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  1. Default Arizona and Yosemite Road Trips // April 2007

    Hi everyone,

    I am looking for any advice the readers of this forum might have about a road trip my wife and I intend on doing in April next year (pretty sure this is early spring in the USA as it will be early fall (autumn) here in New Zealand). We are limited by the amount of time we have available (my wife is a school teacher, and I have a conference in San Francisco) so we only have about 2 weeks.

    Thursday 5th – Fly into Phoenix (via San Francisco) at about 5.30pm
    O/N in Phoenix (or outskirts of the city)

    Friday 6th – Drive to Montezuma Castle and visit. Drive on to Winslow to see Meteor Crater
    O/N in Winslow or close by.

    Saturday 7th – Drive onto the Petrified Forest then north via 191 to Canyon de Chelly NM
    O/N close by to Canyon de Chelly NM

    Sunday 8th – Drive onto Monument Valley, Navajo tribal lands, etc.
    O/N at Monument Valley Campground or Kayenta.

    Monday 9th – Drive towards Grand Canyon (This will probably be a long driving day but how long ???) on 160, then onto 89 for a short period before turning onto 64 to drive along the rim.
    O/N in Grand Canyon Village (M Lodge)

    Tuesday 10th – Free day to look around Grand Canyon area (any ideas).
    O/N in Grand Canyon Village (M Lodge)

    Wednesday 11th – Drive to Scottsdale. Visit Taliesin West (Late Tour, 2 or 3pm). Drive on to the Phoenix Airport
    O/N in place close to the airport

    Thursday 12th – Drop off rental at Phoenix Airport // Early morning flight on Southwest to Sacramento Airport. Pick up new rental car. Drive to Yosemite
    O/N in Yosemite (any ideas for accommodation)

    Friday 13th – Free day to look around Yosemite
    O/N in Yosemite

    Saturday 14th – Drive back to San Francisco. Sightsee with the car (Golden Gate Bridge, Sausalito, Muir Woods, etc). Drop off the car in the late afternoon.

    Sunday 15th – Sightsee in San Francisco.
    Monday 16th – Sightsee in San Francisco.
    Tuesday 17th – Conference begins in San Francisco.

    Ok I have a few questions that I am hoping you might be able to answer.

    Does this plan sound feasible / interesting / worthwhile ?? Are we talking about really long days full of driving with very little time to see anything or will they be ok ??

    The 6th is Good Friday so I presume it will be very busy, but I am worried about places being closed. Looking at the NPS website, it does not say that Montezuma Castle will be closed on Good Friday, is this correct ??

    Accommodation – We will be bringing a tent so we can camp (at campsites) in most places. Do you think we will have problems finding a campsite or a cheap motel at some of the places I list above ?? While I might book some places ahead of time (first night, last night in Phoenix, Accommodation in Grand Canyon and Yosemite) will the other locations be too busy to roll up on the day ??

    One other strange question, I have a memory of a huge line for people to check in for a Southwest flight when I was arriving into San Diego a couple of years ago. The queue was unbelievable. How early do you need to be there prior to a Southwest flight ?? Is 1-2 hours enough ??

    Thanks for any assistance you can give me.

    Cheers

    Fraser

  2. Default Weather might be a concern..

    Hi wownerf and welcome to RoadtripAmerica forum!

    Hmm.. well, its a very doable roadtrip, but I may make a couple of suggestions and observations..

    My first thought is that weather might be a factor. April time period is still early enough that you can see quite cool weather, particularly if you're camping. About a year ago, I did a road trip to Grand Canyon and Petrified Forest in April, and we got several inches of snow in the GC.

    Now I've camped in the snow before, and it wasn't a lot -- but it would make a camping experience not as fun. Even without snow, the weather may be windy and cold -- down to below freezing at night. If you're going to be camping, you need to be prepared for this -- although not every year sees weather like this either.

    My second thought was you might skip the backtrack to Phoenix and the hop to Sacramento. Consider doing Phoenix, Scottsdale and up towards Flagstaff as one path, continuing to Holbrook and the Petrified Forest, and then up to Monument Valleyetc, and then back to the Grand Canyon, and then drive through from there to Yosemite via Las Vegas and possibly Death Valley to Yosemite. I think you have the time, and you'd avoid the time and cost of backtracking ito Phoenix and the hop to Sacramento.

    (Essentially using your Rough schedule you would leave Grand Canyon on the 11th, and spend the night in Las Vegas. Then the night of the 12th, you could be in Yosemite -- a longish day's drive of 10ish hours in the car (drive time is about 8, plus stops), but very doable. That would give you another day to either spend in Scottsdale before heading out of Phoenix area, or as a day to stop over in Death Valley, or somwhere else.)

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default It is possible, maybe...

    Quote Originally Posted by wownerf View Post
    a road trip my wife and I intend on doing in April next year (pretty sure this is early spring in the USA as it will be early fall (autumn) here in New Zealand).
    Yep, it will be spring -- Welcome to the Great American RoadTrip Forum!
    One other strange question, I have a memory of a huge line for people to check in for a Southwest flight when I was arriving into San Diego a couple of years ago. The queue was unbelievable. How early do you need to be there prior to a Southwest flight ?? Is 1-2 hours enough ??
    As a general rule, Southwest Airlines does not pre-book seat assignments and so folks show up to get good seats (and make sure they can make that flight). As a matter or practicality -- if you get to the gate within an hour of boarding you will be fine -- unless some flight restrictions get tightened because of security issues.

    Overall, I would say your schedule looks OK -- it won't allow for much in-depth looking around, and you will need to figure on full days 7-8 hours per day -- but it seems doable.
    The 6th is Good Friday so I presume it will be very busy, but I am worried about places being closed. Looking at the NPS website, it does not say that Montezuma Castle will be closed on Good Friday, is this correct ??
    I will have to make some calls, but I would say it is very unlikely a park would close because of Good Friday.
    Accommodation – We will be bringing a tent so we can camp (at campsites) in most places. Do you think we will have problems finding a campsite or a cheap motel at some of the places I list above ?? While I might book some places ahead of time (first night, last night in Phoenix, Accommodation in Grand Canyon and Yosemite) will the other locations be too busy to roll up on the day ??
    Easter week is a popular time to be traveling but I believe you will be OK. It is likely to be cold with snow on the ground for many of the places you will be visiting.

    Happy Planning!

    Mark

  4. Default Yosemite

    I would advise you to stay at yosemite for a few days. That place will change your life, it is so beautiful. Please go to Yosemite.
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 04-14-2007 at 08:25 PM. Reason: Navigation for clarity

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default Yosemite in early spring

    Quote Originally Posted by Traveler420 View Post
    That place will change your life, it is so beautiful. Please go to Yosemite.
    Welcome to the Great American RoadTrip Forum -- what parts of Yosemite do you enjoy the most?

    Mark

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