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  1. Default May trip L.A. -> Death Valley -> Las Vegas -> Grand Canyon -> Utah -> Yosemite -> Cal

    Hello everybody!

    My name is Manfredi, let me thank you for everything you do both on this forum and on the website. It really helped me a lot with my planning. OK, so here we go. Me and my girlfriend will spend 33 days in the southwest from April the 29th till June the 2nd. We are going to rent a car in LAX and we are going to do a big loop which encompasses California, Nevada, Arizona, Utah, and California again.
    Can you give us your precious advice?
    I apologize for the amount of questions following.
    But let me be more specific:

    Day 1: L.A. to Sequoia National Park (cheap place to stay along CA-14 or 58?)
    Day 2: Sequoia NP and evening drive to Death Valley on 178, 395 and 190. (Cheap place to sleep outside the park?)
    Day 3: Death Valley.
    Day 4: Death Valley and evening drive to Las Vegas on NV 160 E.
    Day 5: Las Vegas.
    Day 6: Las Vegas to Grand Canyon on 93 and 66. (Is it better approaching the GC from the South or from the North?).
    Day 7: Grand Canyon.
    Day 8: Grand Canyon and evening drive to Page on 89.
    Day 9: Antelope Canyon to Monument Valley on 98, 160 and 163. (Suggestions on where to sleep?)
    Day 10: Halls Crossing and Glen Canyon
    Day 11: Halls Crossing to Capitol Reef (Fruita) on 276, 95 and 24.
    Day 12: Capitol Reef and evening drive towards route 29 through Orangeville
    Day 13: Manti-La Sal mountains and evening drive southwards through Ephraim (nice place to sleep along route 89?)
    Day 14: Bryce Canyon
    Day 15: From Bryce Canyon to Dixie National Forest on 12, 89 and 143. Hope to find 148 open (but I doubt it). Sleep along route 89
    Day 16: Zion National Park
    Day 17: Zion National Park and evening drive towards Lee Vining (suggestions both on the best route and on where to sleep in the middle of Nevada?).
    Day 18: Lee Vining and Mono Lake
    Day 19: Tioga pass road (I doubt it)/route 108/route 4 towards Yosemite (where to sleep? No camping because the bears scare the hell out of my girlfriend…)
    Day 20: Yosemite
    Day 21: Yosemite
    Day 22: Yosemite to San Francisco (suggestion on nice route avoiding interstates)
    Day 23: San Francisco and evening drive towards south on route 1
    Day 24: Route 1
    Day 25: Route 1
    Day 26: Route 1
    Day 27: Los Angeles
    Day 28: Newport Beach, Laguna Beach (some shopping…)
    Day 29: San Diego and Coronado Island
    Day 30: Nice resort on the ocean between L.A. and San Diego (nothing posh. Suggestions?)
    Day 31: Nice resort on the ocean between L.A. and San Diego (nothing posh. Suggestions?)
    Day 32: Nice resort on the ocean between L.A. and San Diego (nothing posh. Suggestions?)
    Day 33: Departure

    Our major concern is about booking. Is it necessary book every and each overnight stay or can we just book our camping sites? In other words, are there any overcrowded places that we are going to touch which require booking?
    Thanks again for all your help.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Western/Central Massachusetts
    Posts
    1,703

    Default Welcome!

    Welcome to the RoadTrip America Forum!

    Since you will be traveling before most schools get out for the summer, you shouldn't have as difficult a time finding a place to stay. Having written that, I'd still move towards making reservations at least where the area of National Parks is concerned.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,064

    Default modifications

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    There are a few tweeks I would consider making to your current plan.

    First of all, It sounds like you've "misplaced" Sequoia National Park. The park is located on the west side of the Sierra's, so you wouldn't use CA-14 or CA-58 to get there from LA. Its a straight shot up I-5 and CA-99. Because there is no place to cross the Sierras within the park, it also means you're looking at far more than an "evening drive" towards Death Valley. That trip will take the better park of 8 hours. Lake Isabella is a good area to look for lodging, but you should expect that to take a good 4 hours from Sequoia.

    As far as which way to approach the Grand Canyon, that depends upon which rim is more appealing to you. Both the north and south sides are incredible, but they are different in feel and what they have to offer. If you're only going to do one, then I'd spend some time looking at both options and try to make the best choice for your tastes.

    Another spot where I would consider making a change is your trip from Zion back to California. Right now, it looks like you're basically going to be back tracking through Vegas and Death Valley to get to Lee Vining. Instead of doing that, I would instead look at reworking your Utah portion of the trip, where you are finishing farther north, and then make your way across Nevada on US-50 towards Lake Tahoe. Then you'll be in good shape to cross either Tioga or one of the other Sierra Passes for your trip to Yosemite.

  4. Default

    Mass Tim, Midwest Michael, thanks for your prompt replies.

    Yep, I definitely misplaced it. I was aiming at Lake Isabella and thought I could gain entrance to the forest from there.

    As for the trip back to California, what if I go west from Cedar City on routes 56, then 93, then 375, 6 and finally 120 to Lee Vining? Is it too much in the middle of nowhere?

    Thanks again guys.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,064

    Default

    That route across Nevada would work just fine. I actually was thinking you were heading to Lone Pine a little farther south. Having said that, you're looking at a drive that is pretty much a full day effort. Really your only options for lodging are going to be a couple places total in Caliente or Tonopah. Because of that, I would simply dedicate a day to this drive, and not try to break it up.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    South Central Orange County
    Posts
    249

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Stavrogin View Post
    Yep, I definitely misplaced it. I was aiming at Lake Isabella and thought I could gain entrance to the forest from there.
    I made the same (wrong) assumption about Lake Isabella's proximity to the sequoia forests before I went, also. While it is close to or in the Sequoia National Forest, there are no sequoia trees near there. You would need to drive north along the Kern River Highway to reach the trees, and it would be slow driving.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    South Central Orange County
    Posts
    249

    Default

    Day 28: Newport Beach, Laguna Beach (some shopping…)

    If you are planning to shop in either of those locales, expect to pay a premium.

    A mroe reasonable place to shop to name brand items would be the Outlet Mall in Carlsbad (between Orange County and San Diego off I-5 at Palomar Airport Rd). You can get a map and list of stores at premiumoutlets.com

    My wife takes overseas relatives and visitors there on occasion.

  8. Default

    Thanks Shiro.

    Considering how much this trip is gonna cost, every saved cent makes me happy!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Stavrogin View Post
    Our major concern is about booking. Is it necessary book every and each overnight stay or can we just book our camping sites? In other words, are there any overcrowded places that we are going to touch which require booking?
    Thanks again for all your help.
    Just watch out for public holiday weekends, and make sure you book well in advance. I think it is the last weekend in May which got me caught out one trip.

    Lifey

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,271

    Default

    The North Rim of the Grand Canyon does not open till mid-May. The routes you have listed across the Sierras (120, 108, 4) may or may not be open yet when you get there. There are no routes between 88 and 178 that are kept open all year. You can check on them at the Caltrans website, and for 120, the Yosemite site.

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