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  1. Default San Jose, CA to Austin, TX

    Hi all,

    I'm planning a road trip to Austin from San Jose in early January since I'm moving there for school. I have a good deal of time to do this, but probably don't want to spend more than about 5 or 6 days. We'd like to go to the Grand Canyon, and were planning to stop in LA first (though this isn't mandatory, we can pretty much stop anywhere). I'd like to incorporate lots of "local flavor" and random fun stuff along the way, but we don't have any solid plans. I'd love to hear about any points of interest you may know.

    What's the best way to incorporate the Grand Canyon into this trip? Google maps seems to want me to go from the North, but it seems really out of the way. Does stopping in LA mean adding lots of extra time? Is going along the Northern route (on I-40) inadvisable at this time of year because of rain/snow? I have a 2004 Hyundai Sonata, and it's not the easiest car to drive in the rain.. I've never even tried in snow!

    Thanks so much for any and all help!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    You can make this drive directly in 3-4 days, so 5-6 days means you won't be rushed and will have some flexibility in case of bad weather, but you don't have a lot of time to linger either, especially if you add in a lot of detours.

    Going to LA then the Grand Canyon adds about 100 miles, so that's not a huge detour, but it depends upon what you want to do there. If you're hoping to spend a full day there, then spend a day at the Grand Canyon, you could start running out of time do to much anything else. Even that isn't necessarily a bad thing, just something you should factor in.

    I'm not sure what you mean when you say google wants you to approach the Grand Canyon from the North - the only way it comes up for me, is also the only way to approach the Canyon in January - heading to the South Rim by heading north from I-40.

    After GC, you'd have any number of options to get to Austin - remember your car goes where you tell it to, not just where a computer might suggest. The most direct route would be to get on I-40 across NM to Santa Rosa, before cutting down through Lubbock to Austin, however, there are many other options, including going to Carsbad Caverns. Even heading down to Phoenix first and across or heading over to Dallas and down are possibilities you could consider.

    No matter which way you go, you are going to have the chance of seeing snow and ice. I-40 does spend a significant amount of time at or above 5,000 feet (The Grand Canyon is at about 7,000 ft) and sees snow pretty regularly, but even I-10 gets snow and ice from time to time from eastern AZ through west TX.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.


    You can drop and drag the blue route line on Google maps to get it to go the way you want to go. The north rim will be closed so do not head there. Your best bet is to enter 'Grand canyon village' into the destination box which is the the south rim.

  4. Default

    Thanks for the responses and info! I think I will cut LA since I don't have any particular reason to be there, just a free place to stay. Which leads me to wonder where I should stop on my way to the Grand Canyon on the first night - it seems like my choices are either to stop in Barstow or to wait until Kingman. I think we'll be fairly motivated for a long-ish drive since it's our first day, but making it all the way to Kingman seems like a stretch!

    Any other ideas?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default A Better(?) First Night's Stopping Point

    From a strictly mileage point of view a better option than either Barstow (not enough miles driven) or Kingman (too many) would be Needles CA just before crossing into Arizona. That would be about 520 miles from San Jose and it has a number of options in different price ranges, mostly rated fair to good. Nothing fancy, but your typical range from Motel 6 through Days Inn to suite-motels.


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    Or you could head up to Laughlin and find a deal in one of the casino hotels. I'm a Harrah's member and got a room for $29 a few years ago.

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