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Thread: Honeymoon US West Coast - tips & tricks?

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    Default Honeymoon US West Coast - tips & tricks?

    I'm getting married in June and Annette and I would love to spend our honeymoon in the US. Ideally, we would love to fly to LA, rent a camper/van, visit and camp at a bunch of National Parks, and fly back to Europe from San Francisco. We have about four weeks for the whole adventure.

    We planned a quick & dirty route on Google maps, just to get an idea of the total distance. We know that we will probably not be able to visit everything!

    We have lots of questions and it would be great if my fellow collectors from the US could provide some input! These are the most important at the moment:
    • How much time would it realistically cost to visit all the spots indicated on the map and get a decent impression of each of them? Would 1-2 days per park be sufficient?
    • What are the best companies to rent a camper/van from? We know Escape Camper Vans, but that's about it.
    • What's the best time to visit this area? We're probably pretty much restricted to June/July but if you tell me it will be uncomfortably hot all the time, we may change our minds.

    If you have any suggestions, ideas, tips & tricks (also things that I did not ask), feel free to share!


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    Perhaps I am missing something, but where is your map with places to be visited?
    What is the duration of your stay in The USA?

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    I would avoid phoenix during that time. It's like an oven here. Grand Canyon should be nice though. I drove through Zion once. Wish I could have stopped, it's a beautiful park.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Randall Flagg View Post
    Perhaps I am missing something, but where is your map with places to be visited?
    What is the duration of your stay in The USA?
    There's a screen shot from Google Maps with all the locations in it in my post. Isn't it visible? We hope to stay about four weeks.

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    Quick and easy suggestions:
    · Start in early June. The Desert locations will be sweltering in July-Avoid!
    · 4 Weeks is enough to get to the parks you have listed, BUT, you are going to spend a lot of time driving (stuck in a vehicle). I suggest you drop at least 2 parks off the list. The do not miss parks (IMO) are The Grand Canyon and Yosemite. Yosemite needs 2-3 days. The must do thing in Yosemite is to climb Half Dome. You need reservations FAR in advance to actually climb the summit. Info here. If not, secondary sellers have the permits at “Market Rate”.
    More ideas later

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    I lived in Phoenix for 3 years, and can state unequivocally that you can skip it ... there is absolutely nothing to see or do there, and its miserable in the summer. The best part of Phoenix was leaving to go to places like Sedona and Prescott. Having been to a lot of these places you mentioned, I'm also not a fan of Yosemite (way too touristy, doesn't live up to the hype IMO), and Mesa Verde is a long way to go for the ruins you see ... I have the same right here in Colorado Springs at the Manitou Cliff Dwellings, and it's only 20 minutes from home. More info later, I'm getting glared at for being on the phone at a party.
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    Hey Michael, when you nail down the date(s) for Vegas, let me know. I will be your personal Vegas expert. I love this place.

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    Thanks guys! Oh and I don't think Annette put Phoenix in there for any particular reason other than drawing a route in the map. So we'll skip it. It definitely needs some fine-tuning.

    Keep it coming!

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    I agree with RF. Not sure what you guys are planning on seeing/doing at the locations you have listed but in my opinion 1-2 days is not enough time for most of these listed. If it were me I would work it backwards and list the specific places, shows, attractions in Vegas and Los Angeles you wanted to visit and see if 1-2 days is enough time. Yosemite and Grand Canyon (in my opinion) definitely demand more than 1 or 2 days if you want to get the most out of them. I would skip Pheonix and re-work the route all together to fit in Lake Tahoe (which appeals to me far more than some of these other locations) and also re-work it so there was less driving, more visiting.

    Quote Originally Posted by Randall Flagg View Post
    Quick and easy suggestions:
    · Start in early June. The Desert locations will be sweltering in July-Avoid!
    · 4 Weeks is enough to get to the parks you have listed, BUT, you are going to spend a lot of time driving (stuck in a vehicle). I suggest you drop at least 2 parks off the list. The do not miss parks (IMO) are The Grand Canyon and Yosemite. Yosemite needs 2-3 days. The must do thing in Yosemite is to climb Half Dome. You need reservations FAR in advance to actually climb the summit. Info here. If not, secondary sellers have the permits at “Market Rate”.
    More ideas later
    reality continues to ruin my life

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    Go to Sedona for sure-I was there three weeks ago. Real fun-their Jeep tours are a blast also!
    Zion-we hiked it last year--amazing place!

