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Arizona/Nevada/California - 23 day road trip

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Arizona/Nevada/California - 23 day road trip


We're in the process of planning our road trip for September 2014. After some fab advice on previous posts we've begun to finalise the trip and started to book some of the "in demand" hotels and have booked our flights :-) We've finalised the plans in terms of number of nights and where we'd like to be but would appreciate any feedback!

Here's the plan...any advice/guidance/tips more than welcome:

Day 1: Fly into Phoenix (PM arrival) pick up hire car, night 1 in the north of the city to set off on the morning of day 2

Day 2: Phoenix to Flagstaff (2hrs 30mins). Overnight in Flagstaff to set off early, 8am at the latest, on day 3

Day 3: Flagstaff to 4 Corners Monument (3hrs 45mins). Then 4 Corners to Monument Valley (1hr 30mins). Overnight booked at The View Hotel in MV.

Day 4: MV to Grand Canyon (4hrs 15mins). Overnight booked at Bright Angel Lodge.

Day 5: Grand Canyon - We did hope that we would be able to do the overnight mule ride and stay at Phantom Ranch but despite contacting them almost 12 months in advance (which took various attempts by email and phone) they are fully booked :-( ...this leaves us with a dilemma - do we book an extra night at Bright Angel or are there any other 1 night trips we can look at? We're struggling with this one!!!

Day 6: GC to Hoover Dam (3hrs 45mins). Hoover Dam Tour. Hoover Dam to Las Vegas (45mins)

Day 7 & 8: Las Vegas - thinking of staying at MGM Grand and do as many things in Vegas as possible! (Stratosphere jump & rides/shows/fountain/gambling)

Day 9: LV to Death Valley (2hrs 30mins). Death Valley to Lone Pine (2hrs). Lone Pine to Mammoth Lakes (2hrs). Overnight in Mammoth Lakes

Day 10: Mammoth Lakes to Yosemite Valley (2hrs 30mins). 3 nights booked in a lodge at Curry Village.

Day 11 & 12: Yosemite - plan to hike and cycle to see as many sites as possible (Glacier Point, Wowona).

Day 13: Yosemite to Sonoma (4hrs 30mins). 2 nights booked at the Victorian Garden Inn.

Day 14: Sonoma - Plan to do tastings and desperately want Schramsberg but I'm struggling to contact them!

Day 15: Sonoma to San Francisco (1hr 30mins) - may detour to the retail outlet in Napa if I'm allowed! 3 nights in San Fran.

Day 16 & 17: San Fran - plan to cycle, Segway, visit Alcatraz, sports and any other touristy stuff!

Day 18:May trade in hire car for a convertible. San Fran to Monterey (2hrs 30mins) Overnight in Monterey.

Day 19: Monterey to Pismo Beach (2hrs 30mins) Overnight at Pismo Beach.

Day 20: Pismo to LA (3hrs 15mins) 3 nights in LA

Day 21 & 22: LA - sightseeing (Hollywood, sports, Venice beach, Universal studios)

Day 23: Fly home from LAX at 9.30pm

Sorry its such a long post but I want to give a full picture so that comments are relevant. The drive times are just estimates...I have no doubt that we will want to make LOTS of stops along the way to view the scenery!

Any suggestions of things to do or places to stay would be much appreciated.


Jen & Will

Park City, Utah
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for Utah, Winter Sports
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1. Re: Arizona/Nevada/California - 23 day road trip

Very good overall plan with appropriate allocation of timeframes. The only point of note that I can see is that day two is somewhat weak. Unless you have some other reason for visiting Flagstaff, why not drive the two hours on arrival which would then allow you to do your Monument Valley visit on day two, essentially gaining you a day. Part of the challenge, I suspect, is your desire to hit the Four Corners. While it's a novel stop, it's not really that interesting. I feel you would gain more on the overall trip by doing Flagstaff on arrival, Monument Valley on day two, then move on to the rest of the itinerary.

You do have a one-way drop on the car. Look at various UK brokers for best deal. Would definitely make sense to consider car change in San Fran - partially to avoid paying high parking rates in the city where you won't need the car.

Have fun.

Destination Expert
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2. Re: Arizona/Nevada/California - 23 day road trip

skip Flagstaff. Head to Sedona and spend 2 or 3 days there. Then head to Monument Valley.

As for the Grand Canyon, make sure you have a full day there. Perhaps 2 nights? We had a day and 1/2 and used up all the time. There are many, many viewpoints and you can walk down into the canyon and back at least a short ways.

Marina, California
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for Tucson
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3. Re: Arizona/Nevada/California - 23 day road trip

Definitely spend that extra night at the Grand Canyon. Sandwiching it in between two days of some fairly long drives is a mistake, so you really need that extra night to get the real experience.

Check the one-way rental before you go too far. Convertibles are really, really pricey as it stands, and a one-way is only going to make it worse. September can be a little iffy on weather anyway, so I think you have to make the decision since you only have two days on the road: is the convertible worth it even if it's cloudy the whole time?

Schramsberg appears to offer tour reservations online. Did that not work for you because of the UK credit card? http://www.schramsberg.com/visit.html

4. Re: Arizona/Nevada/California - 23 day road trip

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