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Routes please Maine to NYC , & LAX , S/F, Yosemite, Vegas, G/Canyon LAX.

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I have been getting some wonderful advice as always re our Oct trip to the US. I find myself ‘incapacitated’ for the next 3 months.....no driving, walking, working...bored already and it’s only been a week. So to use my time wisely I am going to finalise our trip. I will let you know what we’ve booked and hope you can offer some great tips for the gaps.
Depart Brisbane for LAX Oct 1st this year. Non stop b/class, then we fill in 6 hours (we know it will be less and wont be a huge problem as we will have the use of the Qantas lounge etc.) before our flight to NYC, arriving 1am!! Yep, but that’s the way it works when you use points.
We’ve booked (priceline ) the Tudor Hotel near the UN for 5 nights. We are using these nights as our ‘recovery’ from the trip. We have been to NYC twice before. But as this time it’s just us (no kids) we will go to the theatre, eat out and just generally ‘do as much or as little as we feel like’. I’ve been saving every restaurant suggestion I’ve thought appropriate on this forum but would love dining suggestion for the area we will be staying. We are bits of foodies, but not every night has to be a 5* experience or price, but interesting ‘good’ food and wine are a must.
Then following suggestion from Fodors, we will catch a train........somewhere and hire a car and drive back to NYC before flying back to LAX on the 15th Oct. Now, when I say somewhere we initially thought Boston and then take our time driving back, but maybe Maine or somewhere a bit further and head back from there. I guess as long as we are not on a ‘train’ all day, and can drive back with out racing. Love to hear your thoughts.
On arriving back at LAX, we will collect a hire car and ‘head’ for SanFrancisco. As we’ve never done this drive before, it’s more about the getting there than the arriving, if you know what I mean? Lots of places look great, but would love your thoughts on how many nights (we’re thinking 3) and some great ‘quaint/nice’ small place to stay.
Then your thoughts on what would be a nice drive to Yosemite, scenic back road etc. We’ve book 3 nights at the Wawona Hotel from the 28th Oct. Then if luck is on our side we will drive to Vegas over the Tioga Pass (I know, we may have to ‘ditch’ this) and spend 3-4 nights (our 25th wedding anniversary) in a nice hotel, haven’t booked yet, seems like its best to wait ‘till its closer, and also we hope to see Bette Midler in concert.
Then drive to the Grand Canyon (love to hear routes, thoughts & suggestions) and heading back to LA. Again love to hear your suggestions on the ‘nicest/scenic/fun way to go) .

We depart LAX for Brisbane late pm on the 9th November. So there it is............... Got my map, Got my computer & God knows i’ve got the time.......... load me up with your suggestions.

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