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  1. #1

    Default Here, there and everywhere!

    Greetings from the UK.

    Firstly, what a great website. We're particularly impressed with the friendly nature and generous advice; very different from some others where the sole intent of many seems to be to criticise plans.

    So: We're a family of four including 2 teens, all fairly well travelled. We are after lifetime memories from unique experiences in what is probably our last big holiday before the eldest makes her own way in the world. We've done a fair bit of planning and have a framework that incorporates most of our various wish lists.

    Can you help put some meat on the bones with suggestions as to what fits the above bill on the following itinerary? In particular the bit from Monument Valley - Salt Lake City Area - Yellowstone - Salt Lake City is vexing me as the distances are considerable and I'd prefer not to go over the same ground north and then south bound. Any thoughts? We have between 1 and 3 days in each place and flights etc are booked and pretty much fixed through my job.

    Anyway, here's the list! Many thanks in advance.

    Fly to New York
    Train NY to Washington
    Fly New Orleans (is there a sensible and cheap airport transfer?)
    Fly Albuqerque
    Drive to Monument Valley via Four State Corner
    Drive Monument Valley via Mokee Dugway / Valley of the Gods to somewhere around mid way to West Yellowstone, sort of parallel with Salt Lake / Provo area (1 night stop)
    Drive from mid point to West Yellowstone
    Yellowstone itself
    Back to Salt Lake City itself
    Fly San Francisco
    Fly LA
    Drive LA via overnight stop in Pasadena to San Diego
    Fly Las Vegas (renewing Wedding vows after 20 years, suggestions of a good fun and very non serious chapel welcome!)
    Fly UK

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Flaming Gorge and the Tetons.

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    From Monument valley to Yellowstone I would consider taking US191 through Vernal and Jackson all the way into Yellowstone via the south entrance. Taking WY530 around Flaming Gorge and looking for somewhere to stay in that area. I hope you have allowed for at least 3 days in Yellowstone as that is the minimum you need to get around it's main attractions and enjoy them. On the way you should also spend some time driving through the Grand Tetons between Jackson and Yellowstone, they are pretty much linked anway and a drive through the Tetons with a couple of stops is worth it. Monument valley and the drive up the Moki is quite spectacular, but you could also consider heading to Mesa Verde or Arches National parks from Albu and stay in Moab area.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Some More Meat

    ...for the bones of your trip:

    New Orleans: Your two main options are cab and shuttle. Neither is particularly cheap, but since the shuttle charges more per person and the cab takes you directly to where you want to go, it would seem that a cab is your better option.

    Albuquerque/Yellowstone/Salt Lake City: Since you'll be driving west from Albuquerque, you might want to look into flying into Phoenix instead. Phoenix is a major hub and flights to there might actually be cheaper than to Albuquerque. Also be sure to check Southwest Airlines as well as using standard travel sites. Southwest does not share its pricing info with them so you have to do a separate check. Also keep in mind that Southwest does not charge for the first two checked bags/person that other airlines typically charge about $25 for.

    Flying into Phoenix also puts the Grand Canyon National Park (NP) more or less on your route up to Monument Valley. Also, note that Monument Valley is a Navajo Tribal Park (as is Four Corners) so any National Parks Pass you get will not be valid there. And the roads in Monument Valley are not the best so this is one place where hiring a local native guide and his high-ground-clearance four-wheel-drive vehicle is in order. Just to the east of Four Corners is another national park you should check out: Mesa Verde NP.

    I fully agree with Dave's suggestion of US-191 north from the Four Corners area with the inclusion of WY-530 along the east side of Flaming Gorge. If you use US-191 as your basic route there are two great advantages. First, it will take you past Arches NP, Dinosaur NP, and up along the Wind River Range to the Tetons and Yellowstone. Second, it would mean that you don't have to retrace your steps back to Salt Lake City, but could use US-89 for the southbound leg instead.

    San Francisco/Los Angeles/San Diego/Las Vegas: While it's true that a car can be a handicap rather than a help in San Francisco due to parking and traffic problems, I would encourage you to consider renting a car near the end of your stay there for the rest of your journey. It would make it possible to drive across the Golden Gate Bridge and check out Point Reyes National Seashore and then (re-crossing the bridge) drive the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH/CA-1/US-101) down to Los Angeles (where a car is a necessity) before continuing on down to San Diego and then Las Vegas. It also means one less car rental and two fewer sets of plane tickets. We also usually recommend that our European visitors arrange their car hires through a European consolidator such as Europcar or By doing so they can often get the one-way drop off fee(s) waived.

    Where to renew your vows is an intensely personal choice, so rather than offering a suggestion I'll just direct you to a couple of resources from which you can make your own decision: Las Vegas Wedding Chapels and a RoadTrip review.


  4. #4


    Terrific stuff, thanks!

    We've done Grand Canyon before and for some odd reason I had a hankering to do either Albuquerque or Santa Fe. Southwest Airlines is a great bit of advice as they are unquestionably cheaper especially when you add in or rather take away the $25-50 a bag charge other carriers apply. They also have a really good schedule and brilliantly charge less for direct flights on the basis of less fuel burnt I guess rather than more for the convenience as is the practice with other carriers. They've also been brilliant in helping us with queries. Can't recommend them enough.

    US191 and WY530 was exactly the kind of tip I was hoping for so thanks again. We're a bit tight on time so flying SFO-LAX works for us as we've done LA before. Personally I loathe the place but the three females want to do the Stars and see the Hollywood sign hence a fleeting visit and out to Pasadena for the night, dictated by outrageous accommodation costs in LA. Our last road trip (God I wish I'd known about this website then!) did a loop out of LA to San Francisco, Golden Gate via Death Valley, Yosemite, Vegas etc etc etc so we're up for the coast road SF to San Diego this time.

    The car hire tip looks interesting too. I'm currently booked through a work concession but it does include one way charges so worth a look, thanks.

    New Orleans airport looks like a monopoly stitch up on transport but life is like that. Lump it I guess! For the benefit of others looking at the same thing, the steep price of transport into town seems to be more than offset by the daily robbery charges for parking at hotels so doesn't seem so bad after all.

    San Francisco we've done before and stayed in Oakland as accommodation is only mildly stupid prices rather than off the scale in SF itself. The BART (local trains, think London Underground) is dirt cheap and about 15 minutes into town, frequent trains.

    I've really noticed how much more expensive accommodation is this time round but then you want to go to the popular places in July / August what did you think was going to happen??!!

    Any tips for things to do in the cities? Include the obvious as they may not be obvious to me?

    Thanks again for the great info to date and in advance for any more.

    Kind regards

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    Any tips for things to do in the cities? Include the obvious as they may not be obvious to me?
    For LA: Disneyland/Disney California Adventure, Universal Studios, Magic Mountain, Knotts Berry Farm are the 4 main theme parks in the area. There are museums - a LOT of museums. Griffith Park with its Zoo and Observatory. Two presidential libraries are in the area: Richard Nixon's is in Yorba Linda, and Ronald Reagan's is up near Thousand Oaks. You already mentioned Hollywood, the Walk of Fame and the sign. Malibu's Zuma Beach is where a lot of films and TV shows had scenes done.

    Yes, staying in Glendale, Pasadena, or even Burbank can be loads cheaper than a hotel near LAX. I've had to stay up in LA a couple of times for events, and usually end up in one of those 3 places.

    As for San Diego (near and dear to my heart, because I live here), Around San Diego County is a thread I started a few years back. If you follow some of the links in it, they will take you to further ideas. We've spent two summers (2013 and 2015) showing family around the County/City, rediscovering it for ourselves in a sort of "Stay-Cation".


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