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  1. Default First SW USA Roadtrip - advice & suggestions please

    Hi guys, found this forum doing a Google search as me and my boyfriend are planning a roadtrip in the SW USA this September and I wanted some advice really on the route and whether it'd be feasible in a 14 day time limit.

    The current route takes in all the places we want to visit, over 14 days, from Los Angeles, through California, Arizona & Nevada, back to California ending up back in LA for a return flight. We plan to hire a car (he wants a Mustang convertible, I want some sort of sensible 4x4! lol) for the whole journey

    This route is by no means set and is more of a rought first draft so I'm open to any suggestions as to the best places to visit (or alternatively places to leave out!)

    Days 1-2: Los Angeles
    Day 3: Joshua Tree
    Day 4: Phoenix
    Day 5: Grand Canyon
    Day 6-7: Las Vegas, inc visit to Valley of Fire
    Day 8: Death Valley
    Day 9: Bakersfield
    Day 10: Yosemite
    Day 11-12: San Francisco
    Day 13: Pismo Beach
    Day 14: LA for flight home

    Map of route:


    Total mileage works out (according to Google) as 2,162 and average daily mileage works out at around 200 miles a day, which we'll share as I don't want to drive more than we actually see.

    Can anyone comment on the above itinerary, do we need more days at some places and less at others? Is there anywhere on the route we MUST visit which can replace something we shouldn't bother seeing? Any advice or suggestions welcome. There is a possibility it could be longer than 14 days, we're going Friday to Friday currently, so we could extend to 15, 16 or 17 days if required.

    This is my first road trip in the States (and first holiday outside of Europe) so it's a really big deal for me and I want it to be the most amazing holiday. Planning on mainly staying in motels, Holiday Inn type places, apart from Vegas where I want to stay in somewhere luxurious.... (if anyone can recommend a luxury Vegas hotel, please feel free to!)

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default brisk

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    There's nothing with your trip idea that stands out as being a real problem, although you certainly aren't giving yourself a lot of time to enjoy any one place. As long as you are ok with that kind of trip you should be fine.

    Really the only spot which is a real head scratcher is the stop in Bakersfield. If this was a winter trip, then it would be an ok halfway stopover, but its not exactly a tourist hotspot. in September, Tioga and the other Sierra Passes will still be open and that would make for a much more scenic trip.

    As far as a car goes, I'd say a Mustang would actually be far more practical than a 4x4 SUV. There's no place on your trip where you will be going off road, and even if you wanted to it would invalidate your rental contract, and with 2 people space shouldn't be a concern, so I don't see any practical or sensable reason to spend the significant extra money for a rental SUV. A mustang is certainly a luxury not a necessity, but at least the convertable and enjoying the views with the top down has some sort of practical value. In any case, going with a standard sedan will be a far more economical choice.

  3. #3

    Default Deja vu

    My wife and I have just spent the past 3 nights planning almost the exact same route. The only difference being we are going anti clockwise and you are going clockwise.

    We are going for 14 nights in August and are also coming from Europe. Would be good to keep each other updated on problems, points of interest etc.

    Regards

    TheIrvs

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

    Default Phoenix, Bakersfield and Glacier point.

    it's a really big deal for me and I want it to be the most amazing holiday.
    Well you won't be disappointed, you are in for some amazing and diverse scenery ! September/Oct are also my favorite times of year to travel, with wonderful colours, good day time temps [chilly at night but not to hot in the day] and the crowds are less.

    Unless there is some reason in particular you want to go to Phoenix I would go straight to the Grand canyon from the Joshua tree area and maximise your time at the Canyon.

    I also agree with Michael, forget Bakersfield [unless for a particular reason] and head North on 395 to Bishop or Lee vining and maximise your time in Yosemite, it is stunning !
    Take CA120 [Tioga pass] into the park, but get an early start as you will want to take in the splendid views along the way. You can then explore some of the valley floor in the afternoon/Eve and again next morning. Before leaving for San Fran, but do take the time to head up to Glacier point for a "jaw dropping" view.

  5. Default

    Thanks for the comments, they're appreciated.

