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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Sydney, Australia
    Posts
    8

    Default San Francisco to Seattle via Colorado OR Utah - Sept 2013

    Hi all,

    Great forum you have here. This is my first post on this forum but I am a frequent visitor to many others!

    My wife and I are from Australia and are planning a 7 week US/Canada holiday in Sept/Oct 2013 and part of it will include driving from either San Francisco or Los Angeles (depending on flights) to Seattle via an inland route.

    The plan is to rent a car, buy some cheap camping gear and have a rough plan with a lot of flexibility built in. We will be staying in a mix of hotels, motels and camp grounds. We did a similar thing across some of Canada a couple of years ago.

    We will have 4 weeks for this leg and our rough itinerary is as follows:
    - San Francisco or Los Angeles
    - The area generally comprising Yosemite National Park, Kings Canyon NP, Sequoia NP, Death Valley NP
    - Barstow (route 66 museum and possibly some other route 66 stops in between Barstow and the Petrified Forest NP)
    - Las Vegas
    - The area generally comprising Grand Canyon, Zion NP, Bryce Canyon NP, Monument Valley NP

    From this point and depending on time, we have the option of either:
    - Durango, CO
    - Boulder, CO
    - Yellowstone NP
    - Glacier NP, MT
    - Seattle

    OR

    - Salt Lake City
    - Yellowstone NP
    - Glacier NP
    - Seattle

    We could even skip Glacier NP if we had to especially as it might be getting cold at that time of year. As I said earlier there will be no fixed plan!

    I understand this trip will end up being quite a few miles, so I guess my main question is whether there is anything I have listed I could not worry about seeing, or whether there are places along way I haven’t mentioned that are worth seeing.

    My second question is regarding route 66. I think I may be struggling for time, however have come up with a few places I wouldn’t mind some advice on. These are Amboy CA, Goffs Schoolhouse and Railway Depot CA, Petrified Forest NP AZ, Flagstaff AZ, Delgadillo Snowcap Drive in AZ, and Oatman AZ. Has anyone been to any of these places and are they worth seeing? Sometimes you have to take Lonely Planet with a grain of salt…

    We are both really interested in food, wine and beer but are also just as interested in walking through the national parks, so any advice/pointers you could provide more generally would be greatly appreciated.

    Andrew

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,747

    Default It's all worth it !

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    There are hundreds of attractions/places you could add to your list as "worth seeing" and anything that appeals to you is worth it so to speak. The most important thing, which you already have a lot of it covered, is knowing whats out there and having flexibility in your plans to change things on the fly.

    One thing you could consider is to close the loop and finish back at where you started, it would mean no one way drop off fee on your car rental and potentially cheaper air fares flying in and out of the same city, not be mention other places of interest on route back to SF or LA. Another would be to try and get to Yellowstone [and Glacier ?] early [earlier] in your trip as winter comes early to these parts. That would mean reversing your trip order with a loop or possibly starting in Seattle and ending in SF or LA.

    Of the 2 options for the rest of your trip I would choose the first, but of course that would also come down to time. I might not go all the way to Boulder [although Rocky mountain NP is great] but I would try to include Durango, Silverton and Ouray along the Million Dollar Highway section of US550. In doing so some of the other attractions that spring to mind that could be included before Yellowstone and in the Four corners region [UT, AZ, CO, NM] would be Lake Powell, Antelope canyon, Capital Reef, Arches, Canyonlands and Mesa Verde NP's, Four corners to take 'that picture' with a limb in each of the four States, Colorado National Monument and on the way to Yellowstone, Dinosaur NM, Flaming Gorge Res and the Grand Tetons.

    Personally these would all be on my 'A' list before route '66 attractions, but stops like the 'Snow cap drive' and memorabila shops in Seligman are fun and 'worth it' imo, but are not something I would drive miles and miles out of my way for. If they fit in close to the route you are travelling, that's great, but you will always stumble across a small town and a surprise or two along the way which are often as memorable as the 'big' stops.

    As you are planning on visiting a number of NP's, it will be worth purchasing the annual pass for $80 that covers entry to all NP's for a year. You are usually 'in pocket' after the first 4 major parks you visit.

    Have a good look around the RTA site you will find lots of info and as and when new questions come up, just ask.

    Enjoy the planning/researching !

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default From one Aussie to Another.

    Hi Andrew,

    How much of the 7 weeks do you have to devote to the US and how much to Canada.... and which will come first? I think that is going to be crucial to where you plan to go and what is likely to be already closed for the season. It will also determine whether you will have the time to include CO. The other thing which you need to take into account when camping while staying flexible at the same time, is that the campgrounds in the national parks need to be booked ahead of time... as a general rule.

    If you plan to camp in Yellowstone, Glacier and places in Canada, I hope you have four season gear, as even in September it can be quite cold overnight in those places. In October they will definitely be cold. Unless you are from Tasmania or the Snowy Mountains, it will be much colder than you may be used to.

    Another hint I would pass on is, if you are a member of your local automobile club - RACV, NRMA, etc. - be sure to take your membership with you. It will give you access to good free paper maps (don't travel without them!) and tourist information from the AAA and the CAA.

