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We've rounded up news of birthday celebrations in Yellow and Big Bend national parks, a 2004 "best of" list, a lottery for car passengers into Denali, and deals for train packages to and lodgings in parks and historic sites across the US.
In this article we'll discuss some of the nuts and bolts of life on the road so that you, too, can overcome disorganization and have the courage to just hit the road.
All the parks have ranger programs for children and adults, and some will even take the kids off your hands for an hour or two; but for an in-depth learning vacation, consider joining a field institute or camp such as these in and around Yellowstone, Grand Teton or Rocky Mountain national parks.
Here are some tips on avoiding and dealing with some common outdoors hazards.
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Monument Valley
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Reader's Voice
From Trent Olmstead: "We are flying into Anchorage and renting a motor home and want to experience Denali for part of our trip. I have looked through these message boards as well as the park service website but can't find info. My questions are: I assume we can drive a motorhome to the visitors center, but where can we stay overnight in it? It looks like you have to leave the visitors center by bus in order to get further into park. Can we stay in the parking lot overnight and then take the bus trip the next morning? Does the bus trip (which looks likes lasts 11 hours!) do some sort of a roundtrip during that time? I assume it brings you back to the visitors center at the end of the day."
From Rob Wright: "I spent two weeks in Utah last year and I was amazed at the quantity and quality of the Rock Art. If you are interested in rock art and would like to ask me something about Nine Mile Canyon, Horseshoe Canyon, etc. I would be happy to relate my experiences."
From R. Bernhard: "We are planning to drive from Phoenix to the South Rim in August and are looking for neat things for our adventurous 7 & 10 year old girls to do to break up the trip. Someone posted a message about sleeping in a teepe; please, let me know more! Did you rent it from the park service? Was it equipped? We saw the posting on the 'natural rock slides' and will plan to stop there. We originally thought of using an RV, but feel it may slow us down. We have made reservations at the Thunderbird on the South Rim for two nights and then wanted to go to Canyon de Chelly. Anyone been there? How is the drive?"
From Shannon Bray: "I want to know where can I find information on what's along the way between Las Vegas and Hoover Dam and then on to the Grand Canyon. I'm looking for places like the "'orld's largest ball of twine.' I think this would be so fun, but I don't know how to locate that kind of information."
From Jackie Kersh: "You can walk or drive a 4-wheel vehicle or sturdy car to the floor of the west canyon, with a permit from the Indian headquarrters in Peach Springs, AZ. People in the national park will tell you it can't be done, but I did, with an Elderhostel group. It's wonderful, awesome and there is hardly anybody there. Check the Hualapai Indian website for more infomation."

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