Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 13

Thread: CA to AZ & back

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Bay Area, CA
    Posts
    234

    Default CA to AZ & back

    Hi,
    I've been out for a long time now. Things on the personal front kept me, let's just say, occupied!
    Anyways, hubby has a shutdown from 22nd Dec until 30th Dec. Our initial FL plans did not materialize. So, we've just reserved for a rental car.
    We are taking 2 extra days & plan to return home on New Year's.
    Plan:
    21st : Leave home a late evening. Night halt at an I5 rest area(150-200m away from home)

    22nd: Mojave National Preserve. Night halt: suburban Vegas(we do not have plans to get into the city this time)

    23rd:Hoover Dam tour, Lake Mead. Night halt: St.George, UT
    Question: Is Valley of Fire State Park worth a visit?

    24th: Drive to Page, AZ. Check out Lake Powell.

    25th: In & around Page
    Question: I know there is lots to see, any tips on where to go?
    Also, we get this extra day as there is no Antelope canyon tour on Christmas day!
    Any snow worries?

    26th: Antelope Canyon (Upper Canyon tour)

    27th: Drive to Monument Valley. Jeep tour, if possible.
    Question: Any snow worries? Is there a good place to stay nearby? How safe is it to take your rental sedan into Monument Valley?

    28th: Drive down to Phoenix,AZ to meet a friend.

    29th: Drive down to Tucson, AZ.

    30th: Tucson, AZ
    Question: Any camping suggestions?

    31st: Drive into Palm Springs, CA
    Palm Canyon drive. What else?
    Questions: Is it too cold to camp around this area?

    Jan 1st 08: Start late afternoon & probably come home late night.

    Well, here is the catch. I am currently pregnant. While the Doc has given me permission to drive/travel, this is the main reason for the slow pace in the itinerary.
    I don't know how I will be in 2 months time, but I think I can manage.
    I could not think of any way to babymoon rather than be in the desert!
    Antelope canyon tour should not be a problem, but I am not sure how Monument valley jeep tours will treat me. I am yet to call & check.

    Though we wanted a snail pace itinerary(I hope it is), I feel guilty about not being able to see more, maybe New Mexico? Does anyone think it possible to fit it in?

    Our interests: the desert, birdwatching, wildlife, short hikes, National Parks, photography, nature & landscape. Adventure has been postponed to a later year :-(

    Also, we plan to stay in motels for most of the journey(because of the weather). But, would love to camp in Tucson & Palm Springs. I hope the weather will permit. My weather tolerance would be around 45F.

    Any tips, lodging options, snow conditions, etc are gladly welcome.

    The plan is still fluid & can be modified if need be.

    thanks,
    cool

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default Take Care

    It's not one of your questions, but I will point out that, as has been discussed many times on these forums, planning to seep overnight at a highway rest area is often illegal and unsafe. We do not recommend it.

    Valley of Fire is well worth it, especially if you can arrange to be there at sunrise or sunset. It has some great hiking as does its bookend companion, Red Rock on the other side of Las Vegas.

    Besides Antelope Canyon in the Page area, there is the world's largest natural bridge, and one of the newest National Monuments.

    Weather is always a concern in winter, but if I could predict December's weather nearly 2 months in advance, I'd be a lot richer than I am. Expect and be prepared for the worse, and keep an eye on it as it develops. Have a Plan B. I've taken many a rental into Monument Valley. As with any time you leave the paved road system, you must always be ready to just turn around and retrace your steps if the road gets impassible.

    Some of the best camping near Tucson can be found at Catalina State Park north of town. There is also camping at Kartchner Caverns about an hour and a half east of town near Benson. Unfortunately, he only camping available in Saguaro National Park is at the end of a fairly rugged 6 mile hiking trail.

    AZBuck

  3. Default A couple more comments..

    Snow -- It's possible to get snow in the desert in late December. The higher deserts (such are the Colorado Plateau around Grand Canyon and Monument Valley) can see snow. You probably won't see it in the lower deserts, but they can still see temperatures below freezing. I've been in Joshua Tree National Park in December and scraped a 1/4 inch of frost off my tent int he morning.... You should be prepared for nights that may be 30 degrees cooler than the day, down to below freezing. Your plan B might to preplan to know the local moderate priced hotels, and if the weather looks too cold, to go to one of them.

