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  1. Default LA/LV/GCNP - May

    Hi guys,

    After attempting to arrange a trip last autumn, which failed due to lack of time, I now have come back for another go...

    We are planning on landing at LAX on 8th May and then spend 2-3 days there (should that be enough to see LA?).

    After this, our plans are mostly completely open, but I know that we want to see (in order of importance):

    • Grand Canyon
    • Las Vegas
    • Yosemite
    • Death Valley
    • San Diego
    • Coast road (going south)


    I know San Diego is quite a way out of the way, so am happy to bin that and do that next time (if I can convince my wife there will be a next time!!).

    We need to be back in LA on 22nd for a flight to NYC so I can get to work there on the monday morning, before heading home to UK a week later. Do you think the route as follows is trying to fit far too much in?:

    8th LAX - arrive evening
    9th LA
    10th LA
    11th LA--->San Diego
    12th San diego
    13th SD ---> Flagstaff(or should we just go to GC
    14th GCNP
    15th GCNP--->LV
    16th LV
    17th LV
    18th LV---->DVNP
    19th DVNP
    20th DVNP--->yosemite
    21st Yosemite
    22nd Yosemite--->LAX(--->NYC)

    Thanks so much for all your help. The reason for starting and ending at LA is for the cheaper car hire, although we could also not do this i guess, as plenty of flights LAS to NYC...

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,748

    Default Something to watch for.

    Hi, welcome back to RTA !

    Your trip is certainly doable with a bit of time to get an overview of the places you are visiting. The part of your trip that you will need to pay special attention to is from Death valley to Yosemite. The Tioga pass [CA120] across the Sierra's usually opens sometime from Mid May to end of June after the plowing of the road is completed. There is no way of knowing when that will be until much nearer the time but if it is not open you will have to go around the Southern end of Sierra Nevada.

    SD to Flagstaff is a full day on the road so unless you are planning to lodge in the National park it would make a good place to stop and Williams is another option. From Flagstaff you can head North on 89 towards Cameron and into the Grand canyon through the East kiosk on 64. There are many viewpoints along the way to enjoy as you make your way to the village area and is a big part of the Grand canyon South rim experience..

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    You've got a solid start to your plan, and a loop makes perfect sense, but there are a couple of tweeks I'd make.

    The biggest issues would be the very end of your plan. First, if you need to fly out of LA on the 22nd, you probably don't want to start that day in Yosemite. That's going to be a 6 hour drive plus traffic in the LA area if you stick to the freeway.

    The other potential issue is going from Death Valley to Yosemite. You're in that period in mid-may where Tioga Pass may or may not be open (late may to june is typical), so its quite possible you'll have to go around via that Bakersfield. That's still doable in a day, but it will take more time and will be less scenic.

    I'll also note that you don't currently follow the coast highway at all. There really isn't a coastal route from LA to San Diego, and the best part is the big sur stretch, where you'd probably want to head from Yosemite over to Monterey, then go south.

    If you're looking to save some time, you could probably eliminate the full day in Death Valley. It's only 2 hours from Vegas, so you can see a lot on the first day you are there, and continue onto Yosemite the next day.

  4. Default

    Ok guys, thanks for your help thus far!

    A quick question on the San Diego stop. My wife says her main reason for wanting to stop here is to go to sea world and six flags. Is there any point us travelling down to San Diego for that? Or are there alternatives anywhere else on route which may appease her?

    Also, as for the coat road drive, it looks like we might only do the one day in DVNP and then head to Yosemite a day ealier. Leave Yosemite on 21st, stay over night in Monterey and then head down the pacific coast highway to LA? Is that more doable Michael?

    One final question (for now!): Is it worth getting a convertible for this trip, or should we just get a cheaper car?

    EDIT: Just found out there is not actually a six flags in San Diego... She must be mighty confused!
    Last edited by Jamjaw; 01-21-2011 at 09:23 AM. Reason: in post

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

    Default

    Six Flags is just north of LA off I-5 near Valencia. In addition to Sea World, San Diego has one of the world's best zoos (downtown) and the Wild Animal Park. That's off I-15 north of the city, near Escondido.

    I think trying to drive from Monterey to LA down the coast road in 1 day is pushing it just a bit too hard. I'd look at spending a night somewhere in between.

    If you want a convertible you should enjoy it, but in May it can still be pretty cool inland, especially in the mountains. I don't know how much driving you would actually do with the top down.

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

    Default Less so.

    Leave Yosemite on 21st, stay over night in Monterey and then head down the pacific coast highway to LA? Is that more doable
    The most direct route from Monterey to LA is no real improvement on starting out from Yosemite, to take the coast road you would need an extra day and have no chance of catching a flight same day.

    If you don't have the time to do this your other option would be to head South from Yosemite on the 21st to the Visalia/Bakersfield area with a detour along the 'Generals Highway [198] in Sequoia NP. Where ever you start out from, if you have a flight the same day I would work out the worse case scenario and then add at least a couple of hours as a cushion for any extra delays into the LA [congested] area.

  7. Default

    Ok, have looked at our options, and it looks like we will now be ignoring the 22nd as a day to see anything, as i do not want to miss the flight to NYC (work will be mighty annoyed with me!!).

    So our plan is now:

    8th LAX - arrive evening
    9th LA
    10th LA
    11th LA--->San Diego
    12th San diego
    13th SD ---> Flagstaff
    14th GCNP
    15th GCNP--->LV
    16th LV
    17th LV
    18th LV---->DVNP
    19th DVNP--->yosemite
    20th Yosemite
    21st Yosemite--->LAX
    22nd LAX ----> NYC

    Think this should work much better, even if it does miss out the coast road drive... we are also thinking that we may not need a whole day at GCNP, with staying overnight there then seeing it at sunrise and during the day, we could then leave for Vegas a day earlier. Would that make sense? Or should we stay the extra night?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    I can't really tell you how much time you need to spend at the Grand Canyon, but it's about 1.5 hours from Flagstaff, then 5 to 6 hours from there to Las Vegas. Does that help?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
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    Default All that way for a few hours ?

    The 13th will be close to a full day on the road by the time you stop for lunch etc, so to leave next day for Vegas would be too rushed to really enjoy the GC, for me anyhow. I would enter the canyon through the East entrance as described in an earlier post and then perhaps stop in Tusayan or Williams the next night and if you want head straight to Vegas next day with a possible side trip through Seligman on route 66 and/or a stop at the Hoover dam.

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

    Default

    Personally, I wouldn't cut your time at GC any more. I can tell you on my last visit, I had a full day there, and I didn't think it was enough time - there was much more I'd planned to see that I just didn't have time for.

    If you were really pressed for time, I could see just trying to do the highlights in a half day, but personally, if I was going to cut things, I'd start with trimming down time in cities like LA or Vegas where you've got multiple days schedule.

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