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French visitor: 3 week trip, CA and SW. Help, please!

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French visitor: 3 week trip, CA and SW. Help, please!

Here is a translation of a very long and detailed post from the French language TA forum:

Hello one and all ,

My girlfriend and I plan to make a trip to the West, and we would like to have your opinion, so as not to make mistakes and omit the important places, and to make the best use of our time. .

- Travel time : 3 weeks

- Accomodation : hotels and motels

- Transport: car rental intermediate type

- Cities : San Francisco, Los Angeles, Las Vegas

- Type of road trip : loop

- Excursions : not too many, rather enjoy views

- Period: June or September

Day 1 (Saturday) :

Flight to SFO , arriving early afternoon . Afternoon and evening to explore the city.

Day 2 (Sunday) : San Francisco

Day 3 (Monday) : San Francisco

Day 4 (Tuesday ) : Morning departure to Cambria via Cupertino (Apple) and Monterey ( with quick city tour ) after getting car. Night in Cambria .

Day 5 (Wednesday ) : Morning departure for Los Angeles.

Day 6 (Thursday ) : Visit Los Angeles.

Day 7 (Friday) : Visit Los Angeles.

Day 8 (Saturday) : Morning departure for San Diego. Visit San Diego. Night in San Diego.

Day 9 (Sunday) : Leave for Grand Canyon in the early morning ( the hardest day physically I think). Late afternoon , sunset and overnight .

Day 10 (Monday) : Sunrise at the Grand Canyon. Starting around noon to Monument Valley. Afternoon sunset in Monument Valley. Night Mexican Hat.

Day 11: Departure for Gooseneck , Valley of the Gods . Overnight in Page .

Day 12: Antelope Canyon in the morning , departure for Bryce Canyon. Night at Bryce Canyon.

Day 13: Day at Bryce Canyon.

Day 14: Departure for Zion . Night in Zion .

Day 15: Las Vegas, via Valley of fire . Late afternoon and night in Vegas.

Day 16: Day and night in Vegas.

Day 17: Departure for Death Valley. Day and overnight.

Day 18: Departure for Lee Vining . Afternoon and overnight .

Day 19: Departure for Yosemite . Day in the park . Overnight.

Day 20: Starting at noon to San Francisco. Late afternoon at SFO, return car. Overnight.

Day 21: San Francisco. Overnight.

Day 22: Day in San Francisco. Late afternoon departure for the airport . Back to France .

So here I would like to have your opinion, your comments, especially if you find that I'm spending too much time somewhere ( eg San Francisco) , or that I missed or botched a place ( Yosemite or Grand Canyon for example). So your advice, for hotels or motels, best routes and roads.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Ps: I plan to buy tickets in February . Your advise for hotels / motels: should we wait / do it when we get there / or get going with reservations? Knowing that I want it to be organized , but with a touch of spontaneity too!

Thank you in advance .

Anthony

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1. Re: French visitor: 3 week trip, CA and SW. Help, please!

Hi Pasca.

I'd tell them:

Day 8: I'd skip San Diego. Not enough time and also not enough time for Grand Canyon so I suggest to drive between Los Angeles and Kingman that day and stay Kingman

Day 9: Drive to Grand Canyon and see some of R66 on the way.

Day 10: Best is to stay in Monument Valley itself, either at The View or Goulding's Lodge. With Mexican Hat try San Juan River Inn.

Day 11: Gooseneck will be fine but Valley of the Gods is a 17 miles dirtroad and not allowed with a rental (void their contract) And that road can be bumpy and unpassable when wet. Milemarker 13 off us163 just south of Mexican Hat is a famous photostop (aka Forest Gump point) Btw they'll lose one hour for time difference between GC and Monument Valley.

Day 12: Gain one hour between MV and Page. Horseshoe bend overlook in the morning, Antelope Canyon after that and the drive to Bryce. Lose one hour again. There are 2 Antelope Canyon's Upper and Lower. Upper is the famous one, Lower requires to climb ladders but is our favorite.

Day 13: I'd only stay one night in Bryce and leave late afternoon to Zion and spend 2 nights in Zion. Zion needs more time than Bryce.

