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Yosemite to Death Valley with 2 young kids in July

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Yosemite to Death Valley with 2 young kids in July

Hi our family is planning our 1st trip to the States, and we are planing to drive for most of our 4 weeks.

As my youngest son experiences some car sickness I have as much as possible based our itinery on driving no more than 4.5 hours per day, which I have managed to cater for until we reach our Yosemite to Death Valley section of the trip.

My question therefore is, how long is this leg of the trip? I assume it will be a long drive, so where do you suggest we make another stop, along the way - Lone Pine, Mammoth Lakes? Bearing in mind that after Death Valley we travel onto Las Vegas then onto the Grand Canyon.

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Uden, The...
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1. Re: Yosemite to Death Valley with 2 young kids in July

Yes, take your time and with 4 weeks you probably have the time for a leisurely drive.

From Yosemite drive Tioga Pass. Curvy so I hope your son will be all right. Then stop in Lee Vining. Have lunch or just some refreshments at Whoa Nelli Deli at the Mobil(?) pump just before the intersection with us 395. See Mono Lake.

Then the drive to Mammoth Lakes or Bishop. Take the short extra drive through June Lake Loop (ca158) Now you could stay in Mammoth Lakes and see Devils Postpile NM or drive to Bishop. For some food try Erik Schat's Bakery adjacent to the fine Best Western Creekside Inn in Bishop.

Next day the scenic drive along the Eastern Sierra to Lone Pine. Visit Alabama Hills where many movies were made in the old days. The views on the Sierras are great. Just stop a couple of miles outside Lone Pine on ca136 for photo's. Then drive to Death Valley and stay in Stovepipe Wells or Furnace Creek.t will be extremely hot in july with temps over 120F so always carry lots of water.

Then next day to Las Vegas seeing as much of DV as you can. You won't be out of the car much though in summer.

From Las Vegas to GCNP is some 5 hours and not much in between. Maybe stop at Hoover Dam or drive the old R66 stretch between Kingman and Seligman. Accomodation in Peach Springs and near the Grand Canyon caverns on R66. No accomodation along I40 between Kingman and Seligman.

Tet

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2. Re: Yosemite to Death Valley with 2 young kids in July

Good suggestions from Tet. Perhaps if you take extra breaks from the car during the day, your son could stand riding for another hour or two. If he is old enough, help him stay ocupied and focused with a journal, sketchpad, and/or camera to record his experiences.

Getting out, walking around and getting fresh air often help some people with carsickness. Fortunately, the entire route from Lee Vining to Death Valley lends itself well to this kind of exploring. There are unlimited things to see, places to stop to walk around or take pictures, and a few towns with stores or restaurants.

Mono Lake is a fascinating place to walk off your lunch from Whoa Nellie Deli.

thesierraweb.com/tiogagasmart/deli.html

Mono Lake isn't just any lake, but a unique geological formation and wildlife habitat. You don't say how old your kids are, but it's often fascinating for youngsters, with the weird tufa (calcium carbonate "towers" rising from the lakebed) and the many kinds of birds.

http://www.monolake.org/

Two spots along Mono Lake are especially interesting. One is north of the town of Lee Vining, near the Mono Inn restaurant. Turn east/right on Old Cemetery Road, which takes you to the cemetery (I think I want to be buried there) and the county park. The park has a boardwalk to a marsh where you can watch birds or see the tufa towers close up. For the other area, go south of town on 395, turn east/left on Hwy 120 to Navy Beach. There are also tufa towers right along the path, which indicate where the lake level once was before water started being diverted for the city of Los Angeles. There are some hot springs around Navy Beach.

Back on Hwy 395 at 120, you can see the monument to the Unknown Prospector at the SE corner. It reminds us of all the people from around the world who came to the West over the various mining bonanzas of the 19th and 20th centuries. A few did well and became prominent and famous (James Marshall, Lucien Nunn, Borax Smith, Adolph Sutro). Others just became part of the landscape. Some vanished, never to be heard from again by their families. This monument honors all those pioneers who dared to try something new.

June Lakes is a smaller resort community; Mammoth is more extensive and busier. There is a national park site there called Devil's Postpile, featuring basalt columns from old volcanic activity and great forested areas.

Bishop is a big town, as Eastern Sierra towns go (around 10,000 people). It has all the amenities; as Tet said, try Schat's Dutch Bakery for cookies, sheepherder's bread, etc. Also try Meadow Farms Smokehouse for jerky, ham, deli sandwiches and such. There is a railroad museum at Laws, just east of Bishop on Hwy 6.

Big Pine is the gateway town to the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest, home of the oldest known living trees. The forest is about 25 miles from Big Pine and part of the road is steep and curvy, but not especially hazardous.

http://www.fs.fed.us/r5/inyo/about/

Independence is the next real town; it's the county seat but is pretty small. It also has a fine museum, the Eastern California Museum. For many Americans or others interested in U.S. history, a worthwhile stop is Manzanar, south of Independence, one of the notorious internment camps where U.S. citizens of Japenese ancestry were held during WWII.

Before you know it, you'll be in Lone Pine. Along with the Alabama Hills, drop into the Dow Villa Hotel on Main Street to see their lobby full of old movie memorabilia. Tet mentioned all the movies that were made in this area, and the Dow was where many Hollywood personalities stayed. The historic hotel is still available for guests, along with a more modern (ho-hum) motel section.

All these towns have visitor services--more choices in Mammoth, Bishop, and Lone Pine. Enjoy your trip!

