Long Post Alert - Beware!
Last year my better half and I did a California loop type thing (San Francisco - Monterey - Big Sur - L.A. - Las Vegas - Death Valley - Yosemite - San Francisco) and had a really amazing time. I got some great suggestions and feedback from some of you guys on here that went a long way towards helping us sort out our itinerary. Many thanks, once again.
Anyway, we're heading back to do a similar trip this year. There were a few things we missed out on last time as by the time we reached Death Valley there were some major storms that closed a whole lot of roads and meant, that in order to get to Yosemite from Lone Pine, we had to go down to Bakersfield and back up the interstate to enter from the west side, missing out on seeing the ghost town of Bodie and driving through the Tioga Pass.
Well, this year, arrangements have been made with the powers that be that the California skies will be kept clear of storm clouds during the last week of September and first week of October in order that we may take in the sights that we missed out on last time.
Now, bearing in mind that we did manage to take in a fair amount last year anyway, September's route is a little different and consequently here I am again looking for any opinions, ideas or suggestions relating to a couple of bits of it.
The planned route is as follows;
Day 1 - Direct flight to San Francisco, pick up hire car at 4.30pm, drive to Los Banos (100 Miles) and sleep
Day 2 - Drive down I 5 and I 10 to Palm Springs. Stay 2 nights.
Day 4 - Drive through Joshua Tree National Park, through 29 Palms and Kingman. Stay in Flagstaff.
Day 5 - Drive to Monument Valley, Moki Dugway loop, Valley of the Gods, Monument Valley (Sunset). Stay in Page.
Day 6 - Antelope Canyon, 89 to Jacob Lake, Grand Canyon North Rim, then back up to Bryce Canyon. Stay in Tropic.
Day 7 - Bryce Canyon, Zion National Park. Drive to Las Vegas. Stay 3 nights
Day 10 - Death Valley - Stay in Lone Pine.
Day 11 - Drive to Bodie, then through Tioga Pass to Yosemite. Stay at Evergreen Lodge.
Day 12 - Day in Yosemite, evening drive to San Francisco.
Day 13, 14, 15, 16 and 17 San Francisco
Ok. The bits we're not sure of......
From Flagstaff, assuming we're on the road by 10.00am, are we leaving enough time to see enough of Monument Valley, drive the Moki Dugway and take in the Valley of the Gods to reach Page at a reasonable hour to grab some grub before bedtime. If we are, might there be any other points of interest that we should look out for along the way?
Likewise, from Page. We're aiming to do the 9.30 Antelope Canyon tour, before setting off to reach the Grand Canyon North Rim by mid afternoon-ish, then head off towards Bryce to reach Tropic for grub and sleep. Is this doable without busting a gut? If so, again, anyone have any ideas on sights or quick stop offs along the way?
Also from Bryce to Zion. We're hoping that, with an early start, we can see a little of Bryce Canyon in the morning then make our way to Zion in the afternoon to catch one of the shuttles before heading off to reach Vegas later that night.
I'm aware that we're looking at some hefty driving hours in all of this, but that's fine with me. I enjoy driving and I find it's a good way to soak up a little of the country. I'm also aware, with the benefit of last years experiences, that some distances, although not seeming that far on the map, can take considerably longer than anticipated due to the types of road. And finally, whilst in an ideal scenario, we would spend a lot longer at most of the various places we intend to visit, there's only so many days in a holiday, and as such, we're gluttons for taking as much in along the way as we can.
Anyway, if you've read this far, I've probably taken up enough of your time already. So I'll leave it there for now.
All ideas, suggestions, musings or offers of large bags of money gratefully accepted.