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  1. Default West coast road trip - Early planning

    Hellooo across the ocean :)

    First i'd like to say that this site is awesome!! :) Exactly what i need.

    Since this is my first post on this forum, i'll introduce myself. My name is Miha and i come from Slovenia. It's in Europe... :) Yes we have internet in our little country and no we are not in a war and poverty :P
    I just graduated from college (Electrical Automation) and now i have more free time for planing my road trip on the West coast next summer. Yes it's early planning :) but as you say "early bird catches the worm" i want to book a plane, car, hotels, camps... this year and until then i would like to know everything about my route.
    I have put together a route and places we would like to see and for now i would just like some coments about it.
    I don't know how many people we will be, but one car will be enough. We'll go for 3 weeks in the end of july/beginning of august 2011. There are many places we would like to see (SF, Yosemite, Sequoia, LA, Calico, Vegas, Death valley, Hoover dam, Grand canion, R66, Antelope canion, Navaho NM, Monument valey, Arches NP, Bryce canyon, Zion, Lake Tahoe...). Some places are marked on map below. Route between them is made my google:

    What do you think?
    I wont ask those standard questions that has been answered a gazillion times on this forum. At least not now :)
    For now i would like to know if google's route is ok?
    And what interesting is to see on route from Arches NP/Zion NP to SF? That part of my route is quite empty :) Would it be beter if we go throu Salt Lake City and on I-80 to SF?

    We are planning to land in SF and then stay a few days somewhere by the beach. Relaxing :). Don't know where exactly yet. Sugestions? We will rent a car when we'll leave SF so it has to be in a "normal taxi price area" :)
    Then the road trip starts :) Camping will be the first option and then motels/hotels where the weather will be too cruel for camping (heat, cold?, rain...) We are planning to stay in LV for 2 days and maybe in Grand canyon vilage for 2 days. In other places only for a day.

    Ok, that is enough for now :)

    Thanx for reading and maybe answering :)
    And sorry for typos... Well... they're not typos... it's my english... :D

    Have a nice day/night.


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Western/Central Massachusetts

    Default Welcome!

    Welcome to the RoadTrip America Forum!

    This is quite an ambitious trip plan considering the amount of ground you are expecting to cover in the amount of time that you will be here. I would recommend against making reservations for hotels this early since a)I'm not sure if most places even reserve that far in advance and b) you don't know how many will be in your group, which could change your outlook. The national parks you would want to reserve ahead of time, where possible, but even still, making reservations would force you to stick to a hard and fast plan and wouldn't leave much room for exploring and side trips (also known as "errors" to the terse minded).

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Streamlining.

    Hello and welcome !

    As Tim mentioned there won't be much time for relaxing but your trip is doable, although I think you could streamline it a little.

    Starting from SF you could head South along route 1 to LA, this is one of the most spectacular and famous coastal drives in the world, and not part of your plans at the moment. From LA head direct to the Grand canyon and then continue your trip to Zion NP as you have it above. From Zion head down I 15 to Vegas and then head back to SF via Death valley and Yosemite. You could continue to Sequoia before heading across to SF or visit the grove of giant Sequoia tree's at Mariposa grove in Yosemite. You really need a minimum of 2 days in Yosemite to enjoy it's splendour.

    If you wanted to trim back for a more relaxed pace, I personally would take Calico, Winslow, LA and Sequoia out, in that order of preference [mine that is]. Arches NP is wonderful but you could cut out some miles by going from GC to Monument valley and then through Page to Bryce and Zion NP's, instead of the "long way around" via Arches..

    You need to book the National parks lodgings or Campgrounds at the earliest possible time available, to secure places in the high season, but you will not be able to until the booking windows open, usually 5 or 6 Months in advance. Check out where you will find all the info you need on all the parks.
    Last edited by Southwest Dave; 06-02-2010 at 09:04 AM. Reason: Clarity.

  4. Default

    Thanx for reply Mass Tim.
    Yes, i know it's a lot of miles for that amount time. I'm shortening this trip everytime i look at it. At the beginning Yellowstone was included in this trip :) So if necessary this route will get even shorter. If i cancel Flagstaff and Lake Tahoe the trip gets quite shorter. And time in SF can shorten too.
    I didn't mean to reserve now. But somewere to the end of this year. Plane ticket a litle sooner, then car and parks, hotels... And of course after we know everything there is to know (how many of us, exact route, dates of stay in places...). That's why i started planning so soon. Plans need to marinate for a while so that miscalculations show up :D
    For "errors" im planning to leave some "floating" days betwen different reservations.

    edit: Thanx Streamlining. You replied while i was typing. I'm gonna go through your suggestions.
    Last edited by MihaT.; 06-02-2010 at 11:00 PM.

