We're going to do a cross country road trip, starting in L.A. 21 Aug and ending in New York 14-15 of September. We'll be staying in NY for a couple of days before going back home to London.
The itenerary so far is: L.A. - Death Valley - Las Vegas - Bryce Canyon/Canyonlands/Monument Valley (possibly Grand Canyon) - Canyon de Chelly - Santa Fe/Taos, N.M. - Memphis, Tenn - Nashville - Blue Ridge Parkway - Shenonda Nat. Pk - Washington DC - New York.
Any road trip advice, tips of amazing, wonderful, weird and good places would be most welcome.
We (me and my man) are interested in photography, digital/graphic design and contemporary art; hanging out in relaxed places, meeting up with new people, we're into all things kitch and(or) low key. And music and film.
I just finished a road trip from Tucson to San Francisco and can say that you have picked some fabulous countryside to drive through! I found the Death Valley spectacular, although I'm not sure whether the additional heat at your time of travel would make it uncomfortable!! Be sure to take lots of water just to be sure though. I wasn't much enamoured (sp?) by Vegas, although it is kind of fun for a day or so. Travelling out of Vegas, you could stay in Kingman, AZ at this cool old saloon style hotel we stayed at called the Hotel Brunswick (just be prepared for some VERY loud train noises during the wee hours of the morning - supposedly unavoidable in kingman though). You could also go visit a small town near Kingman called Oatman along the historic route 66. We had a blast there - really enjoyed the fake shootout (with some highly entertaining acting) and real cowboy kind of setting of the town. The drive through the hills to get there is also very nice! There are some hotels/saloons in town that you could probably stay at as well if you like, which looked really nice.
Although I haven't been to any of the other Canyons (apart from Red Rock Canyon near Vegas, which was pretty good), I would recommend seeing the Grand Canyon. The views are simply awe inspiring and not a bit of it is underrated as far as I'm concerned!!
Good luck with your planning - I'm sure you'll have a great trip..
Thanks for great tips Peter! Will definitely look up Kingman/Oatman in AZ.
Yeah, I've heard that Death Valley is amazing... but I know, August will be a bit extreme when it comes to temperatures, so we'll probably just drive around the place, staying in the comfort of a cool car.
You can do the Artist's Drive in the Death Valley, taking in some really beautiful stuff without ever leaving your car. I noticed some signs there that recommended turning off the air conditioning for fear of overheating your engine though (and lots of radiator water stops) !! It seemed to mainly apply to one area though, so not sure if you could try to avoid that hotspot..
Death Valley is spectacular in its starkness. I was there last July and the car thermometer registered 120 degrees outside. Take water, and very short walks outside the air conditioned car. Be sure to go to the lowest point, and drive through the borax mine area. You really should spend the night in the parkt...motels are adequate, and each has a refrigerator...the distance into the park from the nearest motel is a long, long, boring drive, and you use up the time for sightseeing.
On the way to Bryce, drive through Zion...totally different. You will be at the bottom on Zion canyon looking up, and in Bryce you will be at the top looking down, and they are so different, you will think you are on another planet.
The north rim of Grand Canyon is not far from Zion/Bryce and while not as large a view, it is wonderful. I actually prefer the north rim because there are fewer people there, more trees, and much more peaceful feeling. It is a very long way to the south rim and back around to where you will be.
In Canyon de Chelly take the guided tour. It is very educational and you see things you cannot see alone.
In Monument Valley, the guided tour is dusty, hot, and long, but I enjoyed it...of course I am an incurable tourist. Some of my cohorts said they had seen enough rocks on the way to the valley. We stayed at Gouldings Lodge right under some spectacular formations.
In Sante Fe, you have to see the "Miracle Staircase"
When in Washington, if you want to go up in the Washington Monument, be sure to make a reservation. Free, but you have to have reservations or stand in line at 6:30 AM and hope you get a ticket...Reservations can be made on line. Parking in DC in August is a joke. The subway is very efficient, very fast, and you can easily park outside the city...Arlington Cemetery is a good place.
I could go on for hours, but maybe this will help a little.
If you have any specific questions, I might can answer them.
Looking at the map there are two ways to get to Bryce from Zion: U.S. route 89 and an unpaved road, do you know which one is the better? (the unpaved one looks shorter, but don't know in which condition it is...)
And also how many hours does it take approx to go from Bryce to Grand Canyon? Just thought I should ask in case anyone knows.
All your tips really helps planning this great adventure we're gonna have!
glad you've decided to visit Tennessee. lived here all my life ...really beautiful. I'm a native Nashvillian and I can tell you my favorite place in this city is a park called Percy Warner in west Nashville...if you're into parks it's beautiful...3000 acres of lush hills, creeks...it's a city park so no camping, but plenty of short hikes (2 to 6 miles).contact if you want more info. Jay
Thanks jayhummel, sounds like a nice park, might get back to you about more info closer to when we leave (in august...)
Are there any other nice places to chill in Nashville or where you can eat yummie food (we're vegetarians by the way)... always good to know.
the trip sounds fab. i am also from the UK and planning a similar trip in 2005 (me and the boyf).
Just a quikky:- what are you doing about accommodation? are you booking anyhting before you leave or just stopping along the way?
also where are you getting your transport from?
any info. you could give would be great.
We've booked the first three nights in LA and the last three nights in New York, that's all, we like to keep it open inbetween in case we change the itenerary, want to stay a bit shorter/longer, you never know what you'll discover along the way... We're bringing a tent to camp (backcountry) in the national parks. We're renting a car through Holiday Autos, they had the best price but it's still expensive. Luckily we got fairly cheap flight tickets though through Trailfinders.
Well you could always get in touch with me when I'm back in late September, any advice you want I'm sure I'd be able to give it to you.