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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AlanMcW

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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.

20210719_151042 (2).jpg
 

307dulaney

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That sounds like an amazing trip! We are in Wyoming. Some must sees are Devils Tower, Yellowstone National Park, Teton National Park. At least those are the well known ones. Some less known but equally impressive sights are Medicine Lodge State Historical Sight, the city of Sheridan, Hell’s Half Acre, and the Thermopolis Hot Springs. We love camping in the Snowy Range in the south East part of the state. Also there is the Red Desert near Rock Springs and the Sierra Madres mountain range.

Most of the state has plenty of dirt road or two lane highway to travers and other than I-80,90 and 25 there isn’t much interstate travel for such a large state. Our state does a good job of making maps available online through the state websites like state parks and the game and fish department as well as all the maps available for national forests like Medicine Bow, Bridger-Teton, Bighorn, and Shoshone.

Hope this helps and if you need anything at all when you’re in Wyoming, give a shout!
 

AlanMcW

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Thanks Dulaney, these are great tips. Wyoming looks like a beautiful state for camping and hiking. The Tetons and Yellowstone look fantastic, and we'll definitely include those areas. I've not heard of the Snowy Ranges or Red Desert, so they will be added to the list as well.
 
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static

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This sounds like an amazing trip! I’m not sure what route you have planned through Canada, but Jasper and Banff National Parks are not to be missed.

A few years ago I did some cycling in he Greater Yellowstone area (MT and WY). It was all amazing, but the Beartooth Mountains were particularly striking.

In Utah, Zion and Moab are world-famous, although I haven’t been myself. I can personally recommend Natural Bridges National Monument. Valley of the Gods is also pretty cool, if a bit touristy.

Truthfully, MT WY CO and UT are all so full of amazing options that you will not struggle to fill your 12 months with incredible adventures.

Kris
 

AlanMcW

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Thanks for these suggestions Static, Jasper and Banff fit really well with our plan to drive the Alcan from Anchorage. Beartooth is also well located for our plans so far. I think you could spend a year in each of the four states of Montana, Wyoming, Utah and Colorado and still not see everything - it looks like a great part of the country to explore.
 
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genocache

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Hello, What is your route from LA to Seattle? For the Rocky Mtn part I would look at some of the current threads and take a gander at the maps on the Adventure Cycling website. Great Divide Mountain Bike Route | Adventure Cycling Route Network

The Great Divide route is mostly 2 track and takes you through some remote and beautiful country..

You could spend 12 months in California and not see it all. Australia is 79% the size of the States, but don't rush from place to place, figure out what you are interested in seeing, geology? Dinosaurs? World's largest ball of twine? Then map out a route that follows those interests. Dinos? Hwy 2 across the top of the lower 48 almost every town East of the Rockies has a Dino museum. Things like that.

Nice Troopy, looks like Andrew St. Pierres.
 

AlanMcW

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Thanks Genocache, the LA to Seattle route is built around National Parks, hiking and catching up with old friends dotted along the route. I agree about the design principle of following interests, but we're also open to things that we didn't think of or knew were there - nothing beats the knowledge and advice of a local.

I could say that ASPWs Troopy looks like ours, but I have to confess to having seen the Alu-Cab flip top in one of his South African videos. At the time we had a roof top tent but wanted to have "stand up" space inside the vehicle as well, I was on the edge of having a flip top modification done by a guy in Sydney who has a company called Mulgo - the flip top conversions are also popular in Germany. ASPW seems to set up his vehicles with an emphasis on his film making needs (battery capacity, access to his cameras and work space for basic editing) we have set up for our personal needs as travellers. I think he might also have a bigger budget than us. We have the same basic vehicle body plan, same flip-top roof concept and same vehicle choice then branched out from there. His videos are a great source of ideas for different ways of resolving some of the compromises of building an overlanding vehicle. It was nearly a very different project for us, the heart was saying Land Rover Defender, but the head said Landcruiser. Most of where we travel here in Australia is remote, and reliability is essential. If anything does go wrong, Toyota parts are much easier to find that LR.
 

genocache

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Alan, I must confess to having watched more than a few of ASPW's videos, from before he moved to OZ. I agree he has a big budget. I think the Troopy is a great vehicle too. Defender not so much, that's why I stuck with a Series 2.
I wish Alu-cab made a top for the 109. I remember looking at the Mulgo website a while back when I was in the throes of my restomod.

