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  1. Default Realistic timescales? Yet another west coast trip!

    There are quite a few threads i have found and read through, but with a few contradictions and am hoping to clear a couple of things up before we leave for our honeymoon trip.

    Ive mainly based this on Google times, but know from experience in the UK that they can wildly vary due to traffic, so am hoping someone with local knowledge can give more accurate times.

    All the hotels have now been booked, so I only have limited options if i am way out on a portion of the trip, but my main worry is Vegas to SF. Google claims 9 hours via the outskirts of LA, but I was hoping to go Death Valley / Yosemite, which Google quotes 12 hours. Is this doable? I like driving, but have never driven in the US before so am thinking it might be too long to concentrate.

    Also, Monteray to LA via Highway 1, what sort of times should I expect if i choose the pacific highway?

    My other worry is fuel stops along that route, are there plenty or is it a good idea to keep a jerry can in the car?


  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default a few problems

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    I see a few potential problems with your trip.

    The first one is that you plan to do Hoover Dam and the Grand Canyon as a daytrip from Vegas. Its just too far to realistically do this trip in one day. Physically, yes it can be done, but you're looking at more than 10 hours of driving, plus time getting into the park. Even in a best case situation, you spend all day on the road, getting up at dawn, getting back after dark, and you can only spend an hour or two looking at the canyon.

    The same is pretty much true with a Death Valley/Yosemite route to San Francisco. You can probably cover the ground in one very long day on the road, but there is a lot to see, and you won't have time to stop at any of it, and that includes detouring into the Yosemite Valley itself.

    The PCH isn't as bad, since there are more options. You can spend a couple hours going along the Big Sur section, but if time starts working against you as you approach LA, you can always hop on US-101 for a faster trip.

    Gas stations will not be a problem anywhere along this leg, and I would strongly advise against bringing "extra" gas. Its a fire hazard, plus, everything in your car will start smelling like gasoline.

  3. Default

    Thanks Michael,

    To be honest I am considering leaving the Grand Canyon this time, ive found so many coupons for Vegas, i dont think I will want to leave! Alternatively, perhaps a helicopter tour to the South Rim is a better option.

    I am still undecided on Death Valley though, I want to go that way but I guess there isnt much point if I dont get to see any of it. I think I will leave that decision until the day before and how I feel at the time.

    Its a relief to hear Death Valley / Yosemite route has plenty of gas stations though, I cant imagine much worse than breaking down in the desert in another country!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula

    Default Skipping the Big Ditch?

    Yikes! Truly the most remarkable place on your trip. That would be a shame. But, yeah, you really need an extra day in there to do it. Personally, I'd skip San Diego or San Francisco to fit in the Grand Canyon instead but you've already got that booked. And, of course, you might have other priorities. Everybody needs to plan the trip that meets their needs the most.

    If you skip the Grand Canyon, you could leave Vegas earlier and have two days to get to San Francisco. This will leave you ample time to enjoy Death Valley.

    Congrats on the upcoming nuptials!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default oh yeah

    I must have overlooked the honeymoon aspect of this trip.

    I will say I would probably recommend trying to cut this trip back a little more if it is a honeymoon. Right now you are really filling every day to the absolute brim, that isn't necessarily bad, but if you are just getting done with planning and then having your wedding, there really is something to say about just having a few days where you don't have to do anything.

    I'll also say that I generally like a pretty packed full trip myself, and I recieved similar advice when I was planning my own honeymoon. Ultimately, I didn't scale things back too much, but I also left a lot of room for flexability, and we decided how much to do based on how we were feeling. Trust me when I say, just having a day or two where nothing was planned after doing so much planning in the weeks beforehand was very nice to have.

    Right now it seems like you not only got a packed full trip, but you are locking yourself into a lot of things where you won't have room to be flexable, and that might not make for the best possible trip for your situation.

  6. Default

    My original plan was to book nothing and check into motels, then for example if we hate LA but love Vegas, we can adjust accordingly.

    However, Jen needs the security of knowing we have somewhere to sleep, and that it will not have any unwelcome suprises. It gave me a chance to Hotwire and Priceline so it wasnt all bad.

    There was a spare day in LA, but thats been filled with a Warner Bros tour! Still, no attraction tickets have been prebooked so if need be, we can just have a day at the beach etc. You are right in saying we will need to have these days at a predefined location though.

    Judy I hadnt spotted that opportunity and it may just work, and is something we can decide a couple of days before. Alternatively a heli tour in the morning, then get on the road in the afternoon could be good, though again that seems as though I am packing too much in!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula

    Default Security vs. Freedom - hard things to balance

    If your travel buddy needs that security, then your plans make sense. Hopefully, if you come to the US again, you can be a bit more flexible and not have pre-booked hotels. Maybe this trip will let her see that there are many options and that there are few areas where you must have reservations in order to find decent lodging.

    This article about Death Valley might give you some useful tips.

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