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  1. Default Austin, TX ---> Los Angeles, CA (first week of August)

    Hi all,

    We're planning a roadtrip from Austin, TX to LA and looking for some advice on things to see along the way / places to visit / where to stop for the night, etc.

    The whole thing is about 20 hours according to google, but we're going to do it in 4 days, leaving Austin on August 3rd, arriving LA on the evening of August 6th.

    We've noticed White Sands national park (NM) is along the way, as well as Saguaro national park and Joshua Tree national park but we've never been to any of these and wondering if they are any good or if there are better ideas?

    Also noticed there's not much to see on the 8-10 hours drive in Texas, any ideas?

    Much thanks

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,064

    Default much to see

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    4 days will give you a great chance to explore the southwest.

    All of the parks you've listed are certainly worth seeing. A few other things that would also be right along the way would include Big Bend NP, Carlsbad Caverns, and a bit further afield, Organ Pipe National Monument. With 4 days at your disposal, a detour to the Grand Canyon would certainly be a possibility as well.

    Of course those are just a few ideas, this thread details nearly the exact same trip (but in reverse) you are thinking about and has many more great ideas.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default Number Hypnosis

    There is a strong tendency to think that because a road goes near the start of a trip and ends up at the end of a trip, as I-10 does for you, that it must be the best road for that trip. In this case, that depends on where you're going in L.A. If you're headed for eastern or northern reaches of that sprawling metropolis, I-10 is probably you're best bet. But if you're headed for areas in southern L.A. then it might be better to use I-8 and I-15 from Casa Grande, AZ through San Diego. Just a thought.

    AZBuck

  4. Default Austin, TX ---> Los Angeles, CA (first week of August)

    Thanks for the great tips Michael & AZBuck, we did the Grand Canyon a couple of times before so we would love to see something different, although the idea of doing Route 66 and visiting Roswell and Truth or Consequences, along the way crossed our minds (are these two worth a visit?).

    If we do that, I've just noticed Carlsbad Caverns is right before Roswell but since it's 8 hours from Austin, that means we probably won't do it on the first day. Maybe early morning of the 2nd day. If we do go the Route 66 way, we've heard AZ Route 179 is very nice as well, any opinion on that?

    Another idea we had, is to make it an off the beaten path "natural springs" trip. We've heard there are lots of them on the way, especially in MN, but all the info we found online so far is unconfirmed as to which ones are active :( Any thoughts?

    We have to get to LAX on the evening of the 6th, so I-10 seem more likely, no?

    Thanks for all the ideas guys!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default

    'Only' Four Days
    Four days certainly gives you some time to wander off the main road and see a lot of the places you've mentioned, but it's not forever and you will have to make choices. So decide on the major sights you'd like to see and then see what else i available on the roads between your major stops. For example, if you want to see Carlsbad Caverns, then by all means add Roswell (if you like alien kitsch), White Sands and maybe even a hot spring in the Truth or Consequences area. But doing those means that you'll have to skip Brackettville, Big Bend, and El Paso. Similarly, you can see Fort Bowie, Kartchner Cravers, Saguaro National Park in Southern Arizona, but doing so precludes the White Mountains, the Salt River Valley and Sedona. And finally you'll have to choose between I-10 (Phoenix and Joshua Tree) or I-8/I-15 (Yuma and Anza-Borrega).

    And here are a couple of sites with what seem like up-to-date listings of springs in New Mexico: (1 and 2).

    AZBuck

  6. Default Austin, TX ---> Los Angeles, CA (first week of August)

    Thanks for all the great tips guys. After many hours of internet-research and looking at all the options (including the limited time - 4 days/3 nights and the fact that we'll be driving a u-haul with towed car and 2 cats on board so off-the-beaten-path might not work so well), I came up with this trip:

    Thanks to Google Maps, here's the complete trip :)


    Day #1 - Aug 3
    ---------------
    - Leaving Austin, TX
    - Brunch in Fredericksburg, TX
    - Optional stop at Caverns of Sonora, TX
    - Arrive and stay the night - Balmorhea State Park & San Solomon Natural Springs