Youtube is great, I've watch Jack Absolom videos and 4wd24/7.

The National Parks route sounds great, I'd throw in the Carruzo Plains; Programs: National Conservation Lands: California: Carrizo Plain National Monument | Bureau of Land Management
So depending on your time frame, I would suggest heading North either up the Coast or on either side of the Sierras, rather than crisscrossing back and forth across Calif. The Central Valley is very boring.
If you have the time and like geology there is a series of Roadside Geology books; Mountain Press Publishing Company You can also watch on YT a geology professor who has a worldwide following as he explains the complicated geology of the Pacific North West (PNW) of the States, it will also give you insight into Canada and Alaska geology. Start with the exotic terranes playlist; https://www.youtube.com/user/GeologyNick/playlists

What part of the year will you arrive here? Late Spring May/June is best in Calif. There can be fog along the coast any time hiding the wonderful views.
 

AlanMcW

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Jack Absolom was an amazing character and those videos were actually on prime time TV here when they were new. If you like those try searching for Les Hiddins, his series is called Bush Tucker Man. Les was a major in the Aus Army who specialised in survival and asymmetrical conflict tactics, his first TV series was really focussed on what resources are available for survival in what seems to be a hostile and unforgiving environment.

The LR was the main light vehicle of the army here and they had versions of the series 2 and 3 defender called a Perentie which came in 110 and 6x6 variants. Quite a few Perentie 6x6s are still around and pop up for sale from time to time. The LRs were replaced by Mercedes G-wagens, which are crashed at an alarming rate by young recruits without much sense and even less driving ability.

Thanks for the recommendations, especially the geology resources. I am no geologist, but I do have a fascination for the way the land has been shaped by geological forces.

Our working plan for California at the moment is to spend a little time in Sothern California and then take the route North via Sequoia, Kings Canyon, Sierra, Inyo, Yosemite and Stanislaus NPs, with side trips to see friends along the way. After that is open for a choice between the State Forests and the more northern NPs.

The time of year is a target rather than a firm date at the moment. The estimated date for arrival is late January to early February with a fairly casual pace of progress towards Seattle to reach there by end of April for a May trip through the inside passage to Alaska. The timing is not great for weather at the start, but it should maximise the time in Montana, Wyoming, Utah and Colorado before Autumn. The late Autumn and Winter will probably see me going as far South as possible and my wife flying home to spend time with her mum. After a year in the USA we plan to ship the Troopy from the East coast across to Europe (Scotland and England initially) and then as far along the old Silk Road as is possible given whatever the geo-political situation is when we get there. I am more inclined to winter in the Southern USA than I am to shivering through winter in Scotland. Anyway, no plan ever survives first contact with the enemy, so we may end up with a very different itinerary once we arrive in the USA.
 

Neal A. Tew

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This probably goes without saying, but be sure you're looking at the various climates. I would avoid much of the UT canyonlands during the heat of the summer. I would also avoid much of the Rocky Mtns in the winter unless you're into winter sports. Many from outside CO plan their 4WD trips too early in the year. There are some phenomenal routes, but they are usually only open from mid-June to early Oct, for example.

Below are some of my favorite 4WD tracks in UT & CO. Look them up at Trailsoffroad.com. It is a great resource.

White Rim Rd in Canyonlands National Park, UT. (100 miles. This requires permit and camping reservations months in advance, but it is worth it.)
Shafer Trail (adjacent to White Rim)
Rimrocker Trail (160 miles from Moab, UT to Montrose, CO. The trail itself isn't as grand as others, but it's a great back country route to connect the two areas.)
Imogene Pass, CO
Ophir Pass, CO
Corkscrew Gulch/Pass, Hurricane Pass, California Pass, CO
Engineer Pass, CO
Stony Pass (if you have reason to traverse between Silverton/Ouray and Creede, CO

@Kent R just led a group up the Continental Divide. That track would be a good resource.

There are several other routes that people have assembled in their efforts to traverse these states on dirt. Various names you might research are the TransAmerica Trail, Colorado (UT, etc) Back Country Discovery Route, Enchanted Rockies Trail. I know I'm forgetting a couple.

This is just what comes to mind immediately. I'm sure we'll come up with more to be added later.

