Dear Roadtrip American's!
Me and a friend of mine are planning a road trip in the South-West of your beautiful America (since we are from the Netherlands, Europe). Our time frame is from 01 feb until 22 feb this year (Already in three weeks!!!). We will rent a car from rentawreck.com, since this has the lowest surcharge for underage drivers (5$ per person/day).
In our preparations we found this site very helpful! However, we still have some questions which maybe you could answer. The most important: is our planned trip doable in wintertime?
1st day: Santa Cruz, Monterey (Aquarium), 17 mile drive, Carmel (126 mi)
2nd day: Hearst Castle, Santa Barbara, LA (326 mi)
3rd day: LA (can you drive relatively safely into, for example that is not something I would do in Paris without knowing the exact route)
4th day: Joshua Tree Park (146 mi)
5th day: Joshua Tree Park, drive to Mojave National Desert Reserve over
Amboy Road (130 mi) (Is this road open during
6th day: Drive from Mojave National Desert Reserve to Grand Canyon (South
Rim) over I-40, AZ-64, AZ 180 (350 mi) (Are these
roads open during winter-time?).
7th day: Grand Canyon
Now, there are two options:
a) 8th day: Drive to Zion National Park over AZ-89 (300 mi)
9th day: Zion National Park
10th day: Drive to Vegas over I-15 (162 mi)
But can this be done in winter time? What are the odds
that these roads will be open?
b) 8th day: Grand Canyon
9th day: Drive 'back' to Vegas over I-40 (300 mi) Then do I take the US-
93 and the Hooverdam (what are the waiting times here due to searching
and is this worth it?) or 'just' the US-95?
11th day: Las Vegas
12th day: Drive to Death Valley (200 mi) over US-95.
13th day: Death Valley
14th day: Drive to Sequoia National Park (350 mi)
15th day: Sequoia National Park, drive to Yosemite Park (201 mi)
16th day: Yosemite Park
17th day: Drive to Lake Tahoe (210 mi)
18th day: Lake Tahoe
19th day: Lake Tahoe, drive to Napa (100 mi)
20th day: Napa, drive to San Francisco (50 mi)
21th day: -
22th day: Fly back to the Netherlands.
We will camp/stay in motels+hostels/sleep in the car during the trip. Whatever is convenient/price efficient. What concerns me most is that since we have a rental car, we probably are not allowed to use any chains.
Does this trip sounds like this can be done? Or is this far too much? Moreover, are there any great places we have missed in the planning or, on the contrary, do people believe we should not visit any places mentioned above? Please let us know if you have any tips/hints/criticism/advice!
P.s. Can anybody recommend a Road Atlas that includes all the roads we are traveling in just one Atlas?