Day 15: Gain one hour between Utah and Nevada. Drive to Valley Fire and after the visit drive Northshore road more or less along Lake Mead to Las vegas.

Day 17: To Death Valley via 160 to Pahrump, Bell Vista/Stateline rd to DV Junction. 190 into DV. First visit to Dante's View. Stay Furnace Creek Ranch or Stovepipe Wells.

Overall their trip is pretty well planed. They could do with another overnight stay between SF and LA or an extra day in Yosemite.

Tell them to buy an America the beaitiful pass at the entrance of their first NP at $ 80,-- valid for car and passengers. Will save money. Also tell them to but a cooler for on the road.

June or september? We prefer september but for Yosemite june will be better. No waterfalls in september but maybe fall colors in the end of the month. later in september will be better for Death Valley NP also instead june. September can have moonsoon rains and in june June gloom. Choices, choices ;-)

Tet

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2. Re: French visitor: 3 week trip, CA and SW. Help, please!

Thanks Tet, for the very detailed response.

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3. Re: French visitor: 3 week trip, CA and SW. Help, please!

So they want to do all this in one day: pick up a rental car, drive from San Francisco to Cupertino, visit Apple (and all you can really do is look at the buildings and buy stuff in the gift shop), drive to Monterey, tour Monterey, drive the full Big Sur coast, and stay that night in Cambria. That's about 235 miles to drive and at least 5 hours in the car, plus time at stops. I's possible but not very realistic for one day, unless this is in late June when the days are very long. Even then it's still rushed.

They don't even have a full day in San Diego; they are driving from Los Angeles to San Diego, spending the night, then leaving the next mornong for the 535-mile (856-km) drive to the Grand Canyon. Seems like a lot of extra driving for just a few hours of sightseeing in San Diego. Unless they can spend 2 nights in San Diego to make it worth it, I would suggest dropping San Diego from this trip.

Edited: 9:47 pm, January 09, 2014
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4. Re: French visitor: 3 week trip, CA and SW. Help, please!

>>Day 4 (Tuesday ) : Morning departure to Cambria via Cupertino (Apple) and Monterey ( with quick city tour ) after getting car. Night in Cambria .<<

Non, non, non! C'est imposible!

They need to take away the night from San Diego and add it at Monterey. So the new itinerary:

Day 4 (Tuesday ) : Morning departure to Monterey via Cupertino (Apple). Visit the Aquarium, do quick city tour. Night in Monterey.

Day 5 (Wednesday) : Explore Carmel, Point Lobos, drive through Big Sur. Lunch at Nepenthe. Visit McWay Falls at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park. Continue south on Hwy. 1, sightseeing en route. Night in Cambria.

then continue as previously planned.

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5. Re: French visitor: 3 week trip, CA and SW. Help, please!

Yes, I already said they can use another night between SF and LA and skip San Diego but as Sunrise said, that day 4 is not impossible but also not advisable.

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6. Re: French visitor: 3 week trip, CA and SW. Help, please!

First of all, i would like to thank you for all your responses.

It's very difficult to imagine how the journey will look like, the distances are very high in USA in comparison with thoses i meet in France, so im really grateful you help me.

So i'm gonna skip San Diego (for this year) and spend one more night in West coast.

I did an new plan. I deliberately removed the step at Yosemite NP, because we have, i think, such landscapes in France, and I think Yosemite would'nt suprise me as much as others parks.

Do you know where we can see typical rodeo as we see in movies?

What do you think about this new holiday plan?

Day 1 (Saturday) :

Flight to SFO , arriving early afternoon . Afternoon and evening to explore the city.

Day 2 (Sunday) :

San Francisco

Day 3 (Monday) :

San Francisco

Day 4:

Departure in the morning for Monterey, via Cupertino ( Apple). Aquarium, visit of the city. Night at Monterey.

Day 5:

Departure for Cambria.Visit of Carmel by the sea, Lobos, meal to Nepenthe. Visit of McWay Cove in the Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park. Arrived at the beginning of the evening and night at Cambria.

Day 6:

Departure for Los Angeles by the coast. Crossing of Santa-Barbara, lunch to Malibu. The afternoon in Santa-Monica. Night at Los Angeles.

