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  1. #11

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    Don't worry, Lifey, I am old enough and boring enough to realise that myself and, whilst I do love the area, the most important thing for me is not ticking off huge numbers of stops along the way but making sure K has a great time. It is important to us that we keep it relatively laid-back so I've decided not to get too carried away with stops this time :) I think the route detailed in the original itinerary (together with the amendments in post 8) is pretty much perfect for us.

    I figured it'd be great to go for the Million Dollar Highway if we're up for it when we're on the ground but, if not, leave things loose enough that we can take another day at Mesa Verde instead. I have tried to factor in a number of 'fire-breaks' along the way so that we can easily slow down if the need arises without affecting the overall plan.

    I am so set on the route now that I have in fact started to book a couple of things this morning: Solvang hotel was the first (she is Danish; it seemed apt!) and I have just reserved for 4th and 5th July in Zion's Watchmans Campground and 10th July in Arches' Devils Garden Campground. Both are prime spots according to the photos on the booking website so very happy with that. Next up will be the DV hotel (still needing help on this - see above), Queen Mary (their booking system seems to be broken) and the camping in Grand Canyon and Yosemite (booking window opens on the 15th Feb)

    Whilst the route is pretty much set now, I'd dearly love any input on the other questions posed through this thread to fine-tune the trip. Thanks in advance!
    Last edited by UKCraig; 01-11-2010 at 08:59 AM.

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    11,662

    Default Mind blowing !

    Yeah, I know what's it like, but I also know you will make the right choice's in getting the balance right, it's just a case of putting it out there and letting you chew on it.

    But Yes, the way you slotted the "Million dollar highway" in was the way I was thinking.

    Goosenecks ? I think you can camp up there but is remote and not much more than a large parking lot with a good view of the river. I would imagine it to be eerily quiet at night as not many people seem to venture there, but it's only a short diversion to visit. If you get away from Moab early enough you still might be better going on to Monument valley.

    As you know I don't do Hotels, but as you are travelling the Tioga pass and heading to Bodie between Yosemite and DV, I would have thought Panamint springs or Stovepipe wells would be good lodging options. Why ? Well it will be getting on in time when you arrive in DV and trying to get to Furnace creek might leave you feeling a little rushed to explore the park, and as like me you don't like back tracking, Furnace creek might be a little too close to Vegas.

    [That took ages to post, I got distracted by a snow avalanche from the roof that tried to make it's way through the conservatory roof and made me jump out of my skin ! Lol]

  3. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    7,169

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Southwest Dave View Post
    [That took ages to post, I got distracted by a snow avalanche from the roof that tried to make it's way through the conservatory roof and made me jump out of my skin ! Lol]
    Oh Dave, how I wish you could send some of it down here. At 7pm it was still over 41, and right now, 2am, I can still feel the perspiration running down my limbs. And no, I have not gone to bed. too darned hot, the fan is going full pelt.

    Lifey who is sweltering.

    p.s. apologies for hijacking your thread Craig

  4. #14
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    11,662

    Default San Fran.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lifemagician View Post
    Oh Dave, how I wish you could send some of it down here.
    So do I !!!!!! Lol.

    Now that I am back in my skin, I thought I would mention that we stayed in the "Best Western Grosvenor hotel" that has a free shuttle bus service from SF airport that was pleasant enough and good value, it might be worth checking it out.

    Downtown, the pricier hotels are close to the Union square area, but you can find some along Lombard Street. The East end [nearest the City] around Van Ness Ave is only a short walk to Ghiradelli square and the Piers with easy access to the Trolley cars into the centre.

    Car parking can be expensive, even at your Hotel so you might want to return it first or find a Hotel with free parking, [Lombard St being an option] but you won't need a car in the City.

  5. #15

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    Thanks for the further pointers, Dave. We have planned on returning the car to the airport on the evening of the 23rd, spending the night in a cheap hotel near the airport and then riding downtown on the BART the following morning. We definitely don't want the hastle or expense of a car whilst in the city, as you say. Thanks for the suggestion but I booked the HoJo at the airport this afternoon. It's a modern property so should be well-enough maintained; it has a free shuttle, free internet and an included breakfast: all for 36 bucks a night. So can't grumble at that!

    You are probably right about the hotel in DV seeing as you say it like that. I do like to see the sun come down in DV if I can though: do any of the DV locals that frequent this forum know of a good place to do that if based out there??

