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  1. Default California-Arizona Roadtrip

    Hi everyone,

    I'm currently planning to go on a roadtrip next september in the southwest region!
    I'll land in Los Angeles and will have to be back there about 20 days later.

    I'd like to visit big cities like LA, Vegas and San Francisco ; but also travel through natural places (national parks, etc.) along the way.

    Here, I include the path I've drawn up to now:
    https://goo.gl/maps/hPwXq

    Here is what this journey includes right now (I've put brackets around the steps which could be removed if needed):

    - Los Angeles
    - Palm Springs
    - Joshua Tree national park
    - (Phoenix) <--- Is there a better or more interesting shortcut?
    - (Meteor Crater)
    - Grand Canyon national park
    - (A detour to see Monument Valley)
    - Antelope Canyon, Horseshoe Bend
    - (EDIT : Bryce Canyon)
    - Vermilion Cliff
    - Zion national park
    - Las Vegas
    - Death Valley
    - (Sequoia national park)
    - Yosemite national park
    - San Francisco
    - Trip along the sea to come back in LA

    Realistically, I won't be able to cover a longer distance than those 2000-2500 miles.

    Are there some must-see places that I have to visit along the road I've drawn?

    Do you have some advice to improve this roadtrip?
    (even advices aiming to make the trip shorter by eliminating the less interesting parts are welcome)

    Thanks in advance for your replies!
    Please pardon my english
    Last edited by ciidjj; 06-16-2015 at 08:02 AM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default A great and popular trip.

    Be assured there is nothing wrong with your English.

    You have laid out a great trip. There are other southern Utah parks you may like to consider, such as Arches, Canyonlands and Capital Reef. Id allow at least a full 24 hours at the GC and at least a full day in Yosemite - 2 days if time permits.

    Sequoia NP is a little out of your way - maybe that is why you put it in brackets. However, if you really wanted to go there, you may be better off driving direct to SF after Yosemite, then down the Pacific Coast Highway to Cambria, and then head inland to Sequoia as a detour on your way to LAX.

    If you get to visit all those places you are in for a fantastic trip. By far the recommended and most enjoyable thing is to stay within the NPs, if your budget allows that. Check the NP site and see if bookings are still available. The great thing about staying within places like the Grand Canyon is so that you can take in a sunset and/or sunrise over the canyon, which is an unforgettable experience. In Yosemite it would save you having to drive in and out of the park .

    Lifey

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,545

    Default

    You have some beautiful places lined up there. I will warn you ahead of time that September in Phoenix, Death Valley, and Joshua Tree will be HOT, probably still in the 100-110F temperatures.

    I personally would choose Sunset Crater over Meteor Crater, unless there is some reason that you have chosen Meteor Crater. Sunset Crater is more along your route than Meteor Crater. Also, if these are supposed to be in your viewing order, you would probably reverse Zion and Bryce.

    Joshua Tree to Phoenix -- well, the most obvious route is to go along I-10. However, if Phoenix is not a "must see", you could completely take it out and go from Joshua Tree to Grand Canyon, perhaps via Lake Havasu City. That's where London Bridge landed and was put back together. All American cities, Phoenix included, seem to look alike after awhile. (I say that with a lot of love, though, as my parents live in the Phoenix area.)


    Donna

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

    Default Take time to enjoy the parks.

    Apart from suggesting visiting Zion before Bryce and then heading to Vegas, [I would go to Bryce > Zion >LV.] I kind of agree with Donna and would cut Phoenix out and possibly the crater. You have a long list of places but some of them deserve at least a full day, if not 2 days and you will need two full days to drive the coast road back to LA and 3 would be more relaxing. You can't easily get from Death valley to Sequoia NP, or not as it appears at first glance on a map, it's a long drive around the mountains, or a very slow one cutting through part of them. Plus going to Sequoia before Yosemite would mean missing out on the great drive into Yosemite over the Tioga Pass. [CA120] Going to Yosemite first would mean driving down to Sequoia before heading to SF, or cutting across on route to LA as suggested by Lifey. Yosemite does have giant Sequoia trees near the south of the park at Mariposa Grove. Not quite as big as the biggest in Seqouia, but not so that you would know looking at them, so you have the option of spending time there instead of driving to Sequoia. Allow a couple of days in Yosemite, it's amazing !

    You really do have an amazing trip to look forward to !

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    The Mariposa Grove in Yosemite will be closed for the next 2 years for rehab.