    Palm Springs -- A couple of other things to do in Palm Springs (besides the usual shop, sidewalk shopping, and people watching...) could include going up the Palm Springs Tram, the Living Desert Zoo & Gardens, or the Coachella Valley Preserve. You might want to be cautious on the tram -- I recall that rapid changes in altitude can induce labor in late stages of pregnancy -- but its a nice ride from the desert into an Alpine environment. You can also have dinner on top of the mountain and spend the night in a hotel in town.
    The Living Desert Zoo & Gardens is a good introduction to the plants and wildlife of the local deserts, and can be as slow paced as you desire. The Coachella Preserve is about 10 miles north of Palm Springs near the town of 1000 Palms. It's about the most accessible of the Palm Oaises that dot the desert, where water comes to the surface. The local town was named for the numerous large native Palms that grow around the oasis. And lastly, jsut for grins you might stop at one of the several date farms in the area, and try a date shake or something else made from the local dates. The California desert areas grow most of the dates eaten in the US, and have a lot of specialty products available. There are a number of smaller family-run date operations from Thermal/ Indio through Palm Springs, although mosf of the funky little storefront outlets have been redeveloped into condos and golf courses. Palm Canyon drive.

  4. #4

    Default

    Welcome back, cool.

    I've just posted the exact same thing on another topic but, whilst in Page, be certain to see the sunrise/sunset at Horseshoe Bend. It would be particularly magic on Christmas Day - fantastic! I also enjoyed checking out the Navajo Bridge and then descending down to river level as we headed down to Lees Ferry. I visited both the Hoover Dam and Glen Canyon Dam and, personally, I preferred the latter. Standing on the roadbridge facing the dam sure gives a real impression of the size of the thing!

    Monument Valley is fantastic and I'd love to see it again. Especially if there were snow. You could do worse than check out Gouldings Lodge which is just along from the main visit center at MV. At 83 bucks a night per room it's pretty good value.

    You ask about taking your rental car into MV but also mention taking a jeep tour. Personally I would simply drive along the paved road to the visitor center and take a tour with a Navajo guide from there as you'll not have to worry about doing the driving and can fully enjoy their commentary as well. If you can get out to the visitor center to watch the sunrise then this will be well worth your while - it's beautiful. The guides do not arrive until daybreak and the visitor center will be locked up but you can still get into the viewing point to watch the sunrise (climb over/walk around the gate) - it is very much the done thing and no one will object - just be sure to wrap up warm as it is very cold. Also be sure to pull your car right off the road - we parked in the adjacent campground.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Bay Area, CA
    Posts
    234

    Default

    Great! Points noted.
    UKCraig,
    Thanks for all that perfect tips. I think we have enough time to accomodate everything in here.
    We have plans of the MV jeep tour, but I heard you need to get there 1 day in advance to book a guide. Is this true? I tried to reach MV visitor Center in vain. No one seems to pick up the phone. Probably, they are closed?

    Larrison,
    The Living zoo seems interesting. I am not of the shopping kind, so, we'll mosly reserve the time for the zoo, the Palm Springs tram(I'll chk ahead about the elevation issue, thanks!), Palm canyon drive & local canyon hikes(easy ones if possible). And yeah, I don't think we will want to carry all those camping stuff just for 1 night of camping(though I would love to watch the stars). So, its all motels & hotels in this trip.
    I read somewhere that Tucson is a good place for bird watching. Is that true?
    While in Tucson, I intend to visit Bio 2, if any worth.

    AZBuck,
    I did not know it was illegal to sleep in the rest areas overnight. I've often read the sign "max time limit 8 hrs" or something in that line. We generally reach around midnight & leave by 6am. Almost at all times, we've had company through the night & have felt pretty safe(well, that sure does not justify the fact if it is illegal).
    We'd sure plan to visit Valley of fire state park at dawn/dusk. I am not sure if we'd have time for Red rock though.
    Do they have a tour at Glen Canyon too? I would prefer that to Hoover. I am also looking out for boat tours to Rainbow bridge. Most of them don't seem to operate in Winter, though.
    We have planned to stop in Sedona on our way to Tucson. IF time permits, the railroad awaits us. 89A to Sedona from Flagstaff is a little scary(if I think of snow/ice there). So, we might get into the loop from I17. Sedona is pricey(to stay), so somewhere closeby where we can do half a day of sight seeing(again, if time permits)

    Most importantly, thought it would be more than perfect if the weather co-operates & we see everything as planned, we have made up our mind to turn back rather than get stuck in bad weather. Surprisingly, most hotels in the Indian country seem to have wireless connectivity. So, I think the trip is finally shaping up.

