First of all well done and thanks for such a great site, lots of very useful info from reading the pages and the forum!
My wife and I are planning to drive from Reno to Las Vegas as part of a holiday in September. We'll be visiting the east coast first, and getting an internal flight arriving into Reno probably on Fri 23rd Sep. We have a flight booked out of Las Vegas on Tue 4th October. My plan is something like this:
Day 1 (Sep 23) - Fly into Reno, get a hire car from airport, drive to (South?) Lake Tahoe
Day 2 (Sep 24) - Explore Lake Tahoe
Day 3 (Sep 25) - Drive to Yosemite Village (I've heard this fills up quickly, but seems to be some accommodation still available at Half Dome Village)
Day 4 (Sep 26) - Explore Yosemite
Day 5 (Sep 27) - Drive to Sequoia NP, probably stay in Three Rivers
Day 6 (Sep 28) - Explore Sequoia and/or Kings Canyon
Day 7 (Sep 29) - Drive to Kernville
Day 8 (Sep 30) - Drive to Las Vegas, via Death Valley if car hire company allows it. Drop off the car in Vegas
Day 9 (Oct 1) - Day in Vegas
Day 10 (Oct 2) - Trip to Grand Canyon (either get another car, or book with a company), overnight there
Day 11 (Oct 3) - Back to Vegas, spend night
Day 12 (Oct 4) - Flight from Vegas home
I'd be very happy for any general feedback anyone would be willing to offer, but also have a few sepcific questions:
1) Any recommendations for a car hire company that doesn't charge one-way fees, and will allow us to drive through Death Valley? Do rental companies only prohibit driving through DV in summer, will we be OK in late Sep / early Oct? I've found a comparison website (www.rentalcars.com) which claims if I book via them with Dollar or Thrify won't change a one-way fee, however when I go direct to their websites they seem to include a one-way fee, so I'm a bit apprehensive about booking with an intermediary to find a nasty surprise when we get there.
2) I got the idea to over night in Kernville from another similar trip thread (http://www.roadtripamerica.com/forum...ious-in-2-days) which recommends McNallys Fairview Lodge -but I'm tempted to try and drive a bit further that day, perhaps as far as the 395. Kernville sounds nice though. Any thoughts?
3) I think that a week driving is enough, hence I'm tempted to ditch the car on arrival in Vegas as above, then use an organised trip to visit the Grand Canyon. I've read that one day trips don't do it justice so I'm thinking a two day organised trip, the ones I've looked at seem to allow most of the second day as free time. Would we be better to get a car, perhaps seperate from first rental (e.g. two days from Vegas) and do it ourselves?
4) Any recommendations for places to stay around Lake Tahoe and/or Three Rivers? We've had a lot of people tell us we'd like Lake Tahoe. Three Rivers I've guessed would be a good base for Sequoia / Kings Canyon, and I get the impression that staying in the NPs tends to be more expensive, so if we stay in Yosemite maybe we compromise and stay just outside for Sequioa to help the budget.
We're both pretty active and keen to do hiking/cycling/canoeing or whatever so ideally want to be close to that. Budget wise we'd probably be looking for mid-range, if its clean, ideally has en-suite and there are places to eat nearby that'll do! My wife's not big on camping...
5) If as above we gave ourselves a full day to explore Kings Canyon and/or Sequoia, would you suggest we focus on one, or try and see a bit of both? We may be able to see a bit of them on the days we're driving from Yosemite or to Kernville I guess.
Thanks in advance,