Thursday, February 25, 2010

Western States Road Trip -- 3 weeks?

Hi Jamie,

I am hoping you can give me some advice on a road trip planned for May 2010. There will be 5 of us and I shall be the chauffeur!

The other 4 members( my parents, aunt & uncle) are easy-going about what we see, but there are a few must sees! Such as Sacramento (where my dad & uncle had family many moons ago), the Grand Canyon & Yellowstone.

I have originally planned for us to fly into San Francisco & make our way from there to the Grand Canyon, via Death Valley, up to Yellowstone via Salt Lake city and over to South Dakota. I think that this itinerary may be a little too full as we only have approximately 18-21 days.

So I'm thinking maybe we should leave South Dakota for another time and start with San Francisco and finish somewhere after Yellowstone.

I suppose I wondering what your thoughts are on this trip, bearing in mind our time frame.

Are we doing too much ?? or could be do a little more ?? !

Thanks for your time, and Happy St Patrick's Day (in 3 weeks...)

Susan from Ireland


Hi there Susan --

Thank you for your good wishes, and I hope I can help with your big road trip around the western USA!

The first parts of your trip sound ideal -- SF is a great place to kickoff your USA tour, and from there you can go via Sacramento to Yosemite (not on your list, but a truly fantastic place!), over the mountains to Death Valley (which in May should still be fairly cool - under 100 degrees F!), then on (via Las Vegas?) to the Grand Canyon. Counting a few days in SF, you could do all this in the first half of your 18 to 21 days.

For the second half of your itinierary, I think you are right -- South Dakota is indeed a long way away. Even Yellowstone, at about 1200 miles from San Francisco, might be a little ambitious, and to be honest a lot of Yellowstone isn't really "open" until June (In May, the ground may still be covered in deep snow -- Yellowstone is located 2 miles above sea level! )

That said, Yellowstone's main roads, lodges and cafes are usually open by May, so if you really really want to go -- by all means, GO! Yellowstone is an amazing place...).

But there are some other amazing places to see, which you haven't mentioned. The "Wild West" area of Arizona to the east of the Grand Canyon is truly spectacular: this is where you will find the famous red rocks of Monument Valley, the Native American communities of the Navajo, Hopi and Pueblo nations (here and across the border in New Mexico, near scenic Santa Fe ).

And to the north of the grand Canyon, there is the breathtaking national parklands of southern Utah (Arches, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef -- truly stunning scenery).

All of this is well within your reach on this trip -- as is the gorgeous coastline of California (Big Sur and Monterey to the south of SF, or the "Wine Country" regions of Napa, Sonoma and Mendocino to the north of SF).

There is lots to see and do and enjoy -- all without spending _too _ much time behind the wheel of you car.

Let me know how things take shape, and good luck with the trip.

Happy Trails,

Jamie Jensen
Road Trip USA

Labels: , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home