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Author: pbnj99

Joined: 6/16/2013
Posts: 4
GCT Trips Taken: 2
OAT Trips Taken: 0
Traveler Since: 2007

June 23, 2013

 Would love to hear from others about their experience and tips as to what to pack, what to expect. We are going to be in the parks Sept/Oct 2013

Author: singsling

Joined: 6/23/2010
Posts: 242
GCT Trips Taken: 11
OAT Trips Taken: 0
Traveler Since: 1995

June 24, 2013

I haven't been on any GCT National Parks tour, but, FWIW--we did a driving tour from Arizona to Yellowstone a few years back in late July-early August.  We woke up one morning to snow and ice on our windshield and about 30 deg.  The day ended about 85-90, depending where you were in the Park.  I'd definitely prepare for cold days, layer, layer, layer.

Author: nanaandpapa

Joined: 3/30/2011
Posts: 513
GCT Trips Taken: 12
OAT Trips Taken: 4
Countries Visited:

Aruba, Austria, Australia, Bermuda, Belgium, Botswana, Canada, China, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Rep., Egypt, England, Fiji, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Luxembourg, Mexico, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Russia, South Africa, Spain, St. Marten (fr), St. Martin (nd), Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, USA, Vatican, Zimbabwe

Traveler Since: 2002

June 24, 2013

 We did the trip starting on Auguat 30, 2005. It was a great trip, with some long driving days, but the PD and driver were excellent. We only had 23? on a full sized bus, so there was room to spread out. The driver and PD, were very flexible. In Cody, they found that there was a rodeo in town, so the bus took us there, just for the cost of admission. I believe that the PD was Lance Goldberg,  a New Yorker, but he knew the itinerary well. The hotels were all OK, but the two best hotels, in the parks at Yellowstone and Bryce, are no longer on the itinerary. I'm sure that the replacements will be fine, but being in the park was great. The temperatures were comfortable throughout. A windbreaker and a fleece would  probably be sufficient for outer wear, with comfortable walking shoes and convertible zip-off pants being handy for changing conditions. Remember that you are on the go, over a large area of th country on many of the days. I don't remember doing any laundry, except for rinso outs in the sink, or if there we laundromats available. If you have any specific questions, they would probaby spur memories. If you are unsteady on your feet, a walking stick would probably be useful, in places like Yellowstaone and Bryce.

Author: pbnj99

Joined: 6/16/2013
Posts: 4
GCT Trips Taken: 2
OAT Trips Taken: 0
Traveler Since: 2007

July 14, 2013

 Thank you for your responses. Although we have traveled extensively overseas, am looking forward to seeing our own beautiful country!

Author: jguser

Joined: 7/14/2013
Posts: 1
GCT Trips Taken: 1
OAT Trips Taken: 0
Traveler Since: 2013

July 14, 2013

I took this trip from May 30 thru June 16 and as far as clothes go take turtleneck sweaters, a good rain coat or windbreaker and learn to dress in layers.  You'll need to add or subtract layers most every day.  Only comfortable casual clothes are needed.  No one dressed up at any time.  Wear only comfortable walking shoes.  We encountered everything from snow to 105 degrees.  The scenery is spectacular but the days are very long.  We covered 2640 miles.  The hotels were all middle of the road, many on the outskirts of town so restaurants were not nearby.  Hope you have a wonderful trip.  This is a diverse and gorgeous country.

Author: captainlarry

Joined: 4/24/2010
Posts: 425
GCT Trips Taken: 10
OAT Trips Taken: 0
Traveler Since: 2002

July 14, 2013

As with any tour, especially those involving elevations, the keyword for packing is -- layers.

At the beginning of October you can expect some rather cool temperatures at the elevations you will be traveling. You can expect fresh snow in the Big Horn Mountains, Yellowstone Park, and, perhaps, even Bryce Canyon. Oh, also Park City, Utah. But you can choose how much interaction you have with the snow and the cold.

Conversely, at Lake Powell it will probably be in the high 80s or maybe even 90 degrees. so you will want shorts, tee shirts, and sandals for those two days.

The tour is bus-intensive (some 2,500 miles) but the pacing is good. The only objectionable bus day I recall was from Lake Powell to Durango, but you will have spent two days in Lake Powell and will spend two days in Durango. The lunch break at Guldings in the Monument Valley is a refreshing break in the middle of the long trek.

When we took GCT's National Parks tour we knew what to expect. It was a repeat, in reverse, of a trip we had taken nine years before. But it was at a different time of year and that made a lot of deifference.

The Program Director and coach driver will make or break the trip. But from my experience with GCT (ten trips) I feel certain that they will be quite good. If anything at all is bothering you during the trip, give the professionals an opportunity to rectify the situation.