  5. Default

    Streamlining i like your route :)

    Trip gets much shorter.

    This is the short version without Sequoia NP, Lake Tahoe, Winslow and Arches NP:

    I think this will be a new base route for my planning :) I'd like to include Sequoia NP and Arches NP in it.

    Tnx Streamlining :)

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Basis for a great trip !

    Hi Miha, it's "Streamlining" ! Actually it's Dave [Southwest Dave] but you can call me what you want ;-) Lol ! [Streamlining was actually the title of my reply]

    Your trip will take different shapes as you continue to explore the possibilities, of which there are many.

    To work with your map and add Arches and Sequoia it would look something like this.

    You will notice that I have shown you a different way to Bryce canyon, passing Capitol Reef NP and along Scenic byway 12 in Utah, a wonderful drive. , but that's optional
    To give you an idea of how this could work, and how quickly time goes, you could build on the following, 3 nights SF, 2 nights along the coast to LA [Carmel and Cambria ?]2 nights LA, long drive to Grand canyon 2nights, Moab 2 nights [Arches/Canyonlands] 1 night Bryce canyon, 2 nights Zion, 2 nights Vegas, 1 night Death valley [or Lone Pine/Bishop, 2 nights Yosemite, I night Seqouia and back to SF.

    Some journeys you might want to break up a little and you may want to spend more time in certain places and less in others, but that should be a good base to start your planning from. Of course there are many wonderful things in between such as Monument valley, and I also realise that I have missed out Page/Lake Powell where you will have to adjust things to work it in.

    You will need to take the 163 from Kayenta to go to Monument valley, not the 160 as shown on the map.
    Last edited by Southwest Dave; 06-03-2010 at 07:37 AM. Reason: Added correction to map.

  7. Default

    Rofl :) Sorry for renaming you Southwest Dave :) Streamlining did feel a little odd. Don't know what i was thinking. Nothing i guess :)

    Im gonna add Page to your route and see what mileage/times i'll get. Tnx.
    Is there anything interesting to see on the road from LA/Calico to Grand canyon?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Always plenty of options.

    It's a long day on the road from LA to Grand canyon, but if you are heading to Calico and spending a night somewhere in between the two, you could pick up parts of old route 66 through Amboy, Oatman, Kingman and Seligman. If you have an old shoe you could add to the collection on the Amboy shoe tree. You could continue to Baker from Calico and drive through the Mojave preserve. If you were not to go to Calico, you could head through Joshua tree NP.

    There is going to be plenty to see and do throughout your trip, but as with most of us, time will limiting.

  9. Default

    Amboy shoe tree is dead :( ... source
    Is Joshua tree NP worth seeing? Or is Calico better? Yes i know that depends on my taste, but i like NPs and old towns like that.
    Questions about campgrounds:
    Calico is too hot for camping in late july, right?
    Camping in the Desert View Campground by the Grand canyon village is not a problem, right?
    How about camping in Mitten View Campground in Monument valley? Too hot in july?
    The Devils Garden Campground in Arches NP? Or some other camp in Moab area? By the river maybe?
    Texas springs campground in death valley?
    Camping in Yosemite and Sequoia?

    This is the whole route now:

    First Sequoia and then Yosemite or like in your (Dave's) route first Yosemite and then Sequoia?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default The shoe tree is dead !!

    Shame about the tree ! :-(

    I think I would go through Joshua tree, mainly because Calico has become more of a tourist attraction, but that's a personal opinion.

    The desert areas are going to get hot, but can still see cool nights. Of course no one can predict the weather but by looking at climate data in each place will give you an idea of averages. Death valley I would imagine will be too hot to enjoy camping and you might be better off continuing through. The nps find a park map is a great tool for locating every park and by clicking on the link you will get detailed info on each one.

    Desert view campground is about 25 miles from the village near the East entrance, Mather campground is within walking distance of the village and rim, but it would need booking, as will all nps campgrounds to guarantee a place.

    I loved the Devils garden campground right at the far end of Arches NP, a wonderful location but it'll be hot I expect, Moab offers plenty of lodgings nearby but is very popular.

    For Sequoia, Lodgepole is in a good location and reservable and for Yosemite I would recommend one of the "Pines" campgrounds [Lower/middle/North] which are huddled together in a wooded setting on the Valley floor.

    Why I suggested Yosemite first is because it will take you into Yosemite via the Tioga pass [CA120] which has splendid views and is a big part of the Yosemite experience, but either way will work.

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