Greetings! First post here, and I'm so glad I found this web site! Thumbs up to the creators! =)
Me and two friends are planning a road trip in the Southwestern U.S. this spring, and need some help and inspiration.
The scenario: We're leaving San Francisco in the morning of March 31st. Need to be in Phoenix by noon on April 8th (in time for Opening Day at Chase Field). We're staying in S.F. a few days before the road trip and leaving Phoenix for Las Vegas on the morning of April 10th. (We're then doing 5 nights in Las Vegas, before heading to Orlando, FL, for a week. Then it's time to head home...)
The problem: What route shall we take and where shall we spend our 8 nights?
One thing we'd like to do is drive south from S.F. along the Pacific Coast Highway. Don't know for how long, but we're looking at staying in Morro Bay. But that might be too long of a drive to do in just one day, maybe? We don't want to just drive, drive, drive the entire day. We're looking to do a handful of stops along the way.
After Pacific Coast Highway, the plan is to head east towards Bakersfield and on. Some things that we've been looking at and are interested in:
- Death Valley National Park and the surrounding areas.
- The area in southern Utah, with Zion National Park and Bryce Canyon. Possibly with a stay in St George or Kanab?
- Four corners monument and Southwestern Colorado. Been looking at and reading about Durango, CO, and it seems like quite a nice place.
- Ghost towns!
- Scenic routes along the way.
- It would be nice to at least enter New Mexico in some fashion, just to set foot in another state and take one off the list. 37 states to go...
We're not that interested in Grand Canyon this time around, since we've been to both the west and south rim before. Also, we did the trip between Phoenix and Page, AZ, in 2009 and have been to most of the parks and monuments along the way. Have been to Hoover Dam before as well, but we're planning to drive by when heading for Las Vegas.
I understand that there's quite a distance - to say the least - between the west coast and, say, Durango, CO. And that there's a lot of driving involved. So I'm fully aware that we might not get to see all the things I listed above.
As I mentioned, we'd rather not spend every single day in the car, driving. We want to do stops along the way, but not looking at any hiking or all-day adventures in the parks or such things. However, since there's three of us driving, if needed we can do some serious non-stop driving for at least half a day or more, in to the late evening, just to get to a place in time.
Also, we're perfectly fine with staying more than one night at the same place. Durango, for example, seems to be a town where I'd love to spend an extra night. ;)
So, with that said, please post your suggestions and opinions on how to spend our 8 days on the road. Thanks! =)