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  1. Default Denver to Pasadena in August. Not rushing. Need ideas.

    Hello travelers.
    Glad I found this forum.
    my questions are as follows.

    1. we are traveling from Denver and renting a car
    what type car should we rent a suv or luxury car?

    2. how much time should we set aside to travel and see sights on our way to pasadena 1-2-3 weeks?

    3. Most routes seem to go through Las Vegas. why? is it too hot that time of year. are the variety of sights better. roads better

    4. is there a route through south through Utah, Arizona, New Mexico to California that would be a better option. are the sights as good.

    5. we wanted to take in part of grand canyon, arches, any other ideas. how much time should you plan for each destination


    6. any other advise ideas. welcome. thanks...do phones works in all the areas, google maps, etc?

    7. motels/hotels/ resort ideas? i originally considered a camper. so we could sleep anywhere but may sound better than reality..

    8. any good books, web sites, etc..


    thank you very much and look forward to hearing advice and planning my trip.
    Last edited by bluegreg; 02-22-2015 at 08:45 AM.

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

    Default

    Hello and welcome to RTA !

    Most of your questions are not really answerable at this stage of planning as each road trip is unique and there is no single 'best' of anything so you have to work out the basics first, how much time and what do you want to see.

    The car that usually offers the best all round would be a mid size sedan if you take budget into consideration, but its up to you.

    As for question 2, how long have you got ? You could spend months exploring all on offer so again its a case of what suits you.

    No Vegas is a popular destination, it doesn't, mean you need to go.

    The rest of your questions are similar, it is case of deciding where you want to go and how long you have and then map it out. That's when we can be of help and offer suggestions, when you have the basics sorted,. Going through Colorado into southern Utah, the Grand canyon and perhaps the NP,s of Cali such as Death valley and Yosemite and over to the coast would be a memorable trip and if you can manage 3 weeks all the better. You have come to the right place for info and advice so just look around the site and get yourself a good map to research.

    A camper (RV) is generally more expensive than a car and motels and you can't just sleep anywhere.
    Enjoy the planning!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default A Bit More

    Dave has laid out a number of possibilities for those questions that we can answer. Some, you'll simply have to answer yourself depending on your tastes, desires, and budget. What I can suggest, based on your own comments, is a route that should give you a large measure of what you seem to be looking for on this trip. Start with Visiting Rocky Mountain National Park just northwest of Denver and then head west on I-70 through the heart of the Rockies. Perhaps visit Colorado National Monument outside Grand Junction, then continue on, using UT-128 to visit Arches National Park. From there use US-191 to Return to return to I-70 west across the San Rafael Swell, one of the most scenic bits of Interstate Highway anywhere. At Sevier UT leave I-70 fro US-89 south to take in both Bryce Canyon and Zion National Parks (although note that you will have to take side trips off US-89 to see each of those, UT-12 east to Bryce and UT-9 west to Zion.) Continue on US-89 south through Page AZ, and a possible visit to antelope Canyon, to the eastern entrance to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon after which it's a relatively simple matter to take AZ-64 south to Williams, I-40 and on past Mojave National Preserve to Los Angeles. For such a route, a week would be the absolute minimum, allowing roughly a day at each of the major national parks. Two weeks would allow you to spend more time at each site as well as perhaps add a few others that are a bit off that route such as Canyonlands National Park and Petrified Forest National Park as well as some of the numerous smaller national monuments and state parks that dot the area.

    Phone coverage will depend on which service provider you have, but will in any case be fairly sparse away from the Interstates and larger cities, which means sparse through most of the area you'll be driving through. Lodging will be relatively plentiful, especially near the major national parks, but the key here is the term 'relatively'. August is the height of tourist season when most places will be at capacity, so reservations are in order. As Dave pointed out, you simply can't park an RV anywhere you like and camp sites are even scarcer in many areas than motel rooms, and not a whole lot cheaper!

    Perhaps the one website that would prove most useful to you at this point in your planning is the National Parks website which contains tons of useful information on each park, monument, and other unit in the system.

    AZBuck

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default Computers vs maps.

    Quote Originally Posted by bluegreg View Post
    3. Most routes seem to go through Las Vegas. why?
    Because computer mapping software focuses on major urban centres. For your initial planning of a basic route you will be much better of with good old maps or a road atlas. These are not restricted to a couple of routes, but will show you the myriad of routes you could choose to drive between Denver and Pasadena.

