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  1. Default Arizona->San Diego->LA April 2013

    Hi all. Would really appreciate some advice for our planned family roadtrip which we're trying to put together at the moment. I've found some great pointers on here so far, but as we're taking a bit of an odd route, I thought it'd be worth starting a thread to check we weren't attempting something unreasonable. We're travelling from the UK (my wife and I, plus our 3-year-old) and coming into Phoenix Intl around 3 Apr 2013. We're purposely not sticking to a rigid plan but we do have certain dates and places we need to be in, but everything else is up for debate. We're looking at 2 1/2 weeks total, flying into Phoenix Intl and leaving via LAX. I've been to the US a couple of times for Coachella and done some driving but I'll definitely be a bit rusty on US roads. I want to limit the amount of long drives between the main places we will be spending a few days in, and as we have a small child, I think about 3 hours is the max we can do between stages.

    3 Apr Phoenix Intl - hotel
    4 Apr drive south towards Bisbee - stopover somewhere
    5 Apr arrive Bisbee, AZ
    7 Apr leave Bisbee heading west towards San Diego. Need a stopover destination
    8 Apr arrive San Diego. Will work on a place to stay.
    12 Apr drive north towards Universal City Walk - hotel
    12, 13, 14 Apr Universal Studios area
    15, 16 - undecided
    17, 18, 19 Disneyland Anaheim
    20 or 21 Apr - LAX to fly home

    The only dates that cant be changed are being in Bisbee 5/6 April and being at Universal City Walk on Sat 13th April. The parts I'm not sure about are the drive from Phoenix to Bisbee, and the longer one from Bisbee to San Diego. I don't mind doing an overnight drive for the latter but would prefer to have somewhere inbetween to stop for a night.

    Part of what we're looking for is the drive itself but I need to keep our son occupied too so we're also hoping for some pointers about car rental companies that will do us a minivan or something that includes in-car DVD players for the people in the back. A lot of the company websites say some of their vehicles have them but it's not clear which ones when I've been looking so far. I'll send off some emails but if anyone can recommend a place, that would be great.

    Thank you so much if you've made it this far!

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

    Default In This Neck of the Woods

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    There is plenty of stuff to see and do between Tucson and Bisbee, and I've written about a few that didn't make that compilation. You could then probably make the drive from Bisbee to San Diego in a single day of driving, but if you want to take it easy, then I would recommend a quick stop in Tucson to see the San Xavier mission and then overnight on the banks of the Colorado River in Yuma. That would make for a very easy second day's drive into San Diego allowing you to arrive well before rush hour there. As for 'entertainment' for your son, I'm not really sure that that's needed, but typically DVD units would be available (not standard) in minivans and SUV type "Family Vehicles". Your best bet is to contact the local rental car location where you'll be picking up the vehicle and talking to them directly, letting them know what you need and making it clear that a vehicle without such a unit will not be acceptable as a substitute for what you have reserved.

    AZBuck

  3. Default

    Thank you very much AZBuck. The 2 links that you posted were excellent and we'll have a think about which ones to visit. We'll break up the Bisbee to San Diego section and have an overnight in Yuma, so thanks for the tip. One of the things we really want to see is an aircraft boneyard, either on the way down from Phoenix or back up from Bisbee. There's a few mentioned on Wikipedia and my lad is going through a "plane phase" at the moment so it'd be great to go and see some big ones up close. Can you recommend one?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,272

    Default

    That is almost a no-brainer - the boneyard at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson. None of the other ones are open to the public and can only be viewed from afar.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default World Class Airplane Museum(s) in Tucson

    While, as glc notes, the 'Boneyard' meets your son's specific request, it is only part of a larger complex of museums. Actually, you can get the flavor of the Boneyard by simply driving south on Kolb Rd. from Escalante Rd. to Valencia Rd.. The newer arrivals will be lined up in neat rows on your right, while planes that have been largely reduced to pieces will be on your left. But then there's the payoff. When you get to Valencia, turn right to see a few more old planes on the base (on your right) but be watching out on your left for the entrance to the Pima Air and Space Museum where your son can actually wander at his own pace amongst more planes than you can shake a stick at - all the 'Century Series' of jet fighters, a ton of B-52s, a couple of old Air Force Ones, an SR-72 Blackbird, etc., etc., etc. They might also offer a package deal which includes the Boneyard AND their other facility south of town, an actual Titan launch silo. When I went through the silo they chose a young boy to sit at the console and simulate a missile launch.

