Road Trip Here I Come! (Tips??)

Discussion in 'The Fire Hydrant' started by GoingNowhere, Jul 22, 2013.

  1. GoingNowhere

    GoingNowhere Active Member

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    I'm pumped - the road trip is going to happen and it is fast approaching! I wrote a while back that I was thinking about a trip out west with my SO. At the time it was all just talk - now it's a reality! And now I need "to do" ideas! And I just want to share my excitement of course! :D

    We are flying into Phoenix and staying with my boyfriend's cousin before the three of us head to the Grand Canyon. We have two camping permits, so we'll be able to hike to the bottom of the canyon, stay overnight, hike halfway out, camp, and then the other half (provided we don't die somewhere along the way of heat stroke.... and I'm only half kidding :yikes:) The canyon is pretty much all planned out considering that hiking will be our main to do and I'm just praying that the running, biking, and hiking I've been doing to get in shape will keep me alive.

    From the Grand Canyon, we drive to Las Vegas. Here I need ideas! We're on a budget - but I know Vegas is known for having lots and lots of free attractions and deals. Any must do things while we're there!?

    From Vegas we part ways with SO's cousin and take my sister's car from Vegas (I know she won't read this, but I feel the need to give her a huge virtual thanks for her and her husband's kindness in loaning us a car) and drive to where my sister and brother-in-law live, near Joshua Tree National Park. We'll do Joshua Tree and definitely spend some time just visiting since I don't get to see either of them all that often. There's not much out there in the middle of the desert, but if you know of anything fun to do or see in the 29 Palms area, do let me know!

    From 29 Palms, we book it West to LA. Two nights in a LA hostel and no real plans as of yet... Ideas!?

    From LA, we head to Pismo Beach, CA and from Pismo Beach we drive North to Cambria, CA. Each is just an overnight. Ideas are welcome for these two locations as well.

    After Cambria is Yosemite, where we will be spending four nights and three full days, so we should hopefully have some good time to hike and explore. I already have a few ideas of hikes and such to do, but if you've been to Yosemite, I'm happy to hear input. Due to booking late, we have to switch campsites each night, but we're staying at Crane Flats and Hodgdon Meadow Campgrounds and a hostel for the last night. Ideas?

    After Yosemite is Sequoia for two nights where we meet back up with my sister and brother-in-law, but we'll probably just be doing some hikes with them there. Ideas are still welcome. My sister and BIL are hiking Mt. Whitney and need to get acclimated to the altitude before they embark on the 22 mile day hike (!!!)... my boyfriend and I will just be doing some of the prep hikes with them.

    That's pretty much the end of the trip - we then book it back to my sister's house and fly out the next day!

    Trip is about three weeks total and I'll be stoked if we can do it in less than $1,500 each. We shall see - I'm definitely being optimistic, but at the same time, knowing some family out there and having my sister be kind enough to let us borrow a car has made a huge huge difference.

    Anyhow, ideas are welcome. Regardless, I just wanted to share - I'm sure I'll be taking millions of photos while I'm out there, so be prepared for updates!


    YAYYYYYYYYYYY!
     
  2. Snark

    Snark Mutts to you

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    No help with ideas, haven't been out that way, but I just wanted to say, have a safe, fun trip! Can't wait to see pics!
     
  3. adojrts

    adojrts New Member

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    Lots and lots of water for the GC. Many folks underestimate it, the heat, the difficulty and get into serious trouble either down and up or on/near the river. Good luck.

    The zipline in Boulder City is fun but pricey.

    Probably out of your way, but Zion (3 hrs north of Vegas and Bryce are both amazing and a must see imo.
     
  4. GoingNowhere

    GoingNowhere Active Member

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    Thank you both! Ado - how concerned do you think I should be for the canyon? I really want to see it and the boyfriend really wants to do the hike. I love hiking too, but haven't done any hiking out west - only east coast stuff - so I'm certainly worried. We have hot days around here too (80-95 is normal for summer), and with the humidity, it can be quite oppressive, but still it's rare to have a 100 or 105 degree day which is apparently commonplace in the canyon in August. That plus the altitude and the ascent/descent... Fortunately, we'll be taking the Bright Angel Trail which apparently has water stops along the way for refilling and is quite popular, so we'll never be alone, I don't think.

