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  1. #11
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    10,104

    Default

    There is very little cell phone coverage anywhere in rural Nevada. If that's a major concern, then the only way to cross NV is on I-80. Along US-50 between I-70 and Fallon, your only fuel/food options are in Delta UT, Ely, Eureka, and Austin NV (and it's very limited and gas is expensive in Eureka and Austin). Stock up on everything in Ely.

    On I-70, there is no food/fuel between Green River and Salina UT, and very intermittent cell coverage.

    Tioga Pass into Yosemite is generally open well into October.

    Rachel is it along the ET Highway, there's nothing else. There is no gas between Alamo on US-93 and Tonopah on US-6.

    The only way to comfortably get from LV to SF in 1 day is via Bakersfield.

    Now - you have 4 days and you want a diversion. 2 long days will get you to LV, then you could take 2 days going via the ET and Yosemite via US-93/NV-375/US-6/CA-120. Where to spend the night would depend on what time you got to Lee Vining, that's the last lodging before you enter the park. The only affordable lodging inside Yosemite are the tent cabins in Curry Village, and west of the park you have some choices. It's only about 4 to 5 hours to Sunnyvale from Yosemite.

    However, if you are moving to Sunnyvale, you will have plenty of opportunities to take trips to Yosemite on your days off.

    Going via the northern route is feasible in 4 days, with your overnights in Raton/Trinidad, Grand Junction, and Ely. An option instead of going via Denver would be US-50 from Pueblo to Grand Junction. It won't save time but it's over 50 miles shorter and it's very scenic.

  2. #12
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,722

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Kilo Delta View Post
    Is there cell phone coverage along this route? My only worry/concern is what happens if my car develops a problem, even as simple as, say, a flat tire, someplace in the middle of nowhere along US-50? How good or bad is the availability of gas and food options between UT/NV border and Carson City along this road?
    Here's the thing, if cell phone coverage is the basis of where you are going to go on this trip, then you are practically limited to using only interstate highways. As you get into the rural areas of the west, cell coverage is going to become very spotty.

    Of course, people were taking roadtrips for decades before there was even such a thing as a cell phone. If you break down, you'd have to wait for help. Of course, before any trip you should also be making sure your car is in top condition before you leave, by taking it to a trusted mechanic. You should also know how to do basic things, like changing a tire, because even with a cell signal it could take a few hours for a tow truck to reach you in more remote parts of the west.
    Google Maps says the road cutting across Yosemite "may be closed seasonally". Will this road be open and in safe driving condition this time of the year?
    Tioga Pass, along with several other sierra passes are not plowed in the winter - which closes them typically from Nov-May or so, if you are leaving anytime soon, this should not be an issue at all.

  3. Default

    Thanks for the replies and the advice so far, folks!

    OK, so I am getting myself mentally prepared that there will be patchy cell phone coverage on either routes. I will be driving a one year old 2012 Honda Civic and I just got the oil change done, along with which the dealer did something called a "24 point check" where they apparently check all fluid levels and brakes etc. Is that enough or do I need to get something more checked from a mechanic? I am hoping the reliable Honda will take me through the desert without issues :D

    Cell phone coverage aside, just from the scenic point of view, which route would be better? The one via Albuquerque-Vegas-Reno or via Grand Junction-US Route 50-Reno?

    On the northern route, someone suggested stopping overnight at Raton, Grand Junction and Ely. I was thinking of doing overnight in Raton, Salina UT and Carson City NV, keeping the 4th day relatively short, maybe stopping for an hour or so at Lake Tahoe. Is this do-able or am I stretching myself too far on the first three days?

  4. #14
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    10,104

    Default

    I have a 2003 Ford pickup truck with 157k on it, and I'd hop in it tomorrow and drive cross-country without a worry. You have a brand-new car.

    For scenery, I'd go the northern route, because the bulk of the scenery along the southern route is something you can do any time later out of SF on days off.

    I wouldn't plan on pushing anything - see how it goes as you go. You shouldn't need reservations anywhere. However, the only place between Salina and Fallon I'd count on being able to find an acceptable room is Ely. Why stop at Tahoe? That's someplace you can go any time if you are going to be living in SF. I'd concentrate on CO and UT for scenery.

  5. Default

    Based on all the advice so far and my own research, I have decided of doing it in 4 days (more like 3 long and 4th short day). My parents stay out of the country and this trip will be their only chance to see the sights along the way so I want to include either a small stop at Lake Tahoe or Yosemite on the way. Personally I have always been fascinated by "Area 51" and the "Extraterrestrial Highway" so if that can be done without too much of a detour, I'd like to do that too.