I'd love to see you at a meetup. Perhaps your travels will coincide with some activities that year. Shoot me an itinerary when you have it if you have any interest in meeting some of us along the way. I can't promise you won't be left with drool on your truck, however.
 
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Alanymarce

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1) Any particular reason for restricting your trip to the USA and not visiting Canada (other than for transit)? I realise that you have limited time however suggest that there's a lot to see/do in Canada.

2) WHat are your interests? The advice will be very different if you're interested in wildlife from that if you're interested in Art Galleries.

3) I hope shipping rates will have dropped by 2023 - they've gone skyhigh during the pandemic (we shipped our vehicle to Australia and back in 2019 and since then rates have gone up anything from double to ten times more!).
 

AlanMcW

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Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
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This probably goes without saying, but be sure you're looking at the various climates. I would avoid much of the UT canyonlands during the heat of the summer. I would also avoid much of the Rocky Mtns in the winter unless you're into winter sports. Many from outside CO plan their 4WD trips too early in the year. There are some phenomenal routes, but they are usually only open from mid-June to early Oct, for example.

Below are some of my favorite 4WD tracks in UT & CO. Look them up at Trailsoffroad.com. It is a great resource.

White Rim Rd in Canyonlands National Park, UT. (100 miles. This requires permit and camping reservations months in advance, but it is worth it.)
Shafer Trail (adjacent to White Rim)
Rimrocker Trail (160 miles from Moab, UT to Montrose, CO. The trail itself isn't as grand as others, but it's a great back country route to connect the two areas.)
Imogene Pass, CO
Ophir Pass, CO
Corkscrew Gulch/Pass, Hurricane Pass, California Pass, CO
Engineer Pass, CO
Stony Pass (if you have reason to traverse between Silverton/Ouray and Creede, CO

@Kent R just led a group up the Continental Divide. That track would be a good resource.

There are several other routes that people have assembled in their efforts to traverse these states on dirt. Various names you might research are the TransAmerica Trail, Colorado (UT, etc) Back Country Discovery Route, Enchanted Rockies Trail. I know I'm forgetting a couple.

This is just what comes to mind immediately. I'm sure we'll come up with more to be added later.

I'd love to see you at a meetup. Perhaps your travels will coincide with some activities that year. Shoot me an itinerary when you have it if you have any interest in meeting some of us along the way. I can't promise you won't be left with drool on your truck, however.

Thanks for this post Neal, and yes, the weather is a critical factor in the planning of this trip - but yours is a big country and we have so little time to see it. We'll be constantly juggling the itinerary to plan around conditions. I've known about some of the UT and CO trails you mention and I think Imogene Pass is definitely on our "must see" list - trails like Engineer and Black Bear, maybe not, unless we have a very experienced (and patient) local to guide us along. I'm not sure the steep switchbacks will agree with the wheel base of the Troopy or my tolerance for heights. The Overland Bound App will help a great deal when we get to the USA, and we are looking forward to joining some of the meet ups.
 
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AlanMcW

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1) Any particular reason for restricting your trip to the USA and not visiting Canada (other than for transit)? I realise that you have limited time however suggest that there's a lot to see/do in Canada.

2) WHat are your interests? The advice will be very different if you're interested in wildlife from that if you're interested in Art Galleries.

3) I hope shipping rates will have dropped by 2023 - they've gone skyhigh during the pandemic (we shipped our vehicle to Australia and back in 2019 and since then rates have gone up anything from double to ten times more!).
Hi Alanymarce, we love Canada and Canadians - we have some friends in Vancouver and Kalona in the Okanagan who we plan to catch up with. Having said that, time is kind of against us and Canada really is a whole other vacation. Shipping rates are what they are, and like currency exchange rates you just have to live with what is at the time you travel. We'll just have to be a bit more frugal when we get there.
 

Alanymarce

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Hi Alanymarce, we love Canada and Canadians - we have some friends in Vancouver and Kalona in the Okanagan who we plan to catch up with. Having said that, time is kind of against us and Canada really is a whole other vacation. Shipping rates are what they are, and like currency exchange rates you just have to live with what is at the time you travel. We'll just have to be a bit more frugal when we get there.
1) Yes, I can see that this makes sense.

