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  1. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    7,160

    Default To each his own.

    Quote Originally Posted by Karen Adams View Post
    I will say in answer to GLC's question about spending over 50% of our time in the cities ...
    That was actually me - female!

    - aw, come on, doesn't take much figuring out.....we women like to do the shopping thing and when you have 2 males and 2 females in your party, the females are always top trumps!
    When you come as far as you (and I) have to, I wouldn't waste my time shopping, when I can do all that at home. But nowhere else on earth will you see the spectacular scenery of the great southwestern national parks. I would far rather spend days in Zion, Bryce, Canyon Lands, Arches, Monument Valley, GC, Oak Creek Canyon, Death Valley, Sequoia, Kings Canyon and Yosemite.... to name only the most popular ones.

    Lifey

  2. #12
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,648

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Karen Adams View Post
    Thanks to GLC, we will definitely try a short hike into the canyon - I surmise these are signposted?
    Actually, I think that was my suggestion. But in any case, there are two trails down into the Canyon. The Bright Angel Trail and the South Kanab Trial. Bright Angel starts right in the GC Village, while South Kanab starts farther east off Desert View Drive.

    We've decided to use one of our LV days to do the side trip to the Hoover Dam which will provide us with a break from the razzmatazz and we no longer have to squeeze it in before we head for Bishop via the Death Valley.
    It really doesn't make any sense to make a separate trip to the Hoover Dam, as you will be driving right past it on your way to and from the Grand Canyon.

  3. #13
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,944

    Default

    There is no lodging on 120 between Lee Vining and the Yosemite Valley. Considering it only takes about an hour and a half to drive from Bishop to Lee Vining, I don't really see why you would need to spend a second night out there.

  4. #14

    Default

    Hi everyone!
    Just wanted to say a big thanks for all your tips and comments. It's all been very helpful and as a result we have completed our planning and booked all our overnight stops enroute. Thanks to you we have booked 2 nights around the GC area instead of just one; only 1 night enroute to the Tioga Pass, in Bishop, but 2 nights in Yosemite instead of one. We have reduced our stay in San Fran by a night and will definitely take a tour over the Golden Gate and explore a bit of the coastline up there. Carmel proved impossible to book on our way down to LA as we happened to coincide our journey with the popular Concours Car Show - everywhere within an hour's drive is booked chocabloc - but I did manage to squeeze a room in a no-frills motel in Salinas. We'll have our 2nd night in Cambria, so well pleased with that.
    Just wondered what you guys would recommend we take in whilst in LA.
    Also, I've been told that San Fran and along the coast down to Carmel is very chilly for days at a time, sometimes, in August due to the mist. Is that going to force us to carry something warm to wrap up in, after stripping off in the Vegas heat?
    Lastly, we would be most grateful if you could share your experiences with using a local SIM card. Is there one you would recommend over others? Would a local SIM card cover both Nevada and California, for example? We'll be flying to New York after LA - maybe we'll need a different SIM card there?
    Many thanks in advance for you continued invaluable help.

  5. #15
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,648

    Default

    You should certainly bring something warm for your time in California. It can certainly get chilly, especially with the mist, fog, and wind. As long as you have long pants and a jacket or sweatshirt, you should be good.

    The cell phone option you pick up in NY should work fine on the West Coast, although be aware, there will be parts of your trip where any cell phone service will be limited or non-existent. If you are just looking for service to talk/emergencies, you will probably be better off buying a cheap "disposable" prepaid cell phone, like from Tracfone. If you really want to keep your current phone and/or have data, you might want to check with TMobile, as they just switched to a no-contract set-up, and is probably your best bet for a reasonable price. TMobile and AT&T are the only major US carriers that work on a sim card system.

  6. #16
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    5,475

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Karen Adams View Post
    Just wondered what you guys would recommend we take in whilst in LA.
    Also, I've been told that San Fran and along the coast down to Carmel is very chilly for days at a time, sometimes, in August due to the mist. Is that going to force us to carry something warm to wrap up in, after stripping off in the Vegas heat?
    There is so much to see and do in Los Angeles, including the shopping you mentioned earlier in this thread. There are big theme parks in the LA metropolitan area: Disneyland/California Adventure/Downtown Disney in Anaheim, Knott's Berry Farm in Buena Park, Universal Studios/City Walk up in the Hollywood area, and Six Flags Magic Mountain up near Santa Clarita. Of course the Hollywood area is very touristy, with the Walk of Fame, Graumann's Chinese Theater, the Kodak Theater, and all the seedy shops in that area. Hollywood also has studio tours available - Warner Bros. and NBC are the most popular tours. (My husband and I have taken the "3 hour tour" at Warner Bros and enjoyed it very much.) Museums? World class museums in the area include Getty Museum. The beaches at Venice, Santa Monica, Huntington Beach and Malibu (Westward Beach, Zuma Beach) are popular.

