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Car Rental Questions

Old Mar 5th, 2012, 06:25 AM
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Car Rental Questions

This is a very boring topic, I know. But I need help.

During the first week of April, we're planning to fly into Reno and drive to Mammoth Lakes. From Mammoth Lakes, we're staying in Death Valley for a few days before flying out of Las Vegas. Does anyone know if a compact rental car would work for us, or should we rent a 4wd SUV? I hate to spend the money on an SUV if we don't need it since we will basically have no use for it the whole time we are in Mammoth Lakes.
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Old Mar 5th, 2012, 07:16 AM
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You won't need an SUV if you stay on the roads. This month, we are traveling in the same area in a compact sedan.

HTTY
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Old Mar 5th, 2012, 07:31 AM
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Thanks HTTY. It looks like we'll go with a compact. I also reserved a Jeep rental for our time in DVNP. It's a relief to hear that a compact car will do because I just called the Alamo rental office at the Reno airport and they informed me that they don't rent 4wd vehicles for one-way trips anyway. That wasn't at all clear on their website. They said we may need to buy chains at Wal-Mart if the conditions warrant it. One more expense to add to the pile.

Can you think of any other driving tips for our route?
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Old Mar 5th, 2012, 07:45 AM
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Your rental agreement will prohibit you from going off of paved roads, so a 4WD will be useless. In addition, having to get towed in Death Valley can cost hundreds, if not a thousand dollars.

There used to be a company that rented vehicles for off-road driving in Death Valley, but I don't know if they are in business any more. It certainly wasn't cheap.
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Old Mar 5th, 2012, 08:32 AM
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Is this the off-road vehicle rental place you are thinking of, Placename?

http://www.farabeesjeeprentals.com/i...page&Itemid=13

We're planning to rent a jeep from them. It sure isn't cheap but it sounds like it will be a lot less expensive than a tow. We want to see as much as possible of DV while we are there.
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Old Mar 5th, 2012, 08:55 AM
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I had no problem driving my own Honda Civic through the one way Artist Drive in Death Valley. Don't even think about driving any rental (car or 4WD) more than 50 feet off a paved road. Don't try to drive in snow anywhere unless you are skilled in winter driving.
I did see an injured motorcyclist more than halfway through the Artist Drive. His motorcycle was wheels up. We drove back to Furnace Creek to report the accident since no one's cell phone had signal there.
Know before you go what the drop off fee is if you rent in Reno and drop in Las Vegas. I would fly in and out of Las Vegas. The rentals are cheaper there.
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Old Mar 5th, 2012, 12:54 PM
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Compacts are hard to come by these days, everyone wants them because of the fuel prices. Chances are good that you'll book a compact and get an SUV instead for the same price.
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Old Mar 5th, 2012, 12:56 PM
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And you will hate the additional expense for gas going from a compact to an SUV.
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Old Mar 5th, 2012, 02:38 PM
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Personally - I would consider spending another day around Mammoth - maybe riding the tram to the top of the ski area, etc - or maybe checking out June Lake, etc. If you are really into seeing Death Valley - fine - but IMO - that can easily be done in a couple of days - or less. The first time is a novelty - and some people do like it - but to me - it's just a lot of scorched rock.
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Old Mar 5th, 2012, 06:00 PM
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Thanks for all your responses. Flying in and out of LV may have been a better choice, but our tickets are purchased so it's a done deal. I had the idea when I bought the tickets that we could at least drive by Lake Tahoe. Not sure if that will work out or not.

Funny, I was just thinking that I was glad we got the compact now that the price of gas has gone up again. Oh well, I guess that's the one bright spot about renting a car we won't need to drive while we're at Mammoth.

Tomsd, we are planning to spend 5 nights at Mammoth Lakes, 3 nights in Death Valley NP, and our final night in Las Vegas. Do you think that's too much time in Death Valley and not enough in Mammoth Lakes? We were hoping to do some xc skiing/snowshoeing at Tamarack in addition to a couple days of downhill skiing at Mammoth Mountain. It's not looking good for snow though.
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Old Mar 5th, 2012, 06:25 PM
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The night before you head into Las Vegas you might want to stay here just outside Death Valley- http://www.amargosa-opera-house.com/
The last time I spent a night in Death Valley was sleeping on a picnic table because it was so hot in the trailer in the campground.
I don't think you need 3 days to see all that you want to of Death Valley. Try to spend several hours at Red Rock Canyon west of Las Vegas. Head west on Charleston. You might find some snow on Mt. Charleston to ski or snowshoe on.
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Old Mar 6th, 2012, 03:50 AM
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Thanks for the suggestions TF. I never knew there was a ski resort so close to Vegas. We are planning on stopping at Red Rock Canyon for a while.

That's a very interesting hotel. People on TripAdvisor either love it or think it's Hell's outhouse. Maybe we will stop in for a look on our way to Las Vegas. The website indicates that the owner has retired from performing. It isn't clear what she was performing. Was her performance a big attraction to the hotel?
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Old Mar 6th, 2012, 05:59 AM
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Here's the Wiki on Marta (age 87) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marta_B...et_on_Broadway
Never stayed there but there isn't much choice in DV Jct.
I like Red Rock more than DV actually.
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