The Great RV/USA Adventure - whaddyareckon??

Feb 13th, 2010, 10:03 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 50
The Great RV/USA Adventure - whaddyareckon??

Hi all,

I am a relative newbie to this forum - I'm been lurking on the Japan forum for a while now but having completed that trip I am now planning the great RV/USA adventure for the family (2 adults, 2 kids ages 10 and 8) mid-September to early October. Having already done stacks of research, I would love some input into this itinerary - particularly the last few days.

We have already booked flights flying into and out of LA as they were on special and the times were good with the kids.

This is the rough outline:

Day 1 - arrive LA 12.15pm, rent a car, stay Hollywood (?VRBO apartment/house)

Day 2 - explore Hollywood region, see sign, Griffith Observatory etc

Day 3 - Beaches - Venice Beach, Santa Monica Pier

Day 4 - Disneyland

Day 5 - Coast road drive through to Cambria

Day 6 - Hearst Castle, drive to Monterey, see Aquarium

Day 7 - drive to San Francisco, stay Nob Hill or Alamo in VRBO

Day 8 - keep car for this day - day trip to Sonoma or Napa Valley

Day 9 - no car, explore San Fran

Day 10 - San Fran

Day 11 - pick up RV and head to Yosemite

Day 12 - Yosemite

Day 13 - Yosemite

Day 14 - drive over Tioga Pass to Lone Pine

Day 15 - Lone Pine to Death Valley

Day 16 - Death Valley to Las Vegas

Day 17 - Las Vegas

Day 18 - drop off RV, get "remarried" by Elvis, splurge with a night at the Bellagio

Day 19 - pick up hire car, drive to Grand Canyon

Day 20 - Grand Canyon

Day 21 - here is where I start getting stuck - could we feasibly drive to Monument Valley to stay overnight in a Navajo hogan, and then on Day 22 - drive back to Flagstaff, drop car, catch plane to LA in time for flight home (9.30pm?)

Or, should we abandon Monument Valley and add another night somewhere else, returning the car back to Las Vegas to get the flight home?

Or, if on day 20 we drove to Monument Valley, then we could return on day 21 for another night at the Grand Canyon. That means day 22 would be less rushed, just having to , drop car and fly from Flagstaff.

Is there anywhere closer to Monument Valley to fly back to LA from??

Or any other ideas??

Thanks all,

J
drjem is offline  
Feb 14th, 2010, 10:06 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 64,269
I only have time for one very quick comment - am dashing out. But at least to get you started and top your thread . . .

Are you sure you want to trade in your a rental car for an RV? An RV will be very expensive (more than the cost of motels when you factor in the higher drop off charges and gas)
janisj is offline  
Feb 14th, 2010, 10:41 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 651
If you stick with the RV then post that section of your trip over on the rv.net forum and you will get experet advise from other RV'ers about routes and where to stay. Overall I think your trip sounds great.
Barblab is offline  
Feb 14th, 2010, 10:57 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 5,729
Sounds like a nice plan, but I do agree about the RV. I would opt for staying in the National Parks. The ones you mention all have lodges and you probably could get reservations now or if not, take the phone number and check as time gets closer, there always have been cancellations as people reserve a year in advance and then find that they can't make the trip. Do make sure Tioga pass is open when you want to go, snow can close it. You could hit Zion and/or Bryce on your way from Vegas to Grand Canyon and then loop back to Vegas to fly out. IMO more fun than Monument Valley and make for a scenic route. Go to www.nps.gov to see what is available in the parks.
emalloy is offline  
Feb 14th, 2010, 05:36 PM
  #5  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 50
Of course you are correct about the price, but the family has their heart set on the RV vacation. I am going to have to search around to try to minimise the one-way fees. Thank you for your responses, and I'll definitely check with the rv.net site too.
J
drjem is offline  
Feb 14th, 2010, 05:47 PM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 64,269
You do realize Tioga Pass is nearly 10,000 feet - right? VERY slow going in an RV. But if that's something ya gotta do -- go for it.
janisj is offline  
Feb 14th, 2010, 11:35 PM
  #7  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 50
That's okay - hubbie used to drive semi-trailers, and I'm a kiwi used to driving up mountain roads to go skiing. Slow is okay too.
Cheers,
J
drjem is offline  
Feb 15th, 2010, 03:44 AM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 7,443
Death Valley will still be very hot at that time of year. I think the drop off fees with a rv could be super expensive. I don't think I would try to drive to MV and then to Flagstaff the next day. With 2 kids, I would probably do another day at Disney. Do both parks, the Magic Kingdom and California Adventure.
spirobulldog is offline  
Feb 15th, 2010, 08:18 AM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 19,191
Day 6. This day may not work as well as you hope. Two attractions where you could easily spend half a day, but you also need to drive about 2.5 hours between them (without stopping) and you need to eat lunch. Better check what time the aquarium closes on the day of your visit.

