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  1. Default West Coast,Vegas,GC,San Fran,San Diego Help Please

    Hi, Thank you for your site, itís made a daunting planning task, less so. My Partner and I will be travelling to the U.S in late August-September for 4 to 5 weeks and spending the first 2 weeks on the West Coast, followed by 1 week in the Florida area then up to New York and surrounds for a week.
    We are from Australia,(Steve and Mandy) in our late 40ís, We like to drive, I like to take Photographs ranging from macro(insects, Fungi) to Landscapes, Birds and wildlife whilst Mandy shops and relaxes  .We are active and donít mind a 1-2 km walk to check something out, but no serious hikes or tracks. Weíve chosen Late August-September for the trip for the following reasonsÖ.The weather should be not to hot or cold, itís just getting out of season so there should be less holiday-tourists traffic, accommodation should be cheaper and were hoping that weíll be on the coast at the right time to see the Monarch butterflies. We will be hiring a medium sized sedan or small Rav 4 or equivalent.
    Below is a driving itinerary for the west coast, Iím totally ďgoogled outĒ to the point of confusion. Looking at our draft itinerary, what is doable, what is unrealistic? Any suggestions on what sections to pull back- stretch, different routes or interesting side tracks would be appreciated


    WEST COAST

    Wed Day 1 Arrive LOS ANGELOS
    Route Rest After flight

    Thur Day 2 LOS ANGELOS to SAN DIEGO
    Route ?

    Fri Day 3 SAN DIEGO

    Sat Day 4 SAN DIEGO TO TWENTYNINE PALMS
    Route 78 (15) to Temecula-79 to 74 to Palm Desert to 10 to Cottonwood Spring rd and extentions through Joshua Tree National Park

    Sun Day 5 TWENTYNINE PALMS to GRAND CANYON
    62 to Parker,95-40 to Kingman,93 to Co Hwy 25 to Grand Canyon Ranch

    Mon Day 6 GRAND CANYON LAS VEGAS
    Route back onto the 93 to Vegas

    Tues Day 7 LAS VEGAS
    Route

    Wed Day 8 LAS VEGAS LONE PINE
    150 to Pahrump,178 -127-190-136 to Lone Pine

    Thur Day 9 LONE PINE YOSEMITIE
    Route 395 to 120(Tioga Pass) to Yosemitie

    Fri Day 10 YOSEMITIE CEDAR GROVE
    Route 41 to Yosemite Forks,Base Lake Rd(274) to North Fork,Powerhouse Rd(222) to Auberry Rd(168)-Lodge Rd-Burrough Valley Rd-Maxom Rd to Trimmer,E Trimmer Springs-Elwood Rd-180 to Cedar Grove

    Sat Day 11 CEDAR GROVE SAN FRANCISCO
    180 to 245-198 to San Francisco

    Sun Day 12 SAN FRANCISCO
    Route

    Mon Day 13 SAN FRANCISCO SAN SIMEON
    Route Down the 101 along the coast

    Tues Day 14 SAN SIMEON LOS ANGELOS
    continue down the 101


    Regards

    Steve and Mandy

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,749

    Default Looks fine, but.........

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    Your trip is certainly doable and will give you a little time to explore the places you are heading and as long as you don't mind keeping on the go you should be OK.

    A couple of points. Just to check you do realise that the Grand canyon ranch has no immediate access to the National park area ? I am not totally familiar with this part, but I also believe that access to the West rim that is on Indian lands outside of the NP may be on unpaved roads that would be in breach of your rental agreement. If you want to see the National park area made famous by those familiar views you see all over the world you will have to head to the South rim which is North from Williams on AZ64.

    To see the best of the coast between San Fran and San Simeon you need CA1 that goes around Big Sur from the Monterey area.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,067

    Default

    I'll add onto what Dave said about the Grand Canyon Ranch.

    Basically the only thing "Grand Canyon" about it is that they have a helipad, where you can book a helicopter flight over the west rim and leave from right there.

    You're still nearly an hour away, on a rough dirt road (that will likely violate your rental contract), from the West Rim/Skywalk. It should also be noted that to see the Canyon from the Skywalk will cost you about $75 per person. No cameras are allowed on the skywalk, and the views from the West Rim are not the same as in the National Park.

    In either case, your current plans don't allow much time to actually see the Grand Canyon. You're looking at a pretty full day from Joshua Tree to the Canyon, and then a half day drive back to Vegas, so the amount of time you'll have to see the canyon is really only about a half day. That may be ok, but I think it may leave you wishing you had more time.

  4. Default

    Thanks for that,will be re-routeing to South rim North of Williams and will include an extra night.

    We will be taking the CA1 to take in Big Sur.

    I'm worried about day 10, Yosemite to Cedar Grove.If I should encounter inclement weather,is this going to be a push?

    Thanks for the quick reply s, appreciated

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,067

    Default

    I wouldn't worry about having weather delay you from Yosemite to Cedar Grove. You're traveling in what is still the summer season.

    However, despite that, I would actually suggest you skip Cedar Grove anyway. King Canyon and Sequoia are a great park to visit, but you're really going to be short-changing your time in Yosemite. Lone Pine and then across Tioga is going to take up most of the day as you drive through this very scenic area. I think you'd be better suited to use that 10th day to have time to explore the Yosemite Valley.

