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  1. #1
    Terry UK Guest

    Default Planning A Radial Road Trip

    Hi,
    I'm new to the site. I've found lots of good information but not what I'm looking for.
    In March 2007 (so plenty of time) my wife and I a planning to spend at least a month in the US. Plan is to fly from the UK direct to LA / Phoenix / Las Vegas / Denver depending on the best flight deal, hire a small SUV,
    drive to St. George UT, rent a hotel room or small condo then explore some of the dirt roads off UT12 and more especially some of the Grand Canyon North Rim overlooks.

    We have done several road trips over the years and have passed through this area before, however:

    Re car rental:

    Rental sites in the UK do not offer any SUV smaller than a Grand Jerokee or Chevy Blazer which are too big for my needs. US sites for Alamo, Hertz etc offer intermediate or compact 4x4's but when you try to make a reservation none are available. Does anyone know of rental company's that really offer compact SUV's? Also does the fact that I will be renting for a month or more affect the rental agreement (ie is it possible to rent for a month or longer?) Also is a discount likely on a longer rental?

    Re accommodation rental:

    How much would I expect to pay for a motel room with kitchette or a small condo or family home? Is it possible to rent a condo for a short period like a month? Are discounts available for month long rentals on hotel rooms?

    Internet research on these two matters has so far been unsuccessful.

    I would also appreciate any advice on visiting Grand Canyon overlooks - I was at Toroweep last year and plan to go again among other similar trips.

    Thanks in anticipation.

    Terry Stokes

  2. #2

    Default

    Terry, I see something of a flaw in your plan, in March most of the dirt roads off the northern section of UT12 will be under a considerable amount of snow, the ones down south may well be too wet to drive on in anything. The north rim of the Grand Canyon is pretty much closed at that time of the year too due to snow. Many of the roads up in the mountains near St George will also be closed.

    Bob Palin
    Torrey, Utah

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default A few thoughts

    Quote Originally Posted by Terry UK
    I'm new to the site. I've found lots of good information but not what I'm looking for.
    Welcome to the Forum and thanks for taking a good look around here!

    Bob's (Killer) points are well taken -- March is not that good a month for exploring the Utah backcountry unless you are a skilled off-highway traveler. It seems that just about every year, someone in a rental SUV attempts to drive into the slickrock country and get stuck and/or snowed in and expires out there. I am pretty experienced in the world of 4-WD travel and I still think long and hard before wandering too far from asphalt in early Spring in that neck of the woods.
    a small SUV,
    What type of vehicle are you looking for? A Jeep or what? Actually the more direct problem is that NONE of the national rental companies will rent you a 4-WD SUV if they think you are really going to drive off-highway. In fact, the rental agreements stipulate that the renter will NOT leave paved surfaces with their vehicles.

    Of course, it happens every day -- but the penalties can be pretty darn stiff and since virtually every rental car has a transponder in it these days, they will know...

    There are specialty rental firms that rent jeeps and other smaller 4-WD trucks, but you will spend $1200 to $2500 (USD) per week to rent them -- is this really in your budget? You might be better served to engage the services of a tour operator/contractor that provides vehicles for you.

    We have done several road trips over the years and have passed through this area before, however:
    Also does the fact that I will be renting for a month or more affect the rental agreement (ie is it possible to rent for a month or longer?) Also is a discount likely on a longer rental?
    By statue, rental agreements can not exceed 30 days in length, unless it is a lease and yes there could be discounts for leases but this will be pricey too.
    How much would I expect to pay for a motel room with kitchette or a small condo or family home? Is it possible to rent a condo for a short period like a month? Are discounts available for month long rentals on hotel rooms?
    In vacation areas, there are real estate firms that provide these solutions. Usually called vacation rentals and you can use this term for searching. Yes, it is possible and thousands of homes/condos are rented every day this way.

    There are some resources on our 4-wheel drive off-highway page that might be useful for you.

  4. Default

    I wouldn't think St. George would be the best location for exploring 4 x 4 roads on Hwy 12. I think I'd move around on your lodging at least two or three times.

    I do know that Farabee Jeep rents 4x 4 jeep wranglers but the closest locations are Sedona and Moab, Utah. Have you considered the Moab, Utah area for going off road? Not sure about March in Moab, but April or May would work.

    I also would check with Ruby's Inn near Bryce Canyon for rental of a small 4 x4 vehicle. I called a couple of years ago looking into this and I'm pretty sure they can arrange it.

    Utahtea

  5. Default Look what I found!

    Jeep Wrangler rentals from Las Vegas!

    http://www.dreamcarrentals.com/cars-jeepwrangler.php

    I don't know if they allow off road driving so I'd check with them first.

    Utahtea

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default A rental agency for those with no budget constraints

    Quote Originally Posted by Utahtea
    Jeep Wrangler rentals from Las Vegas!
    I don't know if they allow off road driving so I'd check with them first.
    Yes, they are in Las Vegas and yes they do rent just about every vehicle you can imagine, but they also may be the most expensive rental agency in America.

