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  1. Default 1st Road Trip from LA - Denver

    Hello

    I am from Colombia, South america. Have travelled road trips with my parents in the US, but this will be the 1st one with my wife.

    i am planning to drive from LA to Denver, in 10 days early November. The following is my trip details:

    1. LA (3 nights LA)
    2. LA - Sequioa NP. (1 night SNP)
    3. Sequioa - DV - Las Vegas (2 nights LV)
    4. Vegas - Zion (2 nights Zion)
    5. Zion - Moab ( 1 night MOAB)
    6. Moab - Denver. (1 night Denver)

    I have some issues about the drive for the number 3, from Sequioa to Vegas through Death Valley. I have heard that it takes more than 8 hours and maybe more. Don´t know if maybe I should skip Deah Valley and take a more direct road. Need help with this.

    Also, would like some information about the weather on early November for this part of the US. Any other tip for this trip. What do you guys think of this itinerary?

    Hope to here from someone.
    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,251

    Default

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    I think you've got an ok start, with plenty of room to make some improvements.
    2. LA - Sequioa NP. (1 night SNP)
    3. Sequioa - DV - Las Vegas (2 nights LV)
    Yes, This part is a bit of a problem. Sequoia to Vegas without going through Death Valley is about 8 hours all by itself. Going through Death Valley means 10-12 hours of driving, not including time to actually explore Death Valley.

    However, you've also got a bit of an issue on the day you're planning to visit Sequoia - it's a good 5 hours to get from LA to Sequoia, so even there, you really aren't giving yourself much time to actually see Sequoia, especially noting the shorter amount of daylight available in November (about 10 hours of daylight a day - 2 hours less than you see in Colombia at that time of year).

    5. Zion - Moab ( 1 night MOAB)
    6. Moab - Denver. (1 night Denver)
    You've got a similar problem here. You're looking at 6 hours of driving for each of those days, which doesn't leave much time left to explore the Moab area. Not impossible, but very rushed.

    Also keep in mind, yes, in November you will have to be mindful of the weather, as snow or ice will be possible, especially in high elevation areas - in your case, Sequoia and the drive from Moab to Denver are the areas where you are most likely to potentially have to deal with snow.

    Is there a reason you have to end in Denver? It seems like you're stretching yourself a bit thin as it is, and it could be easier, cheaper, and more rewarding to finish in Las Vegas. If you could cut down the miles a bit, it would give you a chance to actually enjoy the places you're planning to visit, and potentially include some alternate stops, like the Grand Canyon or Bryce Canyon to name a couple of possibilities.

  3. Default

    Thanks for your answer Michael.
    What change in itinerary would you suggest between LA and Las vegas, knowing the stops I want to have.

    I really do not have to end in Denver. Was just fond of driving through that part. I could maybe do Vegas - Zion - Bryce - Moab and then back to Vegas.

    I do not really have a grip of the distances so any suggestions will help.

  4. Default

    Other option would be to not go to Sequoia or DV and myabe enjoy better the parks in Utah. That is what I have been thinking.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,940

    Default

    If you did a Vegas loop you could do as you say above, but head back via Monument valley and Grand canyon south rim. If you stuck to your original outline of LA to Denver I would consider cutting out Sequoia NP and leave LA on the afternoon a day earlier (2 nights LA) and head to Lone Pine. The next morning you would then explore Death valley on route to Vegas. Then after 2 nights in Vegas leave early for Zion and spend the rest of the day and half the following day around the park before heading on to Bryce canyon for the night. That would give you 2 nights in Moab and a full day to check out Arches and possibly Grand view point in Canyonlands.
    Between Bryce and Moab you could travel UT scenic 12 and stop briefly at Capitol Reef NP. When you leave Moab for I-70 take the scenic drive on UT128 through Castle valley, you may have time to drive the rim road of Colorado National monument.

    So like this.
    LA 2 nights
    Lone Pine 1 night
    Las Vegas 2 nights.
    Zion 1 night
    Bryce 1 night
    Moab 2nights
    Denver 1 night.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    7,021

    Default Good maps will help you.