3) re shipping, although I appreciate that one accepts reality (as for example the price of fuel ), I believe that there's a point at which the numbers change the plan. For example, when we went to Australia in 2019 we weighed the alternatives and chose to ship our vehicle there and back. Had shipping rates at the time been what they are today I think we'd have made a different decision and bought/sold a vehicle there, even though the cost of the vehicle and modifications would have been a lot higher. I saw an article today noting that shipping a standard container from Shanghai to NY has gone from USD 2500 in 2019 to USD 15,000 today(!). now costs

re 2) What are your interests? The advice will be very different if you're interested in wildlife from that if you're interested in Art Galleries.

I'd be happy to offer some suggestions if you give us some insight on this.
 

BCNP4runner

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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.

View attachment 209767

I see a lot of great suggestions being added here, but I thought I'd also pass along a note on the UHF radio. If the radio is the typical Australian UHF CB, it operates from 476-478 MHz. In the US, those frequencies are used for UHF TV broadcasts, so you'll have interference from/with TV transmitters running at upwards of 5 million Watts. You won't find other mobile radios or repeaters operating on these frequencies.

The US equivalent is a GMRS Radio (~462-467 MHZ) (repeater availability may be better or worse that 2m/70cm ham radio). The popular Midland models can be temporarily mounted with velcro and powered off a 12V cigarette lighter adapter. As long as you aren't running the transmit power at the max setting, you can probably even get away with using the same antenna you're using for the Aust UHF-CB with a little efficiency loss. These radios can be purchased fairly inexpensively, but there's a legal requirement for a $70 license good for 10 years to obtain a callsign. I won't comment on enforcement (or lack thereof except in more extreme cases) on the licensing requirement - it's been beaten to death on other threads.

I believe that the 2m and 70cm bands licensed for ham radio are the same across most fo the globe, though there are some other funny requirements for operating a ham station in another gov't's territory.

On the original topic, if you make it down to New Mexico, there are 1000 year old pre-Columbian Puebloan Civilization ruins at Chaco Canyon. These are some of the oldest structures in North America. Also in that region, is Monument Valley on the Utah-Arizona border just west of the Four Corners area. Finally, the area around Ouray, Colorado is a playground for 4WD vehicles, but with a heavy Troopy, there are a few trails you might avoid (like Black Bear Pass).
 

AlanMcW

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1) Yes, I can see that this makes sense.

3) re shipping, although I appreciate that one accepts reality (as for example the price of fuel ), I believe that there's a point at which the numbers change the plan. For example, when we went to Australia in 2019 we weighed the alternatives and chose to ship our vehicle there and back. Had shipping rates at the time been what they are today I think we'd have made a different decision and bought/sold a vehicle there, even though the cost of the vehicle and modifications would have been a lot higher. I saw an article today noting that shipping a standard container from Shanghai to NY has gone from USD 2500 in 2019 to USD 15,000 today(!). now costs

re 2) What are your interests? The advice will be very different if you're interested in wildlife from that if you're interested in Art Galleries.

I'd be happy to offer some suggestions if you give us some insight on this.
Thanks again Alanymarce, and yes, "plan B" does involve buying a 4Runner in the USA and equipping it there. It is my least preferred option, although it does have some support from my wife. I think a reasonable. low mileage SR5 would be a pretty good choice for the trip, and I guestimate about US$35 - 40K for a two year old vehicle would be a fair price. On top of the vehicle would be some minor upgrades to tyres and suspension - maybe rock sliders, all of the requisite camping gear, and quite a few items of clothing as well. The 4Runner and other core equipment could be sold at the end of the trip - other items would likely have to be donated to the needy. As of today, the cost of shipping a vehicle in a shared container is between $4500 and $6000 from Aus to USA (Melbourne to LA), that may go up or down over the next few months, so it is still a "line ball" decision. Shipping costs always factor in a risk calculation and the geopolitical situation in the South China Sea has added to the perception of risk, the way the Suez was blocked by some unauthorised parking by a large container ship has also topped up the prices on some routes.

Our interests for this trip will focus on a number of things, my wife is keen bushwalker (hiker) and spending too much time "just driving" will result in rank insubordination and "bloody munity". A week or so of remote 4WD trails is great, so long as that gets balanced by a couple of days hiking. All destination should aim to have some walking trails if possible. Along with the hiking, there is the simple joy of being out in nature and seeing wildlife, so National Parks and State Forests are destinations of choice. I am no geologist, but I can tell an igneous rock from a sedimentary or a conglomerate, so that aspect of natural history is on the list. It is, I think, inevitable that any interest in the land will include an interest in the people who live and have lived there - the history of the land we're on is important. That could be silver miners in Colorado or first nations people in Wyoming or people who have long gone but who left their mark on the land in some way. Skiing and cycling would be good as well, but maybe not this trip. We will pass through some cities and my wife will find all the museums and art galleries that we could possible visit - on that point I have no choice.
 