    Day #2 - Aug 4
    ----------------
    - Morning - White Sands National Monument
    - Afternoon and stay for the night - Truth or Consequences, NM - Riverbend Hot Springs

    Day #3 - Aug 5
    ----------------
    - OPTIONAL - Very Large Array, NM (is it worth the extra ride / i.e. less time in Sedona?)
    - Drive through Albuquerque, Route 66 (any recommendation on what to see along route 66 between Albuquerque and Flagstaff?)
    - Drive through AZ route 89, cross Slide Rock State Park (should we stop there? again, i.e. less time in Sedona)
    - Arrive and stay at Boots and Saddles Inn, Sedona (voted the best B&B in the US apparently :)

    Day #4 - Aug 6
    ----------------
    - We really can't do much that day since we have to be at LA airport (LAX) to catch a 6pm flight :(
    -Drive down AZ Route 179, which I read, is supposed to be one of the best scenery in the US.
    - We'll pass by, event though we probably won't have time to actually visit much of: Agua Fina National Monument, Joshua Tree National Park, and probably million other things we'll be sorry we didn't see, but we really need to be at LAX 6pm that day... Anything we must see that's right on the way and won't take much time?


    Any thoughts? Ideas? You guys are AWESOME!!
    Last edited by Midwest Michael; 07-07-2008 at 05:11 PM. Reason: link format

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,064

    Default 6pm flight?

    Does your flight leave at 6pm or do you have to be at LAX at 6? It really works out to about 3 hours of planning when you factor in both airport security and afternoon LA traffic, and in either case, I think you're going to need to be closer to LA than Sedona that morning.

    At a minimum before any stops, I would factor 10 hours for this drive when you factor in traffic in both Phoenix and the LA region, and even that wouldn't leave much room for error. If your flight leaves at 6, that means 6 am would really be the latest you could leave Sodona.

    Personally, I don't think I'd want to be any farther away than Phoenix that last night, and really even closer would be better. I would not want to spend my entire last day looking at a clock any having to worry about covering 500 miles in time to make it to an airport on the west side of Los Angeles.

  8. Default Austin, TX ---> Los Angeles, CA (first week of August)

    Yeah, I know, it's a bummer. The flight leaves at 6pm, which really means we need to plan to be at LAX at 4pm...

    From what I understand, considering LA traffic, google's 7.5h-drive estimation from Sedona to LAX may turn into a 9-10h ride... We can do it but you're right, it does mean we have to leave Sedona around 6am... or get a good radar detector :) lol

    I figured we have to compromise somewhere...

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,064

    Default estimation

    Remember anytime you're talking about a online map estimate, they generally don't take in any time for even basic stops, and every car needs gas and every person needs to eat, drink, and move around a little bit. Even in good conditions your looking at probably 9 hours, and I'd say the odds of you hitting good conditions -at 3 pm while you try to drive to LAX on the far side of LA- are practically nill. I'd figure a minimum of one extra hour to deal with traffic, and even that could be cutting it close. A good radar detector doesn't help much when you can't go faster than 15 mph.

    You also mentioned being in a uhaul? How are you planning to deal with that at the airport? In this day and age, I can't imagine they're going to let you pull up to the curb in a vehicle like that.

  10. #10

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by avniassa View Post
    Day #1 - Aug 3
    ---------------
    - Leaving Austin, TX
    - Brunch in Fredericksburg, TX
    - Optional stop at Caverns of Sonora, TX
    - Arrive and stay the night - Balmorhea State Park & San Solomon Natural Springs

    Any thoughts? Ideas? You guys are AWESOME!!
    We just got back from a weekend at Balmorhea State Park. Check out site #21 when you get there. It was already taken when we arrived but it looked like the biggest one with the most privacy. Make sure you swim, it's the cleanest water I've ever seen. Snorkeling is incredible there.

    On your way out, check out the Balmorhea Grocery Store, in "downtown" Balmorhea. The water from the park runs all the way to and through the middle of town. The people are really friendly and their homemade burritos are great to hit the road with. Have fun!

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