  6. Default

    Thanks for those great feebacks!

    @DonnaR57: You are right, I will probably consider taking a shortcut through Lake Havasu City - thus deleting Phoenix from the trip - in order to go straight to northern Arizona (where most of the interesting natural spots seem to be)

    @Lifemagician: The southern Utah spots you pointed out seem cool! One more reason to reach this Arizona/Utah area as fast as possible.
    You are also talking about "booking" the NPs. Does it mean that you might be forbidden to visit some NPs if they are already "full"?

    @Southwest Dave: Great tip. I might try that, thanks.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default Only lodging

    Quote Originally Posted by ciidjj View Post
    @Lifemagician: The southern Utah spots you pointed out seem cool! One more reason to reach this Arizona/Utah area as fast as possible.
    You are also talking about "booking" the NPs. Does it mean that you might be forbidden to visit some NPs if they are already "full"?
    No, she's talking about lodging options. There are limited hotels/campgrounds within the National Parks, and they tend to book up quickly.

    There are no limits on the number of people who can visit the parks at one time.

  8. Default Avoiding death

    I'm still organising the roadtrip, and I've got a lot of new questions for you guys:

    Since most of the trip will take place is deserted and arid areas, what is the must-have equipement in your opinion?
    We are planning to rent a car and buy large cans of water, along with some food. We will also probably buy a cheap cellphone that can work in the US (but I guess there's not much signal in the desert)

    What are the most common car breakdown that are likely to happen un such areas? What essential tools would you bring with you?

    Also, if the car stops working in the middle of nowhere, what's the typical amount of time one has to wait before another car passes by?
    10 minutes, an hour, a day?

    Are there deadly animal? Sandstorm risks? Cursed temples with traps and lava pits?

    Any other "survival" tip would be welcome! Thanks in advance!

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

    Default No need to worry.

    Your rental car will be a fairly new car, and all modern cars can cope with driving through the areas you will be travelling. Should you have a breakdown, you are not likely to have to wait more than a couple of minutes before other cars pass. In summer these are very popular and busy areas. At no time will you feel 'isolated'. Of course any unlikely problems with the car will be attended to by the rental company. You won't need to bring any tools.

    Having a phone will be a good idea, and you will find that there are not many areas where coverage is not available, these are all popular areas. Most people like to keep in touch.

    All wild animals can be deadly, and I do hope you get to see some. But the chances of being so close that you could be hurt are remote. Just do not get out of your car, and do not approach wild animals.

    Definitely carry lots of water, and a cooler with ice if you prefer cold drinks. A hat and sunscreen are also a good idea. Common sense is going to be your most valuable survival tip.

    Lifey

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,545

    Default

    Since most of the trip will take place is deserted and arid areas, what is the must-have equipement in your opinion?
    We are planning to rent a car and buy large cans of water, along with some food. We will also probably buy a cheap cellphone that can work in the US (but I guess there's not much signal in the desert)
    You'd be surprised how many places in the US are actually covered by cell phone signal. In our travels the past 5 years, we have found very few places that have no coverage. The middle of Yellowstone was one of them.

    Here in the US, we call that bottled water. While it's always great to have some along with you in the car, you may not need gallons.

    When we travel, we always have a cooler with ice, some drinks and water in the cooler, and our favorite commuter cups. You can pick all of these up at a big-box store in LA.

    What are the most common car breakdown that are likely to happen un such areas? What essential tools would you bring with you?
    If you are renting a vehicle, you won't have to worry about this. Your cell phone will be your best tool. Anything else, and the rental company will probably send someone out to fix the vehicle or bring you a different one. Or both. Just rent from a reputable company.

    Also, if the car stops working in the middle of nowhere, what's the typical amount of time one has to wait before another car passes by?
    10 minutes, an hour, a day?
    If you're on an interstate, about 3 seconds. If you're on a US or state highway during the day, 1 minute. During the night, 3 minutes. If you're on a county road, maybe 10 or 15 minutes during the day.

    Are there deadly animal? Sandstorm risks? Cursed temples with traps and lava pits?
    My recommendation would be not to drive at night on US or state highways. There's where you could possibly see deer in the headlights: not a particularly welcome sight. Sandstorms, or duststorms as we refer to them here, are a definitely possibility during the fall. Usually, a dust devil isn't a big issue. If you see a big dust storm heading your way, I'd get off the highway if it were me - off at an exit if possible, or onto the shoulder of the road.



    Donna

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