    I started jogging regularly, just a few miles a week (I've done about 32 miles in 60 days...). I hike (so far about 75 miles this year), bike (??? on distance), and am young, so I have that going for me - but it's all just so new. Thoughts? I think we'll probably end up going either way, but it would be nice to have personal insight as far as what I'm getting myself into before I go. I've already done research, but of course, nothing beats personal stories.
     
  5. CaliTerp07

    CaliTerp07 New Member

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    As someone who lives in DC's nasty humid summers, the heat out west is much nicer to deal with. It's been in the 80's here in Santa Barbara this week and I haven't broken a sweat, while back in DC I melt just walking out on my deck. Bring tons of water and sunscreen. I will say that Vegas is the place my shoes started to melt on the asphalt in the hoover dam parking lot, so it definitely does get hot!

    LA activities...what are you interested in? Museums? Beaches? Theme parks? Restaurants? Where in LA are you actually staying?

    Take Highway 1 up through malibu on your way up to Pismo. The GPS will probably put you onto 101, but hug the coast as long as you can. It's a pretty drive! You'll pass through where I grew up on your way up. Pismo is really small, so my suggestions of stuff to do are in surrounding areas.

    San Luis Obispo is a college town with a fantastic farmers market during the week. McClintock's restaurant is a popular restaurant with portions the size of texas (it's $$$ though). There are lots of wineries over in Santa Ynez/Solvang where you can do tastings.

    Depending what time you leave LA, you may be in Santa Barbara for lunch. If that's the case, I'd suggest getting off 101 at Garden, turning towards the beach, and finding a parking lot (there's one on the corner of Cabrillo and Garden). You can walk to State Street (runs into the wharf) and get pizza at my favorite place ever--Rusty's. Then walk out on the wharf or drive up state street to the court house viewing tower (free, open until 5) before heading back to the freeway.

    It sounds silly, but you might want to check cruisecritic.com. There are west coast cruises from San Diego or LA to San Fransisco with day stops in cities up the coast. People are always looking for things to do if they're only in town for 6-10 hours, so you might get good suggestions from there.

    Have fun! We're leaving Santa Barbara tomorrow and I'm so not ready to go back to the east coast :( (Luckily we have a week in Hawaii first, lol!)
     
  6. GoingNowhere

    GoingNowhere Active Member

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    Thank you so so much! Yep, according to weather.com yesterday in Blacksburg was somewhere between 70 and 100% humidity at any given hour... and NoVA was sitting somewhere between 67 and 76%... so we shall see about that.

    I haven't had a chance to look up your recommendations, but I will absolutely be doing so! We're staying on Beverly Blvd near central LA. As for what we're interested in, I'd just love to see what the city has to offer! We'll probably spend a day just exploring, so restaurants, etc are all fair game. Neither of us are big on museums, especially when you have to pay to get in (I'm way too spoiled with the Smithsonian museums in DC!) Beaches would be cool too - but does anyone actually swim on the West coast, or do most people just go to sunbathe? I've heard conflicting comments!

    Thank you so so much for the coastal recommendations. I plan to check each one out - I'll let you know what I think of the pizza at Rusty's if we go! :) I definitely do want to do the scenic drive up the coast - I've heard good things about scenic Highway 1 and it's one of the reasons I made the plans as such, rather than cutting eastward sooner.

    Sidenote - that farmer's market sounds AMAZING! I'm hoping that the dates that we're traveling near there line up with the market times!
     
  7. GoingNowhere

    GoingNowhere Active Member

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    And we depart tomorrow! :) :) I'm quite excited!
     
  8. adojrts

    adojrts New Member

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    Sorry, just saw this now. You need to be VERY informed and prepared to hike/camp in the Grand Canyon. Temps IN the Canyon can reach 120 F, no cell phone reception, etc. Research it, people died every year there from not being prepared or dismissing the recommendations of how much water to take with them.

