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  1. Default Aussie Boys WestCoast Roadtrip

    As part of our USA trip next year we are planning a 2 week road trip in the first half of May '08. It will be a round trip from LA. We are 3 ausses in our late 20s, planning to hire a convertible for the trip. We've read alot of posts on this forum regarding the route, so have a fair bit of info from that.

    Using google maps funky route planning facility ive got a graphic of our planned route.
    New Alt Route #2 (changes to Death Valley and LV > LA)

    This is our plan to date:

    LA 3 days
    LA > SF 2 days (up coast)
    SF 2 days
    SF > Yosemite 1 day
    Yosemite 1 day
    Yosemite > Las Vegas 1 day (through Death Valley)
    Las Vegas 2 days
    Grand Canyon 1 day (return helipcopter flight from Vegas)
    Las Vegas > LA 1 day (scenic route)

    Im using google maps driving estimates as a guide of how long the trips will take, however we are allowing for more time on each route for siteseeing.

    We have 1 extra day to put somewhere on this route. Where would people recommend putting this? Some ideas:

    * Rather than helicopter flight to GC, drive to GC and stay the night near by it, then drive from GC to LA the next day.
    * Split up Yosemite > LV trip into 2 days (depends on road closures in early May for Tioga Pass, although Ill assume at this stage its closed so we will have to go around Yosemite)
    * Split LV > LA into 2 days and maybe go via San Diego

    Other questions:

    * People done helicopter trips from Vegas to Grand Canyon? How does that compare to driving there yourself and exploring in your own time?
    * How does the route look specifically? Any parts of it we should change, I have created it based on things I have read on this forum and other sources
    * Sightseeing highlights we shouldnt miss along the way
    * Good place to stop overnight between LA and SF

    Lots of questions there I know, any opinions would be appreciated :)

    Cheers,

    ben.
    Last edited by astroboy; 11-26-2007 at 07:41 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    Default Some variations for you

    Quote Originally Posted by astroboy View Post
    As part of our USA trip next year we are planning a 2 week road trip in the first half of May '08.
    I like the route over Sonora Pass -- but it might not be open yet (depends how early in May this will be). Welcome to the Great American RoadTrip Forum! Also, I would suggest you cut north through Joshua Tree NP and Mojave Preserve instead of going all of the way to the Colorado River and the more scenic approach to Death Valley is through Pahrump and not Beatty.
    Yosemite > Las Vegas 1 day (through Death Valley)
    This is the tricky part since the passes might not be open.

    Mark

  3. Default Random comments...

    Hello ben,

    For my opinion on your questions..

    Re: helicopter to Grand Canyon. I have to confess I'm a "boots on the ground" type of guy. To really understand the magnitude of the place and its natural amazements, my personal opinion is you have to stand on the edge, or walk a bit of it... The GC is amazing.. none more so than standing on the edge. It's very doable 2 days from Las Vegas and Back -- I've done it from GC to to LA area (actually from the Orange County area near LA to Williams Arizona) in a day's drive, without problems. If you have a few hours to explore -- drive along the south rim, or walk a mile or two down one of the trails, its quite amazing.

    Re: Trip route. Doesn't look bad. The one thing I would change from personal preference would to be come into Death valley from the south -- either up through Badwater or past Zambriskie Point. You'd see a bit more of the park from that, but you might miss Scotty's Castle. Personal preference...

    Re: Good places to sop overnight between LA and SF. You've got 2 days for this, which is a good amount of time. Where you stop will depend upon what you're interested in. The usual suggestions are to stop somewhere around San Luis Obispo to San Simeon, which is a good days drive up from LA through Santa Barbara area, but gives you some time for sightseeing in Santa Barbara or the like. There are lots of wineries in the San Ynez/ Solvang area and the Paso Robles area, so a couple of wine tasting stops might be included in this, depending upon your taste.

    Starting in the SLO to San Simeon area gives you a good basis to start up through the Scenic part of Big Sur, as well as a tour of Hearst Castle (near San Simeon) and other places along that section of the coast.

    For a second night, the Carmel/ Monterey/ Santa Cruz area is very popular -- Carmel for the scenery, Monterey for the Aquarium, Bay, history, Cannery Row/ Steinbeck etc. Santa Cruz as a local town a bit farther north with the boardwalk, surfing places and some good places to eat or stay. It's an easy couple of hours the next day over the mountains, and through San Jose into San Francisco (depending upon rush hour traffic into SF, of course).


    if I had to add a day, I'd add it in the Yosemite to Las Vegas leg (or to go and stay near Grand Canyon). Yosemite to Las Vegas in a day is very doable, but you'll be pushing through some scenic country without a lot of time to get out of the car and look around. This also gives you a bit more margin in case of snow closures of the passes in the Sierras, so you can take a southerly route through Bakersfield and around the southern end of the Sierras.
    But overall it sounds like a good trip.

  4. Default Alt Route #2

    Thanks for the recommendations guys!

    Based on these, I've come up with an alternative route.

    Have changed the Death Valley section and LV > LA section.

    Couple more questions....

    * For the extra day we have I'm considering driving to Grand Canyon from Las Vegas (rather than helicopter), and also visiting Monument Valley. This would give us 3 days for LV > Grand Canyon > Monument Valley > LA.

    * We would like to do some interesting parts of Route 66 beween LV and LA, any suggestions?

  5. #5
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    Default Too Far

    Quote Originally Posted by astroboy View Post
    Have changed the Death Valley section and LV > LA section.
    I still think you would enjoy Joshua Tree NP and Mojave National Preserve given your beginning comments -- for that reason, I would not use I-15 or I-40.
    * For the extra day we have I'm considering driving to Grand Canyon from Las Vegas (rather than helicopter), and also visiting Monument Valley. This would give us 3 days for LV > Grand Canyon > Monument Valley > LA.
    I can see adding the Grand Canyon -- but there is no way you have time to drive to Monument Valley. If you really want to cover this much distance you need to use a plane or helicopter.
    * We would like to do some interesting parts of Route 66 beween LV and LA, any suggestions?
    Route 66 does not go to Las Vegas, the closest it gets is Barstow, California or Kingman, Arizona. If you stick to your I-40 plan you can parallel much of the old road and see one of the "historic" shoe trees at Amboy and then swing by Oatman -- which I think you would enjoy!

    One more caveat -- I still don't think Sonora Pass will be open. If Tioga is still closed, there is a very good chance that Sonora will be closed as well.

    Mark

  6. Default LV > LA Sector

    To try and cover a couple bases, we could travel South from Vegas to Kingman, jump off 95 and travel to Oatman, which would then allow us to go via Mojave Preseve or Joshua Tree NP. Which route(s) would you recommend to get a good look at either of these? How do the 2 parks compare to each other?

    Cheers,

    Ben.

  7. #7
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    Default Kind of a strange zig-zag

    Quote Originally Posted by astroboy View Post
    To try and cover a couple bases, we could travel South from Vegas
    Looking at your first and second routing maps -- why wouldn't you go from LA to Joshua Tree and then to Mojave and then to Oatman and Las Vegas? It just doesn't make sense to drive ~275 miles north (to Las Vegas) and then drive 200 miles south to go to Joshua Tree NP. I would recommend driving through both as you head to Las Vegas.

    Mark

  8. Default Clockwise

    We are heading in a clockwise route, so the last portion of the trip is Vegas > LA.

  9. #9
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    Default My mistake -- that explains alot

    Quote Originally Posted by astroboy View Post
    We are heading in a clockwise route, so the last portion of the trip is Vegas > LA.
    Oh, I misunderstood the first posts --

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