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  1. #1

    Default LA to Las Vegas to canyons to SF via Yosemite and back to LA via PCH - 17 day trip

    Hello to everybody,
    I'm new member to this incredible forum. I've spent lots of time reading your forums, got a lot of good information and it helped me to get my roadtrip planned. I know my route is probably the most popular in this forum, I've read so much threads about it, i won't be asking what to see and what to do during my trip, I've made itinerary by myself, but of course would like to hear comments, suggestions regarding it from more experienced roadtripers like you, since my trip will be slightly different than most other similar itinerary trips (you'll see) and also it will be my first roadtrip in States (been here before, but not on the roadtrip).
    We're a couple from Lithuania, in our mid 20's, already got plane tickets (it will be in September'2011, i posted in summer trip forum, because i consider it still as a summer trip) and here's my plan:

    day 1 (Sep 5): arriving to LAX (very late, about 11pm or even later), car rental and then going the same night to Las Vegas. We don't plan to take any hotel in LA area, because i know that due to different time zones i would wake up at 3am and it won't be long sleep anyway. Is that bad idea not to take a hotel after such a long flight, since I will be the only driver during the whole trip?
    day 2 (Sep 6): arriving to Las Vegas in the morning. There will be our major goal in Las Vegas- we plan to get married here, that's why the first point is Las Vegas. We stay and overnight in Las Vegas that day.
    day 3 (Sep 7): stay and overnight in Las Vegas. We hope it will be enough 2 days to get prepared for the marriage (license at marriage bureau and finding wedding chapel) since Las Vegas has a developed marriage service.
    day 4 (Sep 8): early in the morning leaving Las Vegas, off to Zion NP via Valley of fire state park (plan to stay couple of hours there). Arriving to Zion NP and having our time there (enough time for Zion?). Overnight in Hurricane or Kanab town. Which one would be a better idea?
    day 5 (Sep 9): early in the morning leaving and going to Bryce canyon (either from Hurricane or Kanab towns?), time for sightseeing in Bryce canyon and then going to Page, AZ, overnight in Page.
    day 6 (Sep 10): early in the morning leaving and going to Antelope canyon (spend short time there?), Horseshoe bend and then to Grand Canyon south rim, time to see the canyon. Planning to overnight in Flagstaff, AZ.
    day 7 (Sep 11): I know that Sedona is near to Flagstaff, is it worth for visiting? early in the morning leaving for Death Valley? Maybe visiting Rhyolite ghost town? Here i'm not sure regarding overnight place that wouldn't be to pricey, of course we don't need anything fancy. Maybe Beatty, NV?
    day 8 (Sep 12): going to Mammoth lakes, Mono lake. Not sure regarding overnight place, maybe Mono city, CA. Any suggestions?
    day 9 (Sep 13): early in the morning going to Yosemite NP, spend our time there and than going to Jamestown,CA via Tiogga Pass.
    day 10 (Sep 14): going to San Francisco, overnight in SF.
    day 11 (Sep 15): time in SF area.
    day 12 (Sep 16): leaving SF in the morning, going through Pacific coast highway. Overnight in Monterey. Is that good idea for overnight place?
    day 13 (Sep 17): leaving Monterey going to Santa Barbara via PCH. Overnight somewhere in that area.
    day 14 (Sep 18): going on PCH to Laguna beach. As you see we split our trip on highway 1 to 3 days. Is that a good idea or maybe 2 days would be fairly enough? Sleeping in Monterey and Santa Barbara area are just initial choices, maybe there would be other better choices how to split PCH trip?
    day 15 (Sep 20): time in LA, overnight in LA
    day 16 (Sep 21): flight back home from LAX
    As you see, we're missing Sep 19 - i did that intentionally. That would be 1 extra day for all unexpected situations. By knowing that we have 1 extra day in our reserve we could take our time in one of the points longer.
    What do you think about my plan. Your comments and suggestions are very needful and appreciated. Trip plan is based from what I've read in this forum and other places.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
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    Green County, Wisconsin
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    13,067

    Default push the envelope

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    In general you've got a trip that is right on the edge of too much. There are several legs where you need to at least think about scaling back a bit, or you are just going to wear yourself out.

    Day one is actually the most concerning. I can't recommend strongly enough that you stay right near LAX. Trying to drive 5 hours, through the middle of the night, after you've already been traveling for nearly 20 hours (travel time to airport, security and check in, flight time, customs, and car rental pickup), and when your body will be dealing with serious jetlag is flat out dangerous.

