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Road Trip California, Arizona, Nevada: Please help plan our 20 nights

Road Trip California, Arizona, Nevada: Please help plan our 20 nights

Old Feb 4th, 2014, 04:20 PM
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Road Trip California, Arizona, Nevada: Please help plan our 20 nights

Hi there. My husband, our daughter (20 yo) and I are travelling from New Zealand and will will be arriving in LA on 1st July. We are hiring a car and want to drive the coast, and eventually go inland to Montezuma Castle, Gand Canyon, Las Vegas, Death Valley, Yosemite and then back to the coast. We don't really mind which direction we go first (up to SF or down to San Diego). We could fly out of San Fran if we don't do a round trip. We have 20 nights in the US. Our budget is not high, just middle of the road. We are thinking about spending 3 nights in SF, 2 in LV but not too worried about adding/reducing this. We will be guided by your recommended itineraries.

We know it's hot in Death Valley at that time of year so might just drive there for the day, or skip it altogether. But as it is between LV and Yosemite, we just thought we would add it in.

I hope you can help us plan where to stay/visit along the way to our destinations. I don;t want to rush too much.

We want to get a taste of real America, not just the touristy stuff so small town suggestions are welcome, as are insider local suggestions on must-sees.

We want to be somewhere fun for your 4th July celebrations, not LA or San Fran because they would be too polished and impersonal, so maybe a county fair or rodeo?

Our interests are history (so Mission houses etc), Americana, great scenery, good food, music, and shopping (OK, that last one is just me!). We need to remember that our daughter does not want to do boring "old people" stuff all the time, so maybe some music festival or live music venues (rock, country, blues). We want to do one day at Disneyland - she might be 20, but there's still a bit of kid left inside there somewhere!

Can anyone recommend any working ranches that are not completely aimed at tourists? I would also like to discover some authentic type of country music restaurant/club, maybe where locals actually dance/boot-scoot - do they do that kind of thing in Arizona? I think Texas is just too far to drive this time.

If I have forgotten any important information please remind me.

Thank you for any advice
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Old Feb 4th, 2014, 05:01 PM
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A big portion of your trip is going to be Brutally Hot Hot Hot!
Arizona bakes in July and so does Vegas.
The coast will be nice. Perhaps, Yosemite could be all right.

Get you lodging at Yosemite ASAP. You are likely late already.

My 2 favorite ways to celebrate the 4th--in someones backyard or at a huge fireworks display and the bigger the better. I'm pretty sure SF Bay has a spectacular show.

You could easily spend all 20 days in California. There are many other National Parks just as good as (better in my opinion) than the Grand Canyon. For that time of year, I would choose Lassen, Redwoods, and Crater Lake over Grand Canyon.
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Old Feb 4th, 2014, 05:22 PM
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Here is a link from a trip report from several years ago. This family did a similar trip to yours, so it may give you a nice outline and place to start:

http://www.fodors.com/community/unit...lden-state.cfm

There is a working cattle ranch about 30 minutes east of Paso Robles, on the central coast. One of their dude weekends may work for you. Not cheap, but they are a long time ranching family in that area.

http://www.parkfield.com/dude_ranch_special.php

The Mid State Fair is in Paso Robles in July. It has entertainment, cattle, carnivals:

http://www.midstatefair.com/

Also in mid July is the Salinas Rodeo. It is very popular and sells out. Kind of THE prodessional rodeo to go to:

http://www.carodeo.com/
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Old Feb 4th, 2014, 06:50 PM
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Spirobulldog, thanks for you input. I'm inclined to agree with you. I've been in hot, hot weather and it's not fun (if you have to go outside). I will talk to my husband and daughter and see if I can get them to agree with you about the other natioanl parks; Redwoods would be great so I'll look into that. I don;t know the other 2 so will google them shortly.

MichelleY: thanks so much, that info and those links are fantastic - Journey is playing at the State fair so I am going to try for that, and also the Salinas rodeo. The dude ranch is exactly what I was looking for, I really appreciate your help.
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Old Feb 4th, 2014, 06:51 PM
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I forgot to say that I would prefer not to do a different place every day, I like to linger a while and get a feel for the place if possible, especially in the smaller areas.
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Old Feb 5th, 2014, 08:03 AM
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Hot, Hot, hot

Here is how hot in Las Vegas

http://www.vegas.com/weather/averages.html
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Old Feb 5th, 2014, 08:12 AM
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I hit "submit" too soon.

"average" high for LV in July is 106/41. So it could get as high as 115/46. In Death Valley the high is often 120/49.

Not places you want to be.

Only 3 nights/2 1/2 days in San Francisco????? Here are some things to do in 60 days here.

http://www.fodors.com/community/unit...mendations.cfm

Stu Dudley
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Old Feb 5th, 2014, 11:20 AM
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Thanks, Stu, what a great resource! I have printed all of that out and it looks like we definitely need to make more time for San Fran. I'm glad that you also included a couple of other places we were thinking of (Monterey and Calistoga).
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Old Feb 6th, 2014, 06:47 AM
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few tips as you finalize your plans...las vegas...i think it's a fun city to see...it will be very hot. when i go at that time of year, i am down at the pool as soon as it opens. enjoy relaxing around there during the morning hours, the afternoon spent in the hotel or in an air conditioned car, then enjoy the evening walking the strip. but, your daughter isn't of legal age so that is something to consider. death valley will be too hot to do any hiking. some care rental agencies have restrictions on taking cars there in the summer months. love san diego for a well rounded city with great temps in the summer...lots to amuse people of all ages...sea world does a good fireworks show on july 4, i often viewed them by setting up a blanket on mission bay. check out if there are anything playing at humphrey's by the bay concerts. closer to the date, you could check who's playing at the chula vista arena.
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Old Feb 6th, 2014, 12:47 PM
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Thanks, ltt, I appreciate your info. Your Vegas survival plan sounds like my kind of plan. I never thought to ask the rental car agency about death valley, so will be sure to tell them our plans. We are really looking forward to San Diego, so thanks for the live music info
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