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  1. Default LA to Albuquerque in 17 days

    Hi everybody,

    Me and my wife (33) are planning a road trip from LA (starting on July 15th) to Albuquerque (getting there on July 31th).

    I know I'll have to skip some places, due to the amount of time, but I would like to visit the following:

    - Los Angeles (STARTING THE TRIP HERE on July 15th)
    - San Francisco
    - Yosemite
    - Sequoia
    - Death Valley
    - Las Vegas
    - Zion
    - Bryce Canyon
    - Grand Canyon
    - Monument Valley
    - Canyon de Chelly
    - Santa Fe
    - Albuquerque (GETTING THERE on July 31th)

    Anything between LA and Albuquerque can be changed in my itinerary.

    Does it make sense? Is it too much for 17 days? I don't want to rush a lot.

    I would like to know if anybody could help me with advices on topics such as:

    - which places to pick;

    - how long to stay in each place;

    - which hotels to stay - US$100-150;

    - other places not cited above;

    - turist traps to be avoided etc.;

    Considering the fact that I am not american, any information, even the obvious ones, would useful for me.

    Thank you!
    Last edited by CRUZEIRENSE; 05-28-2009 at 11:29 PM. Reason: I have made a mistake on the previous message

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    You can certainly visit all those places in 17 days, but time management is going to be critical. You won't be able to spend a full day in many of those places.

    I would definitely recommend you take at least 2 days to get from LA to SF and go up the CA-1 coast highway.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Something to build from.

    Hello and welcometo the RTA forums !

    I think your trip is quite realistic as long as you don't mind keeping on the move you will have a great time. The one place I would perhaps leave out is Sequoia, not because it isn't wonderful but it will free up valuable time between Yosemite and Death valley by using the Tioga pass [120] over the Sierra's. Of course it is up to you how much time you wish to stay in each place and I am unsure if you arrive in LA on the 15th or that's your actual leaving day, but with your timeline I would suggest something like this, LA > SF 2 days > SF for a day and a half and then drive to the Western approach of Yosemite [Groveland/Wawona?] DAY 5 and 6 explore Yosemite and leave over the Tioga pass at lunchtime [ish] and stop around the Bishop area]. Day 7 drive through DV to Vegas, day 8 in Vegas[so 2 nights]. Day 9 leave as early as poss for Zion, explore and stay in Springdale. Day 10 More walking in the canyon and head to Bryce in the afternoon, walk along the rim in the main canyon area and witness a sunset and stay the night. [Ruby's Inn ?] DAY 11, Drive to the far end of the canyon and stop at all the viewpoints on the way back up which are a few steps from the car. [By going to the far end first all the viewpoints are on your side of the road so you don't have to continuously pull across the traffic.] In the afternoon head for Kanab or Page. Day 12 and 13 visit the Grand canyon South rim [of course you could opt for the quieter North rim ] entering along Desert view drive [64]. Check out the Cameron trading post on the 89, cool shop and food and a possible lodging option if you leave for MV on the eve of day 13. Day 14, drive through Monument valley, explore and head for Canyon De Chelley.
    Days 15,16,17 head to Albu [and Santa Fe if you have the energy Lol !]

    That will give you an indication as to how your travel times will unfold with places you wish to see so have a look at your possibility's and when you have decided what will work for you let us know with any new questions that might arise.

    You may struggle to get accomodations in or around the parks already so that is something that will need looking at asap.
    Enjoy the planning !

  4. Default

    Thank you very much GLC and SOUTHWEST DAVE,

    Your hints have helped me a lot on being more specific about planning the trip.

    As I have 17 days (from LA to Albuquerque) and I don't want to be driving all that period long, I decided to give up on Bryce Canyon and Zion (I know they're wonderful, but let's leave them to another trip...). I also put aside Sequoia.

    So, based on your tips, that's how the schedule is organized, so far:

    DAY 1 (July 15th - Wed) - travel from LA to Monterey, via Pacific Coast Highway - 280 miles - visit Santa Barbara, Hearst Castle, Big Sur, Carmel, 17 mile road - sleep in Monterey

    DAY 2 (July 16th - Thu) - travel from Monterey to San Francisco, via Pacific Coast Highway -120 miles - visit San Francisco - sleep in San Francisco

    DAY 3 (July 17th - Fri) - visit San Francisco - sleep in San Francisco

    DAY 4 (July 18th - Sat) - visit San Francisco - sleep in San Francisco

    DAY 5 (July 19th - Sun) - travel from San Francisco - Yosemite (Wawona or Groveland) - 210 miles visit Yosemite - sleep at Yosemite

    DAY 6 (July 20th - Mon) - visit Yosemite - sleep at Yosemite

    DAY 7 (July 21th - Tue) - visit Yosemite (morning) - travel from Yosemite to Death Valley (via Tioga Pass) - 200 miles - sleep around Bishop

