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  1. Default Vegas to San Fran...with stops

    There is so much wonderful advice on this board...can someone give this a "once-over" and let me know if it seems "comfortable?":


    Are we too ambitious? Will we return happily married? ha!


    Day 1: Arrive Las Vegas (early afternoon)
    Day 2: Depart Vegas (mid-late afternoon)
    Arrive Grand Canyon area
    Day 3: Explore Grand Canyon
    Depart GC (early evening)
    Drive to: _______________
    Day 4: Depart:________________
    Visit Death Valley
    Arrive at: ______________ (Mammoth Lakes?)
    Day 5: Depart: ______________
    Arrive Yosemite
    Day 6: Yosemite
    Day 7: Depart Yosemite
    Arrive Monterey (evening)
    Day 8: Monterey/Carmel/Big Sur
    Day 9: San Fran (Sausalito?)
    Day 10: San Fran/Napa ?
    Day 11: Depart San Fran (evening)

    Another option might be to head directly for the Grand Canyon on the day of arrival into Vegas and then stop in Vegas post-Grand Canyon. Vegas seems like a natural stopping point between GC and Death Valley. Are there oher places that seem like a good half-way point between the two?

    Too much? Any "Must-sees" or good stopping points between Grand Canyon and Death Valley? Because of the time of year that we will be traveling, I don't want to stay in Death Valley overnight. Is Mammoth Lakes a good place to be nearby?

    THANK YOU!!!!!
    Last edited by QueenieLR; 05-09-2010 at 10:40 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    On day 2, I'd leave LV in the morning. It can take 7 hours to get to the Grand Canyon with the security checkpoint at the Hoover Dam.
    On day 3, I'd leave the GC in the afternoon and try to get to at least Kingman, if not Laughlin. That would be a good start to visit DV the next day. You would get off US-93 at AZ-68 and take the truck bypass around the dam through Bullhead City and Laughlin to US-95. Take that north to Searchlight and take NV-164 to I-15 to Baker, then CA-127 to DV.
    Day 4 - Bishop would be a good overnight.

    Out of Yosemite, I'd go to Fresno and then to Paso Robles, and join the coast at Cambria. Work your way north to SF from there.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,748

    Default Matrimonial bliss !

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    I agree with what has been said by glc, and would like to add that you have a nice amount of time for the trip, and although it will keep you busy, yet amazed at the same time, your marriage certainly won't suffer because of it ! ;-)

    If you stopped at Kingman to maximise your time at the GC then perhaps Lone Pine would be a good overnight stop with a bit of time to enjoy DV and will still allow you a comfortable drive into Yosemite the next day with time to enjoy sight seeing as you drive along Tioga pass. In Death valley you can visit the lowest point in the US at Badwater and then stay in the shadow of Mount Whitney, [Lone Pine] the highest peak, Not bad for a day's "work" !

    Either on the way to GC, or when leaving you could get off I 40 and take a section of route 66 to Seligman and look at some of the quirky memorabilia shops on the way to Kingman.

    If you need to top up your tank on the way to Yosemite there is a gas station on the junction with 395 and 120 and a short drive up the hill takes you to a viewpoint overlooking Mono lake, good tucker in "Woah Noah's Dellie" at the back of the station as well !

    In Yosemite I would highly recommend a drive up to Glacier point, the views are spectacular !

    In SF you might want to book an Alcatraz tour, it's a great experience on the Island as well as the boat trip with views of the City and Golden Gate.

