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  1. Default Couple of questions 'pre-flydrive'

    I'm planning a fly-drive from LA - Monument Valley - Grand Canyon - Vegas - San Francisco as the first part of a honeymoon next August-September.

    It's been 10 years since my last visit and with the change in technology since then, I'm thinking about using Sat Nav (alongside atlas) and we'll probably both be bringing mobiles.

    My first question therefore is whether it's worth buying the US maps for my Tom Tom One or hirer one when we get there. Only thoughts of bringing my own is that on a recent trip to Monaco, we hired a Hertz Neverlost and it didn't pick up signal once and obviously I'm confident with the workings of my Tom Tom.

    Second question, probably a bit dumb, but do the cigarette lighters in US cars work off the same voltage as UK ones. Just thinking we'll need to use it for charging the Tom Tom and our HTC mobiles.

    Many thanks

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default A Place for Everything

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    The easiest answers first. US autos don't have "cigarette lighters" any more. That is, they don't have the heating element. They still have the exact same plug, now called an "accessory power receptacle", or some such jargon, and they still provide the same 12 volt direct current they always have. I believe that is one of the few specifications that are universal to all cars. So your TomTom should work just fine. I will note that I once got a rental car and it wasn't until my own GPS ran out of juice that I realized that the car's "accessory power receptacle" was not functioning, so have a backup way to charge your device(s).

    The cost of renting a GPS unit from a car hire firm is, in my opinion, prohibitive. Hertz charges around $90/week up to a max of $180 for their Neverlost system, for example. You can buy your own system and/or a set of maps for that kind of money. so I'd recommend that you get the US maps for your own TomTom whose operation you are already familiar with.

    More generally, I strongly urge you to use the GPS only as an adjunct to paper maps and a thorough knowledge of where you are and where you want to go. Particularly in the southwestern United States where many roads in the GPS' database will be National Forest, BLM, Indian Nation, and other only semi-improved - but numbered - roads, it would be way to easy to follow your GPS' instructions unwittingly to situations that put life and limb in jeopardy.

    By the same token, I would not rely on having constant service for your mobile phones or other devices unless that service is satellite-based. Once you get away from the major Interstate Highways there are large sections of the Desert Southwest that never have and never will see a cell tower.

    AZBuck
    Last edited by AZBuck; 11-10-2012 at 02:57 PM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,748

    Default Thought about making it your own ?

    I mainly rely on the paper maps, but I do have a TomTom One which is a great for getting to a destination point [Hotel, Diner address etc] and I would recommend buying the US maps for it as we did. As Buck mentioned, the cost to hire one and not being able to rely on a mobile signal, it will at least give you peace of mind, but do use paper maps for routing. Not only could a SatNav take you on back [dirt] roads if you ask for shortest route, or non Interstate routes, it can also have you bypass some fabulous scenery and attractions by sending you an extra 50 miles on Interstate to save 3 mins over a shorter US highway route, so map planning for yourself is most important. I also purchased a charger and adapter so that it could be charged overnight at your choice of lodgings in case of a failed car charger.

    I can understand [in part] the ease in which you can book a Fly drive holiday, but the people planning the trip have often not travelled in the parts you want to, leading to some pretty bad flaws in the planning when it comes to getting the best from your trip. We have witnessed this a few times on the forums in the past. Have you considered making this trip your own and going it alone by booking flights, lodgings and a car yourself ? [I say alone but you have many members here at RTA who can help you through the roadtrip planning stages.] ;-)

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default Honeymoon trips.

    Quote Originally Posted by stuarta View Post
    I'm thinking about using Sat Nav (alongside atlas) ...
    Do you already have the atlas? If not, you have ample time to obtain one. With that at hand, I would follow Dave's advice, and make it your own. You have the time to plan, we have the experts to help.... a combination for a great honeymoon.

    There are more than a few honeymoon roadtrips discussed in the forums. You may like to check out which attractions and accommodation they found most to their liking, and/or romantic.

    Lifey

  5. Default

    Hi guys, thanks for the replies (so much for email notification)

    I have pretty much planned the route myself from previous experiences and knowing what we want to see. But then we have used a independant agent to book the flights and got us some great hotels (better than the Motel 6's I would of used). Staying at Monument Valley and on the rim of the Grand Canyon looks good.

    I do already have an atlas, Michelin 2012 one, because as much as I know GPS's can be handy, I always insist of viewing the router on paper so I can visualise it in my head first before I set out. I appreciate about it sending me down wrong roads and think if I were to use it, I would need to program it properly with waypoints and picking where I want to go. In the big cities I can see it being useful to find eateries and so on as previously mentioned.

