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Suggestions for November trip?

Suggestions for November trip?

Old Jul 11, 13, 5:48 pm
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Lightbulb Suggestions for November trip?

Hi folks

I've got an upcoming trip this November to California. It's partly based around a BA Tier Point run from LAS to SJU so some aspects of it are fixed, but I'd be really interested in any suggestions around some spare time I have in my itinerary.

Basically I arrive back into LAS early on Sunday evening. I'm staying overnight there to recuperate a bit and then picking up a hire car the next day (~$100 all-in one-way rental with Hertz).

My return flight home isn't until 20:45 on the Thursday night, so I've got pretty much a full four days to get myself from LAS to LAX.

At present I've provisionally booked (reward points so fully cancellable) into the Hilton Palm Springs for one night and the WA La Quinta for a couple nights. My plan was to focus on seeing Joshua Tree National Park and relaxing a bit at La Quinta but thought I'd throw it out to the experts here to see what suggestions people had. I'm hopeful the weather should be fairly pleasant that this time of year? (early Nov)

I've been to LA a couple of times recently so I'm not planning on spending any significant time there, just aiming to arrive at LAX around 6pm or so to drop off my hire car.

Thoughts/suggestions on places to see and/or best routings to take very welcome!
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Old Jul 11, 13, 8:47 pm
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Im not sure which LQ you are thinking of staying at. there are a lot of LQs in SoCal and the "WA" I cant decipher.

If you want to do Joshua Tree I would suggest maybe looking at mid March because then you get the flower season. November is still fine.

Early november should be fine in terms of weather. Dec-Feb is the rainy season.

If you are staying in Vegas on sunday night and leaving monday AM.

2 ways to drive....I-15 to barstow then cut SE to JT or driving down US 95 then cutting over to JT. I suggest the latter.

Monday night in Palm springs then tues AM return to JT for the AM then drive to a LQ.

Tuesday PM-Thursday PM in the LA area.

Unsure what interest you....and you said you did LA before.

How tied are you to the 4 day trip? Can you do 5?

Have you done San Diego? Santa Barbara? Santa Maria? Are you looking to stay near the coast?
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Old Jul 11, 13, 11:12 pm
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WA ??
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Old Jul 11, 13, 11:59 pm
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When it comes to desert national parks, I'd not rate Joshua Tree that highly. I wouldn't allocate more than a day.

In my book, Death Valley wins hands down -- and the season starts in November. The only problem would be in getting a room if your visit happened to coincide with the annual Death Valley Encampment. Note there are no chain hotels there and gas/food are expensive -- but it's really worth it.
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Old Jul 12, 13, 12:40 am
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Sorry, WA = Waldorf Astoria

I'm afraid by days are totally fixed as the flight into LAS and out of LAX are non refundable bookings.

Will only budget max one day for JT National Park. Will investigate re Death Valley.

I'm by no means tied to the early sting hotel bookings or even hire car reservation for these days if folks thought there were other better options. I've been to San Diego in the past couple of years but open to any suggestions re areas around the coast or en route to LA that would be worth seeing/staying at.
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Old Jul 12, 13, 12:50 am
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PS looks like DV Encampment starts 7th Nov this year - how many days in advance does it tend to get busy?

Am also quite open to taking another flight from LAS to somewhere then picking up a car there is it's looking like I'm going about things the wrong way driving from there.
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Old Jul 12, 13, 11:56 am
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Never been to the DV Encampment, but the main impact will be on rooms. If you can get a room it shouldn't bother you too much, Death Valley is a HUGE park. There are only three places to stay in the entire park and precious little near to the park. Here they are, from cheapest to most expensive:

Stovepipe Wells
Furnace Creek Ranch
Furnace Creek Inn

There are also campgrounds. These do not offer much in the way of privacy since, after all, there aren't any trees. A goodly chunk of Death Valley has no plants at all, you won't see cactus in Death Valley as it's too dry. A hundred years ago this month, the highest recorded temperature on earth was seen at Furnace Creek. But it should be nice in November, bring a swimsuit if staying at Furnace Creek.
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Old Jul 12, 13, 12:13 pm
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Looks like there's availability OK, although as you say the prices aren't necessarily the cheapest!

Obviously if I went down the DV route then it would be heading North from LAS instead - which places would be good suggestions for places to visit on that routing to LAX? Would you go as far West as Santa Barbara and then down the coast?

It looks like I either go North from LAS via DV and drop down to LAX or go South via places like JT nat park, 29 Palms, etc. I drove Route 66 a couple of years ago so I guess I've already seen a proportion of those routings (I-40/I-15, Barstow, etc.) on the Southern routing.
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Old Jul 13, 13, 12:34 am
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Originally Posted by EDIflyer View Post
Looks like there's availability OK, although as you say the prices aren't necessarily the cheapest!