Author: csperg

Joined: 8/27/2014
Posts: 5
GCT Trips Taken: 8
OAT Trips Taken: 1
Traveler Since: 1999

August 27, 2014

I'm taking the trip "AMerica's National Parks" in September.  If you have gone on this tripPlease let me know your thoughts:  I have a balance problem and find it difficult to walk very far.  Will I miss out on much of the trip If I feel I can't take the walking sightseeing and stay on the bus??  I am 83 years old and have fallen recently.  This has given me some concern about the trip and would like anyone's point of view about the trip.  Thank you, Cleta Pergament

Author: nanaandpapa

Joined: 3/30/2011
Posts: 513
GCT Trips Taken: 12
OAT Trips Taken: 4
Countries Visited:

Aruba, Austria, Australia, Bermuda, Belgium, Botswana, Canada, China, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Rep., Egypt, England, Fiji, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Luxembourg, Mexico, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Russia, South Africa, Spain, St. Marten (fr), St. Martin (nd), Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, USA, Vatican, Zimbabwe

Traveler Since: 2002

August 27, 2014

My wife had moderate to severe mobility problems at the time we took this trip. She took a folding 4 wheeled walker that she used for part of the trip, but she ended up leaving it in the baggage compartment for the latter part of the trip. The one place that you will miss the most by staying on the bus is at Yellowstone. The walker that she used was made by Invacare, similar to THIS one. Check with a medical supply store and with your insurance company. We traveled all over the world with it and it folded relatively compactly. We even were able to take it on board planes and put it in the overhead bins. Thankfully she no ;onger neds it. It also has locking brakes and a seat.

We would be glad to talk to you, if you wish.

Author: csperg

Joined: 8/27/2014
Posts: 5
GCT Trips Taken: 8
OAT Trips Taken: 1
Traveler Since: 1999

August 28, 2014

Thank you so much for your reply.  When I talked to GCT I asked for the Travel Counselor.  They don't seem to have one and no one in the office had gone on the trip.  She did say that I should be able to wolk 3 to 5 miles a day.  This I know I can't do and certainly would stay on the ubs.  My question about staying on the bus soesn't seem to relate to your wife.  I am in a delima about going at this point.  I do have walking sticks that I use now - the walker wouldn't be much different except I could sit.  Any imput about how long the walking trips are would help me.  How many are their??  Thank you again.  My e-mail is csperg@bellsouth.net.

Author: jl.anderson

Joined: 3/17/2010
Posts: 73
GCT Trips Taken: 1
OAT Trips Taken: 4
Countries Visited:

With OAT/GCT: China, Peru, Ecuador, Ukraine, Russia, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe, South Africa, plus 40+ more countries on my own.

Traveler Since: 2007

August 28, 2014

Cleta:

This is from the website for America's National Parks:

  • For your comfort and safety, we recommend this program only to individuals in good physical condition. If you have difficulty walking or are wheelchair-bound, please consult our Travel Counselors for guidance.  

It would seem that you are not in good physical condition and you do have difficulty walking. The travel counselor you spoke with gave you her best advice, namely that you should be able to walk 3-5 miles a day.  It also appears that you are attemping this trip solo, without a travel partner to assist you with your walker, etc.  You should think about difficulities of this trip with your head instead of your heart.  I know you want to go, but would it be best for you and for your fellow travel companions?  I wish you all the best!  Please come back on the forum and let us know what you decided to do.  If you go on the trip, please give your impressions on how it worked out for you.  This will help others!

Judy

Author: nanaandpapa

Joined: 3/30/2011
Posts: 513
GCT Trips Taken: 12
OAT Trips Taken: 4
Countries Visited:

Aruba, Austria, Australia, Bermuda, Belgium, Botswana, Canada, China, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Rep., Egypt, England, Fiji, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Luxembourg, Mexico, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Russia, South Africa, Spain, St. Marten (fr), St. Martin (nd), Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, USA, Vatican, Zimbabwe

Traveler Since: 2002

August 28, 2014

We took this trip in 2007. so my recollections are not perfect, and the itinerary may not be exactly the same, but here is what I remember, prompted by the current itinerary.The 3 to 5 mile  requirement zeems to be a general one for all GCT trips and the only day that  approahed that was Day 6 in Tellowdtone.

Day 1. There may be some very large airports in your itineray, so do not hesitate to request wheelchair assistance. In addition to moving you, they know the best route through the airport and can expedite your processing through security. The service is generally free, witha $5 or $10 tip appreciated. GCT will requestthis service or you can request it from the airline directly. There is no real activity planned for the day, but there was a free or minimal cost shuttle into Rapid City. whicj is a frindly small city that was interesting to walk around, with presidential statues on many corners and flat walking.