    Thanks for all the inputs.
    Any more tips, pls drop in.

    thanks,
    cool
    Last edited by cool; 11-06-2007 at 11:34 AM. Reason: appended

  6. #6

    Default

    If you were to book in to Gouldings Lodge (I would recommend this and would suggest you book soon as it's popular) then they can organise the tour for you as they run their own. Failing that then there are always plenty of navajo guides waiting around - taxi like - at the visitor center. Be aware that, whilst you can drive yourself on the 17 mile drive through MV, there are areas which are off limits to all but a navajo led tour. When choosing who you go with, make certain that you will be taken around these 'hidden' areas.

    Yes, they do indeed do a tour of Glen Canyon Dam although we didn't take it as - believe it or not - we only stumbled over the dam by accident and were keen to press on.

    You could check out this site for tours to Rainbow Bridge. It would appear that it only runs on Saturdays between November and April.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Bay Area, CA
    Posts
    234

    Default my bad

    Quote Originally Posted by UKCraig View Post
    If you were to book in to Gouldings Lodge (I would recommend this and would suggest you book soon as it's popular) then they can organise the tour for you as they run their own. Failing that then there are always plenty of navajo guides waiting around - taxi like - at the visitor center.
    :( I just made reservations with Best Western, Kayenta. I will chk with Gouldings Lodge, if probably they have seats, they can accomodate people from outside.

    Be aware that, whilst you can drive yourself on the 17 mile drive through MV, there are areas which are off limits to all but a navajo led tour. When choosing who you go with, make certain that you will be taken around these 'hidden' areas.
    Will sure check. Thanks!

    Yes, they do indeed do a tour of Glen Canyon Dam although we didn't take it as - believe it or not - we only stumbled over the dam by accident and were keen to press on.
    Did I read it right? A free tour? I will chk with them. Thanks for the link.

    You could check out this site for tours to Rainbow Bridge. It would appear that it only runs on Saturdays between November and April.
    :( I did come up on this site before. Too bad! I won't be there on a saturday.

    cool
    Last edited by cool; 11-06-2007 at 05:33 PM. Reason: added subject

  8. #8

    Default Free indeed!

    Yep, totally free. Remembering back, I'm real annoyed that we didn't do it now!! Ah well.

    I would phone Gouldings even if you are staying elsewhere. They seems to own most of the ventures in the area so will likely be able to help. I think they outgrew their earlier office by now!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,060

    Default Another time -- FireTree Inn

    Quote Originally Posted by cool View Post
    :( I just made reservations with Best Western, Kayenta.
    Next time, you might enjoy sleeping in a wood hogan -- I will be visiting the FireTree Inn myself in January.

    By the way, the name of the tour that you want is called "Mystery Valley"

    Mark
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 11-06-2007 at 08:58 PM.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Bay Area, CA
    Posts
    234

    Default grrrr

    Quote Originally Posted by Editor View Post
    Next time, you might enjoy sleeping in a wood hogan -- I will be visiting the FireTree Inn myself in January.

    Mark
    Sounds like an awesome place. Gosh! How much ever research I do, I miss stuffs like these.
    With lots of JEALOUSY, I wish you have a wonderful stay at the Fire Tree Inn, Mark. ugh!

    cool

Similar Threads

  1. Roadtrip #3.5 - Capistrano to Frisco
    By Kinless in forum RoadTrip Field Reports
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 10-23-2007, 06:20 PM
  2. Five Weeks, East to West Coast and Back
    By k8sexauer in forum Planning Summer RoadTrips
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 06-10-2007, 09:21 AM
  3. Baja California - Gas, Leaf Springs, and Duct Tape
    By The Desert Drifter in forum Memorable Breakdowns & Back Roads
    Replies: 9
    Last Post: 10-11-2006, 06:07 PM
  4. Back from Colorado
    By packman in forum RoadTrip Field Reports
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 06-21-2006, 12:28 AM
  5. sympathy for the donners
    By Car-Trek in forum Memorable Breakdowns & Back Roads
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 03-16-2006, 08:24 PM

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
  • Find the Perfect Hotel
    Search RoadTrip Motels
    Enter city name

    Loading...



  • MORE STORIES