    To be honest, Bakersfield was just a convenient stop between Death Valley & Yosemite... I'm trying to limit each drive to about 200-300 miles, hence the stop. It might not actually be Bakersfield as it depends on where we can find a motel around the way. I didn't think there was anything of any want there, it just seemed convenient!

    Similar reason for Phoenix really, there's nothing I really want to see there (other than I have some personal affiliation with the word Phoenix) but again, this could be bypassed fairly easily. I'll certainly look at an alternative route missing Phoenix off it Southwest Dave, thanks for the advice on that.

    Also thanks for the Glacier Point & Tioga tips guys!

    And due to budget constraints we're also looking at sedans, as well as convertibles, thanks for the advice Midwest Michael!

    This place has been great so far, just reading all the threads and different peoples experiences.... hopefully it won't be as stressful now as planning on our own!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,748

    Default But it isn't.

    To be honest, Bakersfield was just a convenient stop between Death Valley & Yosemite... I'm trying to limit each drive to about 200-300 miles, hence the stop. It might not actually be Bakersfield as it depends on where we can find a motel around the way. I didn't think there was anything of any want there, it just seemed convenient!
    The point is, that the way I would recommend getting to Yosemite from Death valley would be not to go anywhere near Bakersfield at all. When you exit DV from 190 head North on 395 through Lone Pine and Bishop to Lee vining and then CA120 [Tioga pass] into Yosemite. It's less miles, quicker and much prettier !

  7. Default Hotel choices in Vegas

    For our trip over in September, we're planning a couple of nights stop over in Vegas and although I'm quite happy to stay in motels for the rest of the trip, I really want to stay in a nice hotel in Vegas.

    I've spoken to some friends who have been out there and got some recommendations, but I have no idea which one, what the difference is between them and whether anyone else would recommend them?

    The ones recommended by several friends are:
    MGM
    Luxor
    Bellagio
    Caesars Palace
    Planet Hollywood
    Venetian
    Wynn

    I'm assuming some are more luxurious than others? Would anyone be able to tell me which is the outright best quality/best amenities/best location? Price isn't too much of an issue as we are budgeting for two nights in a luxury hotel in Vegas.... perhaps we won't be getting the penthouse suite though!

    And sorry for the stupid question, but do all of these hotels have a casino on the premises?
    Last edited by Midwest Michael; 01-15-2010 at 07:09 AM. Reason: merged - please keep all questions about this trip in the same thread

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

    Default the same tier

    Yes, all of those hotels have a casino, that's the one thing that can be said with certainty.

    Otherwise, all of the places you mentioned are pretty similar in being some of the top names on the strip (except Planet Hollywood, which I believe is just off the strip). Really, the differences are going to be mostly in the age, location, and theme. They'll also each have sightly different features aimed mostly at separating themselves from each other.

    There are entire books and websites that really focus on breaking down the details of each hotel, so you may want to spend a little time taking look at one of those more specific resources. However, I don't think you will be disappointed by any of them, and If it were me, I'd simply be looking at all of them and trying to find the best deal.

  9. Default

    Sorry, didn't realise I had to keep all topics in this one thread, thanks for informing me.

    I guess I'll just go for the "whichever deal is best" route.... thanks :-)

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

    Default A Loding Choice for Every Budget

    Quote Originally Posted by origin_of_symmetry View Post
    I've spoken to some friends who have been out there and got some recommendations, but I have no idea which one, what the difference is between them and whether anyone else would recommend them?
    I live and work in Las Vegas and I can tell you that there are luxury hotels available for just about every budget. The ones you listed above are the more well-known.

    If you want to be center-stage on the strip, I'd recommend Paris Hotel Resort -- well run hotel.

    If you want to be adjacent to the new City Center area -- Planet Hollywood is hard to beat -- although they are running specials on all of the City Center hotels right now.

    Three more hotels that you might consider:

    1) Trump Tower -- each of the suites was developed for the mega-rich but you can often find suites going for $80/night at this ultra-swank development
    2) The M Resort -- without doubt my favorite local's hotel in the valley. Excellent, excellent.
    3) Red Rock Station.

    We publish a "Vegas Values" column each week and there are several recommendations that you might find intriguing -- They are written for local readers, but still good info there....

    Mark

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