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  1. Default Summer honeymoon, LA - LV - SF.

    New to RTA, appreciate the huge amount of detail already available, just looking for any advice to make this summers trip extra special. Coming from Ireland.

    Flights,hotels,car hire booked as package so airport arrangements cannot be changed.

    Arrive mid july, have heard its going to be very warm. This should be very interesting since im redhead and easilly burn.

    sat : arrive saturday, LAX, staying anahiem

    sun : disney
    mon : disney
    tues : universal
    wed : san diego & sea world.

    Thurs : Drive LA to Las Vegas (staying on strip) (do it straight? is it really all desert?)

    friday : Fun in vegas.
    saturday : Grand canyon,hoover dam, either drive or take helicopter.
    sunday : relax, maybe see shows etc

    Monday : Drive, Las vegas to San francisco, fishermans wharf hotel

    Tues: alcatraz etc.
    weds: shopping etc
    thurs: more sightseeing/shopping
    fri: Relax, pack etc

    saturday, flight home from SF.

    Main issue with this trip is not sure San Francisco will keep us entertained enough for four full days and very tempted to stop in a motel somewhere on highway 1/101 to break up the drive. We may lose a day in SF but wonder if we would see anything worthwhile by taking a longer trip up the PCH.

    Any suggestions very welcome.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula

    Default Apply sunscreen liberally!

    And consider a wide-brimmed hat! Yes, you're going to be in the hot sun a lot on this trip. Protect that porcelain skin.

    Welcome to the RoadTrip America forums!

    I'll just comment on a couple of items:
    Thurs : Drive LA to Las Vegas (staying on strip) (do it straight? is it really all desert?)

    Yes, but that's not a bad thing. It's a gorgeous drive. The desert isn't boring at all. And one section of desert can be very different from another section. There is variety.
    saturday : Grand canyon,hoover dam, either drive or take helicopter.
    It's a 5-6 hour drive Las Vegas to Grand Canyon. You will either need to add another day here and plan to stay somewhere near Grand Canyon (possibly Williams, AZ) or you will need to do the helicopter trip.
    Monday : Drive, Las vegas to San francisco, fishermans wharf hotel
    Tues: alcatraz etc.
    weds: shopping etc
    thurs: more sightseeing/shopping
    fri: Relax, pack etc

    This is really too long to do in one day. I would suggest breaking it into two days. While there is certainly enough to do in San Francisco for 4 days, I think a day or two from visiting the city and spending it exploring the road between Las Vegas and San Francisco would be a good choice.

    Your trip actually is one of the most popular ones. At least if you consider how often these questions come up. There are numerous discussions about San Francisco, California, Vegas, Grand Canyon, and traveling between them in these forums. I suggest you poke around. You might start with this discussion for some pointers.
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 03-02-2008 at 04:31 PM. Reason: removed the extra white space

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default breaking it up

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    There are certainly lots of options for this trip, and hundreds of ideas already on the forum. but I do have a few thoughts about your specific trip.

    The grand canyon really is too far away to be a daytrip from Las Vegas, at the very least you'll want to spend a night there if you're planning to drive there. Another option might be to drive straight from LA/San Diego to the Grand Canyon, which would save you a little bit of backtracking, and a little time.

    I'd also say that I would make the Vegas to SF trip at least 2 days. You can do it in a straight shot, but then you'd have to miss Death Valley, Yosemite, Sequoia, and/or the Pacific Coast Highway. Even over 2 days, you'd have to pick and choose just one or maybe 2 of those things to see, but I wouldn't want to bypass all of those things just to make the trip in one day.

  4. Default American cars built for America summers

    Thanks for info, now i know i was thinking along the right lines i'll look into it a lot more.

    One thing i couldnt find mentioned on the driving tips was about driving in heat. Coming from ireland, where its currently snowing, im not too familiar with air conditioning because we never turn it on.

    Will air conditioning be enough when driving or is still going to be uncomfortable when driving? Im imagining that out in the desert it'll be too hot to step out of the car during the day?

    According to Dollar we should be getting dodge charger/magnum or similar.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula

    Default Maybe sometimes

    Of course, in some areas of the Southwest, it can get pretty dang hot. You shouldn't have any problem like that when you're near the California coast but, as you go inland, high temps will become more common.

