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  1. Default One week road trip on the West Coast

    Hi guys,

    I have been reading this forum for a few month and I have to tell you that I think you are really making an amazing job! I have learned important things and I got lot of informations for my own road trip. But to make the following steps I need some advice.
    After 4 month lifeguarding in the US me and my boyfriend are planning a one week round trip from LA early in October. We would like to rent a car and see as much as we can from the West Coast. (Especially Grand Canyon, Las Vegas, Historic Route 66, San Francisco,...) Our total budget is 2000 $.
    We are from Hungary and this would be our first road trip, so we are not quite sure how much money should we calculate with. I counted with estimated values: 400 $ for the car (one week with underage charge, because we are 21 and 22), 100 $/ day for housing and 300 $ for the gas.

    I would like to ask you do you think is it possible to make such a roadtrip in one week? Or could we make more than a week with the money we have?
    And what do you think about renting a minivan and sleeping in it, or at campgrounds to cut our costs?

    Your soonest reply would be appreciated.

    Peter
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 08-10-2007 at 12:48 PM. Reason: minor typo

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,060

    Default Hungarian Lifeguards?

    Quote Originally Posted by perlay View Post
    After 4 month lifeguarding in the US me and my boyfriend are planning a one week round trip from LA early in October.
    October may well be the perfect month for roadtripping in the USA and so I think you are going to have a blast! Welcome to the Great American RoadTrip Forum!
    We would like to rent a car and see as much as we can from the West Coast. (Especially Grand Canyon, Las Vegas, Historic Route 66, San Francisco,...) Our total budget is 2000 $.
    Your budget seems OK, but you are really pushing the time envelope hard to see all of this region in only a week.
    Or could we make more than a week with the money we have?
    You might be able squeeze out another 5-6 days with the money -- here are some tips and be able to see more of this area.
    And what do you think about renting a minivan and sleeping in it,
    The minivan will probably cost too much of your buget.

    As far as routes go. Read this thread (& the the suggested links) and then come back with any specific questions you might have.

    Mark

  3. #3

    Default Take as long as you can afford

    I spent two weeks last summer in this area, drove 4,000 miles and barely scratched the surface of what there is to see and do. I will definately be back! If you have the opportunity to spend more than a week there then I would heartily recommend it. There are various ways to cut costs and make your budget run further. These would include camping wherever possible and eating out of a cooler whenever possible.

  4. Default Thanks

    Thanks for the answers guys! Than, we count with 10-13 days.
    I hope we'll enjoy the tour:)

    Peter and Rita

  5. Default Itinerary

    Hi guys!

    We have finally finished our planning. Tried to squeeze the most into the trip.
    We are waiting for your approval. :)

    1. day: LA

    2. day: LA – Monterey (distance: 342 miles, driving hours: 6:40)
    Thru Pacific Coast Hwy, Hearst Castle

    3. day: Monterey – San Francisco (120 miles, 2:10)

    4. day: San Francisco

    5. day: San Francisco – June Lake (244 miles, 5:15)
    Thru Yosemite National Park – Tioga Pass

    6. day: June Lake – Las Vegas (360 miles, 6:30)
    Thru Death Valley

    7. day: Las Vegas
    Hoover Dam

    8. day: Las Vegas – Kayenta (373 miles, 6:30)
    Thru Zion National Park, Monument Valley

    9. day: Kayenta – Kingman (325 miles, 5:30)
    Grand Canyon, Route 66

    10. day: Kingman – LA (319 miles, 4:45)
    Chloride - Ghost Town

    Total milages with the city cruises aprox: 2400 mi
    Gas budget: 400 Dollars

    I hope we did our calculations right.
    We've tried to take into account the safest driving hours per day beside seeing the most on the route.

    What do you think about the plan?
    Looking forward for the professional judgement. :)

    Rita and Peter

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,060

    Default Add an hour or two to each leg!

    Quote Originally Posted by perlay View Post
    We have finally finished our planning.
    I am not really sure that any of the time periods are real. One or two might be close -- but to be safe you need to add 1-3 hours to each of the driving periods.

    LA – Monterey
    If you stop and enjoy the views at reasonable intervals -- this is at the minimum 8 hiours.
    Monterey – San Francisco (120 miles, 2:10)
    This is the only that might be close -- if the traffic is normal -- 2.5 hours -- but if there is any sort of traffic delay ~3 hours

    5. day: San Francisco – June Lake (244 miles, 5:15)
    Thru Yosemite National Park – Tioga Pass
    8-9 hours is much more realistic. You can't just zoom along -- you "have" stop sometimes and see what you are driving past.

    6. day: June Lake – Las Vegas (360 miles, 6:30)
    Thru Death Valley
    Again, you must allow at least 9 hours for this trip.

    8. day: Las Vegas – Kayenta (373 miles, 6:30)
    Thru Zion National Park, Monument Valley
    You need to re-think this route, if you drive from Las Vegas to Zion and then over to Monument Valley and back to Kayenta in one day ~ 12 to 14 hours.

    9. day: Kayenta – Kingman (325 miles, 5:30)
    Grand Canyon, Route 66
    This might be possible.

    10. day: Kingman – LA(319 miles, 4:45)
    Chloride - Ghost Town
    If you can do this drive in less than 7 hours I would be truly, truly amazed.

    The routes chosen look excellent -- but you will need to be on the road many more hours each day!

    Mark

  7. Default Add more time, also....

    Google maps are a useful tool in generating routes, but I've not been impressed with their estimates of driving time.

    I also will add the comment that the times all seem to be too short by a couple of hours.

    For example, on the last day, it has approx 2.25 hours (2 hours 16 minutes) to travel the 210 miles calculated from Kingman AZ to the middle of the Mojave National Preserve. That's an average of 67 miles per hour. Is this possible? I guess, yes -- you'll probably be doing 65-70 on the Freeway to the MNP, but the roads in the Preserve you'll be doing *maybe* 50-60 on average. I really wouldn't recommend doing much over that that speed on an unfamiliar 2 lane paved road in the dessert through varying terrain. My seat-of-the-pants estimate would be an average at least 10% lower, without stops.

    Then I assume you'll be adding stops for pictures and lunch and etc.

    My guess is Google is just giving "time in car behind the wheel" times, with a miles per hour calculation based upon type of road. You really do need to add in additional time for gas stops, food breaks, bio breaks (get out and stretch, find a bathroom, etc.), and sightseeing stops. If you crank these in, the mph average drops to 57 mph in the western US, not including major sightseeing stops.

    In particular, the SF to Yosemite to June Lake leg. That's got to include no stops. The route you have listed does not go into Yosemite at all -- you need to add up to another 80 miles of so, to go into park to Yosemite Village and Currry Village, and look around. Plus I expect you'll get out of the car and look at the falls and Half dome or the like. Adding in another 40-80 miles narrower hilly roads, plus the "get out of the car and look around" stops will push this day by another 2-3 hours at least.

  8. Default Hi

    Hi Mark,

    Thank you for the advices. We are going to try to add some stops then.
    We are thinking, that we start at 6-7am every day, and arrive at 8-9pm with some stops (to take some photos, swim in the ocean, or just sit on a bench and enjoy the view). But the main point of the trip, is the trip itself, to drive the car on these scenic routes, so we don't mind if we need to sit in the car all day long. We try to do our best. :)

    Peter and Rita

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