    Yes, definitely bring a jacket. The coastal areas can get breezy and foggy.


    Donna
    Last edited by DonnaR57; 04-20-2013 at 07:37 AM. Reason: added info

  7. #17
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,944

    Default

    All of our major carriers have nationwide coverage. Note that although a T-Mobile sim may be the most economical in your situation, their coverage outside of cities and away from major highways is very poor compared to AT&T. Also, their data network is pretty slow.

    For best voice coverage, you are best off with a disposable prepaid phone that uses the Verizon network. For data, I'd recommend a laptop with wifi.

  8. Default

    You're doing a good job planning your trip.

    Having just returned from the Grand Canyon I concur that you'll be happier with more time on the South rim. Unless you walk, you'll be taking the shuttle bus to Hermit's Rest and getting off at the viewpoints which takes 4+ hours. You've also gotten the all-important reservations in Yosemite Valley. One of our favorite short hikes is from the Glacier Point Road to Sentinel Dome. One year we happened to hike with a wedding party. In addition to cool and foggy weather along the coast, it can also be cold up in the mountains.

    There's lots to do in LA however visitors sometimes underestimate how long it takes to get from one destination to another. You'll be able to find activities and places to match the interests of your family members.
    Last edited by CAnative; 04-21-2013 at 11:25 PM.

  9. #19

    Default

    Thanks once again for your invaluable input. We will certainly give the prepaid disposable phone option some serious thought. We will really only be using it for occasional voice calls and emergencies as we'll have an iPad with us for all the data stuff. Thanks Donna for your heads-up in LA. We're theme-parked out pretty much now but the Warner Bros studio tour seems enticing and the Getty museum is a must.

    We'll do Graumanns as we can't not, really, and I hate to admit it but a tour of the stars' homes is kind of appealing (although my husband detests all that celebrity culture) Lol! Do you have any feedback for such a tour?

    Thanks, CAnative, for the recommended short hike - however much we'd love to say we got real close to Mother Earth in Yosemite, we'd be the first to acknowledge that avid hikers we're not. Short hikes lasting a few hours are perfect for us and your recommended trail is definitely one which we'll consider.

    There's just one other thing I'd like to ask you guys and it's regarding safety in general but particularly safety on the road. We've driven around Florida on a prior trip to the USA and it became second nature but one isolated incident got us thinking and made us question our security bubble. We'd stopped to have an evening meal off the highway in Orlando and we were taking our time wrapping up the bill and our 3 kids (my eldest was 13 at the time) were getting bored having to wait for us. The sun was still up, it was a lovely evening and we caved in to their protestations to go and wait in the car for us. They'd only been gone for 5 minutes or so when an off-duty policewoman came over to our table (I guess we looked like the most likely candidates) and did no other than give us a right ticking off for allowing our children to be left unattended in a car! She said she could arrest us for such an action and explained that the whole Orlando area was not safe for such complacency (never mind we were not even downtown). I was astounded but grateful for her going out of her way and couldn't get to my kids quick enough! We still look back on it now and shudder to think what might have happened if they'd been on their own for what might have amounted to 5/10 minutes more - I have to assume she was not fooling around! Fore-warned is fore-armed as they say and any tips gratefully received as hope to get us all home intact at the end of the day (and without spending the night or two in some prison cell).
    Many thanks, again.
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 04-22-2013 at 10:06 PM. Reason: added some white space

  10. #20
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,648

    Default

    I think you found an officer who was more interested in enforcing the nanny-state than the actual law.

    I'd have a hard time figuring out what law you might have possibly broken by leaving your 2 younger kids in the care of a 13 year old for a few minutes, even if they were in a car.

    It's not to say that it is impossible for something to happen, and you've got truly moronic people who will leave their young kids alone, especially in the Hot Florida sun, but I think you found someone who was far more concerned about sticking her nose in your business than a genuine safety threat.

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