    I've made numerous trips to California and other parts of the Southwest and I love the heat. Love it. However, did have one day where the heat was too much for me. I do think that, on that particular day, my long day of driving combined with the fact that my air-conditioner was broken and I was probably drinking too much pop instead of water....well, I was in the first stages of heat exhaustion.

    I didn't realize I was having a problem until I went to get out of the car to go into a museum. My legs almost buckled under me. I knew I was hot but didn't think I was THAT hot. However, when I went into the air-conditioned building I did not cool down like you normally would. I felt weak and was very flushed. I sat down in a chair for awhile thinking I just needed to rest and cool down but I did not get cool, even though the air conditioning was blasting on me. I got paper towels and soaked them in cold water, also soaked my shirt in cold water, and sat in front of the air conditioning for awhile longer. I finally started feeling better. When I quit feeling so wobbly, I went to a cafe next door (also air conditioned) and had numerous glasses of cold water and continued to put cold paper towels on myself, and went into the bathroom to soak my shirt in cold water again. After awhile, I felt much better. But I was still a bit weak for the rest of the day and did notice that I didn't handle the heat very good for a few days after that.

    The chances of you having a problem with this are really very, very low. Like I said, I'm sure I wouldn't have had a problem either if my air conditioning was working. By this point, I had been in the heat for about a week but the day this happened was by far the hottest day with temps reaching 110 degrees. Anyway, since my own brush with it, I sure do take this issue more seriously.

    Avoid it by not engaging in strenuous activity when it's very hot. People who are not used to the heat should be particularly careful. Intersperse periods of rest in a cool environment with plenty of available fluids to drink. Avoid strenuous activities during the hottest part of the day. The big key is really water, water, water, water...both in you and on you (if you feel too hot and can't get cool enough without soaking your clothes).

    Heat Exhaustion:
    Symptoms: People often became pale, sweat profusely, get muscle cramps or pain, feel faint or dizzy, may have a headache, feel weak, be extremely thirsty, and/or feel nauseaous.
    Treatment: You can usually treat this yourself by getting into a cool, shaded area, drinking water or sports drinks (like Gatorade) that replace electrolytes and salts. Salty snacks are good as well. Loosen or remove clothing and put cool water on the person's skin (a cool bath or cloths/paper towels that have been soaked in cold water, for example).
    Call a doctor if: The person is unable to keep fluids down, if their mental status begins to deteriorate, has shortness of breath, and/or chest or abdominal pain problems.

    Heat Stroke:
    Symptoms: Hallucinations, severe disorientation, may become unconscious and drift into a coma, hyperventilating, sweating profusely or has become dry,
    Treatment: Suspected heat stroke is a true, life-threatening medical emergency. Call for an ambulance.
    What to do while waiting for medical assistance: You should move the person to a cooler, shaded place and try to cool them with cool water on their skin, but don't give them water/sports drinks or a snack if they are not fully lucid.

    Like I said, thousands of people are in these hot environments every day without experiencing any problem. Dehydration is usually the worst people experience so, again, lots of water is key. So please don't let this worry you. But it is good to be aware it and the symptoms so you can keep yourself from having a problem.

    So does this mean it will literally be "too hot to step out of the car" sometimes? Maybe? But probably not. Even in the hottest weather short stops outside the car to take a look at something interesting, even do a short hike, etc. is usually fine. But be sure to take water with you.

  6. Default Sun protection and drink lots of water...

    Hmm.. I'm of Scotish/ Irish (and the usual miscellaneous others...) descent. I burrn in like 20 minutes in the hot summer sun, if I'm not careful.

    The heat you'll get in July in the US deserts can be surprizing to visitors. My cousins from the UK/Ireland who have come to visit have expressed this. You can see temperatures during the daytime in the southwest deserts up to 130 F ( 55 C), in the shade.

    It is something you need to be prepared for.. but it's also that the infrastructure in the area treats as typical weather, so its not something really amazing, once you get used to it.

    As Judy notes, it is something you need to think about. The best first, second and third things to consider is to *DRINK LOTS OF WATER*. You can perspire out a liter of water every 30 minutes in the heat, if not more. The heat here is typically very dry, in that there is very little humidity or water in the air. That means you perspire, and it dries in seconds, cooling you down. But that also means you need to replace the fluid in your body -- and eventually the trace minerals and other things you perspire as well. If you're not going to the bathroom every hour or so, you're not getting enough water.