    If you have more time, then that changes thing, but with just 2 weeks, you do have to make choices, and based simply on its location, Kings Canyon is one of them that's a bit out of your way.

  6. Default

    Thanks Michael,
    You've confirmed what that "inner voice of reasoning" was telling me whilst planning that leg.
    Cedar Grove is out and reassessing.

    As far as Joshua to Grand Canyon section goes,were looking at:

    SUN Leave Joshua early morning, arrive Lake Mohave Resort lunch and spend the afternoon on rented power boat on lake,stay Mohave Resort that night .
    MON Drive to Canyon Resort(south Rim) next day, Stay Canyon Resort
    TUESFly to Monument Valley Morning,Jeep tour day,fly back GC a/noon, Stay Canyon Resort.

    I'm adding a day doing the above, but it seems more realistic.What do you think?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,749

    Default It'll work.

    I think the boat rental and Heli/Jeep tour sound like fun and if it's how you wish to spend your time that is important, and it certainly 'fits'. The one thing that would be of concern to me personally, is the limited time it will still leave to enjoy the Grand canyon and the continuous fast pace of things.

  8. Default

    Thanks SW Dave and MW Michael,
    We've decided to drop the week in Florida and Miami and add 3 days to the West Coast(now allowing 17 days) and 4 to the East Coast(New York, Niagara).
    Reading through your forum posts and other blogs we're Reassessing the Coastal section, we're thinking of adding a stopover in Monterey to slow down the pace a bit there and an extra night in Los Angeles at the start for comfort.
    As much as we would love to see Monument valley,I think with logistics,time and finance, we may have to "knock it on the head",for more time in Grand Canyon.Soooooo,the itinerary thus far.............. looks like this.............



    WEST COAST

    Thur Day 1 Arrive LOS ANGELOS
    Route Recover from flight
    Fri Day 2 LOS ANGELOS

    Sat Day 3 LOS ANGELOS to SAN DIEGO
    Route ?
    Sun Day 4 SAN DIEGO

    Mon Day 5 SAN DIEGO to TWENTYNINE PALMS
    Route 78 (15) to Temecula-79 to 74 to Palm Desert to 10 to Cottonwood Spring rd and extentions through Joshua Tree National Park
    Tues Day 6 TWENTYNINE PALMS to LAKE MOHAVE
    62 to Parker,95 to Lake Mohave
    Wed Day 7 LAKE MOHAVE to GRAND CANYON
    Route 68 to 95 to AZ64
    Thur Day 8 GRAND CANYON
    Route
    Fri Day 9 GRAND CANYON to LAS VEGAS

    Sat Day 10 LAS VEGAS

    Sun Day 11 LAS VEGAS to LONE PINE
    150 to Pahrump,178 -127-190-136 to Lone Pine
    Mon Day 12 LONE PINE to YOSEMITIE
    Route 395 to 120(Tioga Pass) to Yosemitie
    Tues Day 13 YOSEMITIE
    Route
    WED Day 14 YOSEMITIE to SAN FRANCISCO
    180 to 245-198 to San Francisco
    THUR Day 15 SAN FRANCISCO
    Route
    FRI Day 16 SAN FRANCISCO to MONTEREY
    Route Down the 101 along the coast
    SAT Day 17 MONTEREY to SAN SIMEON

    SUN Day 18 SAN SIMEON to LOS ANGELOS
    continue down the 101

    If you can see anywhere we can bring back/push forward or cancel it would be appreciated.

    Thanks Steve & Mandy

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,272

    Default

    I'd like to make a scenic suggestion for Day 5, if you have the time.

    Take I-8 east out of SD to Descanso. Take CA-79 through Julian (you must stop for a piece of apple pie) and follow it all the way to Aguanga. Take CA-371 to CA-74 down into Palm Desert. Get on I-10 there to the south entrance of Joshua Tree.

    An option from 29 Palms is Amboy Road to Amboy, then old 66 east to I-40. You could spend the night in Laughlin or Kingman and visit Oatman.

    The shortcut into Death Valley from Pahrump is Bell Vista Avenue. Taking 178 takes you considerably out of the way. Bell Vista takes you directly to Death Valley Junction where 127 and 190 meet.

    The best way from Yosemite to SF is 120 to I-205 to I-580.

    For scenery, take CA-1 from SF to Monterey.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,749

    Default Nice.

    Personally I think you have now got a wonderful balance to your trip where you will be kept on the go, but at a pace you can enjoy yourselves and soak up and enjoy the places you are visiting.

    When heading to the Grand canyon I would recommend continuing to Flagstaff and North on 89 and West on 64 and enter through the East kiosk on Desert view drive. Your first views from the Old Watchtower will be wide open of the Colorado river as it make it's way through the National park area. As you drive along the rim you can stop at various viewpoints along the way until you reach the village area and the views made famous the world over through photography. The free shuttle bus will take you up to Hermits rest and you can hop on and off at stops along the way. When you leave you exit by the South kiosk to I 40 and you have completed a loop. If you really wanted to see MV you could leave Lake Mojave early, take a quick tour of MV and then stay in Kayenta or Cameron and then head to GC [as described above] early next day and also spend the morning in GC before heading to Vegas. [Tough one.]

    If you wanted a little more time in Yosemite you could push on a little further than Lone Pine to the Bishop or Mammoth area but that's really minor detail. When in Yosemite do not miss the drive and short walk to Glacier point, stunning views !

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