    DAY 8 (July 22th - Wed) - travel from Bishop area to Death Valley - 130 miles - visit Death Valley

    DAY 9 (July 23th - Thu) - visit Death Valley - sleep at Death Valley

    DAY 10 (July 24th - Fri) - travel from Death Valley to Las Vegas (early in the morning) - 140 miles - visit Las Vegas - sleep in Las Vegas

    DAY 11 (July 25th - Sat) - visit Las Vegas - sleep in Las Vegas

    DAY 12 (July 26th - Sun) - travel from Las Vegas to Grand Canyon (via Hoover Dam and Route 66) - 280 miles - visit Sky Walk (West Rim) and South Rim - Sleep in Grand Canyon

    DAY 13 (July 27th - Mon) - visit Grand Canyon - sleep in Grand Canyon

    DAY 14 (July 28th - Tue) - visit Grand Canyon - sleep in Grand Canyon

    DAY 15 (July 29th - Wed) - travel from Grand Canyon to Monument Valley (via Cameron Trading Post) - 175 miles - visit Monument Valley and Navajo Park - sleep in the Monument Valley area

    DAY 16 (July 30th - Thu) - travel from Monument Valley to Canyon de Chelly - 130 miles - visit Canyon de Chelly - travel from Canyon de Chelly to Acoma Pueblo area - 160 miles - sleep around Acoma Pueblo

    DAY 17 (July 31th - Fri) - visit Acoma Pueblo - travel from Acoma Pueblo do Albuquerque - 65 miles - get there at noon - END

    Somethings still worry me:
    - How is the best way to research hotels and motels?
    - Any specific suggestions?
    - Is the division of time and the mileage distances right?
    - What's the average speed on the roads I'll be passing through (so I can calculate the time spent on the road)?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    Day 1: Check the time when you finish with Hearst Castle - you may want to spend the night in San Simeon. You may not have adequate time left to make it to Monterey and still see the sights.

    Day 12: I would recommend you forego the West Rim - the only way in there is dirt roads, which you will not be allowed to use as per your rental car contract. You wouldn't have time either - when you get done with the delays for security to cross the dam, you are looking at a fairly full day just to go directly to the South Rim. The only thing really worthwhile at the West Rim is the Skywalk - which is quite expensive to enter and to me, not worth the hassle to get there.

    The best way to calculate speeds is use a mapping program and add 20%. is a good site to research hotels, but they don't list all chains, especially budget chains. Use that in conjunction with and if your preference is toward budget hotels.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula

    Default Lots of hotel info out there!

    When I've poked around for hotels, I can sometimes get a better rate at the but Travelocity, Expedia, and Orbitz are also good to check out. And CheapHotels (even if price isn't a factor they have nice hotels as well with some good price options.

    A standard used here to help figure out travel time is to divide the number of miles by 57. During an average travel day, with short stops for food/fuel/bio breaks, maybe some slowdowns due to construction or congestion, and a few very quick breaks to look at something scenic, our experience is that you'll roughly average 57mph during the course of a day like that. Of course, this doesn't count any time for stopping for more in-depth touring.

    I have not been to the Skybridge on the West side but I can say that reviews appear to be mixed. I think the Grand Canyon itself is so amazing that you don't need a gimmick to enjoy it. So I think your time would be better used by getting to the South Rim, staying there longer, and enjoying the many different viewpoints along Desert View Drive and maybe even doing a few short hikes down just a bit into the canyon. Just my opinion.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    The 57mph "rule" only applies to Interstate highways. This will be less on other roads, hence my suggestion. For example, going up CA-1 is very likely to be about half that.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula

    Default Good point!

    I neglected to look that closely at the itinerary/routing. Glad you caught that!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Good job !

    Your itinerary is looking good and I agree with the previous comments as well.
    A couple of points I will add is 1] If you decide not to visit West rim you could still take a small detour onto old route 66 from Kingman through Seligman and back to I-40 to Williams. There are some great little '66 memorabilia stores and diners along the route which make it fun.
    2] When you have checked out the Hotel search options [which you can get more info/reviews from Tripadvisor] and found one that suits your needs, use your search engine again to see if that hotel has it's own website. More often than not [or so I have found for me] that will be the cheapest option by going direct to the source. Even if they appear dearer you might find they have special deals or a "price promise" that they will match any better offer you find.

    If you want to stay inside the National parks [as I said it might already be to late] then check out for park info and lodging. [the site appears to be down at the moment].

  10. Default


    Thank you again. Following your advices, I gave up on West Rim, as well as I included a detour on Route 66 from Kingman to Seligman. Besides that, after visiting Hearst Castle I will try do stay overnight in San Simeon. Information on average speed and on booking hotels was also important.

    Can anyone advise me on renting cars (if there is a specific topic on the RTA website, please let me know)?

    See you

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