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  1. Default Southwestern Road Trip '08

    Hi all,

    I am new to this forum - just discovered it today, and have been reading topics like crazy. I am a Norwegian, born and bred in Norway, and still living in Norway, but my big passion is road trips throughout the USA, especially the western part.

    I will be going on another road trip, my 12th so far, this September, where I will land in Las Vegas on September 13th, and go back out of Las Vegas on October 9th. Have booked two nights in Vegas before hitting the road. The plan is to see more of California, as well as southern Utah and northern Arizona.

    The schedule will be something like this - normally I do not plan the route as much as I have done this time, but my mother will be going with me, and she always likes to know there will be a motel room waiting for her at night... I personally prefer the freedom of as few bookings and as little planning as possible.
    Las Vegas, Death Valley, Yosemite, Sacramento, Reno (3 nights), San Francisco, Big Sur, Bakersfield, Los Angeles (2 nights), Joshua Tree, Quartzsite, Lake Havasu, Grand Canyon, the Navajo/Hopi Reservations (particularly Monument Valley), Durango (2 nights), Moab (Arches, Canyonlands; 3 nights), Capitol Reef, Bryce Canyon, back to Vegas.

    Though I am pretty familiar with the area, having been to many of the places before, I am still interested in suggestions from other road trippers as to hidden gems and other things in these areas. When I say I am pretty familiar with the area, that means I am aware of the big stuff, like the tourist traps and such (which I try to avoid), and National Parks (which I do not try to avoid), but there are always a lot of more unknown stuff out there that I am always on the lookout for...

    Any suggestions welcome!

    I am looking forward to some quality time spent on this forum; I have already gotten many ideas for future road trips just from reading what few posts I have read today!

    Best regards,
    Jan.

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

    Default Resources

    Velkommen! Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    I don't know how much more I can tell you. You seem to have a pretty good handle on the best things to see and do as you cover the American Southwest in about 4 weeks. There are, as you point out, smaller venues that don't get the publicity (or the crowds) as their more famous neighbors. The ones I'm most familiar with are those in the northern part of my own state. There are other places in other areas, of course, and the best way to find them is to continue as you have been looming through these forums, particularly check these lists and also stopping at visitor centers and asking for ideas to meet your particular tastes.

    AZBuck

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default detours

    There are a couple things with your route that don't make much sense to me.

    I might look at going from Death Valley to Reno before Yosemite, simply so you didn't have to cross the Sierras 3 times. In either case, I don't think I would go all the way north from Yosemite to Sacramento, unless you have a specific reason for going there.

    I also wouldn't go all the way east to Bakersfield when traveling between Big Sur and Los Angeles. It would make a lot more sense - and be a lot more scenic drive - to just continue down the coast either via CA-1 or US-101.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,748

    Default Bakersfield?

    Hello and welcome.

    Las Vegas, Death Valley, Yosemite, Sacramento, Reno (3 nights), San Francisco, Big Sur, Bakersfield, Los Angeles (2 nights), Joshua Tree, Quartzsite, Lake Havasu, Grand Canyon, the Navajo/Hopi Reservations (particularly Monument Valley), Durango (2 nights), Moab (Arches, Canyonlands; 3 nights), Capitol Reef, Bryce Canyon, back to Vegas.
    A wonderful trip you have planned but i was wondering if you have a reason to go from Big Sur to Bakersfield? If there is a reason for this I would consider doing it something like this: L/V > D/V> Bakersfield> Yosemite and then cross the sierras via the Tioga pass [120] from Yosemite and then head up to Reno>Sacramento> San Francisco >Big Sur> L/A.
    That should save you zig zagging and doubling back on yourself, if indeed these places are "must see's"

    Or for an "out of the way place" from Bakersfield you could head to Lake isabella and head up the Kern valley which is a very scenic yet slow going mountain road which will bring you out near Visalia, a fantastic drive. From Visalia you could head towards Three rivers and pick up "The Generals highway" to the Giants forest village, home to the giant sequoias before continuing to Yosemite. Depending on your schedule you could do one or both of these options.

    Have a think about your possibilities and get back to us and we should be able to help with the details.

  5. Default

    Thanks a lot for your welcome, and for your comments and suggestions, guys! I really appreciate it!

    Now, I failed to mention that the main reason for my rather awkward planning here is my other big hobby - big rigs. There is a truck convoy happening in Sacramento on Sept 20, which means I need to be there then, and also a big truck show, Trucking for Kids, down in the LA area (well, Irwindale Speedway) the following weekend. (I take pictures of big rigs for my collection, and for posting on the internet, and always try to work in at least one truck show in my trips.)

    The Sacramento truck convoy means I don't have time for the two days/three nights I have planned to spend in the Reno area before going to Sacramento - I came through Reno/western Nevada on a "spring break road trip" in '05, when I lived in Montana, and realized I needed to spend some more time there. And the truck show in the LA area means I only have about half a week to get through Frisco and down along the coast to LA after my three nights in Reno...

    Bakersfield is just a "maybe" - I noticed the Kern County Fair will be going on at the time, but will actually be over the same weekend as the truck show is being held, so I can't do that after the show... but not even sure the county fair is worth the detour. (If anybody has any suggestions as to whether it may be, I'd love to hear what you have to say!) The above also kind of rules out Bakersfield before Yosemite, because One would be a little short on time.

    So all in all, given the things you comment on here, this is the most annoyingly awkward road trip I have planned so far...! It's not all set yet, though, so I will indeed take your comments into consideration, and work on my schedule again in the morning! And Southwest Dave, your suggestion on the Bakersfield area drive sounds very interesting, may have to see if one can work that into the schedule somehow! (Gawd, I hate "overplanned trips"...)

    Thanks again!
    Jan.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula
    Posts
    3,318

    Default Yeah, planned trips are harder than spontaneous ones!

    Between your mom and truck shows, it makes it hard to be spontaneous. I hope you find the right balance.

    As far as county fairs go...I know nothing about the Kern County Fair in particular, but I can tell you that on three occasions we have taken visitors from foreign countries to our own county fair. Twice these were relatives from Norway and once were business contacts from China. All claimed to be thrilled and charmed by the fair. They called it things like "real Americana". So it might very well be a taste of American culture worth trying.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default "Show and Shine" is my idea of fun too!

    Quote Originally Posted by norseman View Post
    (I take pictures of big rigs for my collection, and for posting on the internet, and always try to work in at least one truck show in my trips.)
    I hope you are able to post some of your photo discoveries here too. I really like Show and Shine meet-ups, there was one here last week, but I didn't have time to go shoot it. Here is an abbreviated collection of photos from the 2000 meet in Las Vegas. The way we display photos now on our articles is much better than this, but you get the idea.

    Mark

  8. Default

    Judy,

    Thank you for your comments on the State Fair. Whether or not we'll end up doing the Kern County Fair might be the only spontaneous move we'll be able to do on this trip... Oh well.

    And Mark,
    You bet, I'll see what I can do. I have posted quite a few show and shine pics over on this forum, in case you're interested.

    hanks truck pictures


    Jan.
    Last edited by Southwest Dave; 08-03-2008 at 04:04 AM. Reason: preferred link format

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