    But, thanks for the research!

    Mark
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 08-09-2005 at 03:05 PM.

  7. #7
    Terry UK Guest

    Default Reply to Killer re Radial Road Trip

    Hi Bob,

    Thanks for prompt reply. I should have realised that things would be fouled up by the weather in March. But when I said March I meant April, leaving UK in late March. Primarily I think we are looking for some spring sunshine, perhaps in the mid to high 70's which I reckon is very possible in St George followed by some dirt roading- nothing too adventurous though.

    Mind you we don't have to come in March/ April. when I'm so close to retirement it can be April / May but I think really we're seeking a balance between reasonable temperature (high 70's) and Grand Canyon / UT12 accessibility.

    In 2004 we were in Torrey but it was far too hot - must have been 100 degrees in early June. Drove down the Notum Road till the tarmac ran out. I wish we had continued to Bullfrog or done the Burr Trail or Cathederal Valley.

    Given reasonable (dry) weather would these roads be do-able in April?

    Terry Stokes

  8. #8
    Terry UK Guest

    Default Reply to Editor re Radial Road Trip

    Mark, Many thanks for your comments. I was / am looking for a 4x4 with a 2 litre engine (say) that gets more miles per gallon than a Grand Jerokee. The last Jeep I rented (this year) returned 16 to 18 mpg on the highway. Your gas is cheap compared to the UK - we are now paying about $6.88 per gallon but taking into account our gallon is bigger than yours I reckon it's about $5.50 for a US gallon, most of it, about 80% is tax. And many of you guys think Mr Blair is a nice man!!

    Killer's points about the weather mean we would have to fly out in April and not March as we're trying to achieve a balance between reasonable temperature (70/80 F) and access to dirt/gravel.

    Depending which city we fly into I wonder if it would be reasonable to rent a compact car to get us near to our destination(s) (and be prepared to pay drop off charges) rent a 4x4 - of whatever size, perhaps up at Bryce ( I think there's an Alamo depot up there) - for perhaps a week or two. When/if the weather turns good, do the gravel/dirt bit then change back to a compact to do the return journey to the airport. This would hopefully reduce our car rental budget - drop off charges permitting - and get round the legal point concerning the 30 days max. rental period.

    I can't believe companies will rent you a 4x4 and not expect you to go off tarmac. Is insurance available to cover you? This year we travelled AZ288 south through Young and the road over Mt. Lemmon (Tucson), both mostly gravel, and not a word was said by Dollar when we returned the Jeep at LA.

    Concerning your points on property rentals, if as has been suggested by Utah tea(?), I should perhaps move around then cheap hotel rooms may be the answer.

    Out of interest I've just found a Ford Escape Hybrid for rent at $299 / week on foxrentacar.com at major US airports. MPG is claimed to be 30+. If hybrid means its a dual fuel vehicle like Honda and Toyota it's certainly different! Has anyone any hands on experience of these vehicles in 4x4 format?

    Terry Stokes

  9. #9

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Terry UK
    Given reasonable (dry) weather would these roads be do-able in April?
    Almost certainly not, this year many of the dirt roads were not open until late May but we did have a very wet winter. Spring does not really come to the high country until late May most years, of course in St George it will be hot much earlier than that. You were unlucky in finding 100 temps in Torrey - was it really down in Notom which is considerably lower? This week for instance the highs have ranged from 72-81 in Torrey, it has been hotter than that this summer but not for long.

    I wouldn't risk coming from the UK in April if you are interested in going much above 6000 ft and (to me) that's where the interesting stuff is, especially if you've done the desert before.

    The great thing is you can choose your temperatures by elevation once the snow has gone, it often snows briefly up on Boulder Mountain in late May when it is 100F down in Hanksville or St George. I just looked, can't see any snow patches on Boulder Mtn right now, might take the trail bike up there tomorrow.

    BTW, although I live in Torrey I'm from Luton originally.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default Believe It!

    Quote Originally Posted by Terry UK
    ..I can't believe companies will rent you a 4x4 and not expect you to go off tarmac. Is insurance available to cover you? This year we travelled AZ288 south through Young and the road over Mt. Lemmon (Tucson), both mostly gravel, and not a word was said by Dollar when we returned the Jeep at LA.
    I can just about guarantee that the contract (that you signed) stipulates that the renter warrants that they will not drive the rental vehicle off of the highway. Additonal charges can be levied weeks after the end of the rental if the rental firm decides that the off-highway use resulted in any damage. That being said, I have done a variety of off-highway trips in rental cars and never had a problem (I even got stuck in a ditch in one) but I tend to be luck in this regards. Stock 4-WD vehicles for the most part, ARE NOT off-tarmac ready and should be considered to be citified at best.

    Mark

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