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3. Re: Yosemite to Death Valley with 2 young kids in July

To Tet 14 and Frisco Roadrunner thank you both for your comprehensive response to my question. Thanks to both of you, I now have a clearer idea about this leg of the trip.

I can't wait to wonder at all of nautures beauty, and it sounds like our appetite will be catered for along the way with your food stop recommendations.

I therefore need to work out if our overnight stay will be in Mammouth Lakes or Bishop? From what I read, am I right in saying that Mammouth Lakes is probably in a more asthetically appealing location, but Bishop, has the conviences of a larger town, and is closer to Death Valley, so less driving the following day? Any accommadation recommendations, for either town? Would especially like a place with a nice big cool pool for the kids, and icy cold beer for myself :)

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4. Re: Yosemite to Death Valley with 2 young kids in July

We have been to Mammoth and the NM but didnot stay there. It's very scenic and it will have good lodging. We stayed in Bishop and Lone Pine. I already mentioned the Best Western Creekside Inn in Bishop. Great place. Large pool and a natural creek runs right through the gardens. Rooms with balconies and patios. Ask for a creekside room! And for a cold beer...First thing to buy before you go en route is a cooler of course. We always manage to keep our drinks cool. You can buy ice in any foodstore and at gaspumps. Many hotels also have a fridge with a small freezer and make your own ice cubes then. Also all hotels have icemachines but they are not supposed to fill the coolboxes. It also helps to put a couple of bottles of water in the freezer and use it as a cooling element and you'll also have cold water all day.

Tet

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5. Re: Yosemite to Death Valley with 2 young kids in July

We're glad to help, Aussietez. The difference from Mammoth Lakes to Bishop is less than 50 miles or around 70-75 km. In the overall scheme of your trip, it isn't a lot.

Mammoth is a resort town, but it has all the amenities any visitor might need: lots of lodging choices, golf courses, gas stations, many restaurants, supermarkets (mega-grocery stores with all the food depts under one roof), and several shopping centers. You can buy all sorts of outdoor equipment, clothing, and supplies for whatever seasonal conditions exist when you are there.

If saving a little under an hour on the next day's travel is important, Bishop would be your choice. Also, this may interest you--it tends to slip my mind because I don't gamble. Bishop has an Indian casino, owned by the Paiute Shoshone tribe. Indian casinos operate by special agreements between governments and tribes, in states or cities where casino gambling is otherwise not legal. They often have casino amenities like restaurants, bars, and sometimes entertainment or lodging.

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6. Re: Yosemite to Death Valley with 2 young kids in July

I've stayed in Mammoth with my children as it is close to Devil's Postpile NM (excellent accommodations), but think you might be better off getting to Bishop. The trip over Tioga Pass might not help with car sickness. A good few minute interim stop would be at Tenaya Lake.

Definately pick up lunch at the Whoa Nellie Deli.

There are medications for motion sickness, have you considered checking into that?

If you'd like, we'd be glad to help you with suggestions for the entire trip.

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7. Re: Yosemite to Death Valley with 2 young kids in July

Hello,

It's going to be hot in july, so make sure you have plenty of water and hats. But being from Australia I'm sure you know about desert !

I've seen cars break down in the Death Valley, our rental did that when I was visiting with my mother. A little scary.

Also, when in the Yosemite area, on the Lee Vining side, allow time if you can to visit Bodie, the ghost town, amazing in my opinion. You should find plenty of information online about it.

Try to go as early as possible so it's not tooooooo hot. Lots of great pictures to take there. It's a voyage into the past and like being sent in the 1870's.

Isabelle.

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8. Re: Yosemite to Death Valley with 2 young kids in July

Hello,

It's going to be hot in july, so make sure you have plenty of water and hats. But being from Australia I'm sure you know about desert !

I've seen cars break down in the Death Valley, our rental did that when I was visiting with my mother. A little scary.

Also, when in the Yosemite area, on the Lee Vining side, allow time if you can to visit Bodie, the ghost town, amazing in my opinion. You should find plenty of information online about it.

Try to go as early as possible so it's not tooooooo hot. Lots of great pictures to take there. It's a voyage into the past and like being sent in the 1870's.

Isabelle.

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9. Re: Yosemite to Death Valley with 2 young kids in July

Aussietex is going from «Yosemite to Death Valley [and] Las Vegas»

Please visit the DRIVING DIRECTIONS page geocities.com/touringsfo/…DriveDir.html where most of your questions are answered. It's augmented by the linked report "A Trip to Las Vegas…" that also has, at the bottom, a chart with point-to-point distances and times.

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10. Re: Yosemite to Death Valley with 2 young kids in July

To all my American Trip Advisor cousins and Tet from The Netherlands, thanks so much for all your valuable advice. I'm starting to get a better grip on this leg of our trip now, and can't wait until we get there.

Brodie sounds like a great stop over, and will also take a pit stop at Tanyaya Lake, which I hope will help with my sons car sickness.

On the subject of car sickness we have been experimenting with various different things, from motion sickness medication, which are reasonably successully although they tend to leave you with a dry mouth, to more natural things like ginger drinks, which have less side affects but are also generally less effective. But by far the most successfull remedy (recommended by our Scouts Cub leader) has been to place two band aids across my sons belly button. Its sounds strange I know, but it has worked most times, and has something to do with pressure points on the body.

As for your warnings about the desert and associated heat, we will be prepared with lots of water (portable ice box is a great idea), hats, and plenty of sunscreen. I've just returned from North Western New South Wales, which isn't actually a desert, but very dry with little water, and 30 to 40 degree celcius days. It will be interesting to compare Death Valley to our vast brown land.

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