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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Location
    Ormesby, United Kingdom
    Posts
    7

    Default 2014 West coast road trip.stuck already.

    Hi all,

    We're a UK couple that has saved far a few years for thisonce in a lifetime trip. I have chopped and changed so many things I'm going crazy!
    The thing I did not realise when planning was the distance between places I had planned to visit, although this is a road trip only I drive but I also want to enjoy the route rarther than just pass through it. I initially was hoping to book all the hotels in advance but decided against this as we didn't want to be tied to a timetable. We have 23 days to get in as much as possible before heading home. I have already booked the following.

    3rd june New York 3 nights ( hotel booked)
    Booked my own flights with JetBlue to Las Vegas, wasn't expecting a 5.3hr flight !
    MGM grand 2 nights.(already booked)
    Pick up hire car and drive to grand canyon 2 nights (already booked)

    Now this is were I'm a little stuck. Our next stop is Death Valley, from the canyon this is a 6 hr drive, bit too much so was toying with 1 night Sedona, but even from here its a long drive to Death Valley. Should 1 stop 1 night in Vegas instead, or is there a better route? I want to take in some part of the historic route 66.From Death Valley we head to yosemeti national park, not booked either in advance for this, I know it's a risk but like I said we don't want to be tied to timetable, hopefully we will find somewhere to stay. From yosemeti onto San Francisco for maybe 3-4 nights. From here we travel down the big sur stoping somewhere half way then to Los Angeles for approx 4 nights were we dump the car and fly home.

    Do you think this to be manageable ? And could you offer some advice on the route from the canyon to Death Valley.
    It is possible for me to change my canyon dates if there was a better route to take.

    Many thanks in advance.

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

    Default

    Welcome to RTA!

    The US is a big country! It's 3300-3500 miles wide in places. As you've discovered, this means 5-6 hours in a plane, or 6-7 days in a car to cross it. As you're planning your trip, keep in mind that electronic programs do not allow for food, fuel and facility stops when they give you "driving times". Add 20% to that figure. (We usually use 50mph to figure drive times with pit and food stops, though 65-70mph is a normal driving speed on highways.) Use a good paper map along with electronic mapping systems, so that you won't be using a seasonal road that could very well still be closed when you get there.

    If this were me, I would change that trip slightly using a counter-clockwise plan. Leave Las Vegas, go to Death Valley, Yosemite, San Francisco, down the coast to LA, across I-40 to the Grand Canyon, then back to Las Vegas. Then fly home through NY if need be. Your car rental price will drop substantially, and the route is a common one.

    Once through Death Valley, you will need to know whether Tioga Road (CA-120) is open through Yosemite. If not, you would have to use US-395 south to Mojave, CA-58 through Tehachapi, then CA-99 north up to Yosemite. It will be a few more miles that way.

    Schools are letting out in early June here in CA, so booking hotels may be necessary in certain areas: Grand Canyon and Yosemite for certain. If you are fussy about where you stay in San Francisco (be prepared to pay a parking fee for any hotel in the SF area), book there as well. It will depend on where you want to stay on the way down the coast, and if it is a weekend, whether you'd need to book that one too.


    Donna

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

    Default Southern Utah

    Just as it is a BIG country, there is also a lot to see in the south west.

    With the time you have available, it would be worth your while to seriously look at southern Utah. With the GC already booked, you could continue out the eastern entrance of the NP and head up to Page. Consider Arches, Monument Valley, Canyonlands, route UT 12; Bryce and Zion, before going on to Death Valley, Yosemite, SF and the PCH.

    Lifey

  4. Default

    I agree! You could easily spend three weeks just in Utah!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Location
    Ormesby, United Kingdom
    Posts
    7

    Default

    Thanks guys I will look into that. Can't change the route as flights are booked and can't be changed.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default

    Where are you flying home from. If you are heading back to Vegas then the route Donna suggested send like it would work quite well.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,747

    Default Another vote for Utah.

    Michael. It looks as though the flights are booked and they fly home from LA.

    I would agree with Lifemagician and head into Southern Utah after Grand canyon and loop back down to Vegas and then to Death Valley by cutting back a little on your stays in SF and LA. You might feel a little rushed to include Arches and Canyonlands but from the South rim you could head to Page AZ for Lake Powell, Antelope canyon and Horseshoe Bend etc. From there you could head direct to Zion NP [Springdale is a great little town to stay] or take a detour to see the amazing red rock spires of Bryce canyon.

    You could always drive the section of Route 66 from Kingman through Seligman on the way to GC and you could make a stop at Hoover Dam.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Location
    Ormesby, United Kingdom
    Posts
    7

    Default

    Thanks southwest Dave I will look into that. I'm a sun worshiper so the longer we stay in the desert the better for me. I stupidly asumed the USA summer was same time as ours, yosemeti onwards could be quite mild still in june. Ohh well can't change it now. I'm sure we will still have a fab time :-)

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

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Tekka View Post
    I stupidly asumed the USA summer was same time as ours, yosemeti onwards could be quite mild still in june. Ohh well can't change it now. I'm sure we will still have a fab time :-)
    June is very much a summer month, you just have to remember that summer means a lot of different things, especially in California where you have lots of micro-climates.

    In Death Valley, you could easily see temperatures 100-110F, but just a few hours of driving later, you can be up in the mountains and see temperatures in the 50's or 60's, with some remaining snow still on the ground.

    Similarly driving from Yosemite to San Francisco, you'll start in the mountains where the temperatures will likely be a bit cool, but comfortable, you'll head out into the Central Valley where temperatures could easily be in the 90-100 range, and then when you get to San Francisco, you're back to San Francisco, where a jacket can be needed because of the cool and windy conditions throughout the summer.

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

    Default Latitude and Altitude.

    Just as initially you were not aware of the distances, so it is also the altitude which differs so greatly from your ken. It is very much the altitude which creates the temperature differences between what appear to be adjoining regions.

    If you have not already done so, you might like to get a good, wall sized map of the US. By far the best, IMO, is the National Geographics map. It has not only the towns and highways, but also the mountains and valleys. Put it somewhere where you see it constantly, to give yourself a chance to absorb the variety of geography through which you will be travelling.

    Lifey

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