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California road trip. Suggestions and recommendations.

California road trip. Suggestions and recommendations.

Old Aug 7, 19, 5:27 am
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California road trip. Suggestions and recommendations.

Hi everyone. I'm planning a road trip at the end of August.

Here is the map of the planned route.

US Trip Map

Any suggestions/recommendations for this one. Some additional places to visit or stops during the trip?

It might be anything like any sights, cafes or suggestion to choose a slightly different road cause I'm tied to already booked hotels.

I would appreciate any propositions and ideas.

Thanks a lot.
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Old Aug 7, 19, 12:57 pm
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Originally Posted by DenysK View Post
Hi everyone. I'm planning a road trip at the end of August.

Here is the map of the planned route.

US Trip Map


Any suggestions/recommendations for this one. Some additional places to visit or stops during the trip?

It might be anything like any sights, cafes or suggestion to choose a slightly different road cause I'm tied to already booked hotels.

I would appreciate any propositions and ideas.

Thanks a lot.
Why in the world would anyone choose to go to Death Valley in the middle of summer? I suppose if it's the only time in your entire life you plan to be in California, you might want to drive through the Valley, but even then I would have second thoughts.

What are you interested in?

If you are already irrevocably committed to hotels, why ask us now?

California, Nevada, and Utah in 6 days, according to your map. A real in-depth experience!
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Old Aug 7, 19, 2:48 pm
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That is a very long road trip for 6 days. I wouldn't do it and I live here.

One consistent problem we see with European drivers is that they so often underestimate the distances involved in driving the western US. In this case, i seems that you will have little time to do or see anything other than through the car windows.

I agree with Richard. The desert areas will be very hot in late August. Plan on staying in the air conditioned car much of the time. The mountain areas in California - Sequoia and Yosemite - will be cooler but quite crowded. Try to make those visits in mid-week.
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Old Aug 8, 19, 1:36 am
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The unfortunate truth is that in not possible to split the trip. And the only acceptable date for our company is the end of August.

There will be two drivers for one car, hence I'm aware of the distance etc, but I appreciate your concern

The original plan was to visit some of the most important places such as Vegas, Zion park, Antelope Canyon, Grand Canyon, Yosemite, SF on so on. After the main route was agreed I just try to find some interesting places all along the way.

And the reason why I'm asking your suggestions maybe there will be some interesting places during my route, but no so popular.

All trip should take 9 days, I still not update days on the map accordingly.
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Old Aug 8, 19, 2:19 am
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Even you have booked all of the hotel, I would highly recommend you to revise the itinerary for 08/26.

Based on the route, you will pass through the area where a M 6.4 earthquake was recently hit, followed by a M 7.1 earthquake within 24 hours.

Although at this moment, the chance of a stronger shock is not really high. But still, the area is still experience many mini shocks (at least 200 shock for the last 24 hours), with some went as high as M 2.9.

I am not sure it is a great idea to go there now, especially when you may nothing have adequate preparation for earthquake.
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Old Aug 8, 19, 11:59 am
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That's an insane plan, of course it's highly doable, it sounds like "hit the most touristic points within X days". I wouldn't do it myself (we live in Europe and have been to the places you mentioned except Antelope Canyon and Page because we usually go in Winter). If all you want is to check-in on social media then you can do plenty of check-ins. However if you want to really enjoy the place then you might need to think again.

It's very different to drive in the US vs Europe, speed limit is low in the US and also some of the roads are just very winding which means you can't really drive fast anyway.

