Back to 2009: US Road Trip

It’s been almost a year since I did this trip, but as I’m planning at this moment another big trip (this time to China), I want to share with you the planning and route of the trip, in case you are planning a similar one.

The trip lasted 25 days, and we visited San Francisco, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and many National Parks: Grand Canyon, Monument Valley, Mesa Verde, Arches, Bryce, Zion, Death Valley and Yosemite. We were 15 (my family and the family of my wife, including partners).

It wasn’t an easy task to organize this trip and I spent a lot of time doing so, but it was totally worthy: the trip was awesome and everything went fine.

I’m not going to go in detail through each place we visited as the post would become too long. However, don’t hesitate to ask me in case you have any questions.

Day 0 – San Francisco
Trip (flights):
New York-San Francisco (my wife, my brother and I)
Madrid-Toronto-San Francisco (my family and my wife’s)
Night: Hotel Hilton San Francisco Financial District

Day 1: San Francisco
We rented bikes at “Bay City Bike” near Fisherman’s Wharf and we rode to Sausalito, crossing the Golden Gate bridge.
Night: Hotel Hilton San Francisco Financial District

Day 2: San Francisco
Union Square, China Town, Financial District, Cable cars, Lombard, City Hall, Golden Gate park, San Bruno mountain, etc
Night: Hotel Hilton San Francisco Financial District

Day 3: San Francisco to Big Sur.
We rented RVs at CruiseAmerica in Oackland.
Trip: Oackland towards Los Angeles on Highway 1, going through Monterrey. Then, road 1 to Big Sur.
Night: camping at some point in Big Sur. I don’t remember the name as it was very late and we had to improvise.

Day 4: Big Sur to Los Angeles
Big Sur to Malibu Beach, visit to Beverly Hills, Rodeo Drive, Kodak Theater.
Night: Malibu Beach RV Park.

Day 5: Los Angeles to Grand Canyon
Los Angeles: Griffith Observatory, Hollywood.
Trip: Los Angeles to Grand Canyon (800 km).
Night: Mather Campground (Grand Canyon).

Day 6: Grand Canyon
Grand Canyon first day.
South rim, view points.
Night: Mather Campground (Grand Canyon).

Day 7: Grand Canyon
Grand Canyon second day.
Trail down to the canyon.
Night: Trailer Village Grand Canyon.

Day 8: Grand Canyon, Monumental Valley, Four Corners, Mesa Verde
Desert View Area, Yaki point. Monumental Valley. Four Corners.
Trip: Grand Canyon – Monumental Valley (290 km) – Four Corners – Mesa Verde (269km).
Night: Morefield RV park (Mesa Verde).

Day 9: Mesa Verde
Mesa Verde.
Trip: Mesa Verde to Arches (233km).
Night: Devils Garden Campground (Arches).

Day 10: Arches and Bryce Canyon
Arches: Delicate Arch Viewpoint, Wofe Ranch, Window section, Double Arch.
Trip: Arches to Bryce (438 km).
Night: Ruby’s Inn Campground (Bryce).

Day 11: Bryce Canyon
Trail Queens Garden & Navajo Combo.
Night: Ruby’s Inn Campground (Bryce).

Day 12: Zion Canyon
Zion on shuttle. Weeping Rock (Riverside walk).
Trip: Bryce to Zion (140km), to Las Vegas (269km).
Night: Sam’s Town RV Park.

Day 13: Las Vegas
Las Vegas.
Night: Sam’s Town RV Park.

Day 14: Las Vegas
Las Vegas.
Night: Sam’s Town RV Park.

Day 15: Las Vengas to Death Valley to Mammoth Lakes.
Trip: Las Vegas to Death Valley (271 km) to Mammoth Lakes (315 km).
Night: Mammoth Mountain RV Park.

Day 16: Mammoth Lake and Yosemite.
Mammoth Lake + Yosemite.
Night: Hodgon Meadow, CA.

Day 17: Yosemite
Mariposa Groove, sequoias. Outer Loop Trail
Night: Hodgon Meadow. ,CA

Day 18: Yosemite
Glacier Point. Lower Yosemite Falls. Bridalveil Fall. Taft Point and the Fissures
Yosemite Valley
Night: Oh Ridge (June Lake, CA)

Day 19: Mono Lake
Mono Lake (swim). South Tufa Trail.
June Lake (swim).
Night: Oh Ridge (June Lake, CA)

Day 20: Lake Tahoe
Trip: Mono Lake to Lake Tahoe (240 km).
Tahoe beach near Zephyr
Night: Zephyr Cove RV Park.

Day 21: Oakland
Tahoe to Oakland
Night: Anthony Chabot campground

Day 22: San Francisco
Return RVs.
Flights back (SF-Madrid and SF-New York)

In a postmortem analysis I would say that the time spend in each place was nice, and although some days may seem too stressful, we were able to visit everything we wanted.

If I had to choose my favorite places we visited I would say: San Francisco (I loved it), Grand Canyon (though I had seen it many times on TV so it was not so unexpected), Bryce (awesome) and Arches. Yosemite was impressive but we are more used to that kind of landscape in Europe (such as the Alps and the Pyrenees). However, the canyons in other national parks are something we can’t see in Europe and they are fascinating. I also liked a lot the landscapes along the way while traveling, and the big contrast between regions we crossed.


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