I-40 nc to ca
New to the group, I'm a roadtripper. I haven't been very far, (Philly, Middle Tennesse, Orlando and NC coast being my farthest), but I have racked up the miles (I love my Topo Map!)
I am planning my "dream roadtrip" next summer. I have wanted to go to Los Angeles for over 20 years and have been kinda researching this trip for the past 15. I have also wanted to do a cross-country trip being backroads or interstate I don't care!
This will be a 2 week(15 day) trip. This is what I have so far, I am planning to travel I-40 into California.
I'm taking the speedy way there, driving at least 12 hours a day stopping only to see the Grand Canyon. Most likely, staying in Little Rock, AR, Tucumcari, NM, and Williams, AZ (days 1-3).
Arriving in California (Day 4), we'll be stopping at an In and Out Burger, visiting the Nixon Library and driving into Anaheim to our Disneyland hotel(still researching), Disneyland (Days 5-6), Anaheim-Newport Beach, Long Beach (Aquarium & Queen Mary), Venice, Santa Monica pier, then driving into Hollywood(Day 7). Day 8 (Hollywood tours, cemetery tours Pinks Hotdogs and the Rainbow Bar & Grill!), Day 9 Universal Studios, Day 10 more sightseeing then driving into Simi Valley. Day 11 Reagan Library and heading East home after stopping in San Bernandino to see Randy Rhoads gravesite most likely staying in Kingman, AZ.
Day 12 to Alburquerque, Sante Fe, Day 13 to at least Oklahoma City, Day 14 Little Rock Clinton Library to home, State Capitol, Day 15 through Tennessee and home.
The main question(s), which areas should I reserve early (and how early?). I definitely have heard I should book a year in advance for Arizona, but what about New Mexico? I'm not picky, but don't want bed bugs or crack motels. I love the Route 66 Mom & Pop places. Any other tips appreciated as well.
Welcome to RTA!
Whew! Can you get a couple more days? That's a lot of viewing in two weeks. First thing that jumped out at me was trying to do the Reagan Library, then driving to Kingman with another stop on the way, all on the same day. The Reagan Library is extensive. My husband and I spent 6 hours there one day, and we still didn't spend as much time viewing as we would have liked to have done.
Disneyland -- well, there are three "on property" hotels. If you can get a deal at one of them, it's nice to stay at one of them. If not, the Best Western Stovall's is about the closest to the parks, and you CAN walk to them from the hotel. It's also a pretty decent place, with a pool and a hot tub. Other hotels may be less expensive and only a cheap shuttle ride away. (Anaheim has a shuttle, and the hotels have pretty well abandoned their own hotel shuttles to the park.)
Newport Beach and Santa Monica Pier are about an hour apart -- so bear that in mind when you choose a hotel away from Disney. If it were me, I would stay in the Hollywood area. There are some decent Best Westerns near Universal Studios and Hollywood. Burbank has a few places. Just be aware of anything listed as "North Hollywood", as the neighborhood might not be the greatest. (The Super 8 No Hollywood is right in the midst of that, as I found out. I stayed at a Ramada Inn Burbank instead, but it was getting a little rundown.)
As far as booking ahead -- my husband and I have adopted the policy of booking ahead ONLY when we are going to a resort or "destination" area. Kingman should be okay without reservations UNLESS you plan to arrive after the dinner hour. Same with ABQ or OKC. (Last summer we went from Phoenix to Santa Rosa one day and to Sallisaw OK the next day. Both days were around 600 miles, 11 hours.)
Kingman -- I'll have to ask my husband where he stayed last October. He said it was decent. In Albuquerque, 2 years ago, we stayed at the Sandia Peak Inn. It was off of the freeway closer to a friend who lives just off Old Town, newly remodeled, and we liked it. In Santa Rosa, the Quality Inn was also pretty decent. Sallisaw -- well, the Days Inn there had really TINY rooms, but we were only there overnight. We ate at Shad's Catfish Hole -- I highly recommend it. From Sallisaw we went to Cookeville, TN where we stayed at an America's Best Value Inn. Hmmm....think I'll pass on that chain for awhile. It wasn't impressive at all.
For choosing motels, we've used a variety of sources, from AAA books to coupon books to looking online (including here at RTA). When we get to an area, if we don't like the feel of the place, we move on (as I did when I looked at Super 8 No. Hollywood one time). Use your common sense/instincts.
Kingman has two Days Inns, and they are acceptable.
Reagan Library. Since we'll be staying nearby the night before we'll be there from the opening. We did Mount Vernon in 2-3 hours, so we should be okay, to spend 1/2 the day there. Probably won't watch any films or movies, but that's on the top of my list anyway. My second stop is at a cemetery in San Bernadino that will be very brief.
I've looked into some of the hotels close to Disney that are not on property, but very close, just not sure how soon I should reserve them. We won't be needing any hotels for anything other than showering and sleeping, so I'm not looking for many amenities.
We are going to stay in the Hollywood area after leaving Disney. Right now I'm looking at a Comfort Inn on Sunset Blvd about 2 blocks away from Hollywood and Highland. I haven't made a final decision, but that they look like the safest best value (as they include parking!). The tours meet on Sunset and Hollywood/Highland and we'll drive to Universal on Sunday(yes, I am leaving plenty of time for any traffic). I have made a safety plan to be in by dark every night as is, but still trying to stay in a safe area.
Thanks for all the tips!
We felt the same way about the hotel in Anaheim. We just wanted to stay close at a clean place with comfortable beds. The hot tub and pool is nice IF you want to walk back from the park in the middle of the day for a rest. If your time is limited you probably won't do that, though.
I believe I know where the Comfort Inn in Hollywood is. If they include free parking, count that as a $15/day value, as that's about what one pays in a Hollywood parking lot these days. Hollywood and Highland -- and the rest of the Avenue of the Stars -- is a bit run-down, but it's fun to look around. The shops along Hollywood Blvd. are mostly tourist places, lingerie shops, the wax museum and bars. You'll find a place or two to eat, including a McDonald's. Just don't look for a free bathroom -- it doesn't exist. Even McDonald's has pay toilets in that area. You'll also find plenty of companies hawking their bus tours to the stars' homes. You can decide if that's worth it to you.
Universal can be fun -- haven't done that in 10+ years, though.