40 day trip in and out of LA for Aussies, any ideas??
We would really appreciate any ideas offered for a road trip 25/4/10 to 5/6/10 in and out or LA.( approx 40 days) We are 55 year olds who have motorhomed extensively at home and 6 weeks in Europe this year ( our travelog www.jimandelle.com). So far we have decided it is probably best to hire a compact car and find accomodation when we are ready to stop each night. It seems no hire motorhomes are allowed into such places as Death Valley etc.and the car and motels work out cheaper anyway! What about going south as far as San Diego and then an anticlockwise circle to San Fran and back down the coast? Is going as far east as New Mexico and as far north as Salt Lake city too ambitious? We are more interested in the countryside than the cities, but Las Vegas is a must! When we travelled Europe we loved Rick Steves suggested itinerary books, but cant find anything similar for the USA?? It is all a bit daunting at present, any route ideas would be gladly received and much appreciated!!
Jim and Elle
Welcome to the RTA forum!
RV trips are certainly more about lifestyle than money, so you are right that it will be cheaper to rent a car. However, if you like the RV lifestyle, you still might consider going that route. I believe you'll be going earlier in the year, before the DV restrictions typically take effect.
With 40 days, you've got plenty of time to do all the things you've listed. We have people who do entire loops of the US in less time that you are talking about. But every roadtrip is different, and you have to to figure out what sort of pace works best for you. Along the same lines, we really don't believe in one size fits all trips, and for that reason I've never found a book with suggested routes that I like, because they tend to lock people into other peoples ideas. Having said that, if you go over to the planning section of this website, we've got tons of book recommendations and I'd be you'll find something you like.
Hi Jim and Elle.
How are things in Adelaide? We just left from there after a cross country Australia trip.
There are no restrictions for DV that time of year with an RV unless you want to drive some roads that don't allow RV over 25 ft. For a trip like yours I'd rent a slightly larger car, at least a midsize but even better a full size or a standard SUV. Gives more room and is more comfortable while not that much difference in price. Check with an Adelaide Travelagency first for costs and insurances.
40 days is a great number of days and allows for a leisurely roundtrip.
Generally spoken, lodging is cheaper in the USA than in Europe and prices can be compared to the ones in Australia.
Options for routes are countless but I'll try to give you one starting and ending in Los Angeles.
Day 1,2,3,4,5: Los Angeles/San Diego. Cope with your jetlag. See some of the sights. Drive to San Diego for a stay.
Day 6: San Diego via Anza Borrego Desert SP to Palm Springs
Day 7: Palm Springs, see Joshua Tree NP and stay Twentynine Palms
Day 8: Drive via Amboy and National Trails Hw (Old R66) to Needles, drive Old R66 to Oatman and via Sitgreaves pass to Kingman
Day 9: Kingman and to Grand Canyon NP.
Day 10: GCNP south rim (Reservation needed at www.grandcanyonlodges.com
Day 11: Drive from GCNP to Sedona via Flagstaff. See Museum of Northern Arizona and drive very scenic 89A to Sedona
Day 12: Sedona all day
Day 13: Sedona via Phoenix to Tucson
Day 14: Tucson for Mission San Xavier del Back, Sonora Arizona Desert Museum(not a museum) and Saguaro NP.
Day 15: Drive to Tombstone. See Tombstone (Bird Cage Theater, Boothill Graveyard, OK Corral) and drive to the mining town of Bisbee.
Day 16: Drive from Bisbee to Las Cruces in New Mexico. Visit to White Sands NM. Stay Alamogordo.
Day 17: Drive via Cloudcroft to Carlsbad. Maybe an afternoon at a pool will be great!
Day 18: Visit to Carlsbad Caverns NP.
Day 19: Long drive from Carlsbad to Albuquerque and maybe see the UFO museum in Roswell.
Day 20: See Old Town ABQ, visit Sandia Peak and drive Turquoise Trail (nm14) via Madrid to Santa Fe.
Day 21 and 22: Santa Fe, maybe visit to Taos.
Day 23: Santa Fe (or Taos) to Durango
Day 24: Durango Silverton Trainride.
Day 25: Durango via Mesa Verde NP and to Moab.
Day 26 and 27: Moab for Canyonlands NP Island in the Sky, Dead Horse Point SP and Arches NP .
Day 28: Moab to Torrey. Goblin Valley SP, Wild Horse Canyon and Capitol Reef NP are on your way.
