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  1. Default Opinions please - proposed trip SF to Phoenix via Yosemite, GC etc OK or too much?

    Hello everyone, just found this great site, and am planning road trip in September. Could you please comment if we are doing too much, as I know a lot of people underestimate driving distances (especially us Brits don't realise how vast US is!)

    First we arrive in St Louis for pre arranged music festival in Sept, stay 3 nights,then fly to San Francisco. Then we have 12 nights :-
    Stay SF 3 nights
    Collect car, drive to Carmel stay 1 night
    Drive to Cambria stay 1 night
    Go inland to Yosemite stay 2 nights (already booked just outside - Portal)
    Then towards Death Valley stopping Lone Pine or Independance 1 night
    Leave early cross Death Valley to Vegas stay 1 night
    Leave Vegas vist Hoover Dam, my husband wants to do full tour as very interested in it
    Then on to GC (booked Yavapi) 2 nights
    Then to Phoenix possibly via Sedona for flight home to U - stay 1 night either Sedona or near airport at Phoenix not sure where.

    The main parts we really want to include are a coastal stretch for me, wild and unspoilt with seals etc, and the Grand Canyon.

    We are in our 50s, we will share driivng, at least on open good roads. We love nature, wildlife etc.

    Want to keep budget down as much as possible. Will want to prebook, so we don't have to worry each night to sort out accomodation. Hopefully stay in simple clean motels, would like breakfast included so we can get on road quick, but think that isn't always the case in US.
    Just bit worried we are trying to cram too much in - I think the Vegas to GC day will be the longest. We don't want to rush seeing the dam.
    Generally 4 hours driving a day would be ok, as we'd be stopping a lot to admire scenery etc.
    Re hire car, our TA quoted on Ford Focus as I suppose economical, hopefully will have aircon. We have only ever done 1 other road trip round NZ for 2 weeks, which was amazing, but didn't prebook motels that time.
    We haven't booked the flights yet but now want to sort it asap.
    Any feedback suggestions would be really great - thanks very much Annie.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,748

    Default Very relaxed.

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    It looks as though you have been doing your homework and have come up with a great plan, with a nice mix of 'getting around' and relaxation, good job ! You can expect 5 hours of driving from the coast to Yosemite but that really is a 'breeze' over there compared to driving in the UK. From Vegas to GC will be fine with plenty of time to explore the Hoover dam, again taking close to 5 hours travel, broken by the stop at the dam. In fact from Kingman you could take an original section of route 66 through Seligman and make a stop for it's wierd and wonderful '66 stores.

    Any trip to SF should include a trip to Alcatraz and if you are planning to do so, I would recommend booking in advance as it is very popular. The only NPS recognised ticket office can be found here where you won't get charged agent fees or have to buy extra tours.

    You could have actually done the popular loop and continued down the coast and then inland to GC, Vegas and back to SF via DV and Yosemite, but that might be problematic if there are no availabilities for a change in lodging dates.

    You will most probably have a one way drop fee added to your car rental if you drop in Phoenix, so I would check the cost of that. It might not be so if you flew out of LA and the flights could be better value too. Worth considering/checking out. Most mid-size cars will have aircon as standard, but you won't actually be garuanteed an exact make and model usually. The cars advertised are as an example of what car is in what class with the words 'Or similar' included. You might also want to check rental costs on-line to compare with your TA quotes.

  3. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Southwest Dave View Post
    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    You could have actually done the popular loop and continued down the coast and then inland to GC, Vegas and back to SF via DV and Yosemite, but that might be problematic if there are no availabilities for a change in lodging dates.

    You will most probably have a one way drop fee added to your car rental if you drop in Phoenix, so I would check the cost of that. It might not be so if you flew out of LA and the flights could be better value too. Worth considering/checking out. Most mid-size cars will have aircon as standard, but you won't actually be garuanteed an exact make and model usually. The cars advertised are as an example of what car is in what class with the words 'Or similar' included. You might also want to check rental costs on-line to compare with your TA quotes.
    Thanks Dave
    Re the loop you mention, I would consider that as might be cheaper flights - wouldn't that be more driving than going to Phoenix? Do you mean SF, coast to LA, then GC, Vegas, DV Yosemite? Could I still stay same number of nights most places?. I could probably alter booked places (only 2)

    Or you say, keep same route apart from after GC, go to LA instead of Phoenix. What is distance/driving time for each please.

