Why no GAP trips to North America??

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Why no GAP trips to North America??

Postby Zuleika » Mon Mar 16, 2009 6:32 pm

Im just wondering why there are no GAP trips to North America and if there are any in the pipeline???
I would love to do a camping road trip from New York to LA or San Fran but specifically taking in Yellowstone.
I know its on your doorstep, but plenty of us GAP travellers are not from USA or Canada and would love to visit.

So how about it?
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Re: Why no GAP trips to North America??

Postby sinecure » Mon Mar 16, 2009 7:42 pm

Gap has eight trips in North America. But I believe it's largely a demand issue.

There doesn't tend to be the social disconnect in seeing North America, where it may be harder to see rural Thailand than it is to see rural Kansas *(also may not be as interesting ;)*
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Re: Why no GAP trips to North America??

Postby graybeard » Mon Mar 16, 2009 8:58 pm

Hello Zuleika,

A car camping trip across most of the US frankly would not be all that interesting and take several valuable vacation weeks. Trust me on this. (I've done it by bicycle). However, spending time in Yellowstone, Teton, Glacier, Mesa Verda, Arches, etc.etc. is worth the time. I live in Denver, and would be happy to help you plan such a trip. Avoid mid-summer - too many RV's and screaming kids who would much prefer to still be at home playing video game and texting. :lol:
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Re: Why no GAP trips to North America??

Postby thecakeisalie » Tue Mar 17, 2009 9:52 am

Zuleika, I agree with you, and posted as much last year in that "What trips would you like to see" thread (I think its locked now). Anyway, there are tons of interesting places to see all over the US, not to mention Canada, and a cross country roadtrip would absolutely be interesting. But this type of trip is pretty easy to arrange on your own, the downside of course being that you have to supply your own group if you're looking for a small group adventure! My advice would be to get a group of 4, rent a car (more than 4 and you get crammed for space), pack light,and just hit the open road. And while mid-summer may not be ideal because of other tourists, it is ideal in terms of weather and maximum daylight in most of the US.
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Re: Why no GAP trips to North America??

Postby NatureFreak » Tue Mar 17, 2009 10:52 am

They should have more tours to North America. With that said, it is easy to just organize yourself. Visiting the National Parks and State/Provincial Parks sites has more than enough information to help plan a camping trip. The national sites are:
USA -nps.gov
Canada - pc.gc.ca
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Re: Why no GAP trips to North America??

Postby JaliscoJudy » Tue Mar 17, 2009 11:13 am

Definitely worthwhile.

I'd have a hard time deciding between a northwest or a southwest trip.

My northwest trip would start in Seattle and take in the Olympic Mountain Range and the temperate rain forests. It would include volcanoes: Ranier, St. Helens, and the Three Sisters, and some stops in the Cascade Range. We'd windsurf in the Colombia River gorge and visit a fish hatchery to light a candle for all the salmon that have died because of mis-management of the Colombia River drainage. We'd visit Joseph, Oregon. In Idaho, we'd raft the Snake River, or maybe some of the smaller rivers like the Payette or one of the many forks of the Salmon River. We could take the 3-day hiking trip from near the abandoned mining town of Warren to the Salmon River (all downhill :)). We'd stay a night in Riggins. We'd hike to the Seven Devils and canoe in Redfish lake in the Sawtooth Range. We'd see the headwaters of the Salmon River. I'd catch rainbow trout and cook them over a campfire. I'd visit natural hot springs in remote canyons. Then I'd slip over Lolo pass into Montana and visit Glacier National Park. I'd go to Wyoming and camp in the Wind River Range. Then, if had the time, I'd go visit the Tetons and Yellowstone. :)

I'd travel in September, after everyone is back in school.

Later: My Southwest Trip
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Re: Why no GAP trips to North America??

Postby sinecure » Tue Mar 17, 2009 12:15 pm

Why start in Seattle? Vancouver is just a quick hop across the border ;)
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Re: Why no GAP trips to North America??

