Hi all. I have been lurking in these forum's for a while now and feel bad for asking for help on what is one of the most common routes on your forum. I tried to figure it all out by myself but the expertise you all show is too good to pass up would be greatly appreciated!
My Wife and myself are planning a road trip from Fri 27th July to Sat 11th Aug. Those dates are fixed due to work and we already bought the flights. We land at LAX at 1pm and fly back out at 9:30pm. We have hired a convertible from Avis for the whole trip, we are both confident drivers who have driven abroad and on the other side of the road before.
Background and what we like: This is a once in a lifetime trip due to the cost and we both have always wanted to do it. We are 29 and 30 and reasonably (though not especially!) fit and want to have an even split of seeing cities and all the wonderful scenery. We plan to do walking/hiking of which the most challenging one we are considering is Half Dome at Yosemite. I have heard there are some wonderful walks in Zion NP and would like to see Bryce Canyon and Death Valley. We plan to have a Helicopter trip from the south rim of GC and would like to see at least one sunrise and sunset (doesn't have to be on same day) between day 5 and 6.
I have planned a draft route in Google maps (link I hope below) and have a couple of queries that I hope won't be too much hassle.
1) Is there any glaring errors? (for example are Google road times way off?)
2) we currently have a spare day and are not sure how to spend it. Options to spend another day in grand Canyon, or another day in Yosemite or on PCH or just somewhere to ease burden. ( I know this is a difficult one as it's probably down to our preference but there might be somewhere that we need two days and we've only got one e.g. Zion and Bryce). Not to bothered about adding it on to any of the cities. Would rather use it to see more scenery that we have listed or something that we are missing.
3) A colleague at work told be that trying to do Bryce and Zion in 1 day would not allow us to enjoy it (Google says 5h of driving that day). I'm happy to use the spare day mentioned above or miss out Bryce and spend day 6 in Zion if we use the spare day somewhere else.
Anway: here it is
Day 01 (Fri 27): Land LAX at 13:00
Day 02 (Sat 28): Day in LA
Day 03 (Sun 29): Day in LA
Day 04 (Mon 30): Travel to Williams via Joshua Tree NP, Amboy, Kingman (10h approx)
Day 05 (Tue 31): 1.5h to south rim (sunrise) day in GC, 3h travel to sunset at Horseshoe (19:30), overnight in Kanab
Day 06 (Wed 01): Bryce Canyon and Zion National Park, Overnight near Zion (e.g Hurricane, spring dale) 5h driving
Day 07 (Thu 02): travel to Fire Valley NP then to Vegas. Overnight in Vegas
Day 08 (Fri 03): Overnight in Vegas
Day 09 (Sat 04): THIS IS A SPARE DAY to be used anywhere
Day 10 (Sun 05): Travel to Death valley (arrive around 14:00) then onto Mammoth Lakes, overnight somewhere near
Day 11 (Mon 06): Day in Yosemite, overnight near Yosemite (the Yosemite bug?!)
Day 12 (Tue 07): Travel to SF
Day 13 (Wed 08): Day in SF
Day 14 (Thu 09): day in SF
Day 15 (Fri 10): Down PCH, afternoon in Monterey and Caramel, overnight Pismo Beach
Day 16 (Sat 11): down PCH to LAX, drop car off at 19:30
Thank you in advance. I'm sorry for the long message but any help would be welcomed!
Here is the google URL to the map, never tried to link to it before so if it doesn't work let me know