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  1. #1

    Default A roadtrip through the South West - Summer '12

    Hey everyone,

    My girlfriend and I are planning a trip through California, Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, and Nevada for this coming summer. We would be traveling for 22 days around July. The places we plan on visiting are listed here below. Any comments/suggestions on the amount of time to be spent in specific areas or other places to visit would be greatly appreciated! The total mileage we would cover is about 3,500 mi. We are going to be landing in San Francisco and doing a (relatively large) loop to end up in San Francisco again at the end of our trip. Let me know what you all think!

    1) San Francisco, CA (2 nights)
    2) Santa Barbara, CA
    3) Santa Monica, CA (1 night)
    4) Los Angeles, CA (2 nights)
    5) Joshua Tree National Park, CA
    6) Phoenix, AZ (1 night)
    7) Apache Trail (Apache Junction), AZ
    8) Tucson, AZ (1 night)
    9) Saguaro National Park, AZ
    10) White Sands National Monument, NM
    11) Somewhere between White Sands and Santa Fe (1 night)
    12) Santa Fe, NM (1 night)
    13) Somewhere between Santa Fe and Lake Powell (1 night)
    14) Lake Powell, UT
    15) Monument Valley, UT
    16) Tuba City, AZ (1 night)
    17) Grand Canyon National Park
    18) Somewhere between Grand Canyon and Page, AZ (1 night)
    19) Page - Horseshoe bend and Antelope Canyon
    20) Kanab, AZ (1 night)
    21) Bryce Canyon, UT
    22) Las Vegas, NV (2 nights)
    23) Death Valley National Park, CA (it's only 122 degrees Fahrenheit....... so do I need a sweater? winter coat maybe? ;))
    24) Mount Whitney, CA
    25) Big Pine or Lone Pine (1 night)
    26) Yosemite National Park, CA
    27) Napa Valley, CA (1 night)
    28) San Francisco, CA (2 nights)

    We will be renting a car in San Francisco and driving the entire way. We will both be able to drive so should be able to cover relatively long distances without too much trouble. One thing to note is that we'll be arriving from Belgium so we'll have 9 hours of time difference to deal with.

    Do you think it is possible to get around San Francisco without a car for the first few days? Or is it absolutely imperative to have a car in San Francisco?

    Any comments/suggestions welcome.

    Thank you for your help!

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    Last edited by Southwest Dave; 01-05-2012 at 02:32 PM. Reason: Requested change by OP.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Nice plan.

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    As far as SF is concerned, it is a very compact City with good plubic transport [think Cable cars] where parking is very expensive. Getting around without a car to start out is what I would do and pick it up when leaving the City.

    Jet-lag affects different people in different ways but with a couple of days around SF you should be fully adjusted by the time you hit the road. On the first full day I find the excitement of it all keeps me going and after a second nights sleep it's 'job done'.

    Having a quick glance over your itinerary it looks perfectly doable, but as you have noted it's a big loop. Everone has different travel styles and that's the beauty of planning your own trip, you're the boss ! What I would do is keep researching and then ask yourself this, Should I cover this much ground or have an extra day 'here' or 'there' and take a little more time to 'Smell the roses'. If you are happy with it, it will work and you are in for an Amazing time !

    Personally I would be looking at cutting back quite a bit and giving yourself more time at some of the natural wonders.

    I would also consider stopping in the Cambria area along the coast for night one giving yourself more time around Big Sur.

    I have had to edit as I originally confused your trip for 28 days in total [number of places listed] and not the 22 days as you stated. Sorry.
    Last edited by Southwest Dave; 01-05-2012 at 08:08 AM. Reason: Re-read the post properly.

  3. Default

    There's a restaurant in Las Cruces, NM (you'll go through it on your way to White Sands) that is very reasonably priced and has fantastic Mexican food - Los Compas. It's a humble little place, but clean and friendly, and one of our favorites to hit for a quick, delicious meal in a warm atmosphere - right on Hwy 70 as you head toward the Organ Mountains.

    Another good place to eat in Las Cruces is Nopalitos - more family-style, sit-down restaurant, and a little nicer decor, but equally good food.

    If you decide you'd like to splurge on a really lovely evening out, the Double Eagle in Old Mesilla is fantastic. (Old Mesilla is, in itself, a nice place to see if you are interested in the Spanish architecture and Native American influences of the area. It's right there, at the Southeast end of Las Cruces.)

    And, if you do spend more time in Southern NM than you'd originally planned and don't want to drive all the way to Socorro or Albuquerque on your way to Santa Fe, Truth or Consequences is a nice place to stop on your way North - it's a small town right on Elephant Butte, which offers boating, swimming, and lakeside cafes.

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