IMO the best part of Yosemite apart from the Valley is road 120 - we drove there when it was open and it was amazing. We stayed in Merced and headed in and then continued on 395 down and stayed at Lancaster.
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Old Aug 8, 19, 1:14 pm
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I'm not a fan of windshield time. My rule of thumb is to be in the car no more than 2 hours a day. This is my guideline no matter where I am in the world. Of course some days will be more but some will be less. You are going to some extraordinarily beautiful places. The way to enjoy them is to get out of the car and see the sights. Our national parks have great visitors centers with movies and exhibits. They have great trails of varying lengths and levels of difficulty. The purpose of the car should be to get you between sights, not to see them while in the car moving.
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Old Aug 8, 19, 2:12 pm
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One more point, when in the desert in the summer: do not drive off of paved roads. They are generally not patrolled in summer and if your car breaks down while out of sight of a paved road, you run a significant risk of very bad things happening. Even on paved roads, stay with your car in case of a breakdown, many of the roads are only patrolled once every day or two. Carry a whole lot of water. Don't let your gas tank fall below half full, there are stretches of 100 km+ in the desert with no gas stations.
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Last edited by RichardInSF; Aug 8, 19 at 2:22 pm
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Old Aug 8, 19, 3:23 pm
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Originally Posted by SanDiego1K View Post
I'm not a fan of windshield time. My rule of thumb is to be in the car no more than 2 hours a day. This is my guideline no matter where I am in the world. Of course some days will be more but some will be less. You are going to some extraordinarily beautiful places. The way to enjoy them is to get out of the car and see the sights. Our national parks have great visitors centers with movies and exhibits. They have great trails of varying lengths and levels of difficulty. The purpose of the car should be to get you between sights, not to see them while in the car moving.
That would be my ideal too, however it's not always possible e.g. when you are driving from LAX to Las Vegas. A lot of people will say why don't you fly into LAS, but if you are flying from Europe there's a huge difference in price - LAX is always the cheapest place to fly into. Last Christmas we booked into LAX but then decided to go to AZ, so we booked ourselves flight to TUS with Southwest. We ended up doing a road trip to NM to see the NPs there and they all shut down, we ended up going to the Grand Canyon as it's the only thing that's open.

It was an amazing trip and then I checked for prices to ABQ because we really can go back to those NPs and from Europe the prices are basically insane (more than double for the dates I wanted compared to flying into LAX).

The most insane drive I have done in the US was from Richfield UT to Indio CA in a day on New Years Eve, not exactly fun (I'm really used to driving) but we could really use a few days of warmth in Sunny California before heading back to Scandinavia.
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Old Aug 10, 19, 10:18 am
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Originally Posted by nacho View Post
The most insane drive I have done in the US was from Richfield UT to Indio CA in a day on New Years Eve, not exactly fun (I'm really used to driving) but we could really use a few days of warmth in Sunny California before heading back to Scandinavia.
That's an easy day's drive by American standards. Many of us drive fourteen hours or more on a long trip.

I agree with all the comments above except the one claiming there's a higher than usual risk of an earthquake. Don't worry about that at all.

You should cut your itinerary to about a third of what you've mapped.
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Old Aug 10, 19, 11:06 am
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Originally Posted by ajGoes View Post
That's an easy day's drive by American standards. Many of us drive fourteen hours or more on a long trip.

I agree with all the comments above except the one claiming there's a higher than usual risk of an earthquake. Don't worry about that at all.

You should cut your itinerary to about a third of what you've mapped.
Yeah I know that drive wasn't the most insane one after I talked to someone drove from CT to FL in a day - they said they can't do that anymore as they are not young anymore.

I know it's US standards but certainly not in other places, some people talked about driving 200km MAX per day.
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Old Aug 10, 19, 11:31 am
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Make sure you leave enough time for San Francisco to LA. Hwy 1 is very scenic but not a fast route and I think Google Maps is a bit optimistic with the timing. The road is mostly two lane and full of people looking at the scenery. But it's not one to miss, just make sure you have enough padding so that you don't miss your flight. The section from SF to Santa Cruz is also scenic and usually less busy, the drive along the top of the coastal hills is also scenic but slow, and the drive inland is usually a moving traffic jam.
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Old Aug 12, 19, 4:30 am
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Originally Posted by nacho View Post
IMO the best part of Yosemite apart from the Valley is road 120 - we drove there when it was open and it was amazing. We stayed in Merced and headed in and then continued on 395 down and stayed at Lancaster.
I was thinking about that road, but we decided to visit Sequoia national forest, and also update our reservation to increase driving on that day.