    Good luck and have fun but be smart and safe.
     
  9. GipsyQueen

    GipsyQueen Active Member

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    I'm just seeing this now - we did a similar road trip (sans the Grand Canyon - though we went there in August as well, and it was MUCH more tolerable than the muggy heat of the North East) when I was like 13, and it was ALOT of fun! I'm trying to remember - we were in a pretty some deserted town and we ran across this place, where a man had built his house beneath the ground. It was really cool, I just can't for the life of me remember... I want to say it was near pasadina, but I'm not sure. :(
     
  10. GoingNowhere

    GoingNowhere Active Member

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    Thank you both! We are here in Vegas after surviving the canyon hike! I'm on a phone now so no photos yet and I apologize for any typos, but I cannot wait to share photos. It was the experience of a lifetime. And of course I am still sore! We started our trip from phoenix az Atty 2 AM on Friday and drove through the night to the canyon. Fortunately, the time difference seemed to work in our favor since our felt more like five. We arrived around 5:30 AZ time and began our trek down by 6:30. When we started at the rim it couldn't have been more than 60 degrees out. That changed quickly haha! We saw sunrise from the rim before beginning down the canyon. Fortunately, the trail that we took (planned ahead of time) had water stops every mile and a half until mile marker 4.5 and then one more before you reach mile marker 9.5 where we camped. I carried a gallon to start. It was probably a bit of overkill add two and a half liters seemed to get me from every water again to the next, but better save than sorry right!? Made it to the bottom at 11:45 in the heat after one bout of feeling really crappy where I needed to sit in the shade, eat, and rehydrate. Other than that, we took plenty of stops for photos and to enjoy the magnificent views! We rested for a bit, sat in the murky creek nearby to cool off, and then walked to the phantom ranch lodge to get an icy drink and sit under the fans. Spent the rest of the day playing cards in a fairly vegetative state until the heat subsided! Up at 2:45 the next morning and started or hike out by 4:30. Surprisingly, we saw a handful of other people yup at the same time as us to beat the heat. It was a pleasant 80ish degrees when we started and we paused to view the stars on a bridge over the Colorado river! We hit the halfway mark by 7 and decided that rather than spend another night as planned at Indian garden, we felt good enough to finish. We reached the car in a proud slow slog in a little over 7 hours from our start and more than two gallons of water consumed (by me alone) since we first took off from the top of the bright angel trail! My phone is about to sure but we'll be heading to my sister's today and I should be able to borrow her computer to finish and add photos!!!!! :)
     
  11. AllieMackie

    AllieMackie Wookie Collie

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    ^ Echoing! My BF is an avid backpacker and did exactly what you guys are planning to do, with his friend in September. He's a planner to the tenth degree - researched wild animals, trails, packed everything he should... and even then the two of them were mildly hallucinating from heat when they were almost out - a dangerous thing when you're hiking on such steep terrain. His friend Justin nearly lost his step a number of times...

    Not to scare you. He says it was one of the most incredible experiences of his life, but he also said that he could not have planned enough. :)

    Sounds like an incredible road trip, I'm a bit jealous!
     
  12. GoingNowhere

    GoingNowhere Active Member

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    Double post...ignore this one!
     
  13. GoingNowhere

    GoingNowhere Active Member

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    Thanks for the advice :) my last post has a million typos, but we made it out alive! Honestly, I've decided that this hike was as much about being smart as it was about being in shape. We carried a ton of water, granola bars, ate a salty rehydrated meal for dinner, and left at some ungodly hours of the morning to beat the heat :) I'm also glad I prepared by running and getting used to carrying weight in my pack. Even at the end, my legs were extremely sore, but I never felt out of breath on the way up or down. We did singalongs much of the way up! I am SO glad I did it - it was absolutely incredible and it gave me a MUCH better grasp of the magnitude of the canyon. We saw elk, a few mule deer, and a million irritating squirrels and met some awesome people! I'm so excited to share photos later today hopefully! Vegas has been fun too! It's the nicest thing in the world to sit on a squishy bed in air conditioning after a 20 mile hike!
     

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