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  1. Default Winter Roadtrip in the West of America

    Greetings for all the great members of this forum !
    I've been reading many many threads that resembles our dream trip until I've lost my bearings.
    I took a bit of a rest and was back again searching this great forum to make the best out of our big trip in the US.

    We're a big family and we rented a big van (I think it'll be a Chev Express)
    and hopefully it make our dreams come true.

    I've charted a very tight schedule and hope it'll be possible.

    I appreciate very much any kind of advices, tips, corrections, etc from anyone with
    expertise or experiences on the roadtrips of the Great West America.

    Time: Around the start of February

    ++ Winter roadtrip essentials and preparations ++

    ice scraper,
    jumper cables,
    warning devices (flares),
    sand or kitty litter,
    high-calorie non-perishable food,
    Bottled water,
    tire chains or 'cable chain',
    gloves for installing the chains.

    ++ Our itinerary ++

    - Santa Barbara: 2 nights.
    ** I think we'll be covering Solvang before the big trip
    . short stop in San Luis Obispo
    ** We'll miss Big Sur to save time
    . short stop in Pebble Beach, lunch, enjoy 17mile drive
    . straight to San Francisco through Hwy 1 and Hwy 17

    - San Francisco
    . one night in San Francisco
    . enjoy a quick tour in the morning, have lunch and head to Yosemite NP

    - Yosemite NP
    . There's a recommendation to take Hwy 140 to Yosemite through Merced and
    have less chance of snow problems. Depending on the time we might have a quick
    stop in Mariposa Grove although I doubt it since it's winter time and daylight is
    . one night in or around Yosemite
    . quick tour, lunch and back to the highway.

    - Bakersfield
    . short stop in Mariposa Grove if not seen.
    . one night in Bakerfield. This is the first place I chose on top of my head
    because the journey to Las Vegas is too long for one daytrip.
    **I appreciate if anyone can recommend a better stop for a night between
    Yosemite NP and Las Vegas.
    . breakfast and back to the highway

    - Las Vegas
    . two nights
    . early start towards Bryce Canyon

    - Bryce Canyon
    . one night
    . quick tour, lunch and back to the highway.
    ** Some concerns driving after sunset towards Grand Canyon

    - Grand Canyon
    .one night

    - Back to Vegas for a night
    . I've seen recommendations to stop in Laughlin or Kingman instead. What's the attractions ?

    - Home to LA

    Thanks in advance !

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

    Default forest for the trees

    Quote Originally Posted by John Park View Post
    ** We'll miss Big Sur to save time
    Welcome to the RTA forum!

    I will say, Big Sur is generally consider the most spectacular part of the coast highway, and I don't think I've ever had someone plan to generally follow the coast, and say they're going to skip it. I find that especially odd since you're dedicating 2 days to Santa Barbara and then trying to race to San Francisco.

    Speaking of which, if you're only spending one night in San Francisco, after a long day on the road, and going to Yosemite the next day, I kind of wonder what the point is.

    There are several things like that in your plan. The other "what's the point" one is the trip to Bryce - trying to drive from Vegas, see it, and then cover more ground back towards the canyon means you'll barely have no time to look around Bryce.

    You can certainly do what you've laid out, but I think you're trying to do so much you're going to go everywhere, and see nothing. I'd really look at making some adjustments and probably cutting out a stop or two.

    I've seen recommendations to stop in Laughlin or Kingman instead. What's the attractions ?
    The attraction is that both places are basically on the way to LA, while Vegas is well to the north, adding a couple extra hours to the drive.
    Last edited by Midwest Michael; 01-14-2011 at 12:11 PM.

  3. Default

    Thanks for the quick feedback Michael. As I mentioned earlier I got burned by reading so many threads. This will be a roadtrip that comes in a lifetime and my ambitions made me forget the enjoyment of the roadtrip.
    Unfortunately the Santa Barbara 2 night stay has been booked by relatives and I can't do much to change it but I'm open to suggestions. I might be able to add another night in somewhere and leave out a destination or two. I would gladly hear advices.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    One place where you could actually pick up some time is between Yosemite and LV. This can actually be done in one dedicated day. It's a 10 to 11 hour drive. If you do need to break it up, I'd recommend Barstow over Bakersfield.

    The road to Mariposa Grove is not open in the winter.

  5. Default

    Thanks glc, I've confused Mariposa Grove with Mariposa town, how different places they are ! I'll be skipping that place.
    That might be a good idea, see how far I can go from Yosemite to LV in a day and if it's too much I'll stop in Barstow.
    I'm biased with Michael's comment about leaving out the best of the west coast The Big Sur, add another day on the coast or make it to SF in a day ? and have 2 days in Yosemite and be fresh to start a full day's journey to LV ?
    Btw do you happen to know if It's better to reserve the lodges beforehand or would it be better to go and search ?
    Thanks in advance !

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default My thoughts.

    In your original itinerary I have to agree with Michael, you are driving some distance in places just to grab a few hours at the destination. I also agree that with time being limited there is no point in heading all the way back to Vegas from Grand canyon and adding miles to your journey back to LA.

    As much as I love Bryce canyon, this is a part of the trip that I personally would reconsider. It is a long way out from anything else on your trip and being at such high elevation you could see a lot of snow and it's not unusual for day time temps to struggle to get above freezing and night time temps to be well below. In the event of a heavy snow storm the park roads can also be subject to temporary closures. I would use some of that time in the early part of your trip and then from Yosemite head to Death valley for a night and then to Vegas to Grand canyon South rim [the North rim will be closed so make sure of your routing] and then to LA with a possible stop around Joshua tree NP.

    Of course it is your thoughts that matter but I thought I would 'put it out there' anyway.

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