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  1. Default Road Trip, San Francisco-Las Vegas-Grand Cannyon-Los Angeles with stops

    Hello RTA! I have been reading this forum for a few weeks now to get some tips and advice from all the threads and discussions here.
    Me and my friend are going on a road trip as mentioned in the tittle. First I would like to present you our road trip itinerary and than I will ask some questions about it :).

    Itinerary:
    San francisco (14.4-18.4. 4 NIGHTS)rent a car in SF and drive to - Yosemite (18.4-19.4. 1 NIGHT) - drive to sequoia national park and than to Death Valley (19.4-20.4. 1 NIGHT camping/sleeping in the car)- Next morning or afternoon drive to Las Vegas (20.4-22.4 2 NIGHTS) - Drive to hoover dam for a quick stop and continiouing to Grand Cannyon (22.4-23.4 1 NIGHT) - drive to Joshua Tree (23.4-24.4 1 NIGHT)- and finally Los Angeles (24.4-28.4 4 NIGHTS).

    So my questions:

    Is this doable? I know it might be a tight schedule with those one night stays?

    I am still looking for camping grounds just to stay and sleep overnight in our cars in (Death Valley, Grand Canyon and Joshua Tree), any suggestions? (best would be some campgrounds that provide some showers and restaurants/convenience stores since we wont have any camping gear)

    Any good stops or interesting things we should not miss or seen in between those destinations?

    It will be the first time I am coming to America and the first time that I will go on a road trip like this so any suggestions and recommendations will be appreciated! :). We have made some reservations already but nothing is 100% and can be changed except that the starting point is in San Francisco and that the end of the road has to be in LA and on 24.th April since we already paid for accommodation.

    I am looking forward to hearing your responses! Thank you :)!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,064

    Default

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    There's only 1 spot that is impossible, and that's Yosemite to Sequoia and then Death Valley on the same day. With Tioga Pass closed in April, it's a full day of driving to get from Yosemite to Death Valley without the extra detour to Sequoia. If you want to see both Sequoia and Death valley you'll have to add another overnight stop.

    While everything else could work, as you mentioned, this is a very rushed trip and I wouldn't think about trying to add anything else to it.

    I would really reconsider sleeping in your car. With 2 people, it's really, really difficult to find a way for 2 people to get comfortable enough for real sleep inside a car - and that's doubly true when you'll be in a rental car, so you won't be able to make any modifications - or even know what model you'll be driving to get an idea of what your sleeping situation will be like.

    Even if you do stick with the idea of sleeping in your car in DV or Joshua Tree, I'd really wouldn't do it at the Grand Canyon, because you'll be at an elevation of 7,000 feet, and it could very easily drop below freezing overnight. Pretty reasonably priced motels can be found about an hour away in Williams.

    All of the National Parks you are looking to visit have campgrounds, and many of them have showers etc, you need to look at the National Parks website to find out which ones will work best for you.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,749

    Default

    I would consider spending one night less in both SF and LA and spend some of your time enjoying the natural wonders rather than just racing through them.

  4. Default

    Thank you Midwest Michael for the nice welcome and all the suggestions!
    Yes the trip is a bit rushed because after the 14 days in america we are going to Canada and we already have all the flights booked. I look at it as an active holiday and it should be still enough time to enjoy every stop :)...
    Yeah I taught that the Yosemite to Death Valley would be a bit too long. I am thinking of maybe staying in San Francisco only till the 17th April and than go to Yosemite and than from Yosemite to Sequoia and stay there for one more night on the 18 and than the drive from Sequoia to Death Valley and arrive there on the 19th as planned? That could work right?
    We are two students so I think we can survive a rough sleep in a car, we will be renting a compact and it says Toyota Corolla or similar. So it should be a bit more spacious. Thank you for the recommendation about the stay in Grand Canyon. I didn't know it can get so cold in April there. Will def. look up some motels in the area.
    Otherwise do you maybe have any good recommendations as to witch camp sites to choose in Death Valley, Sequoia and Joshua Tree?(if you stayed in any of them).. I will look up the website as well thank you.

    @Southwest Dave I think we will stay one night less in San Francisco and squeeze one more night in Sequoia in. I'm not sure if we can modify our booking in L.A tho. Did you had any particular park that is worth seeing in mind?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,064

    Default

    Cutting a day from SF will make Sequoia possible.

    Like I said, the NPS website will detail each campground, tell you what amenities they have and where they are located in the park. That's really going to be your best place to start - if you have some specific questions after that, then we'll be glad to help.

    But I have to say, going with a compact car triples my previous concerns. Rest is not optional on a very busy trip like this, and that's just not possible in a tiny car that's barely big enough for two adults to sit, much less sleep. Again, the phrase is "or similar," so you don't know exactly what you're going to get and a compact car in the rental industry is generally includes some of the smallest cars on the market. I'm not sure how you are figuring "a bit more spacious."

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,271

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    It shouldn't cost much to pick up a 2 man tent and a couple sleeping bags at a Walmart, total cost should be under $75. When you are done with them, you can donate them to a charity shop such as Goodwill or Salvation Army or pack them in your luggage. In fact, you may even be able to buy them at one of those shops.

  7. Default

    We really don't see the problem of sleeping in the car for 2-3 nights. But we will check out if we get any good prices on a tent and than decide if we buy it, thanks!

    Soo I think that it would be a sin to not see Antelope canyon right?
    I was thinking of doing it one day after seeing Grand Canyon. So if we stay in lets say Flagstaff and see Grand Canyon on the 22nd and the next day on the 23rd go to Antelope and drive later to Joshua N.P just to have a stop and sleep over before L.A. Is that doable? Or is there any better option/suggestion you guys would have? Is there maybe a better place/city to stay in between G.C and Antelope?

    Another option is to stay in Flagstaff for 2 days and for one day enjoy Grand Canyon and the other day Antelope and also go to visit the meteor crater near Flagstaff and do the drive to Los Angeles the next day on the 24th and skip Joshua Tree entirely?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,546

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    Antelope Canyon is owned by the Navajo, and I believe it's only open with tours and permits. You might want to research that a bit more.

    Sunset Crater near Flagstaff is a much better prospect, IMHO, than the Meteor Crater near Winslow.


    Donna

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,749

    Default

    If you visit Antelope canyon then it would be best to head to Page AZ for the night after Grand canyon, but as has already pointed out you are already rushing through this part of the trip to spend multiple nights in City's, trying to add more without extra time is only going to highlight the problem more.

  10. #10

    Default

    I remember car sleeping when I was younger, but those were the large Chevy, Ford cars with bench seats front and back, not so these days of bucket seats and a corolla rear seat is still crunchy. As suggested above, consider purchasing a tent, couple of sleeping bags and towels (most park showers do not provide them and they can double as head rests in the tent).

    While at the shopping store you could also pick up a cooler and basic utensils.

    Your driving schedule will take up a good bit of time squeezing your National Park and leisure time. Flagstaff to Los Angeles is a long haul in one day and you do want to a avoid the rush hour.

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