Originally Posted by RichardInSF View Post
One more point, when in the desert in the summer: do not drive off of paved roads. They are generally not patrolled in summer and if your car breaks down while out of sight of a paved road, you run a significant risk of very bad things happening. Even on paved roads, stay with your car in case of a breakdown, many of the roads are only patrolled once every day or two. Carry a whole lot of water. Don't let your gas tank fall below half full, there are stretches of 100 km+ in the desert with no gas stations.
Sure thanks. I've already found the last one gas station before death valley and the first one after.
Originally Posted by nacho View Post
That would be my ideal too, however it's not always possible e.g. when you are driving from LAX to Las Vegas. A lot of people will say why don't you fly into LAS, but if you are flying from Europe there's a huge difference in price - LAX is always the cheapest place to fly into.
We will arrive one day before and will have one day in LAX before the trip start. And the prices differ as well. Especially because of the number of flights from Europe to LAX.

Originally Posted by MADPhil View Post
Make sure you leave enough time for San Francisco to LA. Hwy 1 is very scenic but not a fast route and I think Google Maps is a bit optimistic with the timing. The road is mostly two lane and full of people looking at the scenery. But it's not one to miss, just make sure you have enough padding so that you don't miss your flight. The section from SF to Santa Cruz is also scenic and usually less busy, the drive along the top of the coastal hills is also scenic but slow, and the drive inland is usually a moving traffic jam.
Precisely I've got the point.

In general thanks for your comments and suggestions.

We already had a couple of days in stock before departure. So I'm trying to increase driving through Death Valley and as a result, leave slightly more time for the Yosemite park.
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Old Aug 12, 19, 7:08 am
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Originally Posted by DenysK View Post
I was thinking about that road, but we decided to visit Sequoia national forest, and also update our reservation to increase driving on that day.

Sure thanks. I've already found the last one gas station before death valley and the first one after.

We will arrive one day before and will have one day in LAX before the trip start. And the prices differ as well. Especially because of the number of flights from Europe to LAX.

Precisely I've got the point.

In general thanks for your comments and suggestions.

We already had a couple of days in stock before departure. So I'm trying to increase driving through Death Valley and as a result, leave slightly more time for the Yosemite park.
I don't see any reason to spend a day in LAX unless there's something you want to see - I have done this many times and the reason is:

1. If you sleep on the flight from Europe you will be fairly fresh, and you should have no problem driving 3 hours;

2. If you are coming from a flight from Europe, you won't get into LAX that early, so traffic will be A LOT better;

3. 3 hours drive you can definitely get to Ridgecrest which is our usual point to start to head into Death Valley NP. - you can buy supplies, tank before. 3,5h gets you to Vegas or Visalia - it saves you a lot of time and you can start sightseeing a lot earlier.
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Old Aug 12, 19, 7:28 am
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Originally Posted by nacho View Post
I don't see any reason to spend a day in LAX unless there's something you want to see - I have done this many times and the reason is:

1. If you sleep on the flight from Europe you will be fairly fresh, and you should have no problem driving 3 hours;

2. If you are coming from a flight from Europe, you won't get into LAX that early, so traffic will be A LOT better;

3. 3 hours drive you can definitely get to Ridgecrest which is our usual point to start to head into Death Valley NP. - you can buy supplies, tank before. 3,5h gets you to Vegas or Visalia - it saves you a lot of time and you can start sightseeing a lot earlier.
Spending time in LAX it's just because of flight tickets. There were no suitable tickets for the rest of our company, hence they will arrive on the next day.

1. Yeah, I'm planning to manage my sleep in that way. Had some experience in the opposite time direction (twice flew to Indonesia)

2. Hope so that we will depart to Vegas approximately at 2-3pm

3. Thank's it would be so helpful but in the opposite direction. After Death Valley ;D
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