Just north of San Simeon (Hearst Castle) is the elephant seal rookery at Piedras Blancas beach. You should stop here if only for a few minutes. I'd also want to stop at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park in Big Sur for views of one of the most beautiful coastal spots in California.

http://www.elephantseal.org/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Julia_P...rns_State_Park

http://tinyurl.com/yzhgcdo
Jean is offline  
Feb 15th, 2010, 08:30 AM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 8,798
"Slow is okay too."

Not for those us stuck behind you. LOL. Been there done that!

I understand the appeal, but ditch the RV, it will be a much more pleasant trip in a car/van or SUV.
iamq is offline  
Feb 15th, 2010, 02:42 PM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 16,658
Day 5 - Cambria - you are planning on spending the night? We just stayed there - it was a holiday weekend, but I found the lodging to be WAY over priced for what it was. You might have great luck with the time of year you are going but do check it out a little.

I understand about the RV - dh really wants to do a road trip in this fashion someday...me? I like Camp Hyatt.
MomDDTravel is offline  
Feb 15th, 2010, 04:02 PM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 19,191
MomDD, my hubs too! I told him the only way I'd do this is if the RV is a "hotel room on wheels," complete with toilet, shower, TV, heat, A/C, etc. Considering what that would cost (daily rate, insurance, gas, parking charges), he'll probably accept that stationary rooms would be cheaper!
Jean is offline  
Feb 15th, 2010, 04:49 PM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 16,658
Jean I told him I would do it - but that we needed to stop every few weeks and stay in a hotel. I get the same feeling - that dh will change his tune once he sees the cost.
MomDDTravel is offline  
Feb 15th, 2010, 09:01 PM
  #14  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 50
Iamq - you are right - no fun being stuck behind an RV. Hubbie is also a bit of a speedster (loves his motorbike) but says he will happily pull over for others to pass!
Camp Hyatt sounds good too - usually the only stars I sleep under are 5*s! But, the RV part of the holiday is only for 8 out of the 21 nights so it might mix it up a little too. The kids have their hearts set unfortunately...
The one way fee for the RV company I have looked at so far is $200 which isn't dreadful I suppose.
I'm still in the costing stage but really feel I'd like to nail down the itinerary first and then decide about RV vs rental etc. Anyone got any other thoughts on the itinerary?
Thanks all,
J
drjem is offline  
Feb 16th, 2010, 05:38 AM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 8,798
If it were me, I'd fly from SFO to Vegas after returning from Yosemite to save time and consolidate the trip a bit. You might even get a day to two to see Zion in Southern Utah or spend more time in GC.

I'd eliminate the one night stays along the central coast. Either add a day between LA and Cambria and/or Spend Day 7 in the Monterey/Carmel area. That portion of the trip feels like a forced march north, however to us Californians the stretch of coast between Cambria and Monterey is pure gold.

I don't understand the appeal of Las Vegas either. Drop a day off Las Vegas.

Wherever you stay or however long do, do not miss:

The gorgeous white beach at Carmel. What a great place for a picnic lunch and a relaxing break from doing all that driving.

Point Lobos Marine Preserve south of Carmel. I suspect many tourists drive right by on their way north to get to the Monterey Bay Aquarium before it closes or to get San Francisco.

Point Reyes National Seashore. A true treasure.
iamq is offline  
Feb 16th, 2010, 07:01 AM
  #16  
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 7,443
I don't know how big of an Elvis fan you are or how much time and money you are spending, but that might be something to consider dropping. If you haven't been to Vegas, see one of the Cirque shows there and I think a day will be enough for you there.
spirobulldog is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -

FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 07:04 AM.