    Get the big picture on paper maps, then research each individual route and place of interest on your computer. You will need the maps when on the road, so may as well get them for the planning of the trip. Don't be tempted to rely solely on your electronics. Far too many have done so at their peril.

    Lifey

  5. Default

    AZBuck
    that is exactly what I was looking for. I appreciate the advice. I will start to look at the maps and lay out the trip. as I refine my plan I will hope this forum has some further advice

    How busy do these parks get in August? I was at red rock in vegas a few years ago and it was lines of cars driving through but you still were able to enjoy the views and the sites. I would hope its not that bad.
    Are the lodges any better to stay at than motels outside the park?

    Thanks

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

    Default

    National parks and other attractions get very busy during the summer months but thats not to say you can't find peace and tranquility away from the 'highlight' areas, especially early morning and evening when the day trippers are not around.

    The advantage of staying in the NP lodges, apart from the natural beauty, is that you will not have to join the line of cars entering the park, plus you can spend quite a bit of time going to and fro when you could already be 'there'. If your budget can manage it and they are not already booked up, you can't beat staying inside the parks imo.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,545

    Default

    3. Most routes seem to go through Las Vegas. why? is it too hot that time of year. are the variety of sights better. roads better
    Not only do electronic mapping programs focus on the urban areas, they also use the interstate highway system a lot more. There are settings you can use to make the program avoid cities or interstates, but to me, a paper map is a lot better.

    5. we wanted to take in part of grand canyon, arches, any other ideas. how much time should you plan for each destination
    In general, allow at least a full day if you can, at each national park. Hubby and I allowed a full day at Arches and even had time for a hike.

    Dave suggested getting into the national parks early in the morning or late in the day, or both, and I completely agree! My husband and I are usually into a park early, especially if it's a park known for its wildlife, because you have a better chance of seeing the wildlife. Also, there are fewer cars on the road. We haven't stayed inside a park since we gave up our RV. Staying outside of the park means more driving, but it usually means a slightly lower hotel bill.


    Donna

  8. Default

    Update Trip and need some advice.
    where should I go from zion national park.
    I want to end up in Las Vegas(changed my mind on that)
    Zion to south rim GC is a a 300 mile drive. Is that a scenic drive that goes fast?
    are there any better options than the south rim?
    would there be a good option in between Zion and Grand Canyon?
    The other part of the trip is Moab to Bryce, driving through the swell. Are there any other options there? how long should that drive take?
    i was able to only book one night in Bryce and Zion in the park, is that good enough. the rooms are booked most other times.?
    Thanks

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default So much depends on personal preferences.

    Zion to south rim GC is a a 300 mile drive. Is that a scenic drive that goes fast?
    A beautiful drive, on a two lane road. I would not put 'scenic' and 'fast' in the same sentence. The idea of a scenic drive for me, is a drive to enjoy.... as long as possible.

    are there any better options than the south rim?
    I far prefer the North Rim. The drive in is a very scenic drive, the Rim is less developed, consequently you will find fewer people and parking much easier to find. All the view points can be easily driven to. Some of the view I regard as way beyond anything you'll see at the South Rim, including seeing the Colorado River through Angels Window. But many prefer the South Rim and all the commercialism that goes with it.

    The other part of the trip is Moab to Bryce, driving through the swell. Are there any other options there? how long should that drive take?
    If you are taking UT-12 it is a spectacular drive. How long it takes all depends on how much you want to see, how long you stay and marvel at the landscape at the various turnouts. Or if you just want to drive by them and head for your destination.

    i was able to only book one night in Bryce and Zion in the park, is that good enough. the rooms are booked most other times.?
    Can't help you here. I have always chosen to stay outside of, but none-the-less, close to NPs.

    Lifey

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    Moab to Bryce Canyon via US-191/I-70/US-89/UT-12 is about 280 miles and will take about 5 hours. However, if you have a full day to make the drive, I'd recommend getting off I-70 at UT-24, take that through Hanksville to Capitol Reef, take a quick drive down to the end and back, then take UT-12 to Bryce. UT-12 is a renowned scenic highway.

    Zion to the South Rim is only 250 miles via UT-9/US-89/AZ-64, and not particularly scenic. Figure about 5 hours. The alternative would be to visit the North Rim, it's a lot less crowded than the South Rim.

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