Day 7:

Universal Studios Hollywood. At the end of the afternoon, Hollywood Boulevard. Night at Los Angeles.

Day 8:

Mount Lee in the morning. Free time in the afternoon. Night at Los Angeles.

Day 9:

Departure for Kingman via Historic road 66. Visit during the road. Night at Kingman.

Day 10:

Departure for Grand Canyon (by borrowing as much as possible Historic road 66). Arrived for lunch.Afternoon and sunset at Grand Canyon. Night at Grand Canyon.

Day 11:

Sunrise in the Grand Canyon. Departure for Monument Valley. Afternoon, sunset at Monument Valley. Night to Goulding Lodge.

Day 12:

Departure for Goosenecks State Park. Visit of the point of view. Departure for Page. Arrived early in the afternoon at Page. Stroll at the edge of Lake Powell. Night at Page.

Day 13:

The morning : Horseshoe bend. Early in the afternoon Antelope Canyon. Departure late in the afternoon towards Bryce Canyon. Night at Bryce Canyon.

Day 14:

Bryce Canyon. Departure late in the afternoon towards Zion.

Day 15:

Zion. Night at Zion.

Day 16:

Departure for Las Vegas, via Moapa Valley. Along the way visit of Valley of fire. Road along Lake Mead on Northshore Rd. Arrived at Vegas in the afternoon and night to Vegas.

Day 17:

Day and at night to Vegas.

Day 18:

Departure for Death Valley, Dante View's visit.

Day 19:

Departure for Lee Vining.

Day 20:

Crossing of Yosemite. Stops during the road to take photos. Arrived in the evening at San Francisco.

Day 21:

San Francisco.

Day 22:

Day in San Francisco. At the end of the afternoon, departure for the airport. Return towards France.

San Diego
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7. Re: French visitor: 3 week trip, CA and SW. Help, please!

Rodeos:

Le meillure pour vous----

http://www.rubysinn.com/utah-rodeo.html

chaque mercredi,,jeudi,vendredi,et samedi 24mai-aout

Otres

Prescott,Arizona 28June-4July

Reno,Nevada 14-23 June

San Bernadino, California 28-30 September

Uden, The...
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8. Re: French visitor: 3 week trip, CA and SW. Help, please!

Hi

That plan will work better in september than in june. In june I certainly would recommend to stay another day in Yosemite with the thundering waterfalls and on a drive through it will be hard to also visit Glacier Point and Mariposa Grove. Mariposa Grove for the Sequoias you won't find in Europe. Tunnel View also has great views on the valley and the mountains so don't miss that.

Suggest to pay a visit to Glen Canyon Dam in the afternoon in Page instead "strolling along Lake Powell" That won't be that easy but I recommend to visit Glen Canyon NRA just outside Page. With an extra day in Page you also can do the smooth Colorado Raft www.raftthecanyon.com or take a tour to Rainbow Bridge.

There's a lot do do in Death Valley. Order of things:

Dante's View, Twenty mules team canyon (one way so a bit backtracking) Zabriskie Point, Devils Golfcours,Badwater, Artist drive, Golden Canyon, Furnace Creek VIC, Borax harmony, Mustard Canyon, Salt Creek, Devils Cornfield, Mesquite Sand Dunes and Mosaic Canyon all close to the main roads.

Between DV and Lee Vining you'll find Panamint Springs, Father Crowley Point, Lake Owens (dry) Alabama Hills, Whitney Portal, Movie museum Lone Pine, Manzanar, old Bristlecones forest (detour), Laws Museum Bishop, Devils Postpile (detour), June Lake and Mono Lake. In Bishop you'll find Erik Schats Bakery with excellent food and sandwiches to go. Fuel in DV will be very expensive so fill up before, and same goes for Yosemte (and Lee Vining) so fill up in Bishop again.

Tet

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9. Re: French visitor: 3 week trip, CA and SW. Help, please!

Don't expect anything like "Pro" rodeo in Bryce and as Riff already said they won't run in september anymore.

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10. Re: French visitor: 3 week trip, CA and SW. Help, please!

I have travelled through a lot of France and I've yet to find anything like Yosemite there.