    Got my original quote from Trailfinders, but been working to sort out best option myself. Probably will ask them to book flights/car hire as flights complicated by needing to stop in St Louis first. May do hotels ourself. I will definetly book Alcatrz as soon as we have sorted flights, thanks for link.

    Thanks for your help, Annie

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default

    If LA isn't in your current plans, I don't think going all the way back there would be worth it, but checking into costs to return from Vegas vs. Phoenix would be. The drive time difference is pretty minimal, and its much more common to get the drop fee waived on a SF-Vegas trip, than on one that ends in Phoenix.

    Doing a full loop actually doesn't change your total driving distance much. Doing a loop, SF-Cambria-Grand Canyon-Vegas-DV-Yosemite-SF is only 300 miles more than going SF-Cambria-Yosemite-DV-GC-Vegas. There you could keep your time spent pretty similar to your original plan, and could potentially save money.

  5. Default

    Hello again, been talking to TA and the only destination I can get a direct flight from St Louis is to Phoenix with United Airlines. not to LA or SF.

    I'd rather not change flights if possible. So I wondered about reversing my trip, St louis flight leaves only 7.30 am !! gets Phoenix 9.04 am. pick up car, do proposed route in reverse. Early start but plenty of driving day left.

    After reverse trip, stay in SF for 3 days, having dropped off car on arrival in SF, as I understand we don't need one there.

    Then back to UK on direct flight from SF Int airport.
    If I go home from Phoenix or Vegas I would have to change flights.

    Also if flying in to SF from St Louis we have to change and land at San Jose (a bit out)
    Price quoted £815 each incl taxes. We have to pay for luggage locally apparently on flight from St Louis to Phoenix.

    Car hire for 2 F Focus Dollar Gold they quoted £300

    This does seem the easiest flight plan to me, what do you all think please? Only query is, we'd arrive Phoenix on 2 Sept, and I think 3rd is Labour Day, and then we'd be in GC for 2 nights, so may not get booking then. Will have to check. Would you drive from Phoenix to GC in 1 day, or stay en route somewhere?

    Thanks again
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 06-28-2012 at 07:04 AM. Reason: added some white space

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,748

    Default If it works.......

    If you have found that to be the most effective way to travel [and it seems you have] then I can't see why not. The only affect it would actually have on your trip is that when travelling north to SF along the coast, the Ocean will be on the other side of the road, but it isn't really a 'deal breaker'.

    If you decide to go this way, from Sedona head to Flagstaff and north on 89 and you can enter the GC through the east entrance on 64 and enjoy all the viewpoints along Desert view drive to the village area.

  7. Default

    Just one more question please - we've decided to reverse the trip and so its Phoenix to SF. Our plane from ST Louis gets in 9 04 am, so I was wondering if we have time to do the drive from Phoenix to GC in that first day. Dave said go from Sedona head to Flagstaff and north on 89 and enter the GC through the east entrance on 64. This will be Sunday 2 Sept - Labour day on the Monday.

    We would then stay 2 nights in Grand Canyon, and then over to Vegas. Which entrance would we exit GC for Vegas? We want a proper tour over Hoover Dam, so should we leave GC after 2 nights, and then do Hoover Dam on way to vegas?

    We may stay 2 nights in Vegas, and then on to Death Valley. The problem with reversing the trip - we were going to stay in Lone Pine and then do Death Valley in morning befor it gets too hot. Now we'll be coming from Vegas, by time we get to death Valley assume it will be afternoon and red hot. Any suggestions please? Should we still saty Lone Pine? Thanks again

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,748

    Default Looks good.

    It would be possible to drive from Phoenix to GC same day, but of course you need to keep in mind that you would have been up quite early to catch that morning flight. It will take about 5 hours to GC from Phoenix and Sedona would be a good place to take a break, if you are still planning on the small detour there.

    You will exit the GC via the south kiosk on 64 and head through Tusayan to Williams. You should have time for a Hoover Dam tour after 2 nights at GC, it's only about 5 hours to Vegas. Have you checked for lodging availability at the GC yet ?

    Furnace creek is about 2.5 hours from Vegas so you wouldn't have to leave too early to be there before Noon. It's going to be hot, but you can still enjoy DV with just short walks from the comfort of the air conditioned car. The landscape through the windshield is quite an imposing sight as well. Make sure you have sun protection and carry water and snacks in the car. I would probably try and get as far as Bishop for the night giving you plenty of time to drive over Tioga Pass and stop to take in the views.

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