AlanMcW

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I see a lot of great suggestions being added here, but I thought I'd also pass along a note on the UHF radio. If the radio is the typical Australian UHF CB, it operates from 476-478 MHz. In the US, those frequencies are used for UHF TV broadcasts, so you'll have interference from/with TV transmitters running at upwards of 5 million Watts. You won't find other mobile radios or repeaters operating on these frequencies.

The US equivalent is a GMRS Radio (~462-467 MHZ) (repeater availability may be better or worse that 2m/70cm ham radio). The popular Midland models can be temporarily mounted with velcro and powered off a 12V cigarette lighter adapter. As long as you aren't running the transmit power at the max setting, you can probably even get away with using the same antenna you're using for the Aust UHF-CB with a little efficiency loss. These radios can be purchased fairly inexpensively, but there's a legal requirement for a $70 license good for 10 years to obtain a callsign. I won't comment on enforcement (or lack thereof except in more extreme cases) on the licensing requirement - it's been beaten to death on other threads.

I believe that the 2m and 70cm bands licensed for ham radio are the same across most fo the globe, though there are some other funny requirements for operating a ham station in another gov't's territory.

On the original topic, if you make it down to New Mexico, there are 1000 year old pre-Columbian Puebloan Civilization ruins at Chaco Canyon. These are some of the oldest structures in North America. Also in that region, is Monument Valley on the Utah-Arizona border just west of the Four Corners area. Finally, the area around Ouray, Colorado is a playground for 4WD vehicles, but with a heavy Troopy, there are a few trails you might avoid (like Black Bear Pass).
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.
 
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Alanymarce

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Our interests for this trip will focus on a number of things, my wife is keen bushwalker (hiker) and spending too much time "just driving" will result in rank insubordination and "bloody munity". A week or so of remote 4WD trails is great, so long as that gets balanced by a couple of days hiking. All destination should aim to have some walking trails if possible. Along with the hiking, there is the simple joy of being out in nature and seeing wildlife, so National Parks and State Forests are destinations of choice. I am no geologist, but I can tell an igneous rock from a sedimentary or a conglomerate, so that aspect of natural history is on the list. It is, I think, inevitable that any interest in the land will include an interest in the people who live and have lived there - the history of the land we're on is important. That could be silver miners in Colorado or first nations people in Wyoming or people who have long gone but who left their mark on the land in some way. Skiing and cycling would be good as well, but maybe not this trip. We will pass through some cities and my wife will find all the museums and art galleries that we could possible visit - on that point I have no choice.
Thanks for the clarity - some thoughts to help (I couldn't resist coming up with a long list, so you can pick out the Rockies places at this point):

Some of the most enjoyable hiking we’ve experienced has been in Glacier NP, Grand Canyon NP, Rocky Mountain NP, Arches NP, Mount Hood NF, a variety of places around Phoenix and Sedona, Big Bend NP and Big Bend State Park,

Geology: Guadalupe Mountains NP, Crater Lake NP, Shiprock, Antelope Canyon, Monument Valley, Petrified Forest NP, Santa Fe/Albuquerque/Taos,

Art galleries: The Kimbell, Amon Carter, MoMA, Guggenheim, Getty Centre, Chinati (must see), The Menil, The Ogden, The Bass, Art Institute of Chicago,

Random other suggestions which I think you’ll find interesting: Mesa Verde, Olympia Peninsula, the bayous around Lafayette (Louisiana not Indiana), the Ozarks, Vermont, Ketchikan, Chugach, Juneau, San Francisco, and the “only three cities: New York, San Francisco, and New Orleans”,

There are many parks and places we’ve not visited and no doubt you’ll find others’ advice on these.

That should keep you going for a couple of years : )
 

AlanMcW

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This is great, thanks Alanymarce. So far I think the community has provided enough information for at least three trips. It is very clear that New Mexico and Arizona will have to be included in our plans.