Postby Zuleika » Tue Mar 17, 2009 2:44 pm

Thanks for all your replies and ideas.
In answer - then yes i guess a road trip to an American wouldnt seem very appealing if your from that country. Im English and wouldnt find trolling round the UK that appealing either! But having visited the National Parks around the Grand Canyon and western Southwestern USA, I am beginning to think that you have some of the most amazing fabulous National Parks in the world. You also have fabulous hospitality of anywhere on earth, your portions would feed a small family and the Bloody Marys are outstanding!!! So yeas - I want to come back!
But I was thinking of perhaps starting at New York (never been), Niagara Falls, The Great lakes, Mt Rushmore, Yellowstone (I watched a TV program last night on Yellowstone which has ignited this interest), Yosemite (is that feasible?) Grand Teton, Jackson Hole, San Fran (never been).

Yes I could organise this myself I guess, but I have 2 big problems -firstly - I cant drive!!! Secondly, my friends dont 'do' camping!!
But also I like the dynamics of travelling in a group of say 12 -14 people.

I have already been to Alaska aand LOVED it. Canada I have yet to visit but it defo on the agenda.
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Re: Why no GAP trips to North America??

Postby thecakeisalie » Tue Mar 17, 2009 5:12 pm

firstly - I cant drive!!!

That's okay. It doesn't seem to stop anybody else! :roll:

Secondly, my friends dont 'do' camping!!


The reality is, what most consider "camping" in the US is a far cry from roughing it, if that is the concern. Most campgrounds have electric hookups for RVs and camper vehicles, water at the ready, and maintained toilet/shower facilities. If you really want to hit the backwoods and leave the tourists behind, there is still ample opportunity across the country, but it isn't as common as the TV would have you believe!
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Re: Why no GAP trips to North America??

Postby sinecure » Tue Mar 17, 2009 5:34 pm

Getting around can be really cheap too is you use some of the low cost Carriers in the states ie: Jet blue & Southwest equivalent to Ryanair from what I understand (or maybe a litter nicer)
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Re: Why no GAP trips to North America??

Postby Zuleika » Tue Mar 17, 2009 5:49 pm

thecakeisalie wrote:
If you really want to hit the backwoods and leave the tourists behind, there is still ample opportunity across the country, but it isn't as common as the TV would have you believe!


Yes I want wilderness, no RV's or electric hookups and tap water! - what??!! you mean there isnt any????? I am misinformed then. :(
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Re: Why no GAP trips to North America??

Postby ExplorerWannaBe » Tue Mar 17, 2009 7:04 pm

I'm going to disagree with some of the Americans here. I've road-tripped across the US more than a few times and it IS fascinating and great even to an American -- IF you have an open mind and want to learn. I wanted to do that this summer with my young nephews but it looks like their summers are going to be tied up with summer school.

You can do a great week+ in the fall just driving down from Maine to Virginia. One day each in Bar Harbor/Kennebunkport, Boston, Philadelphia, Williamsburg (you'll probably want two days each in NYC and Wash DC).

Another great trip is going from NYC or Wash DC up into Quebec, west then down into Michigan and continuing westward through Wisconsin, the Dakotas, Wyoming and on into Washington State. If you want, you can then continue down the coast to Santa Barbara or (if you have a lot of time) catch the ferry up the Inside Passage to Alaska.

As far as backpacking and REAL camping in the great outdoors, I don't know what thecakeisalie is talking about. There's TONS of it from the Appalachian Trail along the East Coast to the backwoods of West Virginia or Tennessee or (of course) the Rocky Mountains in Colorado and New Mexico -- and tons of people who think of REAL camping, not KOA campgrounds.

Many states have campgrounds without the electric hookups although there are central points for water and sanitary facilities -- that's mainly because you don't want the volume of campers digging catholes and leaving their waste behind. There are a also a lot of campgrounds where the only thing they've got are flat and somewhat level tent areas with perhaps a fire ring or raised barbecue. Again, this is to minimize the impact people really have on the rest of the nature areas.

I think there are two main problems with GAP organizing tours in the US like that. First, things are so accessible and easy to get to that there's no reason for Americans (or Canadians) to have to pay someone else to organize the trip when they can just pick what they want and jump in a car. Second (and this is the real kicker) -- America is so spread out that you spend a good portion of your time just getting from place to place. It's not like Europe where I could spend 2.5 days in one city, grab a train a few hours to another one, spend a few days there, grab another train to a third and spend a few days there to really cover a lot of culture and history in a week and a half (well, you could do that in the Northeast between DC, Baltimore, Philly, NYC and Boston but that's about it). Driving from Denver to Albuquerque alone can be an all-day affair -- more if you actually stop to smell the flowers. Somehow I don't think that's terribly conducive for tour companies who have clients that want to SEE things rather than spend all that much time on a bus -- and especially the active sort of clients that GAP caters to.
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Re: Why no GAP trips to North America??