Day 29: Torrey to Bryce via www.scenicbyway12.com One of the greatest routes in the West. See Bryce in the afternoon.
Day 30: Bryce and to Zion
Day 31: Zion
Day 32: Drive to Las Vegas
Day 33 and 34: Las Vegas
Day 35: Las Vegas via Death Valley NP to Lone Pine at the foot of Mount Whitney
Day 36: If Tioga Pass is open (it generally opens just before Memorial Day weekend but you never can tell re. snow on the pass) drive via Mono Lake and Tioga Pass to Yosemite
Day 37 : Yosemite NP (reservations needed)
Day 38 : Yosemite NP to San Francisco
Day 39 and 40: San Francisco
Day 41: San Francisco to Cambria via Monterey, Point Lobos SR and Big Sur.
Day 42: Hearst Castle visit and to Los Angeles. From Oxnard take Pacific Coast hw via Malibu to Santa Monica.
Now, this is a huge trip and I know it's a little more than 40 days. You can skip and add things of course. Maybe shorter in LA/SD? Or the direct drive from San Diego to Grand Canyon without the stops in Palm Springs, Twentynine Palms and Kingman, or with just one or 2 stops. You also could skip Carlsbad Caverns (not recommended!) and drive via Tucson to Albuquerque directly. Longer in Death Valley, Yosemite or along hw1? It's up to you.
Buy an America the beautiful pass at the entrance of your first NP at $ 80,--, valid for all NP's and most NM's. Saves you money.
Hope this already helps some and don't hesitate to ask more questions.
I would think 40 days is definately long enough to cover New Mexico as well as north into Salt Lake City, but you will have to keep moving. My husband and I recently did a more extensive trip in less time, although it was pretty rushed. Utah is just amazing and weird and worth seeing a lot of.
I agree with Yeehaw that you might want to look at getting a bigger car than just a compact. However, I'm not sure that you need to go as far as a full size or SUV - as a New Zealander, I found US cars absolutely massive! We rented a compact for a short time, and it was like a tardis, just huge inside, more than enough space. The only reason we wanted a bigger car for the bulk of our road trip (a midsize)was on long driving stretches a bigger car was a bit softer on the road and had a bit more power behind it, so is more comfortable (also so we could sleep in it if we had to).
Also - we booked well in advance from NZ and got some sort of early-bird deal where we got a free upgrade, so only actually paid for a compact - Australian agents might have something similar.
-lol- "Our" rentalcar in NZ also app. was 5 meters long, Ford Falcon Wagon. Talking about big cars and NZ....
I won't mention a large SUV but a standard (small) SUV is not big and has the advantage to sit higher in that car.
I will say one other reason to consider getting a mid-sized or larger rental car is that often the larger cars have a few more features, like cruise control and a better stereo. Often the compact choices are really the base models, where the AM/FM radio is the most luxurious item on board. The couple dollars a day it usually costs to upgrade to slightly larger car is usually worth it if you will be on the road for a long time.
It wouldn't hurt to look into SUVs too, as you might find a deal. However, many times SUV rentals are at a price point that is significantly higher than even a full sized car, and of course, even if they have 4 wheel drive, you can't take them off-road or anywhere you can't take a regular car.
Thanks everyone! and thanks especially Yeehaw for going to all that effort to post a suggested itinerary! just what I was hoping someone might be kind enough to do! Thanks Tay also for sharing your experience with your cars, We had thought about getting a Eurocamper from Apollo, but found the size a bit of a drawback in Europe as far as sightseeing was concerned, and we can probably cover more ground in a car! Just received a Microsoft Streets and Trips program in the mail from the States, so will now be able to start some serious planning! Thanks again, and please if someone else has got some " must see,s" lets know.
Jim and Elle
Last edited by bitumenbunkhouse; 09-24-2009 at 08:00 AM.
Reason: Removed Link
If you purchased Streets and Trips, did you get the version with a GPS module? That's what I use on the road, I have a power adapter to plug my laptop into the 12 volt power point.
Yes GLC, got one with the USB GPS. couldnt believe the price, only $55 Aus landed, new thru Ebay. We used the European version when we went there, along with a Tom Tom, and found it fantastic mainly as a planning tool!! then it can be left running in the backround while travelling to make a reminder of exactly where we went, brilliant! Just about to load Yeehaws suggested route to see what that looks like. Thanks
Jim and Elle