beating a horse to death.
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The whole trip seems fantastic to me either way. I really hope you get your "if the stars align" type thing too, but if not you will still get hands on introduction and training on your boat on a massive lake in the desert. A very small percentage of people in the world can lay claim to that kind of experience.
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Detroit wrote: Thu Mar 04, 2021 5:05 pm
Desertbreh wrote: Thu Mar 04, 2021 4:24 pm It is also my thinking that you are just a LITTLE too early for enjoyable boating almost anywhere in the first week of April. It's gonna be cold on the water, and that Bayliner does not come with a heated steering wheel. I would stick to the land features.
Yea, I guess I downplayed this in the OP, but we fully expect to not put the boat in once, this is literally just a "if the stars align" type thing where if we come across water on an unseasonably warm day and feel like taking the plunge to YOLO.

Timing certainly isn't ideal, but the aunt's boat storage ending plus the wife starting a new job has forced our hand here. But at least we'll have the boat in our slip at the first opportunity to maximize the season.

I'm really just looking to make a list of epic national parks or whatever that have water potential to check out on the way home. Might just end up being :millennial: photos of the CT and boat on the trailer in front of different lakes on the way to camp, still kind of :neat:
What NPs have you been to west of the Mississippi?
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Desertbreh wrote: Thu Mar 04, 2021 5:28 pm
Detroit wrote: Thu Mar 04, 2021 5:05 pm
Yea, I guess I downplayed this in the OP, but we fully expect to not put the boat in once, this is literally just a "if the stars align" type thing where if we come across water on an unseasonably warm day and feel like taking the plunge to YOLO.

Timing certainly isn't ideal, but the aunt's boat storage ending plus the wife starting a new job has forced our hand here. But at least we'll have the boat in our slip at the first opportunity to maximize the season.

I'm really just looking to make a list of epic national parks or whatever that have water potential to check out on the way home. Might just end up being :millennial: photos of the CT and boat on the trailer in front of different lakes on the way to camp, still kind of :neat:
What NPs have you been to west of the Mississippi?
Not many.

Joshua Tree, Zion, Death Valley, and some random recreation sites in that region. I've been to very little between the Colorado and Mississippi rivers.

I know I'm missing a bunch of stuff on the north side, but this trip isn't the one to hit that because of the seasonal timing. I'd rather check out stuff on the south. I feel like there's large areas of the four corners region that I'm missing out on.
Desertbreh wrote: Tue Oct 10, 2017 6:40 pm My guess would be that Chris took some time off because he has read the dialogue on this page 1,345 times and decided to spend some of his free time doing something besides beating a horse to death.
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Detroit wrote: Fri Mar 05, 2021 9:11 am
Desertbreh wrote: Thu Mar 04, 2021 5:28 pm

What NPs have you been to west of the Mississippi?
Not many.

Joshua Tree, Zion, Death Valley, and some random recreation sites in that region. I've been to very little between the Colorado and Mississippi rivers.

I know I'm missing a bunch of stuff on the north side, but this trip isn't the one to hit that because of the seasonal timing. I'd rather check out stuff on the south. I feel like there's large areas of the four corners region that I'm missing out on.
Either rim of the Grand Canyon? Four Corners itself is a letdown of massive proportion, btw. It is a tribal carnival show with the worst public restrooms ever offered in the United States.
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Desertbreh wrote: Fri Mar 05, 2021 11:06 am
Detroit wrote: Fri Mar 05, 2021 9:11 am
Not many.

Joshua Tree, Zion, Death Valley, and some random recreation sites in that region. I've been to very little between the Colorado and Mississippi rivers.

I know I'm missing a bunch of stuff on the north side, but this trip isn't the one to hit that because of the seasonal timing. I'd rather check out stuff on the south. I feel like there's large areas of the four corners region that I'm missing out on.
Either rim of the Grand Canyon? Four Corners itself is a letdown of massive proportion, btw. It is a tribal carnival show with the worst public restrooms ever offered in the United States.
:notwrong:
It's a long way to go for a 5 minute photo op. The Native American tchotchke booths are just :(.
However, if you're driving through that area, a stop at Meteor Crater near Flagstaff andWinslow, AZ is a :neat: place to visit for an hour or 2. And along the same highway you'll hit Petrified Forest NP and Monument Valley.
:wap: Where are these mangos?
Detroit wrote: Fri Apr 16, 2021 1:19 pm I don't understand anything anymore.
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I literally just saw a post about a similar trip, and someone recommended a bunch of other parks that are just as beautiful but a little less traveled. I'll see if I can find it.

That being said, epic. I'm so glad we did our southern tour roadtrip. Sadly the moist south isn't quite as... picturesque as the wild wild west.
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I’m assuming you’ll be making a turn north around Missouri/Illinois. I’ll toss out the Shawnee National Forest/Garden of the Gods in So. IL. Neat area and not what you’d expect to see in Illinois.
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I too am following this epic journey, cant wait. :popcorn:
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4zilch wrote: Mon Mar 08, 2021 6:15 am I’m assuming you’ll be making a turn north around Missouri/Illinois. I’ll toss out the Shawnee National Forest/Garden of the Gods in So. IL. Neat area and not what you’d expect to see in Illinois.
Oh great idea! We went there for the first time last spring, first road trip in the Blue Meanie. :mindblown: to see that type of landscape in Illinois.

And if you'll be traveling farther north through Illinois, Starved Rock State Park is worth a visit as well.
:wap: Where are these mangos?
Detroit wrote: Fri Apr 16, 2021 1:19 pm I don't understand anything anymore.
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I've been doing a lot of sailing in Valheim.
One thing I'll say, is if a sea serpent attacks your boat and you're solo, go to the nearest shore and peg that bitch with arrows for an easy kill.
Keep an eye out so you don't land on a Greywolf spawn or you'll be dealing with double trouble. Be sure to wack em with your mace and then go back to the serpent so you can get some scales for the OP shield you can craft after.
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Acid666 wrote: Mon Mar 08, 2021 10:59 am I've been doing a lot of sailing in Valheim.
One thing I'll say, is if a sea serpent attacks your boat and you're solo, go to the nearest shore and peg that bitch with arrows for an easy kill.
Keep an eye out so you don't land on a Greywolf spawn or you'll be dealing with double trouble. Be sure to wack em with your mace and then go back to the serpent so you can get some scales for the OP shield you can craft after.
Solid advice for a cross country boat-hauling trip. :notbad:
:wap: Where are these mangos?
Detroit wrote: Fri Apr 16, 2021 1:19 pm I don't understand anything anymore.
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