    Most folks think they're going to conserve their water by not drinking. Then they get dehydrated and the risks of other, more serious issues really increase. People don't want to have to stop the car and use the bathroom, or would rather drink soft drinks or flavored beverages instead of water, so they don't take in enough water. If you get a headache, or start feeling nauseous, then you need to get a liter of water into you. (I support a local Boy Scout Troop, and this is the most common health issue we face, by far.) Even if you're just driving, you're losing water from the low humidity/ dry air, and perspiration you may not notice.

    Now, just about everywhere in the desert US is built for the heat. That means air conditioning just about anywhere the public visits -- which also includes in cars and buses. Your rental car should have a good air conditioning system -- don't be afraid to use it, as the car is designed to work with the air conditioning system in normal use.

    If the heat starts to get to you, find somewhere that's inside and air conditioned and relax for a few hours. The hottest time of the day is typically from about 1-3 or so, so that's the time to relax and catnap in an airconditioned hotel room, if you need to. Traveling early in the morning is good -- traffic is less, and its much cooler if you need it.

    A couple of other things to consider are sun protection and appropriate clothing. When you're in the car, you probably will want to have sun glasses on while driving in the middle of the day. If you have prescription glasses (I do...), you can get "clip on" sunglasses at many stores (a lot of convenience stores at gas stations will have these), or larger "drop on" sunglasses that wrap around the whole glasses frame. If you get out of the car, make sure you have a hat -- at least to shade your face, but a large floppy hat works well, and they are available many places along the way.

    If you're going to be out of the car, you'll need sunscreen. As I noted above, I'm pretty fair, and burn easily. Get sunscreen that is at least level 30. (The level is the factor of protection -- it will go up to about 45-50. Typically suntan oil is about level 3-7...) Put the sunscreen on every day you think you're going to be out in the sun, and I recommend doing it mid morning as it can take 20 minutes or so to become fully effective. Don't forget to put it on your face, the back of your neck, your arms and legs (including your feet and the back of your legs). I've burned the top of my feet by forgetting to put it on, which makes wearing shoes a bit of a challenge. If you're red-headed you need to put this on every day....

    Don't forget appropriate clothing. I've seen some people who deal with the heat by basically stripping down -- skimpy bathing suit and sandals and that's about it. I don't recommend it for a couple of reasons. First, you expose a lot more skin to get burned. Secondly, a light layer of clothes acts to protect the body from the direct sun, and to catch perspiration to add a second layer of cooling (this is why the Arabs and others use long flowing robes, instead of going naked in the sun..). Third, the ground can be 10-20 C warmer than the air, plus the desert has sharp rocks and pointy plants (cactus of multiple types) -- so you need a bit more foot protection than a thin sandal. My recommendation is a loose t-shirt, loose shorts, and lightweight "athletic shoes" (running, gym shoes, walking shoes, etc).

    Lastly, be prepared just in case. If you're sticking to the main roads, then the usual highway safey precautions -- basically some extra water, a cell phone and a credit card. The cell phone is to call for help, the credit card is to pay for repairs and a place to stay if needed, and the water is for you while you wait. Don't do anything really stupid in the heat of the day, like trying to offroad down an interesting but remote dirt track, or climb a mountain when its 125 F, etc. and you should be fine.

  7. Default

    A couple of the most information packed replies i've ever recieved on a forum.
    Thankyou Judy for some excellent advice, and Larrison same to you too, was afraid even sunscreen wouldnt help. Any brand recommendations? When in europe never been confident with any sunscreens we can buy locally.

    I plan to stop at the first supermarket / wallmart near LAX airport to load whatever room is left in the car with bottled water, and if were lucky enough to get one of the chargers with the fridge ill probably get some ice packs, just in case.

    Being a redhead can be a little bit of a pain on trips like this but hope as long as im pro-active i should be ok. I still think that once in vegas ill not be outside during middle of day, ive heard humidity is awful, but hopefully will be a little more bearable during the evening.
    Last edited by scotengirish; 03-03-2008 at 10:16 AM.

  8. Default A couple of more comments..

    A couple of more comments, if I may? I live in the LA area, not too far from disneyland and the beach.

    Just a note on your LA area times --

    It's going to be from 45 -60 minutes from LAX to Anaheim (I'm assumming you're staying near Disneyland). If it's rush hour, you may be heading into some pretty heavy traffic. If there are 2 of you in a rental car, take advantage of the "diamond lanes" or "carpool" lanes on the freeway. These are limited access lanes in the center of the freeway, which are reserved for vehicles with 2 or more people in them. They can take cut a rush hour trip in half. If memory serves, there are some on the 105 feeway which goes straight east from LAX, as well as on the 405 freeway next to LAX.

