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  1. #1

    Default Portland to LA to Vegas

    Hi everybody. My name's Andrew and I just joined the board. I love to travel and am probably the only person who rushes out to buy the new year's Road Atlas. Speaking of, I need to do that. I work at Land Rover of Portland washing customer cars in for service and I'm a part-time student so needless to say I'm pretty busy.

    I'm finally going to be doing my long-awaited road trip this summer. My transportation will be my trusty 2004 Hyundai Santa Fe and my destinations include Los Angeles and Las Vegas. My plan is to request 7 days off from work (a Thursday, Friday and the whole next week) which will give me 11 days total and to leave around 8:30 or 9:00 (after the onslaught of rush-hour) on Thursday morning.

    My major destinations include Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and the Grand Canyon, probably in that order. I'll be making Sacramento in the first day and L.A. by the second. I'll spend three days in LA, three days in Vegas and a day at the Canyon. Then I'll head home through Nevada, Utah, Idaho, and back into Oregon. Hopefully I can make it work.

    As far as navigation is concerned, I'm hoping for a Garmin StreetPilot 2820 for Christmas this year. My Santa Fe has a full-size spare tire and we just got new tires in September so she'll be set. I even have a miniature emergency kit (jumper cables, flares, and emergency triangles) under the cargo floor. I plan to pack a few other things like screwdrivers and several bottles of water. Just before the trip, I'm going to have my Hyundai dealer perform the 60,000 mile service visit which includes all the necessities like the timing belt and other good stuff like that. Does anybody have tips for me and my car on this trip through the deserts?

    Looking forward to meeting everyone. :)
    Last edited by deloreanman14; 12-03-2006 at 03:24 AM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default Lookin Good

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    It looks like you are already on your way to a good trip. Your travel plan seems pretty realistic, and you're already planning to have your vehicle serviced before you travel, so you should be good there.

    When you go in for your 60k service, it wouldn't hurt to tell them the trip you are about to take, they might recommend some other things that aren't covered in a standard 60k appointment. For example, it wouldn't hurt to have your coolant tested and/or flushed if thats not included.

    A AAA membership is also something to consider just in case. I personally have never used AAA and haven't found it worth my money, but other people swear by it. So you may want to check into it yourself.

    For your route, you might consider going from LA to the Canyon and then back to Vegas. Depending upon how you were planning on getting back home, this will likely be a faster option with less backtracking.

  3. #3


    Thanks for the tips, Michael. Hyundai has five-year, unlimited mileage roadside assistance so until 2009, I'm set on the road.

  4. Default Just be prepared

    Hi deloreanman14 --

    I think the key thing for you on a desert road trip is to make sure you're prepared for stuff, just in case. If you hit the desert in the summer, its going to be HOT -- potentially up in the 120 F range in the day.

    You sound like you're doing the basic smart things before hitting a road trip like this -- get the car serviced, and basic maintenance checked so you don't have something preventable like a worn engine belt stop you in your tracks. Other than that, you might check out some of the threads here where folks have discussed desert supplies and survival tips, just in case.

    If I had to suggest a couple of things to add

    - a cell phone. For the routes you're taking, you should have service almost all of the time. In an emergency, you can call for help.

    - an ice chest in the back of the car. Heck, you'll probably want this anyway. Extra food and water are always good. And remember the ice water in the chest can also be drunk or poured into the radiator if you need to.

    - basic comfortable clothing, including a hat and sunglasses, and comfortable walking shoes. No, I'm not kidding about this -- you'd be amazed at the folks who get stuck out in the desert in shorts and a t-shirt, and then end up with most amazing sunburn. Or the people trying to hike (even on a visitor center's nature trail) in sandals through the sharp edged dessert rocks and spiny plants. And when the temperature get over 100F, imagine how hot black asphalt can be.

    - a simple tool kit and a roll of duct tape and a good flashlight (with batteries). I have a tool kit I got for about $20 at a large-box discount store, with pliers, screwdrivers, wrenches, an electrical tester, and etc. And its amazing how many ways duct tape can used... If you're good with tools and familiar with your car, you might even throw in a spare belt.

    - drink a lot of water. This sounds stupid, but its amazing how many people don't drink enough fluids when its dry (not necessarily hot, even). You may not realize it, but its real easy to get dehydrated in the desert, even if you don't feel like you're sweating or that you're hot. Lots of folks don't drink fluids since they don't want to stop the car to use a bathroom or try to 'conserve water' by not drinking -- and end up dehydrated. You get a headache, start feeling naseuous and start feeling really bad. But get a liter of water into you, and most of the time you feel fine. You need to be stopping to use the bathroom every hour or so. Going a half day without needing to stop is definitely a sign you're not getting enough fluids in you. (I camp with the Boy Scouts, and about every month at least one of the boys or adults gets dehydrated... its surprizing how common this is...)

    We can keep going on and on about things you might need in emergencies, but you're sticking to main roads, and you don't do something stupid (like taking a short cut down an unpaved, off the map road for example), the basic stuff you'll need are a) a way to call for help (the cell phone), b) supplies to last until help comes (the ice chest, spare water, and hat/ sunscreen, shoes, etc), and c) some basic tools and supplies for something simple (such as replacing a tire. fixing a leaky hose, or reconnecting a battery cable). AAA membership or something like that could be useful -- heck, I use them primarily to get maps every year for where I'm heading.
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 12-03-2006 at 04:28 PM. Reason: desert (instead of dessert)

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