    Lifey

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Sydney, Australia
    Posts
    8

    Default

    wow thanks for the replies! some good points to consider.

    At the moment we were thinking 1 week in NY city and Washington, 4 weeks road tripping from San Fran/LA to Seattle, and 2 weeks road tripping east of Vancouver (in BC).

    We will be meeting friends (who live in Vancouver) in Seattle and they will be taking us back to Vancouver or we will be following in our rental, depending on whether or not they will have a car available for us at the time.

    We are from Wollongong/Sydney and are with the NRMA so will ensure we bring our membership cards! Didnt know they would be of any benefit over in the states!

    Southwest Dave thanks for the Million Dollar Highway suggestions. We will look into that. Will also look at NP passes as we will def be getting our moneys worth with one.

    Looks like weather will need to be factored in moreso than I was anticipating.

    We could reverse the whole trip, starting in Canada for 2 weeks, then doing the reverse trip from Seattle down to SF/LA, then flying to NYC and flying home from there. Cold weather is a little more comfortable in a hotel than a tent!

    I will have to back to the drawing board.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Sydney, Australia
    Posts
    8

    Default

    Hi All,

    We have now booked flights and about to book a car. We have also had another look at our itinerary and updated it.

    We would be interested in knowing how this now stacks up and how realistic it would be.

    We fly into Seattle and have a few days there before driving up to Vancouver to see friends for a week. Our US road trip will commence in Vancouver.

    1. Vancouver BC to Spokane WA
    2. Spokane WA to Glacier NP MT
    3. Glacier NP MT
    4. Glacier NP MT
    5. Glacier NP MT - Bozeman MT
    6. Bozeman MT – Yellowstone NP WY
    7. Yellowstone NP WY
    8. Yellowstone NP WY
    9. Yellowstone NP WY
    10. Yellowstone NP WY - Grand Tetons (Jackson) WY
    11. Grand Tetons NP WY
    12. Grand Tetons NP WY - Park City UT
    13. Park City UT – Moab UT
    14. Moab UT
    15. Moab UT
    16. Moab UT – Durango CO
    17. Durango CO
    18. Durango CO - Monument Valley AZ
    19. Monument Valley AZ – Page AZ
    20. Page AZ – Zion NP UT
    21. Zion NP UT
    22. Zion NP UT - Bryce Canyon UT
    23. Bryce Canyon UT - Grand Canyon NR AZ
    24. Grand Canyon South Rim AZ
    25. Flagstaff AZ
    26. Flagstaff AZ – Vegas NV (via section of route 66, Oatman)
    27. Vegas NV
    28. Vegas NV
    29. Vegas NV - Lone Pine CA
    30. Lone Pine CA – Yosemite NP CA
    31. Yosemite NP CA
    32. Yosemite NP CA
    33. Yosemite NP CA – Cambria CA
    34. Cambria CA – Monterey CA
    35. Monterey CA – San Francisco CA
    36. San Francisco CA
    37. San Francisco CA
    38. San Francisco CA
    39. San Francisco - Chicago

    Andrew and Teresa

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,747

    Default Looking good.

    Wow, quite some trip and well thought out !

    We fly into Seattle and have a few days there before driving up to Vancouver to see friends for a week. Our US road trip will commence in Vancouver.
    Are you planning on keeping the same car for the whole trip? [ ie; when staying with your friends in Canada.] If not you may have some problems dropping rental cars in different countries and if you can it will most likely be expensive, twice ! If you do not need a vehicle while in Vancouver it might pay to use public transport to and from Seattle and start from there.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Sydney, Australia
    Posts
    8

    Default

    We will pick up the car in Seattle and then keep it for the whole trip including Vancouver as we are doing a road trip up there as well. We have found a deal with holidayautos.com.au which also allows us to use the car in Canada and drop off in San Francisco with no one way fee.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Sydney, Australia
    Posts
    8

    Default Holiday Autos for Road Trip

    Hi All

    I am looking for some advice on car hire in the US.

    We need to hire a car for 45 days from Seattle in September to be dropped off in San Francisco in October.

    I have found a good deal through holidayautos.com.au which includes all insurance and no one way fee. I have spoken to their office and they have confirmed that the quote is correct and that the hire would be through Alamo.

    The only thing is that there are so many bad reviews of holiday autos out there that I am a little concerned about making the booking. The bad reviews do seem to relate to the UK branch of the broker though.

    Has anyone had any experience using the Australian branch of holiday autos for a trip to the US? Was it positive?

    Thanks.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default

    Looking through the RTA Archives, I found a few people who booked their trip through Holiday, both the UK and Aussie sites. At least one of those was a longtime user of this site. I couldn't find any detailed reviews, other than commenting on their low prices, but no one reported any problems with them either.

    I would, just to be safe, look through those negative reviews you are seeing online, see if you find a common theme or problem, and ask them directly about those issues.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default Wait a couple of weeks.

    One of the members here has booked through them, and he is on the road right now. Will be back in a couple of weeks. I have asked him, before he left, to make sure he writes a review as to how it went. Hope he does. I might remind him.

    Lifey

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