    Your Zion-Flagstaff section is a little concerning. The day to Zion is a full one, and you'd be best off staying right in Springdale outside the park, as both Hurricane and Kanab involve some backtracking or travel in the wrong direction. Zion to Bryce and back to Page is another very full day. And then trying to see Antelope, Horseshoe, and Grand Canyon and make it to Flagstaff in one day is frankly too much. You've got 5+ hours of driving there, Antelope requires a guided tour, and the Grand Canyon is a huge place. There's just not enough hours in the day here.

    Flagstaff to Death Valley is basically a full day of driving all by itself, and I don't really see time for stopping in Sedona.

    The other major problem spot is "day 9." Simply put, you're not giving yourself any time to see Yosemite! Again, this is a big place, and you've got a lot of driving here. I'd strongly recommend either staying right in Yosemite or at least someplace just outside the park.

    The rest of the trip looks much better, but I would take another look at the first part of your trip. There is a case where less can be more - and if you are trying to squeeze in "everything" it is very easy to end up with a trip where you don't enjoy anything. Your current plan isn't impossible for the most part, but I think you are very much in danger of pushing yourself past the point where you'll have much fun.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
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    10,749

    Default Congratulations !

    I agree with the above and the first and most important alteration you need to make is day 1. Book into an airport Hotel and get rested before setting off to Vegas next day. You will feel much fresher and it will be safe journey, after all you will want to get your 'bride to be' to the alter in one piece ! Seriously, please don't do it.

    I also second staying in Springdale, it's a great little town !

  4. #4

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Midwest Michael View Post
    Your Zion-Flagstaff section is a little concerning. The day to Zion is a full one, and you'd be best off staying right in Springdale outside the park, as both Hurricane and Kanab involve some backtracking or travel in the wrong direction.
    well, the reason i chose Hurricane or Kanab instead of Springdale it's because of Springdale being more pricey place to overnight. Hurricane is only 20 miles from Springdale, yeah it's in wrong direction, but not that much. Kanab would also be a pretty good choice, because after Zion we're going to Bryce canyon, and Kanab would be almost on the same direction as heading to Bryce (at least some part of the road).

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2003
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    Green County, Wisconsin
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    Well, Kanab is on the same road to Bryce but it is also 20 miles in the wrong direction and on top of that, it's about an hour drive past Zion and a day that's already packed full.

    20 miles isn't the end of the world, but that means almost an extra hour of driving when you factor in the backtracking both direction. The reason that is concerning is because you are already trying to squeeze in so much in this part of your trip. It's kind of a time is money thing, and it seems like time is the big premium with your plans.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Midwest Michael View Post
    The reason that is concerning is because you are already trying to squeeze in so much in this part of your trip. It's kind of a time is money thing, and it seems like time is the big premium with your plans.
    I'll think about Springdale, but what bothers me most is my day 6. I understand that it's too much, but it would be pity to miss Antelope canyon and Horseshoe when i'm staying in Page, AZ for the night.
    As you see, i got 1 extra day in my whole trip, maybe I should split one day for Antelope canyon and Horseshoe and the other only for Grand canyon? Someone also mentioned that Antelope requires guided tour, is that true? You can't visit on your own?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2003
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    Green County, Wisconsin
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    Using your "extra" day here would be a good start. That would make everything here much easier. That would also give you more time to drive a little more to stay in Hurricane and save some money.

    Antelope Canyon is on Navajo Tribal lands and they require guides for the canyon and most of the park. You can get more details on their website.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
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    Joplin MO
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    If you are trying to avoid Springdale due to cost, it's only about an hour and a half from Zion to Bryce via the eastern exit of Zion on UT-9 to US-89 - you could spend the night in Panguitch, which has reasonably priced motels. I have stayed in the New Western, which is acceptable but far from luxury quality. Another option would be Cedar City, you can take UT-14 from there over to US-89 - and actually you could take UT-148 through Cedar Breaks and UT-173 to Panguitch on the way.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by glc View Post
    If you are trying to avoid Springdale due to cost, it's only about an hour and a half from Zion to Bryce via the eastern exit of Zion on UT-9 to US-89 - you could spend the night in Panguitch, which has reasonably priced motels.
    Thanks for this suggestion. going to town like Panguitch in the evening, would make Bryce canyon a close destination in the morning.
    Also, what would be a good choice to stay for the night when visiting Death Valley? and, no - i'm not even thinking about Furnace creek, that's way above of what I can afford during this road trip.

  10. #10
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    Affordable lodging around DV can be found in Pahrump, Beatty, Ridgecrest, and Bishop. Lone Pine is an option, but it can also be pricey.

    Back to Bryce - the America's Best Value in Tropic is also an option. Panguitch can actually be a bit pricey in season.

    You can use a site such as hotels.com to check rates in any area.

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