Obviously if I went down the DV route then it would be heading North from LAS instead - which places would be good suggestions for places to visit on that routing to LAX? Would you go as far West as Santa Barbara and then down the coast?

It looks like I either go North from LAS via DV and drop down to LAX or go South via places like JT nat park, 29 Palms, etc. I drove Route 66 a couple of years ago so I guess I've already seen a proportion of those routings (I-40/I-15, Barstow, etc.) on the Southern routing.
What you could do:

You could do both DV and JT

Monday to DV, night there
Tues DV AM drive to Palm springs area
Wed DO JT...drive to a coastal city and stay there the night
Thu explore some towns before going to the airport.

Alternate from DV:

Mon to DV, stay night
Tue DV in am drive into california toward Santa Maria/SLO
Wed explore central coast, Paso robles/Santa Ynez wine country, then to Santa Barbara
Thur Santa barbara to LAX

Mon DV stay night
Tues DV AM..drive into CA and stay around Mamouth MT resort.
Wed drive south down 395 exploring the Valleys down to Palm springs
Thursday do Joshua tree then drive 2-3 hrs to LAX.

An alternate....

After DV drive to Santa Barbara on Tuesday night
Wed/Thurs Santa Barabara and Santa Ynez valley area...part of this you ---im unsure given its november on boating options to go do a day trip out to one of the Channel Islands National Park.

Another option....though more driving....

Mon spend the day in death valley and then drive out at night and stay along US 395 in California.
tuesday---drive up 395 and through Tuolume Meadows in Yosemite. the road is usually open until December. Then do Yosemite Valley. Spend night around here
Wed you could Yosemite Valley then stay in Fresno.
thurs do Sequoia/Kings Canyon then drive back to LAX.
Wed could be an AM/PM split between the two parks.

Late october/Early november is the fall color time in Yosemite and the lower elevations of Sequoia/Kings Canyon. Its also fall colors in some of the Valleys on the Eastern slope of the sierras along 395 around Bishop,Mamouth, and Lee vining.
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Old Jul 13, 13, 12:50 am
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With your suggestion of Joshua Tree NP I will assume you like touring the outdoors. A few outdoorsy places worth visiting near LAS are Valley of Fire State Park, Red Rocks National Conservation Area, and the Hoover Dam. That's easily 1 1/2 to 2 days of activity.

Joshua Tree is certainly worth visiting if you like the outdoors. Its lands span high desert, low desert, and transition zones. So it's interesting from a number of natural perspectives. A road crosses the park with many short trails for hiking and photography. You can commit a full day to the park and see plenty of interesting things. You could also commit 3 days and delve a bit deeper into the various bits of backcountry. Be warned that the subtle pleasures of the area are well hidden. To the untrained eye they look like a desolate, boring desert.

In Palm Springs, look into taking the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway (http://www.pstramway.com/) to the shoulder of Mt. San Jacinto.

If you go to Death Valley, there is plenty to see there. Again, though, it is well hidden in the form of a desert.

As you head south from Death Valley toward LA along Route 14 you will pass through Red Rock Canyon State Park. It's worth a 1/2 day visit to break up the drive.
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Old Jul 13, 13, 7:21 am
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Thanks for those ideas, folks. Will do some thinking and work out which way I want to work things - as I say although the start and end dates are fixed I've got plenty of flexbility in the middle as to what I do.
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Old Jul 13, 13, 8:19 pm
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Minimalist list of things to see/do in Death Valley:

Artist's Palette
Badwater
Sand dunes near Stovepipe Wells
Scotty's Castle
Ubehebe Crater

This is a BIG park. It is about a 90 minute drive from Badwater to Ubehebe Crater. This is a very busy full day if you include the Scotty's Castle tour, which is worth doing. You cannot drive in from Las Vegas on day X and drive somewhere else on day X+1 and fit in just these few things.

Other things well worth doing include Zabriskie Point, Golden Canyon nature walk, Dante's View, and Harmony Borax Works/Mustard Canyon. Also a splurge dinner at Furnace Creek Inn -- you don't have to be staying there to reserve and eat in the restaurant -- is worth considering, the food has really improved in the past several years.

If your rental car has reasonable ground clearance, you can pack a picnic lunch and go do a day trip to Rhyolite and Titus Canyon. This is a full day in itself and truly spectacular although you need a driver who is used to sometimes psychologically daunting roads. Drive the few miles further at the start to Beatty, Nevada, to get gas, it's about 80 cents a gallon cheaper than at Furnace Creek.

On the other hand, maybe the rental car doesn't need reasonable ground clearance. Do you know the difference between an expedition equipped Land Rover and a rental car? You can take a rental car anywhere!
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Old Jul 14, 13, 1:46 pm
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Thanks, RichardInSF - great to have those suggestions. I know what you mean about a hire car Had a pretty reasonable SUV when I did Route 66 but it got a bit of a workout in Monument Valley, UT
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