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  1. #1
    Steve237 Guest

    Default My route is now planned - a few questions for the experienced...

    Thanks to some great advice on this forum, I've changed our Honeymoon route...

    Further to my original idea of driving all the way to Phoenix via the Meteor Crater, I decided to skip the final leg of the trip and finish in Vegas after driving to the Canyon for a couple of nights and back again. From Vegas we will fly to Newark for our connecting flight back to the UK.

    This is how it looks:



    Further to 4 nights in NYC, the road trip will last 11 days;

    Night 1 - Los Angeles
    Night 2 - ?
    Night 3 & 4 - San Francisco
    Night 5 - Yosemite National Park
    Night 6 - Death Valley area
    Night 7 & 8 - Las Vegas
    Night 9 & 10 - Grand Canyon
    Night 11 - Las vegas

    I have a few of questions which I'm sure you'll be able to help me with:

    1) I'm spoilt for choice for our stop-off point between LA and San Francisco. Can anyone advise what the places are like in this region to break up out Highway 1 journey? Somewhere romantic with wonderful views would be perfect.

    2) I don't mind a long drive betweem Yosemite and Vegas, but I think the 7 hour(ish) drive might be a bit tough on my girl. Are there some nice places to stay in the Death Valley region or should we stay an extra night at Yosemite and get up early and push right on through to Vegas in one trip? I like the idea of hitting Vegas at night-time, but I also like the idea of breaking up the journey and lodging in the middle of nowhere and spending some time in the open (provided there is something to see and do other than sit in a motel room)

    3) Instead of a stop in the Death Valley region, is there a detor we could take between Yosemite and Vegas which would give us something else interesting to see (and stay) on our route?

    4) If anyone has any 'must-see' things in a 150 mile radius of Vegas, let me know!

    5) If anyone has any 'must-do' excursions/areas we should check out around the Grand Canyon, let me know as we want to spend a couple of days and nights in the area to experience it as much as we can. We are considering a helecopter trip but are also interested in exploring on the ground.

    Thanks for any help, you guys are a big help!

  2. Default Us395

    First, I would alter the route by using US395 south from SR120 (Tioga Pass Rd) instead of continuing straight across into Nevada. Take US395 south. You could stay in Bishop to break up those miles. US395 is a very beautiful and scenic route, and MUCH nicer than the one you've currently planned (IMO). After your overnight, then go across through Death Valley on SR190, basically, and work your way to Las Vegas from that direction.

    Around Las Vegas, you might drive the state highways along the shore of Lake Mead and up to the Valley of Fire State Park. Very scenic. Rent a jet ski at Lake Mead for a couple of hours of water fun -- or do the same thing down at Laughlin, NV, on the Colorado River. If you go to Laughlin, make reservations for dinner at the Gourmet Room at Laughlin's Riverside Resort (Excellent!).

    At Grand Canyon, see the IMAX film (The Hidden Secrets) at the theatre in Tusayan. DO take the helicopter tour -- or even the fixed wing tour (cheaper). There is no better way to see the Canyon, unless you could hike it. Even hiking may not be as good.

    Drive the Rim drives (east and west), and plant yourself at one of the recommended overlooks for a sunset -- or even better, a sunrise.

    Be sure to check out the evening ranger talks at the Shrine of the Ages Auditorium -- they're usually very good (Rangers get to choose their own programs and research them, so they tend to be the topics they are most interested in -- that makes for a fun time).

    Walk across the railroad tracks to the mule barns and let your bride stroke a nose or two. She'll thank you for being so thoughtful and the mules will be appreciative as well. Be careful though, some of them are nasty and will bite if they get the chance.

    Do a hike or two along the rim trail -- do it in the morning or evening when the sun is not directly overhead and take a bottle of water. Drink the water!

    When you drive the east rim drive, continue on out to Cameron Trading Post for lunch, and kick around the curio shop for awhile. It's a tourist trap but it's still fun.

    At the Grand Canyon, the best meal is at the El Tovar Hotel. However, the Arizona Steakhouse at Bright Angel Lodge is a close second, and a bit less expensive.

    There you have all of my opinions, for what they're worth. At least they're free! Bob

  3. Default For Highway 1

    Along CA SR1, one of my favorite places is Cayucos -- but I also think Morro Bay and San Luis Obispo are very nice. SLO is off the coast, so does not have an ocean view -- but it does have GREAT barbecue at J.D. Boone's.