Postby Zuleika » Tue Mar 17, 2009 8:12 pm

ExplorerWannaBe wrote:
As far as backpacking and REAL camping in the great outdoors, I don't know what thecakeisalie is talking about. There's TONS of it from the Appalachian Trail along the East Coast to the backwoods of West Virginia or Tennessee or (of course) the Rocky Mountains in Colorado and New Mexico -- and tons of people who think of REAL camping, not KOA campgrounds.
Many states have campgrounds without the electric hookups although there are central points for water and sanitary facilities -- that's mainly because you don't want the volume of campers digging catholes and leaving their waste behind. There are a also a lot of campgrounds where the only thing they've got are flat and somewhat level tent areas with perhaps a fire ring or raised barbecue. Again, this is to minimize the impact people really have on the rest of the nature areas..

Brilliant - this is good to know.


ExplorerWannaBe wrote:I think there are two main problems with GAP organizing tours in the US like that. First, things are so accessible and easy to get to that there's no reason for Americans (or Canadians) to have to pay someone else to organize the trip when they can just pick what they want and jump in a car. ..

But do you really think these trips should be aimed at American/Canadian market - or pitched at foreigners - all GAP trips that I have done so far have very few Canadians and practically no Americans but mainly Europeans, Aussies, kiwis etc


ExplorerWannaBe wrote:Second (and this is the real kicker) -- America is so spread out that you spend a good portion of your time just getting from place to place. It's not like Europe where I could spend 2.5 days in one city, grab a train a few hours to another one, spend a few days there, grab another train to a third and spend a few days there to really cover a lot of culture and history in a week and a half (well, you could do that in the Northeast between DC, Baltimore, Philly, NYC and Boston but that's about it). Driving from Denver to Albuquerque alone can be an all-day affair -- more if you actually stop to smell the flowers. Somehow I don't think that's terribly conducive for tour companies who have clients that want to SEE things rather than spend all that much time on a bus -- and especially the active sort of clients that GAP caters to.


I get this point, that would be a draw back, or you would have to pick your route carefully. However - Europeans are lucky enough to get more leave time - I get 35 days per year to take at any time, so i do have the time - do you think that 28 days would be long enough to do NYC to SF??
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Re: Why no GAP trips to North America??

Postby ExplorerWannaBe » Tue Mar 17, 2009 8:37 pm

Zuleika wrote:
ExplorerWannaBe wrote:I get this point, that would be a draw back, or you would have to pick your route carefully. However - Europeans are lucky enough to get more leave time - I get 35 days per year to take at any time, so i do have the time - do you think that 28 days would be long enough to do NYC to SF??


If I were GAP and considering such adventures, I'd certainly aim them toward Europeans, especially with the currency conversion advantage they currently have. My family spent 3 weeks going from DC to Portland and it was a lot of fun -- but then I was 8 at the time. I would expect GAP would want to split the trip up into segments in order to attract a variety of tourists with different schedules. They could do an 8-9 day tour of the American Northeast, another 4-6 day segment in the American north midwest, a week along the American West Coast -- I'm just not sure how they would want to string it together with the intermediate transportation.

You might want to check into one of the other tour companies that specializes in setting things up with tour buses because that's the only thing I can think of to make it bearable between segments. Unfortunately our train system just isn't as conducive to passenger travel as Europe's but perhaps they could do something catching the rails from the East Coast to St. Louis and then string segments together.

Just conjecture at this point.
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Re: Why no GAP trips to North America??

Postby thecakeisalie » Wed Mar 18, 2009 9:29 am

Hi ExplorerWannaBe,
Read my post again, I'm not arguing with you. I agree that there are nearly limitless opportunities to have a true wilderness experience across the entire country, but by comparison the percentage of people that opt for the facilitated campground is much higher. Just look at the number of visitors to our national parks (mostly facilitated, btw). Those campers significantly outweigh the ones that head into the true wilderness campsites.

Back to the original question, yes Zuleika there are plenty of wide open spaces and wilderness to explore. Sorry for the confusion.
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