  4. Default An updated itinerary?

    Thank you both for your advice. Last night I revisited a thought I had awhile back about flying into Flagstaff (via PHX) and then driving directly to the GC that day. This would save us SOME time of backtracking from Vegas. What are your thoughts on that? If we go that route, this is more what our trip would look like:

    Day 1: Arrive Flagstaff (by way of PHX)
    Drive to Grand Canyon
    Day 2: Grand Canyon
    Depart GC (evening)
    Arrive Las Vegas (late)
    Day 3: Las Vegas
    Day 4: Depart Las Vegas
    Drive through Death Valley
    Arrive Mammoth Lakes (maybe Lone Pine, instead?)
    Day 5: Depart Mammoth Lakes (Lone Pine?)
    Arrive Yosemite
    Day 6: Yosemite
    Day 7: Depart Yosemite
    Arrive Big Sur
    Day 8: Big Sur/Mariposa
    Day 9: Mariposa/Napa?
    Day 10: Depart: Napa
    Arrive: San Fran (visit Sausalito)
    Day 11: San Fran

    Our flight would leave San Fran LATE on the 11th day, with an overnight return flight to NY.
    Thoughts?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    Day 2: Grand Canyon
    Depart GC (evening)
    Arrive Las Vegas (late)
    You still have to allow 7 hours to get from the GC to LV, and going over the Hoover Dam is no fun if it's dark and you can't see anything.

  6. Default

    Is it 7 hours from the South Rim to LV? Google and Mapquest say approx. 5 hours, but perhaps that's w/o traffic delays?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,748

    Default Sounds good to me.

    I was going to mention starting in Phoenix but thought you may have been booked in Vegas, so yes, that is a good option.

    Starting from Flagstaff in that instance, you could head North on 89 towards Cameron and enter the GC by the East entrance on Desert view drive [64] and take in it's many viewpoints, [a big part of the GC experience] the first being from the old Watchtower near the entrance that offers wide open views of the Colorado. If you have time to do that on day 1 then you should be able to walk around the rim near the village area and take the free shuttle bus up to Hermits rest [hopping on and off at the viewpoints] and still be able to leave at a reasonable time for Vegas next day. It will be slow going getting out of the park and you could face delays at Hoover dam and this is why glc says to "allow 7 hours" but the journey could be done possibly in less time, [6 hours ?] although you might want to spend an hour at the Dam anyway ?

    It would be quite possible to get tto Mammoth with your starting point now from Vegas.

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

    Default the middle

    5 hours would be fairly optimistic, but 7 hours is also pretty pessimistic. While 7 hours isn't completely out of the question, it would assume pretty much worst case delays at the dam.

    I'd say 6 hours is more a more fair average, but note that if you are planning to leave late, you still need a cushion to deal with the potential delays so you don't end up driving into the early morning hours.

    Depending upon what time you arrive in Flagstaff (and where you are flying in from), you might want to plan to only drive part way back, stopping in Williams or maybe Kingman, so you can stay at the Canyon all the way through Sunset.

  9. Default Tweaked, again...Thoughts?

    Okay- so how does this sound:

    Day 1: Early arrival to PHX- Drive to GC (catching sunset, if possible)
    Day 2: Explore GC (beginning EARLY)- Drive to Vegas (LATE arrival)
    Day 3: Explore Vegas
    Day 4: Drive to Lone Pine (or Mammoth Lakes- which do you think) by way of Death Valley
    Day 5: Drive to Yosemite
    Day 6: Explore Yosemite
    Day 7: Drive to Big Sur area
    Day 8: Explore Big Sur
    Day 9: Drive to Napa (EARLY)
    Day 10: Explore Napa (Drive to San Fran, arriving before/after rush hour)
    Day 11: San Fran (Sausalito, if time)
    Depart San Fran (LATE)


    Thoughts?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default burnout

    My biggest concern would be a burnout factor at the start of your trip. If you are flying in from the East Coast, then getting driving 4-5 hours to the Grand Canyon, then doing some sightseeing until at least sunset, you're going to have had a very very long day - that will be ending a few hours later than usually thanks to the time change.

    Then following this up with a plan to start early at the Canyon and finish late with a long drive to Vegas, means you're going to be hurting even more after the 2nd day.

    That's not impossible, but its certainly not going to be relaxing. I've probably done worse, but you'll have to decide if that fast of a pace is going to be enjoyable for you.

    I'll also add in that if you are flying in from overseas, then I think you would be doing way too much trying to fly into Phoenix and make the drive to the Grand Canyon in the same day.

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