    Lifey, that sounds like pure bliss. If you were sat here in icebound Copenhagen you would likely agree! Though I would have to go out and buy a/c for the house if it were me ;)

  6. #16

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    Did you see Antelope Canyon on your previous trips? If not how about a similar leg like we did Canyonlands (we started in Torrey to split hairs) - Moki - Goosenecks - Monument Valley loop - late afternoon drive to Page. We stayed at the HI Express as mentioned by glc and it was great btw.
    Book a tour to Antelope in advance from Page with either Roger Ekis or turn up at the canyon and arrange a tour there.

    My choice for a central strip Vegas hotel on a budget would be Bills Gambling Hall - the old Barbarry Coast is well located between Ballys and the Flamingo. It's a nice compact hotel, it dosen't take hours to get from your room to the strip like most strip hotels and the Big Elvis show is a fun way to pass an hour.

  7. #17

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    Antelope Canyon is a definite maybe. It sounds good but looks like it will take more time than we have available so we'll have to wait until we get there to see how much energy we have.

    What is the Las Vegas Hilton like? Been offered a superior room for 75 bucks including tax. I know it's off the Strip but, to save the pennies, that'll be fine. Nether of us is really that bothered about Vegas, to be honest, we just feel we should spend one night there as K has never been and we feel she should at least experience it.

    Would still like some info on the best way to see the Channel Islands NP from Ventura if anyone knows anything? Looking for a day trip of a maximum of eight hours as we have to drive to Solvang afterwards and would like to find a place to eat there that night so arriving too late isn't really going to work.

    On the 22nd we start our drive north up the PCH and are planning to camp roughly midway. Any suggestions on the best camping? The Julie Pfeiffer Burns State Park camping is booked up for that night and I can find camping available at Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park and Kirk Creek Campground. The former has more facilities but the latter has rave reviews for its scenery. I am thinking that foregoing the luxury of a shower is going to be worth it for our last night camping. Any thoughts or tips on camping in the area before I book?

    Have booked the Stovepipe Wells hotel and the Queen Mary and I am thinking we will probably extend our stay at the Arches NP campground by an extra evening. We'll have to head down to Moab mid afternoon to book an ATV trip but it will be good to spend an extra night back at the campground as the cost of the cabin was more than I had remembered. And, what I had remembered from my earlier visit, was that they were seriously basic. So an extra night camping and then maybe the luxury of a hotel in town before the longer drives to Monument Valley and the Grand Canyon on the next couple of days.

    Talking of Monument Valley; what experience do you guys have of getting a place on the Mitten View Campground next to the visitor centre? It is first come/first served but we'll likely be arriving mid-afternoon: do you think we'll struggle? What fallback options would there be if we were to arrive and find it full?

  8. #18
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    10,104

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    I'm disappointed - the Star Trek Experience and Quark's Bar are no longer in the LV Hilton. However, the place is huge with tons of bars and restaurants and a casino, and the monorail to the Strip is right outside the front door.

    There are 3 authorized Channel Island concessionaires providing transportation. Check their websites for schedules and fees. Reservations are required.

  9. #19

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    Well, I hate Star Trek so that's good with me! ;) Yeah, the fact that the monorail was stopping there was certainly a swaying factor and I think that a hotel room is pretty much a hotel room no matter which hotel it is in (excluding Super 8, etc. of course) so it should work well. I read in the reviews that the check-in line can be long but that seems to me to be consistent across the whole of LV. They really should sort it out: maybe add self-service check-in machines like you get at the airport?

    Thanks for the link to the CI operators. I had found that before actually and was kinda hoping that someone here might have previous experience themselves but it seems not. I will, of course, report back here with my own findings after we have been :)

  10. #20
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    11,662

    Default Camping Big Sur and MV.

    As you know, I didn't make it along the PCH on my previous trip in the area but I did find and keep a link to this site relating to camping around Big Sur, and although quite expensive the Fernwood campground had a real appeal to me. Chances are you have stumbled across the site already but if not, who knows !

    I have no idea about The Mittens campground in MV but I don't know if I would want to risk it with little choice around. You can book at Gouldings lodge if you don't fancy winging it or else it would mean going to Kayenta or back to Mexican hat by the looks of things.

    Looks as though it's all coming together nicely, cool !

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