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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    London, United Kingdom, United Kingdom
    Posts
    3

    Default West coast trip - itinerary help

    Hi
    We are coming over to the US to do the Big Sur marathon next April, so we have decided to make a holiday out of it and try to see some more of this wonderful country. We already did SF, Yosemite, Death Valley, Zion & Las Vegas during our last trip.
    We're a couple in our early 30s, enjoy running & hiking. Like going out in the evening for good food, trying local beers etc.
    We are looking for advice on accomodation options, where not listed already. We like boutique, cool hotels, something a little different. Budget about £100 per night.
    Also looking for recommendations for places to eat, interested in traditional American Fayre, but love most cuisines.
    And finally things to do that aren't necessary listed in the guide books or the usual.

    This is what we have planned so far:

    24th April - Arrive SF, pick up rental, and drive to Monterey. Possibly stop by Santa Cruz on way down

    5 nights Monterey in a AirBnB accomodation in Seaside
    We plan to:
    Visit Monterey, Carmel, pacific Grove, big sur, pinnacles

    29th April drive down to Santa Barbara, stop by Hearst castle Big Creek bridge on way down
    Stay 2 nights - looking for ideas on accomodation
    Visit Pismo Beach on the way down?

    1st May drive over to 29 Palms for Joshua Tree
    Spend 2 nights - 29 palms inn?
    Visit Joshua Tree NP, do some hiking

    3rd May drive to Flagstaff, taking in as much as Route 66 on the way. Any good lunch suggestions? We loved finding jacks in Bishop CA on our last trip.
    Stay 2 nights - looking for accomodation suggestions
    Would antelope anyon be too far for a day trip?

    5th May drive to GCNP
    2 nights - looking at bright Angel lodge, unless good suggestions for outside park?
    Various trails, possibly to the bottom of the canyon

    7th May drive to Las Vegas
    3 nights Aria
    Check out stuff we couldn't fit in last visit. See another Cirque show, suggestions? We saw KA last time
    Fly home 10th evening

    Thanks in advance for your help.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,545

    Default

    Welcome to RTA!

    Looking at your list, one of the first things that jumped out at me was driving to Grand Canyon to stay at Bright Angel, and then "various trails, possibly to the bottom of the canyon." Bear in mind, that trip to the bottom and back up is a TWO to THREE DAY trip, at the very least. People who try to do it in one day run the extreme risk of endangering their own lives. (A true story: some young people in their early 30s who were in extremely good physical shape, attempted to go down and back up in 1 day. One had to be rescued and evacuated out ... not a safe nor cheap endeavor. The other wisely decided to camp out and return the next day, but did so in FLIP FLOPS, because his hiking boots tore open. His feet were a mess, and he could not return to work for several weeks afterward until he healed.)


    Donna

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    London, United Kingdom, United Kingdom
    Posts
    3

    Default

    Hi Donna
    Thanks for the reply. Sorry should have been clearer, as knew you can't get to the bottom and back in a day. Haven't booked in anywhere at GCNP yet so was looking if a hike down was possible in the time we have so we could arrange canyon bottom accomo. But possibly not given your feedback on duration. Plus having run a marathon not long before perhaps we should steer clear of anything too strenuous ;)
    Thanks
    H

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,747

    Default Some thoughts.

    Hello and welcome.

    You may get some personal recommendations for lodgings, but in the meantime you can use the RTA hotel tool to the right of each page to search options and read reviews.

    Travelling from Flagstaff to Antelope canyon and back isn't ideal and Flagstaff is an OK base for visiting Grand canyon, but I see you have 2 nights at each. Not that there is anything wrong with Flagstaff and there are other attractions nearby, Sunset Crater, Walnut canyon and Wupatki NM as well as Monument Valley a little further afield.

    However if you want to visit Antelope canyon I would consider another option. You could go from Joshua Tree direct to Grand canyon for a couple of nights and then out the east kiosk along Desertview drive and head to Page AZ and Antelope canyon. [Lake Powell, Glen canyon are also nearby] You could then continue into Southern Utah and visit Bryce canyon and back to Vegas via I15, [perhaps detour to Valley of Fire] or head back towards Flagstaff via Monument Valley. Personally I wouldn't turn down the chance to re-visit Zion either given the option.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default Local knowledge.

    Quote Originally Posted by Harley Beecroft View Post
    And finally things to do that aren't necessary listed in the guide books or the usual.
    These are the things you chance upon, those little gems the locals will tell you, if you engage with them. Be flexible enough to fit them in. I find by far the best thing is to ask where they would eat, where they would go for a weekend, or a holiday. Amazing sometimes what you will learn.

    Lifey

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    London, United Kingdom, United Kingdom
    Posts
    3

    Default

    Thanks for the great advice.
    Will definitely consider swapping the route and heading over to Page, Dave, that would also mean no double backing on the same road to get to LV. Great thanks.

    Lifey, fab advice, will definitely need to get over our shyness and nerves ;)

    Thanks again

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default Easy does it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Harley Beecroft View Post
    Lifey, fab advice, will definitely need to get over our shyness and nerves ;)
    Harley, I think you'll find you won't be half as shy as you think you are. If you like, here are a few tips....

    Bring a Union Jack with you and put it in the back window of the vehicle. Not only will it let other motorists know that you are not a local (in case you make a wrong turn, or whatever), you'll find that often you won't need to start the conversation. I find that I constantly have people coming up to me asking about the flag, telling me they have been downunder for a holiday, others want to recall fighting alongside Aussies in Vietnam, etc. Only a few days ago I had someone toot me on I-80 in western IA. When I stopped at the Welcome Centre in MN, lo and behold, there was the same person, parked next to me, and recognising my van, came up and spoke to me. It really is a small world. (He had grown up in Oz, married a Canadian and now lives in MN.)

    Anytime when you need to wait at a checkout engage the person in front or behind in conversation, or simply ask at customer service. Those folk are often locals and know a lot. I mostly start my question with "Are you a local?" when I want some local knowledge.

    Be sure to bring along some small token gifts... souvenir pins, pens, postcards, etc. to hand out to folk who are helpful, as a thank you. Another great idea is to have business cards to hand out, especially if you are recording your trip, such as in our RoadTrip Field Reports or a Blog. These are available for free or very little, online.

    And lastly, when some folk hear you speak, they will ask where you are from. Therein lies a whole conversation. You can either say "London" (end of conversation), or you can ask if they have an idea, can they perhaps guess. Be creative and you may find you will get to see more than you ever imagined....

    ... and meet lots of folk along the way.

    Lifey

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