    Quote Originally Posted by nykogut View Post
    I do not really have a grip of the distances so any suggestions will help.
    The best thing you can do before you go any further with your planning is get hold of some good maps of the South West US, or a good road atlas such as Rand McNally. If these are not available locally, you could purchase an atlas from the RTA store via the link at the bottom of this page. If you order it now you will have it in a week or two. It is essential to have good paper maps when on the road, so you may as well have them while planning your trip. It is not wise to put all your faith in electronics. They have been known to lead people astray.

    When you have the maps it is a lot easier to get a good grip on distances than on a tiny screen. The maps will also show you the many routes from which you may choose and highlight the scenic routes. They show you the attractions along your way, in between the many major attractions you will visit..... and much more.

    Lifey

  7. #7

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by nykogut View Post
    Thanks for your answer Michael.
    What change in itinerary would you suggest between LA and Las vegas, knowing the stops I want to have.

    I really do not have to end in Denver. Was just fond of driving through that part. I could maybe do Vegas - Zion - Bryce - Moab and then back to Vegas.

    I do not really have a grip of the distances so any suggestions will help.
    The round trip loop trip is likely your best option and ends of being a proof of the saying, "Less is more." You will also have more flexibility in accommodating your wife's feelings about a first long road trip. Additionally, car rentals are often a lot less expensive using the same departure and return cities (no drop-off fees, extra mileage costs, etc.).

    Google Maps (or Bing Maps and others) are useful planning aids. The travel times are not based upon real-life speeds but on speed limits (they do not count gas, meal time, picture taking, etc.) so add 20 to 30 percent. AAA also has a Trip-Tik map feature that is useful in travel road tripping (see https://ttp.aaa.com/TripTik/#).

    https://www.visitutah.com/ has a ton of information for the area you have expressed interest. Other websites highlight scenic drives (e.g., https://www.myscenicdrives.com/ and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Scenic_Byway and others). The AAA TripTik also shows scenic by-ways but you need to zoom in for them to appear.

    You have the making of a great trip from Las Vegas-Zion-Moab-Monument Valley-Grand Canyon-Las Vegas... many sights along the way, so much that even ten days barely does it justice!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    7,021

    Default Yes, but.....

    Quote Originally Posted by landmariner View Post
    Google Maps (or Bing Maps and others) are useful planning aids. The travel times are not based upon real-life speeds but on speed limits (they do not count gas, meal time, picture taking, etc.) so add 20 to 30 percent. AAA also has a Trip-Tik map feature that is useful in travel road tripping (see https://ttp.aaa.com/TripTik/#).

    https://www.visitutah.com/ has a ton of information for the area you have expressed interest. Other websites highlight scenic drives (e.g., https://www.myscenicdrives.com/ and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Scenic_Byway and others). The AAA TripTik also shows scenic by-ways but you need to zoom in for them to appear.
    I'd have to thoroughly agree with all that; and we all use them. But for someone on their first long roadtrip, to get a good grip on the distances, and where things are in relation to the others, only the BIG picture will help, and only good paper maps can give that picture

    Lifey.

  9. #9

    Default

    Respectfully, Lifey, but there are no "only's" that "only paper" or "only electronic," in doing this stuff.

    When I first started doing road trip planning for summer camping trips some 25 years ago, it was actually a CD-based trip planning program that brought me to my senses in scaling down my trip objectives. It is true that for different people different tools can work optimally, but the principle is not necessarily universal.

    Paper maps, however, are always in my trip bag because one just does not know when the bad guys might shoot down or hack the GPS system!!! Which also brings to mind that I find a hand held Google Maps as a necessary adjunct to a GPS, or until my Garmin's UI is as slick as cellphone maps in zooming in and out.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,712

    Default

    Landmariner brings up a good point. These days, it helps to have different sources to use when planning and executing a trip. Personally, we use a combination of road atlas maps and Google maps to lay out a basic trip, then we go get the paper maps from AAA, and then we start planning the day-to-day attack, using the paper maps and Google maps. When we are actually on the road, an atlas is in the vehicle, plus the paper maps we need, along with our smartphones and the Garmin GPS. The latter is used when we are trying to find something in a city.


    Donna

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