    Based on all this, now I cannot decide which of these options to finalize-

    Option 1:
    Day 1- Dallas to Albuquerque via Amarillo and I-40,
    Day 2- Albuquerque to Henderson/Las Vegas via I-40/US-93,
    Day 3- Las Vegas to Carson City/Reno via US-93/NV-375 "Extraterrestrial Highway" (Area 51),
    Day 4- Carson City to Sunnyvale via Sacramento on US-50/I-80, stopping for some time at Lake Tahoe

    Option 2:
    Day 1- Dallas to Santa Rosa via Amarillo and I-40
    Day 2- Santa Rosa to Kingman, AZ on I-40
    Day 3- Kingman, AZ to Tonopah, NV via US-93/NV-375 "Extraterrestrial Highway" (Area 51)
    Day 4- Tonopah to Sunnyvale via Yosemite using State Route 120 that cuts right through Sierra Nevadas and Yosemite

    Option 3: Very Northern route
    Day 1- Dallas to Raton, NM via Amarillo
    Day 2- Raton, NM to Salina, UT on US-50/I-70
    Day 3- Salina to Carson City, NV on US-50 apparently advertised as "The Loneliest Road in America"
    Day 4- Carson City to Sunnyvale via Sacramento on US-50/I-80, stopping for some time at Lake Tahoe

    An alternate routing here would be

    Day 3- Salina to Tonopah, NV on US-93
    Day 4- Tonopah to Sunnyvale via Yosemite using State Route 120 that cuts right through Sierra Nevadas and Yosemite

    Which out of these would you recommend? Or any other option besides what I am seeing on Maps? Where to stay overnight?

  6. #16
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,722

    Default

    Really, what stands out to me is all of the pretty amazing sites you've be very close to, but it doesn't appear you've even considered.

    Obviously, the Grand Canyon would be the biggest one that would be quite near your path, but you've also got pretty much all of Utah that you haven't even mentioned. For example, from Albq or Santa Fe, you could head up to the 4 corners, on a route that could take you past places like Monument Valley, Canyonlands, and Arches. You could also go past the Grand Canyon and up past Zion and/or Bryce Canyon before continuing into Nevada.

    Now, with the limited time you have, and desire not to do this trip in 3.5 days, you don't really have a lot of time to work with, so anything you would add would be limited, but you've really got a whole lot of options beyond what you've listed so far. If this really is your parents only chance to see the American West, then I'd recommend you do anything you can to add more time to your trip.

  7. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Midwest Michael View Post
    Really, what stands out to me is all of the pretty amazing sites you've be very close to, but it doesn't appear you've even considered.
    Yes, that is why I came here to you knowledgeable folks :) Google Maps can give me directions and distances but it does not tell anything about what attractions I would have within a stone's throw from my route. I gave the route, so that you guys can point out interesting stops to make along the way. I will look at the ones you mentioned in previous reply, but if there are more places, please tell me about it.

    My parents have seen Grand Canyon South Rim, Hoover Dam and Vegas, hence I specifically did not include those in the itinerary. It's the other lesser-known places of interest that I'd like to cover on this trip.

  8. #18
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,722

    Default

    You've really found one of the major downfalls of trying to start your planning with an online mapping program. It can be a great tool, but it just doesn't provide nearly the scope or perspective that you can get by actually looking at a paper map. You're going to need one for your trip anyway, so I'd highly recommend that you pick up an atlas now. You should be able to get one for under $10 at your favorite big box store.

  9. #19
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    11,658

    Default Long days in the car.

    You could have an amazing trip with time to check out some great places with just one extra day, but as it is you will have little time out of the car. As you have no real desire to go to the Grand canyon and Vegas and would like to travel the ET Highway [be warned there is nothing much to see] this is what I would probably do.

    From Albu head north on 550, west on 64 to Shiprock/Teec Nos Pos and stop at Four corners on 160 for the obligatory pose with one limb in each of of the four states. Then take CO41/UT161/US191/US163 to Monument Valley for another quick stop, perhaps ending your day in Page AZ. Next day US89/UT9 to Zion NP via the Mount Carmel tunnel before heading north on UT17/ I15 towards Cedar City to UT56/NV319/US193/NV318 to NV375, the ET Highway. You could take a break at the 'LittleAlien'Inn' in Rachael and enjoy the 'out of this world pictures' before continuing to Tonopah on US6. At the junction of 375 and US6 is the deserted buildings of Warm Springs [an old stagecoach stop] which has a hot tub in the middle of nowhere, fed from from the hot spring from the mountain that can be seen with a short walk. From US6 you can connect with CA120 and take that through Yosemite NP on the wonderful Tioga Pass and onto San Fran.

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