    Even if your vehicle doesn't have one of the built in fridges, consider getting a cheap ($5-20) styrofoam (polystyrene) cooler. Local medium to large grocery stores would be a good idea to look for these at, as well as places like WalMart or Target (their biggest competitor) -- and if you're looking to get some water bottles and road snacks, they probably have simple ice chests as well (they may be on top of the food shelves, though and a bit beyond easy reach.. but they'll get them down for you). Virtually every hotel or motel I've been in has a free ice machine, for getting ice for the room's ice bucket. That will let you toss a few kilos of ice inside to cool down some soft drinks and water bottles, or whatever you'd like. I've found the cheap styrofoam one work pretty well, although they're more fragile than the plastic coated ones.

    My recommendation would be to collect your baggage, clear customs, find your vehicle, and head for Anaheim. If you want to do shopping or the like, you'll find just as many stores and in as much variety in the Anaheim area than near LAX. You'll be fighting a bit of jetlag if you're like me, so you may not want to push it too hard the first day.

    From Disneyland are to Universal Studios in Hollywood is about 35 miles by the shortest route -- but it does go through downtown LA which is a magnet for traffic (and since there are like 6-8 freeways which intersect there). Just be aware of that -- it can make the trip a real pain if you're not planning around that. (And in route selection. You might want to take the I-5 to the 134 west to Universal City, instead of the 101 through congested Hollywood...) You can make the trip in 45 minutes, or it can be 90+ minutes each way

    You may want to do what's called "basecamping" rather then spend hours on the road each day, going to Universal Studios and San Diego. San Diego is going to be 2 hours from Anaheim (with no rush hour traffic), each way. Depending upon your flexibility for rooms and lodging and what not, you might consider taking a room in San Diego and leaving for Las Vegas from there, or the same from Universal Studios / Universal City.

    The trip from LA area to Las Vegas is primarily a desert route. However, you'll also be going over several mountain ranges. For example, heading north from the LA basin, you'll have to pass through one of the passes over either the San Gabriel/ San Bernadino mountains (Cajon Pass north of San Bernadino), or east through the Banning Pass. There will be 10,000+' mountains on both sides of either of these passes, but the snow will have melted off by July I expect (It usually does, although I've found patches as late as August some years.).

    The desert landscape you'll be going through will be much more stark and sharp edged that you're used to. Little to no vegetation to cover the landscape, and the rocks are much more jagged since there isn't the water and plants to soften their edges. In some places there are very obvious large lava flows and cinder cones, and depending upon your route, large sand dunes, forests of Cactii in different types, or flat dry lake beds. A very different landscape.

  9. Default

    Im taking this information down as if its gold-dust. Really appreciate it.

    I believe the hotel we are staying in anaheim is right accross from disneyland, think its a sheraton hotel, so should make visiting disney very easy. In a strange kinda way, im actually looking forward to the drives to hollywood and san diego. If i can get another nice hotel cheap, my fiancee is VERY fussy, i may very well stay in San Diego, the photos online look nice.

    There will be two of us in the car at all times so those sharing lanes sound very handy.

    I'll not say im a fast driver, but in Ireland im very used to tight country roads with very sharp turns, and with certain roads never having traffic or police, the speed limits real aren't as enforced. So driving at a high average speed is second nature to me. The few motorways we have i use regularly and have no problem with lane switchers etc.

    Now when i get to California i guess this way of driving might as well be forgotten. From what i've been told is that most roads are very wide and multi-laned in California.

    The issue im worried about is speed cops. I dont intentionally speed but often drift over it, especially when im used to driving faster over here. Are speed limits enforced strictly on the open roads? I know that built up areas are strict, same over here, but there cant be that many cops in the desert between Vegas and LA could there?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default Yes and no

    If you are talking about freeway travel, like the LA to Vegas stretch, then you will be dealing with wide roads and a 70 or 75, mph speed limit. It is also a very heavily traveled route, so the odds of seeing a cop are pretty good. However, there are also plenty of people who speed, so if you are staying within the flow of traffic, you should be fine.

    Now there are plenty of parts of California that aren't freeways. Many routes over the Sierras or the Pacific Coast Highway are two lane twisting roads that might be more like what you are used to - exect they probably have a fair bit more traffic.

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