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  1. Default L.A., to the Grand Canyon, to Las Vegas

    Hey Roadtrippers.

    I'm just starting to plan a road trip and came across this site and have seen tons of good advice so I decided to register and throw my questions out there and take advantage of this great community (in a good way).

    First of all, a little bit about me so its easier to give me advice on things I might enjoy. I am 25 and will be travelling with a friend(s) the same age. We are your typical 25 year old's I guess, we are open to anything and enjoy a good laugh and a few adult beverages.

    We're planning on flying into L.A., renting a car, and spending 4 nites in L.A. doing the things to do around there (Universal or Six Flags and Hollywood and all that touristy stuff) We have also talked about taking a day trip in the L.A. area to check out some beaches or some of the drives along the coast. From there we plan to drive to the Grand Canyon in 3-nights/4-days...and then from the Grand Canyon into Vegas for 3-nights in Vegas. (car will be returned upon arriving in Vegas because we dont plan on driving much once there)

    The part I need help with is the drive from L.A. to the Grand Canyon, I'm having trouble finding shorter roadtrips that arent designed to loop back to L.A.

    Now...doing this in November we are kinda having trouble deciding if camping along the way would be a good idea, its what we want to do, but are not sure of the temperatures. I know it gets cold at night in the desert, I have spent some time in LA and Palm Springs, so I've felt the dessert chill in the "winter", so some advice would be appreciated so we can book hotels if needed. I've camped in Montana and Banff in the fall where there was snow on the ground in the morning and it wasnt bad, just need a warm sleeping bag with a hood. But if camping is out of the picture...then we are not against staying in a hotel, but we are on a tight budget so the cheaper the better (we dont care about niceness or a degree of course, we arent pigs). And I am sure there are some charming joints along the way.

    I would like to spend a full day at least at the grand canyon (waking up there and then going to bed there). So, with 4-Day's/3-Night's to get from L.A to Vegas via the Grand Canyon., by my calculations...
    time to:
    - Day-1: Leave L.A. early and drive/site-see to a destination (??) and stop for the night someplace between L.A. and the Grand Canyon (<--- main thing I need help with)
    - Day-2: Leave the Night-1 destination early, then drive/site-see to the Grand Canyon, arriving in the evening and staying Night-2,
    - Day-3: spent at the Grand Canyon site-seeing. Stay Night-3.
    - Day-4: Leave the Grand Canyon early and drive/site-see into Vegas so we can get there with time to see the Hoover Dam in the daylight...(wanna take Route 66 for a bit if there is time) Confused yet? hope not

    So...does this sound like a viable plan? I know there isnt much detail as far as cities and routes go. But we just want a good time and to see a few things.

    A few things I've come across in my research that I dont wanna miss if possible are:

    -Old Route 66. Which i figure we could do on the way to Vegas from the Canyon between Seligman and Kingman. (I just hope its not tooo out of the way that it makes us get into Vegas after dark...I've read The Canyon to Vegas is approx 5 and a 1/2 hours and Route 66 is 1 and a 1/2 hours outta the 7 hours, probly 8 with stops...i dunno how much daylight there is that time of year but if we left at like 9am and arrived at 5pm there should still be light)

    - The Hoover Dam. As far as I know we drive over it on Route 93 on the way into Vegas, and I'd like to see it in the daylight.

    - Corny Touristy Sites and photo opportunities. Nothing specific...just stuff like "The worlds biggest..." or "World Famous [insert food]" (Example: The worlds biggest thermometer between LA and Vegas or the ZZyzxx sign on that same drive) Basically places we can get out and take a few pics and stretch our legs and then head-on our way.

    - Nature/Scenic landscapes. I know its almost redundant saying "I'm going to the grand canyon and wanna see scenic landscapes" but along the way there is always things you miss if you arent looking for them and I am sure there are some cool things in the dessert for a guy from the Canadian Praries to see. (Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada is where i live)

    My head is spinning with all the different things people say to check out and different places to stay and this and that haha. As I am sure yours is now after reading this jumble of information I just laid down.

    I guess what i really need is a plan for the drive between L.A. and the Canyon. from the Canyon to Vegas there seems to be alot of information that I have found useful...its just that I am having trouble finding a short 2-day, 1-night road trip from L.A. to the Canyon. An idea I have is driving east on I-10 through Palm Springs and up through Joshua tree park, it seemed like a good drive, the wind generators are cool and I liked Palm Springs when I was there, but is there enough time for that? Is that even a good midde point to stop between L.A. and the Canyon? we want to take our time on the way to the Canyon and prefer to split the drive over 2 days...but thats not needed haha. we are very flexible as nothing has been booked yet and if we get some amazing suggestions we could completely restructure the trip. But a few nites in LA and Vegas are a MUST though.

    As you can tell...I am excited and confused. So I will stop here, before I ramble on much more, and see what you all have to say. I am sure you have questions about what I just said...and I would be glad to provide you with any info needed to get help planing the perfect trip.

    Thanks alot!! any advice or information or resource to research would be greatly appreciated. back to searching for more info.

    Rob from Manitoba
    Last edited by AZBuck; 05-17-2009 at 07:40 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2009
    SF Bay Area

    Default Probably not a good idea, but....

