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  1. Default Planning our holiday of a lifetime!

    Hi - I'm new to RTA - but have been browsing the forum for a while now. I decided to join and pick your brains! Hope that's O.K.

    My husband and I are retiring next year and want to see so many places in California/Arizona/Nevada! We have looked at rail trips and organised coach tours but are thinking we should go for a fly/drive as we can then go to all the places which interest us.

    We would like to travel down the Big Sur coast, possibly starting in California and finishing in San Diego. Inland, we would like to go to Yosemite, (maybe other parks?) Death Valley, Las Vegas, (just for a look, really - more into scenery, but curious aabout LV) Grand Canyon, Sedona.... We are thinking we will need a month to see all these places properly, stopping at each place for maybe 3 nights? (LV maybe 2?)

    So that will be 10 stops, roughly. Is there anyone who can help with an itinerary? Because of course, cost is an issue, we are thinking of stopping at B&Bs or Inns - I've done some research with the help of Trip Advisor, so think I can find some nice places to stay. Would you guys recommend half and half? Coastal area for 2 weeks and inland for 2 weeks or a different proportion maybe?

    So - my questions are:-

    Where to start and finish - flying into LA and out of Phoenix - would that work? Suggestions welcome for nice towns/areas to stay on our route.

    Tour recommendations - Pink Jeep in the Sedona and Grand Canyon areas look good

    Car hire - any tips?

    I know I am rambling but it's still such early stages and we are getting a bit mind-boggled! Look forward to hearing from anyone who can help clarify a bit for us! Thanks!

    Irene

    P.S. We will be 63 and 66 but - touch wood - are both fit and healthy. Oh - and we are thinking of September 2009, is that a good time?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,748

    Default Pick away

    Hello and welcome to the R.T.A forums.

    I decided to join and pick your brains! Hope that's O.K.
    Most definitely ;-0

    My husband and I are retiring next year and want to see so many places in California/Arizona/Nevada! We have looked at rail trips and organised coach tours but are thinking we should go for a fly/drive as we can then go to all the places which interest us.
    I would favour renting your own car and organising your own trip to suit you.

    We would like to travel down the Big Sur coast, possibly starting in California and finishing in San Diego. Inland, we would like to go to Yosemite, (maybe other parks?) Death Valley, Las Vegas, (just for a look, really - more into scenery, but curious aabout LV) Grand Canyon, Sedona.... We are thinking we will need a month to see all these places properly, stopping at each place for maybe 3 nights? (LV maybe 2?)
    A month would give you plenty of time and L/V is quite central to a lot of the parks so why not. As well as the ones you have mentioned Zion, Bryce canyon, Monument valley are all accessable along with many more.

    Would you guys recommend half and half? Coastal area for 2 weeks and inland for 2 weeks or a different proportion maybe?
    What ever suits you best, but if you are going from San Diego to San Fran I would spend slightly more time inland. [personal opinion].

    Where to start and finish - flying into LA and out of Phoenix - would that work?
    It would certainly work but a full loop would be possible L/A to L/A or S/F to S/F depending on your final route, it might save you having to criss cross places in order to visit them.

    Tour recommendations
    We took a 50 min helicopter flight over the Grand canyon, wonderful experience.

    Here is a west coast link that is full of great info and you can find many more by searching the forums and gather ideas but a loop can be made starting at any of the city's something like this. S/F > Yosemite > Death valley> Las vegas > Zion N.P > Bryce canyon > Page > Monument valley> Grand canyon > Sedona> Los Angeles> coast > San francisco.

    Have a look around and once you have more questions don't hesitate to ask.

  3. Default

    Thanks Dave - I've had a quick look through some of those threads and there certainly is lots of information there! I think I was being lazy and wanting someone to give me a list of nice places to stop (especially on the coast), but of course every trip is going to vary according to individual requirements. I will have to get my brain in gear, and check out all the threads, picking out the bits I want. Many thanks again.

    Lazy Irene ;-)

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

    Default

    Hi Irene,
    There are so many lovely places it is hard to know where to start, but once you get a rough idea of what you are looking for and can put a rough itinerary together post it up and we can help you "fine tune" the route, you should get all the info you need, from lodgings to journey times and more.
    It's always a good idea to get a couple of maps out or use google maps [or the kind] on the net for some inspiration.
    I always find the planning stages to be an enjoyable part of the whole journey.
    Don't hesitate to ask any more questions.

    BTW.
    and we are thinking of September 2009, is that a good time?
    Sept/ Oct are my favorite times to travel, as the temps and crowds get less.

    :-)

  5. #5

    Default SW Touring

    Hi Irene,

    I've travelled throughout the SW and would put Monument Valley in Utah/Arizona and Canyon De Chelly in Arizona at the top of my list. They are incredible sights minus a lot of the buildup found at the bigger sights such as the Grand Canyon. In fact I made the mistake of taking my wife to Canyon De Chelly before the Grand Canyon and it caused her to be a little let down when she did see the Grand Canyon!

    Still, the Grand Canyon is a can't miss. Try the North rim to beat the crowds. Also, pick up a yearly National Park pass at the first park you go to. This will get you free access at other federal parks/monuments and a nice little book that lists all of the sites available.
    Enjoy your trip, it sounds great so far.
    Best,

    Erikw89

  6. Default

    Thanks again, Dave.

    Erik, thank you for those suggestions - I haven't heard of the Canyon De Chelly, it certainly must be amazing, I will Google it!

    Irene

  7. Default Would this work?

    Hi

    I posted a while ago about our proposed 28 day trip to California/Arizona/Nevada and received some helpful replies. However, we are now thinking we might do the trip with an RV, and take pot luck as to where to stay. Obviously, we will ensure we know the location of camp sites, and keep an eye on where we are each day (if that makes sense!) This would give us a lot more freedom to maybe head off in different directions and not be constrained by time, getting to a certain booked-in campsite etc. Or is that a silly idea, and would your advice be to book the campsites before we go?
    Last edited by Midwest Michael; 12-11-2008 at 09:55 AM. Reason: merged - Please do not create new threads to ask questions about the same trip

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default yes and no

    Well there are a couple things to keep in mind.

    Ultimately, if you are in an RV, all you need to do is to find a spot to park and you've got a place to spend then night. The practice is called boondocking.

    A bit more practically, if you want to take advantage of all the RVs features, then you're going to need a campsite with hookups. In those cases, finding available campsites without a reservation could be just as difficult, if not more difficult than finding a hotel.

    Ultimately, it depends upon what you are looking for in your trip and what kinds of risk you are willing to take to meet those goals.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,748

    Default And another thing.

    Hi Irene, welcome back.

    I was re reading your first post and this quote from you got me thinking.

    Because of course, cost is an issue, we are thinking of stopping at B&Bs or Inns
    Do you realise an R.V for 2 people to share will be far more costly than finding budget accommodations?

    Other than that I agree with Michael that you will come across the same problems in an R.V. as you would trying to find Motel rooms, especially in, or around the National parks. These are my favorite spots to camp, right in the heart of it but it would need booking.
    Most of the rental R.V's come with a generator so they can be used to there full potential when you are not plugged into the mains but on the sites they have silent hours where the genny's have to be switched off [something like 10 p.m to 7 a.m]

    How's your travel itinerary coming on?
    Dave.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    A little late jumping in, but I'd advise a "loop" because renting a vehicle in one place and returning it to another involves "dropoff" charges, which can be substantial. Driving from Phoenix to LA only adds a 400 mile day to your trip, for example.

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