Day 2 Crazy Horse, mimimal walking through a museum with distant views of the massive sculpture. Mount Rushmore, minimal walking with excellent footing, except possibly in the parking lot.

Day 3 Devils Tower. Can be seen from the bus or with minimal walking on good wlkways for a better veiw, or more difficult walking optional.

Day 4 Cody. The only out of office that I remeber was the Buffalo Bill museum, with minimal easy walking. At night we optionally went to a rodeo, with moderate relatively easy walkingon dirt.

Day 5 Long travel day, from Cody to Yellowstone.

Day 6 Yellowstobe. This is the day with the most walking, and the most to see off the bus. There is also much to see from the bus. The walking is somewhat uneven, but to really get the most out of the day, you should at least be able to do some of it. We stayed in a lodge in the park, so we did moderate walkingto Old Faithful to see multiple eruptions, Current lodging is outside the park.

Day 7. Mostly a travel day from Yellowstone to Jackson Hole via Granf Teton. Mostly travel day with minimal walking over even ground.

Day 8 Jackson Hole. This day is totally different that we did. We had a river raftingtrip/

Day 9 Jackson Hole to Salt Lake City. Morning bes ride with PM walking tour of Temple Squae. Minimam walking on even surface.

Day 10  Salt Lake City to Bryce Canyon. Moderate  uneven walking to  enjoy the view of the canyon. We satyed in thepark itself, rather than outside, so we had uneven walking to the restaurant and uneven free time walking on our on time. Current lodging is outside the park.

Day 11. Bryce Canyon/Zion. We did not go to Ziom

Day 12. Bryce Canyon Page Arizona via Grand Canyon  The stop at the Gran Canyon provides great views from the Morth Rim with minimal walking on even walkways.

Day 13 Page/Lake Powell Cruise/Antelope Canyon. Ride/easy walk to/from boat. Optional Antelope canyon walking tour. Easy. flat walking tour on fine sand.

Day 14. Page to Durango via Monument Valley. Mostly travel day with great views.

Day 15.Durango. Optional Mesa VerdeTour. Great views to Mesa Verde. Truck/bus tour of Measa Verde. I don't remember the amoint and difficulty of walking. Evening ranch tour was not on our agenda.

Day 16 Durango to Grand Junction vian Silverton. Narrow guage train to Siverton. Free time in Siverton. Flat terrain, as much or as little walking as youu wish. 

Dsy 17. Grand Junction to Denver via Vail. Mostly travel day with lunch/free time in Vail. Amount of walking up to you.

Day 18 Return home

The bus ride provides spectacular scenary, but to get the most of this tri, you should be able to do some walkimg. An aid to walking and an available seat could greatly increase you enjoyment of the trip and could be used as you need it. Ann used her walker for our first 8 GCT trip, including this onw, stopped using it mid-trip and has not used it for our last 7 GCT/OAT trips.She has had multipletotal knee replacements .If you have specific questions, we would be glad to answer them.

 

Author: csperg

Joined: 8/27/2014
Posts: 5
GCT Trips Taken: 8
OAT Trips Taken: 1
Traveler Since: 1999

September 03, 2014

Wednesday - Sept 3rd:  After reading your reply - I am sure that I can do this trip.  This is such a wonderful daily itenerary and I appreciate your efforts.  I also took the trip to Peru and the Amazon - last trip was to Italy and the Amalfy coast (sp)?  We did have a lot of wolking on that trip and I guess I didn't want to be a burden to the group.  Thank you again for your responce.

Author: csperg

Joined: 8/27/2014
Posts: 5
GCT Trips Taken: 8
OAT Trips Taken: 1
Traveler Since: 1999

September 03, 2014

Wednesday - Sept 3rd:  After reading your reply - I am sure that I can do this trip.  This is such a wonderful daily itenerary and I appreciate your efforts.  I also took the trip to Peru and the Amazon - last trip was to Italy and the Amalfy coast (sp)?  We did have a lot of wolking on that trip and I guess I didn't want to be a burden to the group.  Thank you again for your responce.

Author: csperg

Joined: 8/27/2014
Posts: 5
GCT Trips Taken: 8
OAT Trips Taken: 1
Traveler Since: 1999

September 03, 2014

Wednesday - Sept 3rd:  After reading your reply - I am sure that I can do this trip.  This is such a wonderful daily itenerary and I appreciate your efforts.  I also took the trip to Peru and the Amazon - last trip was to Italy and the Amalfy coast (sp)?  We did have a lot of wolking on that trip and I guess I didn't want to be a burden to the group.  Thank you again for your responce.

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