    With regards the mobiles, I doubt we will use them for calls, purely for Wifi access and Facebook'ing in the hotels. I think I might look into the maps for the TomTom and mains charger of some form, although we are taking a laptop so can always charge off that.

    Would be good to get some ideas of things not to miss, I could always post a rough route of where we are going. I'm currently unsure of roads for my Las vegas to Mammoth Lakes leg at the moment.

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

    Default Death valley.

    I could always post a rough route of where we are going. I'm currently unsure of roads for my Las vegas to Mammoth Lakes leg at the moment.
    Feel free to post your itinerary in this thread along with any questions you have. A popular route between Vegas and Mammoth Lakes would include a trip across Death Valley. You could take 160 to Pahrump and then the 'Locals route' to Death valley junction. Just north of town you will find W. Bell Vista ave which turns into Bell Vista Rd/Ash Meadows/State Line road and as you get to DV junction take a right and immediate left to Furnace Creek on190. You might want to take a lttle detour down to Badwater basin from FC as it's the lowest point in the USA and perhaps take Artists drive on the way back. There are various viewpoints etc across the valley and then take 136 to Lone Pine and 395 north.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by stuarta View Post
    With regards the mobiles, I doubt we will use them for calls, purely for Wifi access and Facebook'ing in the hotels.
    Pretty much all hotels these days have wi-fi, often for free.

    I'd be very cautious about using your UK based mobile phones over here, especially for internet/data. Typically international roaming fees are extremely expensive. If you wanted cell phone access, you might be better off going with a prepaid "disposable" phone, and stick to using wi-fi for internet.

  8. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Midwest Michael View Post
    Pretty much all hotels these days have wi-fi, often for free.

    I'd be very cautious about using your UK based mobile phones over here, especially for internet/data. Typically international roaming fees are extremely expensive. If you wanted cell phone access, you might be better off going with a prepaid "disposable" phone, and stick to using wi-fi for internet.
    Yep I will definitely not be using it to make calls or data (too tight for that lol), just free wifi.

    Here's a rough idea of my route, had already taken in Badwater as been there before and want my fiance to go there. Trying to remember the location of the meteorite crater. Plotting it at the moment with Microsoft Streets and Trips 2013 which work pretty well. There is an export function to GPS but not sure if I can to my TomTom

    Los Angeles - San Diego - CA-1
    San Diego - Prescott - I-8 / US-95
    Prescott - Monument Valley - via Sedona / US-89 / US-160 / US-163
    Monument Valley - Grand Canyon - US-163 / US-160 / US-89 / US-180
    Grand Canyon - Las Vegas via glass walkway - US-180 / I-40 / US-93
    Las Vegas - Mammoth Lakes - NV160 to Pahrump / Death Valley Junction out to Badwater, back to Junction / NV-373 / US-95 / CA-266 / US-395
    Mammoth Lakes - San Francisco via Tioga Pass - US-395 / CA-120 / I-5 / I-205 / I-580
    San Francisco - San Luis Obispo - US-101 / CA-85 / C-A1
    San Luis Obispo - Los Angeles US-101

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,546

    Default

    I will second Michael's suggestion that motels usually have free wi-fi. In our recent travels, we have found that ALL of them do, with the exception of some Motel 6's (which may charge you $3 for the wi-fi).

    Now, whether it is GOOD reception is another story. In the past two years, I found that the worst reception was at one of the Disney hotels. For the life of me, I could not get on the Internet in the room .. I had to go down to the lobby. Since I wasn't at Disney World to play on the Internet, I didn't bother to do that more than once!

    The only other place I've had poor reception with "free wi-fi" was at an RV park. It was a huge park, and they thought that the signal would spread throughout the park. It didn't. We had to go up to the main office. Fortunately, they had a lounge ... but there was no privacy. For the most part, we did without while we stayed there.


    Donna

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

    Default

    Trying to remember the location of the meteorite crater.
    Meteor Crater is about 43 miles east of Flagstaff and 25 miles from Winslow. There is Sunset Volcanic crater just north of Flagstaff.

    Monument Valley - Grand Canyon - US-163 / US-160 / US-89 / US-180
    You can enter the south rim through the east kiosk on AZ64 and enjoy the viewpoints along Desert View drive. You could also check out the Cameron Trading post on US89 shortly before the turn off. You can also stay on AZ64 to Williams when exiting the park to the south, unless you want to go to Flagstaff using US180.

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