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    Agreed on Sedona, but I don't know if its worth the trip to Arizona in itself. Regarding Mesa Verde, I'd say if you want to see Anasazi ruins, do the Manitou Cliff Dwellings here instead. With that, you could also drive to the top of Pike's Peak (entrance to the Pike's Peak highway is maybe 15 minutes up the road from the Cliff Dwellings), visit Cave of the Winds, go gambling in Cripple Creek (old mining town), visit the US Olympic Training Center ... that's all right here. An hour south and you can go ziplining over the Royal Gorge. Head an hour north to Denver, take in a ballgame at Coors Field if you want the US baseball experience, or maybe a concert at Red Rocks Amphitheatre over in Golden. Turn northwest a little and head to Estes Park where you can stay at the Stanley Hotel; its right next to the Rocky Mountain National Park, so you could stay with your theme and still squeeze in some King.

    Trust me, all of this is better than Mesa Verde or Phoenix, and it's all right here in and around Colorado Springs. For your other spots, Grand Canyon absolutely no less than 2 days, and you need to be hiking down from the rim and rafting. Ditto for Brice Canyon, whitewater rafting there is awesome. More later, lunch is over!

    Edit: I forgot a few things. At Cave of the Winds you'll want to take the Lantern Tour. At Cripple Creek you can go 1000 feet down for a tour of an abandoned gold mine, the Molly Kathleen. Here in town we've also got the Garden of the Gods and Red Rock Canyon, both beautiful. Yellowstone National Park and Grand Tetons National Park are northwest of Denver; you could hit them on the way to or from Estes Park (where you might get lucky to reserve Room 217). If you don't need to start your trip in Los Angeles, there are direct flights on Lufthansa from Frankfurt to Denver; maybe from Amsterdam as well ... dependimg what you want to see you may not need to start all the way over in LA. Royal Gorge zip-line is over 1000 feet high .. it's awesome. If you're into dinosaurs, we've got the Dinosaur Resource Center and Florrisant Fossil Beds. The drive from the entrance of the Pike's Peak Highway to the top of Pike's Peak (14,000+ feet) takes an hour so if you don't stop ... but you will. You could also try to hike all or part of it, maybe just the Barr Trail, but you'd better be in shape. Last but not least, if you come here you're guaranteed an authentic american BBQ or homemade Italian meal, and depending when you come we've probably got a room for you.

    Now off to my next meeting.
    Last edited by George at C-Springs; 03-18-2013 at 02:16 PM. Reason: Added Info
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    Regarding camper/van rentals ... I wonder if it wouldn't be worth your while to rent something smaller, better on gas (a car or an SUV maybe), and then rent all your camping equipment separately? I say that because campers may limit your mobility and off-road capability; also not sure of the size camper you're looking for and driver's license requirements (special ones neeed for larger RVs, I believe). Also, don't forget to get your International Driver's License before you leave.
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    Quote Originally Posted by biomieg View Post
    Thanks guys! Oh and I don't think Annette put Phoenix in there for any particular reason other than drawing a route in the map. So we'll skip it. It definitely needs some fine-tuning.

    Keep it coming!
    I think you need to look north towards Oregon, Idaho, maybe even Colorado, California is a mad house in the timeframe you're planning.
    Reservations at the parks are impossible, Please look up tourism in Oregon, you'll be surprised.


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    Maybe Jerome and I can meet up with you for a beer in SF!
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    Great thinking and suggestions, all. Please keep your input coming! We're taking everything into consideration.

    I'll probably post an updated plan later, for additional feedback. One thing is certain, if we decide to go through with this it will be a memorable experience (and depending on the alignment of planets and stars we may even be able to meet a couple of you guys, which would be pretty cool).

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    I'm gonna post later, but as a heads up Greta and I spent four weeks doing a cross country tour of the Sates in late 09. We went through some of the National Parks you plan to visit so may be able to give some good tips when I've got time to look at it more closely.

    Great idea for a trip pal. I loved our time in America.

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