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Help with roadtrip LA-GC- PHX Dec. 2012

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Hello all!
Your posts on my Grand Canyon thread were so helpful, so I am back with a proposed full itinerary, revised as per your many helpful suggestions:

Dec 24: Depart LA early AM and drive to Joshua Tree National Park; picnic lunch and short hike, then Keys View; drive to ????? and stay the night
Dec. 25: Depart _________, see the Hoover Dam, drive to the Grand Canyon arriving roughly mid-afternoon (staying at Yavapai); Sunset Watching over the South Rim
Dec 26: Grand Canyon (weather permitting- morning hike via South Kaibab trail down to Cedar Ridge, climb back via Bright Angel trail, lunch, walk around...)
Dec 27: Depart Grand Canyon, drive to Sedona, stay the night there
Dec 28: Drive from Sedona to Pheonix
Dec 29: Phoenix (Shabbat)
Dec 30: Phoenix
Dec 31: Phoenix?
Jan 1: Flight home from PHX

*I know it looks like we'll be in Phoenix forever, but in fact, we won't be playing tourist at all on Friday or Saturday (at least until Sat. night) so it's really just Sunday and Monday.

Will Christmas Eve traffic be horrible leaving LA??
Where is a good place to stop Dec 24? Las Vegas?

Any particularly scenic roads to take? (And any roads to avoid?)

Do you have any hotel recommendations for Sedona and Pheonix? We are five people (ages 17-54) , if that helps, and we like cheap but clean and well-located. In Sedona, pretty much anything that fits those parameters will work, but the location of the hotel in Phoenix is much more important to us.

PHOENIX HOTEL: A mini-fridge in Phoenix is a necessity... If we could be located within the eruv, marked on this map http://www.phoenixbethjoseph.org/community.html in green two-thirds of the way down the page, that would be ideal!! Any suggestions you have would really be supremely helpful.

Thank you all so much in advance, and happy election day!

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