First off this site is fabulous! Already got lots of great info re places to see what's doable and what's not etc.
The ultimate goal is San Diego but we would fly into Vegas and then rent a car, that's cheaper than the direct flight plus then we have more freedom to explore (with the rental car and unlimited miles). Ok so we would have 9 days (not counting our main travel days to and from home)
I THINK the trip is doable timewise but am open to feedback if I'm off base. My main quesion though is about the TYPES of roads we would be driving on. Never having been out west before and having lost our brakes on a back mtn road in VA (and smelled burning brakes on our vehicle many other times in the mtns on back roads), I am leery of roads with long steep continous declines. Having said that, we did the Blue Ridge parkway in VA with no problems and drive I40 through NC/TN mtns on trips to MN with no problems but if you are familiar with Grandfather Mtn in NC, that is one road that we had to have someone else drive us up/down as we were not comfortable driving on it because of the incline/decline.
So the proposed trip is (and I've used Mapquest for all the routes)
Day 1 - Vegas through the Mojave Natural Preserve then taking a quick look at the Joshua Tree National Park and on to San Diego, FULL DAY
Day 2 to 5 - chillin in San Diego
Day 6 - San Diego to Sedona, possibly stopping earlier in Phoenix
Day 7 Full day in Sedona taking pictures and exploring area then head north to Grand Canyon arriving before dark but not actually seeing it this day
Day 8 Grand Canyon pretty much pictures only then back to Vegas stopping to see the Hoover Dam.
Day 9 Vegas and then fly home next day
I didn't put the specific routes as I'm assuming MapQuest would give the main ones and I've also made notes on several routes from the many articles on this site so basically need advice on how these main roads are (which ones might be better than others, ones to avoid or if we should spend the extra money and fly right to the coast and just enjoy AZ pics online!), for an admitedly 'somewhat' whimpy traveler (for mountain roads) who still has a 'little' spirit of adventure! Also any advice on the side roads that lead to these main attractions would be appreciated.