    AZBuck

  6. Default

    Thank you both for the pointers. We'll now definitely be visiting Davis-Monthan and getting to see a Blackbird would be a dream come true for the little boy in me. The detailed info is very much appreciated.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,546

    Default

    Yuma has a LOT of choices for accommodations. Since it's only 3 hours from Yuma to San Diego, you could consider the following:

    Yuma Territorial Prison
    Plank Road (west of Yuma)
    Desert View Tower (In-Ko-Pah, in the mountains)

    As for places to stay in San Diego, it will depend on what you want to do while here. If planning to do the typical things -- San Diego Zoo and Safari Park (formerly Wild Animal Park), Sea World, the beach -- then staying in Hotel Circle/Fashion Valley area would be smart. If something else, let me know, and I'll try to help.

    Another thought on the DVD problem: purchase a small portable DVD player that you can keep? If you are planning to rent DVD's for him in the US (at Red Box outlets or similar), then buy one here and keep it at home later to use on Region 0 or 1 DVD's. If planning to bring DVD's from home, you might want to buy the DVD player at home and bring it, too, to ensure the Region compatibility.


    Donna

  8. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by AZBuck View Post
    That would make for a very easy second day's drive into San Diego allowing you to arrive well before rush hour there.
    Hi there, thanks so much for the help so far. Our AZ leg of the trip has filled up nicely. I am starting to look at the other things we'd like to do and was thinking of stopping for a few hours in the Viejas Outlet Shopping Village just before Alpine (after having done Felicity, Desert View and hopefully find at least 1 gravity hill in that area). Well I am shopping and ooms can supervise our son playing in the water fountains. :D How long would we be looking at from Alpine into the area of SD you recommended or the Gaslamp District in normal traffic? And what time would you say traffic in SD starts getting nuts? Really hoping I can get some time there as my research on factory outlets in the LA area is not throwing up much and tends to point out of the LA area.

    The only other qn now is that I had wanted to visit the Saguaro National Park briefly to see those amazing cactuses. But I have been recommended the Sonara Desert Museum as a do not miss. If we did a half a day in the desert museum, would the trip to Saguaro be essentially be a repeat? We just don't seem to have allocated Tuscon enough time as was thinking our son would quite like the electric streetcars near the Uni area too (or is this a tourist trap).

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,272

    Default

    It's 35 miles from the Viejas outlets to the Gaslamp District. Even in afternoon rush hour, it shouldn't take you more than an hour because you will be driving against traffic. Take I-8 to CA-125 south to CA-94 west, 94 ends at I-5, just keep going straight and it will become F Street, which will take you downtown.

    If you want to go to the Hotel Circle area first, just stay on I-8, get off at the Hotel Circle exit, which is right after the CA-163 exit.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,067

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by mrs ooms View Post
    The only other qn now is that I had wanted to visit the Saguaro National Park briefly to see those amazing cactuses. But I have been recommended the Sonara Desert Museum as a do not miss. If we did a half a day in the desert museum, would the trip to Saguaro be essentially be a repeat? We just don't seem to have allocated Tuscon enough time as was thinking our son would quite like the electric streetcars near the Uni area too (or is this a tourist trap).
    The Desert Museum is right on the edge of the National Park (the western unit), so I don't think you'd have to see it as an either or. I'd just make a drive through the National Park a part of your trip to the Museum.

    The 4th Street/Campus area of Tucson is a nice place for lunch or shopping, but personally, I wouldn't go out of my way to see the street cars.

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