    WARNING: this suggestion is highly speculative; use it at your own risk.

    The Havasupai reservation has what are (were?) some of the most spectacular waterfalls ever seen by man (see photos). They also have a campground.

    Here's the issues:

    1) There was a huge flood last year. It wiped out the campground and altered the landscape.
    2) The tribe is saying they'll be open for visitors this Summer; hard to know for sure if they will be.
    3) If they are, hard to know what the campground and waterfalls will now look like.
    4) Did I mention it is an 8 mile hike in and out, and no booze allowed?

    Just an option.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  3. Default

    I''ve been playing around with Google maps and have kinda broken it down to two different but similair routes that i can decide between.

    LA - Grand Canyon via Barstow,6.723633&z=8

    LA - Grand Canyon via Palm Springs,6.723633&z=8

    And for the heck of it...Grand Canyon to Vegas.,3.361816&z=9

    do these routes seem viable and entertaining?

    If anyon can think of anythng along either of those routes that it worth seeing that wuld be great. Things like the "Shoetree" are perfect examples of neat things along the way that I would probly miss if i wasnt aware of it or looking for it.


    PS...Thanks for the advice Blue but that is way more hiking than I am prepared to do haha. and we arent in a hurry..but we dont have THAT much time. Thanks alot though...and great pictures you took!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2009
    SF Bay Area

    Default Regarding the Barstow option..

    I like it.

    If your are interested in cruising old Route 66, you should consider looping up old 66 from Kingman through Peach Springs (stop at Grand Canyon Caverns?) and back to the I40 at Seligman. Will add some time, but a little more scenery perhaps, and a bit of long lost route 66 (you already are covering parts of it; the road past Amboy and Oatman to Kingman).

    Also, there is another stretch of 66 you can do by continuing south on I40 from Needles, crossing over the Colorada at Topock and exiting immediately onto the Oatman-Topack highway.

    You may want to do some internet searching on Amboy... I went there 10 years ago in a Ford Expedition; I remember you could drive around (into?) the crater, but it was pretty ugly rocks... nothing a rental car company would want you on. Just suggesting some research (or maybe somebody else on this board has some info?).

    Lastly, there is a semi-faux/semi-real ghost town outside Barstow, but on I15 toward Vegas: Calico. You COULD hit this, then cut down to I40 to return to your planned route. It all comes down to what things you want to see and how much time you have... you'd have to sacrifice something else to fit this in.

  5. Default

    hich of these routes is likely to be faster?

    I figure if I go through Palm Springs I will skip Joshua Tree seems more like a place you spend a weekend instead of just drive the Grand Canyon.

    It also seems like besides the Bag-Dad Cafe, from a movie I havent seen, there isnt anything more to see between LA and Amboy than there is if i went through Palm Springs. And if I went through Palm Springs we could see the Wind Generator Farms. which were cool the first time i saw em.

    If Palm Springs will take longer by more than an hour if we skip the Joshua Tree Park...then I will go through Barstow. But if its close then that makes the decision easier.

    I dont drive like a grandma, but I dont have a death wish or need to talk to a state I will follow the speed limits to the best of my patience. That being said...I also wanna get to where I am going the fastest and least painful way, but also see as much as I can, a tall order I know.

    So...which ways faster if I skip the Joshua Tree Park?

    Thanks alot!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2009
    SF Bay Area

    Default Palm Springs...

    Lived in California all my life; never been to Palm Springs, or Joshua tree for that matter. I think I should let others weigh in on the differences between the two options... I was reacting to the planned sights on your first option, not comparing the two.

    As to speeding...

    I cannot in good conscience tell you to break the law. I CAN say that as long as you're not the fastest thing on the road, and/or are on a freeway doing less than 5mph over the limit (and not weaving through traffic like a maniac), and/or keeping up with the 18-wheelers, it is UNLIKELY you will get pulled over.

    Not impossible, unlikely.

    One thing though; try to stay out of the fast lane unless you're passing people. Let those willing to tempt Authority proceed unimpeded, so that they might draw the attention of said Authority away from you.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    Here's my suggestion for breaking up a 2 day drive from LA to the GC:

    Take I-10 out of LA to CA-62 near Palm Springs, and take that to 29 Palms. Take Amboy Rd to Amboy, then east on old 66 to I-40. Yes, it takes longer than the fast way through Barstow, but there really is not much to see at all on I-15 and I-40. Get off at River Rd in Needles and head into Laughlin for the night. There are ways to get cheap hotel rooms at one of the casinos, I have a Harrah's Total Rewards card and I was able to get a room last February at the Harrah's Laughlin casino for $25 with advance online reservation - they call it "Hot Deals".

    Next day, cross over the river to Bullhead City and take Bullhead Pkwy (bypassing the town) to AZ-95, take that south to Boundary Cone Rd and take that up into Oatman, do some sightseeing up there. From there, head over to Kingman on old 66, stay on old 66 and join I-40 in Seligman, take that to Williams and up AZ-64 to the GC.

    The first day is about 300 miles, the second is about 250 miles.

    That way, you can take the fastest route from the GC to LV via the dam without running out of daylight.

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