    It's hard to go wrong anywhere along the Big Sur coastline though. Somebody here on the board the other day also mentioned Pismo Beach as a great place to stop.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,060

    Default Death Valley and Las Vegas

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve237
    2) I don't mind a long drive betweem Yosemite and Vegas, but I think the 7 hour(ish) drive might be a bit tough on my girl. Are there some nice places to stay in the Death Valley region or should we stay an extra night at Yosemite and get up early and push right on through to Vegas in one trip? I like the idea of hitting Vegas at night-time, but I also like the idea of breaking up the journey and lodging in the middle of nowhere and spending some time in the open (provided there is something to see and do other than sit in a motel room)
    The route have chosen for the leg between Yosemite and Las Vegas is very similar to this one, but I really don't think it makes very good sense, if you want to include Death Valley as well.

    What I would recommend would be to stay on US-395 after you cross over Tioga Pass and drive south to Bishop (you could stay overnight here) and explore the area a little bit or continue south to Independence and stay over night there. From Independence continue south to Lone Pine and use county route 136 to state route 190 and go over Emigrant Pass into Death Valley -- look around for the day and then head for Las Vegas (to enter at night).
    4) If anyone has any 'must-see' things in a 150 mile radius of Vegas, let me know!!
    Here are some of the places we recommend around our home town.

    Mark

  5. #5

    Default Hwy 1

    1) I'm spoilt for choice for our stop-off point between LA and San Francisco. Can anyone advise what the places are like in this region to break up out Highway 1 journey? Somewhere romantic with wonderful views would be perfect.
    The town of Cambria south of Big Sur is a popular weekend getaway
    town for folks from So. Cal.

    I've stayed at Cambria Pines Lodge. We had an older room that was
    okay, but I was expecting a little better. I'm sure they have nicer rooms.
    No oceanside view though.
    http://www.cambriapineslodge.com/index.html

    There's also lodging along Moonstone Drive closer to the ocean in Cambria.

    Nearby Cambria is Hearts Castle that's worth a visit:
    http://www.hearstcastle.com/

    Further north towards Big Sur, I've stayed at Lucia Lodge, in the town of Lucia. I thought the rooms were clean, comfortable and the rates reasonable for the area. They have a view outside your door.
    http://www.lucialodge.com/mall/c121/s14406/default1.htm

    One new place that I'd like to visit is Treebones Resorts. It's a little more
    rustic, but the rates are cheaper for the area, shared bathrooms though.
    http://www.treebonesresort.com/

    One of my favorite stops along the Big Sur Coast is Julia Pfeiffer Burns State
    Park. The park's main sight is McWay Falls. It's a waterfall that plunges into the Pacific. It's a popular photo stop.
    http://www.parks.ca.gov/default.asp?page_id=578

    A nice stop up the coast for a driving break is Nepenthe. They have a nice
    deck that overlooks the Big Sur coastline. It's great to sit on the deck
    and enjoy the view.
    http://www.nepenthebigsur.com/

    There's a lot to see along Hwy 1. Monterey and Carmel are popular weekend
    getaways for Bay Area folks. The Monterey Bay Aquarium is a popular attraction. Also nearby is Point Lobos State Park that has some coastal trails along Monterey Bay.

    Have a great trip!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Bay Area, CA
    Posts
    234

    Default waterfalls

    I would add Limekiln State park as well. It boasts of a wonderful trail to a beautiful waterfall. Its on your way along Hwy 1. Some 20 miles north of San Luis Obispo. A short .5 mile trail. It is magical.

  7. #7
    Steve237 Guest

    Default

    Wow, thanks people!

  8. #8
    Steve237 Guest

    Default

    Bob / Mark - Would you advise booking a hotel/motel in advance in Bishop/Independence or will we be fine to stroll in and book somewhere on the day?

  9. #9
    Steve237 Guest

    Default Having real trouble finding somewhere nice to stay at Grand Canyon...

    The best places to stay seem to be El Tovar and Bright Angel Lodge, but these are totally booked up on the nights we want to stay (12th & 13th September). They get booked up many months in advance and unfortunately this honeymoon was a last minute decision.

    The only places I can find is the Holiday Inn Express and the Red Feather Lodge on Highway 64, but neither get very good reviews on the net.

    As it's our honeymoon we really wanted somewhere special as a base for our time at the Canyon. I suppose ideally we would have liked El Tovar for both nights, with one day exploring by car and plane and another exploring by mule.

    If anyone has any ideas of where to stay, let me know!!

  10. Default Flagstaff or Williams

    Unfortunately, that's the norm during the high tourist season at GC. I'd keep trying for last minute cancellations, but maybe make some alternative reservations at a nice place in Williams or Flagstaff. I usually stay in low rent places, so I don't know what are the nicest ones in those towns -- but you might try Little America at Flagstaff. Last I stayed there, it was pretty nice. Maybe they have a Honeymoon Suite?

    Bob

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